Archive for October, 2013

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 2008

Short trip this time, folks. We’re headed back just 5 years, which means (hopefully) most of us remember something that happened that year. In case you need a reminder, here are a few events that might trigger your memory:

  • In February, Fidel Castro resigns as President of Cuba (His brother, Raul, is the current President).
  • In August, Beijing welcomes the world to the 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • In December, Bernie Madoff is arrested on charges of fraudulent financial dealings.

“Remember when” through one of these books – on the New York Times Best Seller list for the week ending September 26, 2008. You might even find that there are a couple you forgot to read way back then…



1. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

2. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

3. The Pirate King by R. A. Salvatore

4. A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré

5. One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

6. Heat Lightning by John Sandford

7. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

8. Grace by Richard Paul Evans

9. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

10. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane

11. Tsar by Ted Bell

12. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

13. A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber

14. Hot Mahogany by Stuart Woods

15. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows



1. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

2. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman

3. Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

4. A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity by Bill O’Reilly

5. Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

6. Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander’s Account of the Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted Man by Dalton Fury

7. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

8. Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto by Ted Nugent

9. The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008 by Bob Woodward

10. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew Bacevich

11. Pieces of My Heart: A Life by Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman

12. The Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones with Ariane Conrad

13. Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James M. McPherson

14. Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman

15. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris


Take Ten: Columbus

This past week, we celebrated Columbus Day. An odd holiday – other than using it as a vacation day (schools, government), a day to protest (Native Americans) or a day to honor Italians (well, Italians), it is pretty much discounted. Columbus the man is sometimes overshadowed by the ramifications of his “discovery.” If you haven’t thought about Christopher Columbus since grade school, learn more about his journeys and his personality through one of the following. It might open up avenues for your own exploration…


Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus – Samuel Eliot Morison

  • Biography written with the insight, energy, and authority that only someone who had himself sailed in Columbus’s path to the New World could muster. Morison undertook this expedition in a 147-foot schooner and a 47-foot ketch, the dimensions of these craft roughly matching those of Columbus’s Santa Maria and Niña. The result is this biography, detailing the voyages that, for better or worse, changed the world.

The Atlas of Columbus and the Great Discoveries – Kenneth Nebenzahl

  • Renowned map historian Nebenzahl (fellow, Royal Geographical Society) traces not only the discoveries, but also the progress of mapping itself in this awesome collection of reproductions, filmed directly from original manuscripts, woodcuts and engravings. Most of the 50 maps are double page spreads, many with section enlargements revealing the wealth of detail. (Annotation from Book News.)

Columbus: The Four Voyages – Laurence Bergreen

  • Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a trading route to China, and his unexpected landfall in the Americas, is a watershed event in world history. Yet Columbus made three more voyages within the span of only a decade,each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. These later voyages were even more adventurous, violent, and ambiguous, but they revealed Columbus’s uncanny sense of the sea, his mingled brilliance and delusion, and his superb navigational skills. In all these exploits he almost never lost a sailor. By their conclusion, however, Columbus was broken in body and spirit. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, the latter voyages illustrate the tragic costs, political, moral, and economic.

The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy – Kirkpatrick Sale

  • Sale’s attempt to separate the man from the legend. He returns to the original sources to take stock of the “historical Columbus” and then traces the growth of the “heroic Columbus.” (Annotation from Library Journal.)

The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain’s Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Swordfight, Mutiny, Shipwreck, Gold, War, Hurricane, and Discovery – Martin Dugard

  • An account of Columbus’s fourth and final voyage describes the aging captain’s determination to find a passage to the Orient, recounting how his efforts where challenged by shipwreck, mutiny, and political treachery.

The Log of Christopher Columbus – edited by Robert Henderson Fuson

  • Columbus’s journal entries, dating from August 1492 to March 1493, offer an account of his journey to the New World 500 years ago. Biographical, nautical and navigational information also is included in this commemorative volume. (Annotation from Publisher’s Weekly.)

The Race to the New World: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost History of Discovery – Douglas Hunter

  • Reveals the intertwined lives of Columbus and Cabot, and how their race to riches threatened Europe’s balance of power and ended in a way that no one had predicted.

Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan – Hugh Thomas

  • A history of Spain’s first thirty years in the Americas traces Columbus’s pioneering voyage through Magellan’s first circumnavigation of the earth.

Toward the Setting Sun: Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci, and the Race for America – David Boyle

  • Documents the rivalries and alliances between Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and John Cabot, in a revisionist view of the race to discover the New World that explores the role of commerce in their collaborative and competitive relationships.

The Voyage of the Vizcaina: The Mystery of Christopher Columbus’s Last Ship – Klaus Brinkbaumer

  • Documents an underwater expedition during which some journalists and amateur divers analyzed the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Western Hemisphere, a ship believed to be one used by Columbus on a voyage to the New World.


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus, unless otherwise noted. Log in to NoveList Plus using your TFPL card.


Great Online Source: Mango Languages

jpeg-mango-logo-for-cmykIf you’ve ever tried to learn a different language, you know how difficult it can be if you’ve only got a dry, old textbook for reference. That’s what makes our subscription to Mango Languages so appealing – it is as far removed from a textbook as you can get without a personal tutor.

First, it’s interactive; you can hear it and even add your own voice to the mix. Plus, there are quizzes to review what you’ve learned at the end of lessons. Second, it’s online, which means you can access it from virtually anywhere, and there’s even a mobile app. Finally, it’s easy! With a simple flashcard system that delineates parts of speech and provides phonetic pronunciation, Mango makes learning a language a lot less difficult than your high school French teacher (Bonjour, Madame Saul).

With over 50 foreign language and 16 ESL courses, Mango will give you the basics for whatever language you want to try out – including a “Pirate” course, complete with jokes to round out your cultural experience. To access, make sure you’ve got your TFPL card, and then click here.

Spotlight: Woody Guthrie


You may not know the name Woody Guthrie, but I guarantee you’ve heard (and probably have sung) one of his songs – This Land Is Your Land. Guthrie, a folk musician, is known for writing music about and accessible to the common man, and his words definitely struck a chord among those suffering the most during the Great Depression. He died on October 3, 1967, after inspiring a new generation of political and social music activism. Learn more about this American icon from these resources:



In the Library:

Dust Bowl Ballads by Woody Guthrie

House of Earth: A Novel by Woody Guthrie (A long-lost novel written by Guthrie that was published this year.)

Library of Congress Recordings by Woody Guthrie (interviews with Alan Lomax)

Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

The Woody Guthrie Songbook by Woody Guthrie



Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home – Information from the PBS American Masters Series

The Woody Guthrie Center – Museum and Archives related to Guthrie’s career and influence

Woody Guthrie Discography: Smithsonian Folkways – Hear excerpts or purchase music from the Smithsonian