From Eileen Effrat
Author: William Ryan
Title: The Darkening Field
This is Ryan’s second Captain Alexi Korolev mystery. Sent from Moscow to Odessa, Korolev now investigates the murder of a dedicated party member filming a major Soviet movie. The woman is supposedly the lover of Yezhov, Stalin’s right-hand man. Korolev finds himself once again treading lightly in this extremely sensitive investigation. As in his first novel, The Holy Thief,this is a good police procedural set in 1937 Moscow. If you enjoy Martin Cruz Smith’s Detective Araday Renko or Tom Rob Smith’s Detective Leo Demidov, Ryan’s Soviet based mystery series is for you.
From: Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Alexandra Mosca
Title: Grave undertakings : mortician by day, model by night– one woman’s true-life adventures
I was browsing the catalog one day and this particular title so intrigued me, I had to immediately place a reserve upon it. I then anxiously awaited its arrival. The book was entitled Grave undertakings: mortician by day, model by night – one woman’s true-life adventures by Alexandra Kathryn Mosca and it caught my interest from page one. Alexandra’s birth mother died in childbirth and that is only the beginning of Alexandra’s trials. One would think that if an individual or a couple wants to adopt a child, it is done as a humanitarian, selfless act but this is often far from the case. Alexandra’s adoptive parents were mentally and physically abusive and, at sixteen, she went out on her own. From an early age, the pomp and pageantry of funerals and death had fascinated her and she decided her calling was that of mortician. At the time of her decision, this was a career field that did not welcome women. The majority of her fellow classmates at Undertaking College were the children of established funeral families so they already had a position awaiting them. Alexandra had to convince the male establishment of her skills and even then, she was quite often relegated to the position of lady attendant. A lady attendant was the person designated to come in and make up the deceased. Alexandra had a hard time breaking into her field but most of the time managed to keep her spirits high and her determination strong. She proved to me, that if you have a desire and a willingness to sacrifice, anything is possible.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Vicki Croke
Title: Elephant company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II
I have found quite frequently, in my reading life, one book leads to another interconnected book. I recently finished reading Elephant Company: the inspring true story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II by Vicki Constantine Croke, and, of course, the author mentioned various other books. Some of the books touted were authored by Vicki Croke herself and some were used to further her understanding of the animals about whom Vicki was talking.
Elephant Company was an enlightening and heroic read. Jim “Billy” Williams was an adventuresome soul and the advertisement for a teak forester called to that aspect of his soul. Through his teak forestry work, Billy came to recognize and appreciate the greatness and intelligence of the elephants employed by the teak company. Elephant Bill, as he came to be known in the teak forests of Burma, was sought out and trusted by the elephants to treat their ills. Elephant Bill, through his interactions with the elephants, learned how to command men through respect and not fear. Elephant Company spoke of the mutual bond that can form between human and animal if both sides respect each other. It was this bond which enabled Elephant Bill, the elephants and their handlers, to assist others in fleeing the Japanese soldiers entering Burma. I simply could not put the book aside until the last page had been turned.
From Edna Susman
Author: J. Peter Burkholder
Title: A history of western music
In 1960, Donald Jay Grout wrote the first edition of this one-volume standard history of music. It is now in its ninth edition and still serves as the THE definitive English-language general history of Western music used in colleges and universities. Since Grout’s death in 1987, the work has been co-written by Claude Palisca and J. Peter Burkholder. With this revision, we find new repertoire, new information on performance careers and practice, updated timelines and more. Chapters are organized chronologically and include the social and historical context, styles, key composers, genres, and works of each period.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Wendy Ruderman
Title: Busted : a tale of corruption and betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love
I have a lot of respect for police personnel and firefighters. They run towards danger while the rest of us run as fast as we can away from it. It dismays me terribly then when I read about police officers circumventing or outright breaking the law. Busted: a tale of corruption and betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love by Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker encapsulates how the law enforcement system in Philadelphia has betrayed its citizens. Once misconduct has occurred and has been documented, the offender should be fired and not merely assigned a desk job. How is it fair to the public to ask them to continue paying a salary for someone proven to be dishonest and possessed of a lax moral code. The Narcotics division of the Philadelphia Police Department falsified information on search warrants and during the execution of the false warrants, they disabled security cameras and stole inventory and money from the business owners. One of the police officers involved in the raids carried his malfeasance even further in that he, if there was a voluptuous or big breasted woman, he drew her aside and fondled her. The sticking point for me comes when the Police Department does not enforce ethical rules of conduct for its membership. Busted was an eye-opening glimpse into the misconduct of those upon whom we place such trust and the shrinking world of print journalism.
From Ellen Druda
Author: Nancy Buirski
Title: The loving story [videorecording DVD]
On the surface, The Loving Story is simply about Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple in the 1960’s, and their struggles in the Jim Crow South. Filmmaker Nancy Buirski has put together an amazing compilation of interviews and unearthed archival footage that brings us beyond the news coverage at the time of the Loving’s legal fight to be together wherever they chose to live, and into the personal revelations of the parties involved. We hear from their lawyers, both at the time of the Supreme Court ruling and now, looking back. The Loving’s children, neighbors, friends, and extended family are also seen both then and now. What emerges is the story of a couple, ordinary people just asking to live like ordinary people do. The civil rights struggle is the heart of the film, and although it focuses on the case of the Lovings in the 1960’s, the fight is still relevant today.
From Eileen Effrat
Author: Hélène Gestern
Title: The people in the photo : a novel
This story is told through an exchange of letters and emails between a Parisian archivist(Helene) and a Swiss biologist (Stephane), as Helene attempts to unravel the life of a mother she barely knew. The correspondence begins when Helene publishes a photograph of her mother and two unknown men in a newspaper asking for help in identification. As Stephane and Helene begin to investigate their parents shared past. the trail leads them to the Brittany coast, Zurich, the Swiss Alps, and the Russian expatriate community in Paris. Recently translated from the French, this is the winner of more than 15 literary awards in France.