The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

From Susan Wolff
author: Stieg, Larsson
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The story takes place in Sweeden and starts out when an Octogenarian Industrialist hires a journalist (Blomkvist) to solve the mystery of his niece who disappeared 40 years earlier. The main character Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo) teams up with the journalist to solve the mystery. The book deals with dark issues of sexual violence against women and Sweden’s facist groups. Although the book took some time to get me hooked, I recommend this crime thriller and look forward to reading the other 2 books in the series: “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

Wild Fire

From Roberta Berrios
author: DeMille, Nelson
 Wild Fire
Wild Fire-a right wing plot to end the threat of Middle East terrorism, a premise of unfathomable proportions-powerful Americans detonating nuclear bombs in two large American cities to begin a world war. DeMille’s previous protagonist, Detective John Corey, now on the government’s anti-terrorism task force, returns to the scene to foil this plan.  Although the thought of a simpler life at all costs might appeal to many, the high body count of unwarranted human destruction motivates Corey and his FBI agent wife to stop even the most high profile of political players. DeMille keeps the twists and turns coming from beginning to end in this thriller. The plausibility of this diabolical scheme is frightening!

Omnivore’s Dilemma

From Gloria Mandell
author: Pollan, Michael
titl: Omnivore’s Dilemma
This is one of the best and worst books I’ve read. Best in that it is extremely informative and well written. Worst in that I can never again look at food in the same way. I believe it has enabled me to eat in more healthy ways and to support local “slow food” and farmers. But it now takes me so much longer to shop outside of “supermarkets”. It is however, worth the effort. Don’t be afraid, read it through.

Not My Boy! a Father, a Son, and One Family’s Journey with Autism

From Lola Ferris
author: Peete, Rodney
Not My Boy! a Father, a Son, and One Family’s Journey with Autism
Imagine being an NFL star quarterback and discovering that your son, at three, has developed autism. When R.J. was born, Rodney Peete had dreams of tossing a football with his son. Instead, the anger, denial and pain he experienced on hearing the diagnosis took its toll on his relationships with his other children and almost collapsed his marriage.

Today, eight years later, R.J. has come from a child who couldn’t “look his father in the eye” to a lively, healthy youngster who plays soccer. The journey the Peetes took to bring him to this point included changed expectations, determination, patience, a roster of professionals and parents like themselves. Peete describes in intimate, simple, honest language the painful trip he and Holly, his wife took, how he changed from a macho, tough guy to a father able to give his child unconditional love. This is a must-read for any parent who is going through a similar experience, or anyone who wants to read a book about the way love of a child can lead a parent to learn how to be a strong yet devoted father.

Ghost

From Margie Hartough
author: Steel, Danielle
Ghost
Sometimes it takes the touch of the supernatural to bring true love to a heartbroken man.
Charlie Waterston’s, life is seemed perfect till his wife left him for another man. He takes a leave of absence from his job as a New York lawyer to drive through New England. It is here that he encounters the ghost of a young beautiful woman Sarah Feruguson when he rents the lakeside chateau she once owned two centuries ago. He finds her diaries hidden in an old trunk. As he begins to read them he feels her presence and longs to know more about the life she led.  Her love torn sufferings help him to endure his own pain and enable him to reach out to others and hope for love and happiness again.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

From Charlene Muhr
author: STEIN, GARTH
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated by a dog named Enzo.  Enzo is different from other dogs; he feels he has a soul, a human soul trapped in a dog’s body.  Enzo is close to death but not despairing of this because he knows that he will return to this world as a man.  He based this on a television documentary that he watched on the Mongolian belief that a good dog will reincarnate as a man.  Enzo recounts the triumphs and tragedies of his beloved master, Denny Swift, a semi-pro race car driver.  He studies the human behavior of Denny, his wife, Eve, and daughter, Zoe, and watching good television shows like National Geographic and car races.  This is a heart wrenching story, and like many other dog stories, the dog dies.  Enzo, the dog philosopher, does leave us with this thought, that life is like racing but it is not just about going fast.

Once bitten, twice dead

From Andrea Kalinowski
author: D’Arc, Bianca
Once bitten, twice dead
Zombies, zombies everywhere just in time for Halloween.  The first Bianca D’Arc novel to introduce the reader to this newly revived character was “Once bitten, twice dead” followed by “Half past dead” which contains two novellas, one of which is Bianca D’Arc’s “Simon says”. The latest installment of zombies is contained within “The Beast within” and the novella is entitled “Smoke on the water”. The military wanted to make their soldiers indestructible but something went horribly wrong and they became zombies. Some of the scientists, those for whom the term “evil genius” was coined, are interested in using the zombies for personal gain. One of the scientists uses the zombies to enact revenge against her adulterous husband and his new love interest.  The books are fun and a little hair-raising.  The battle between good and evil is featured and
thankfully, for humankind anyway, the zombies and their evil creators are temporarily halted but the next installment of the battle is due soon inthe book “A Darker shade of dead”. Will evil triumph over good, avarice over sacrifice? Stay tuned …

A.D. : New Orleans After The Deluge

From Kyle, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Neufeld, Josh
A.D. : New Orleans After The Deluge
I read the graphic novel “A.D. New Orleans After The Deluge” by Josh Neufeld. This book describes how several residents of New Orleans meet each other through different ways. It also depicts their intense struggle for survival during and after the hurricane. Some people in this book refused to evacuate even when the Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation. Many tragedies and triumphs took place during the survival days following Hurricane Katrina.

>From reading this graphic novel, I learned that over 700 people died in New Orleans alone, and the government did a poor job responding to this. There are pictures in this book that show people fighting traffic to leave the city. People who didn’t leave ended up stranded on rooftops. The author introduces the characters in this book a week before the storm, allowing the reader to get to know them somewhat before they’re all forced to deal with the upcoming crisis. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read a graphic novel that includes facts.

The merry recluse: a life in essays

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Knapp, Caroline
The merry recluse: a life in essays 
This was published posthumously in 2004. The compiler is Sandra Shea, her former editor. The author died of lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 42.  Ms. Knapp was a columnist for the Boston Phoenix, an alternative newspaper, and her essays also appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Siren magazine, and New Woman magazine. She wrote honestly about her struggles and her innermost thoughts and feelings.  She admits to feelings of jealousy, anxiety, grief, loneliness and rage that many of us deny. Her essays about her obsessions and addictions are truly brave. In “A letter to my father”, she states “I’ve come to see drinking as a relationship, as full and rich and sensual and complex as the kind you have with the key people in your life, as the kind I had with you.  I loved drinking, for a long time. I loved it so much I could have died for it, literally.  But you died first and in many ways, I guess that spared me.  On some key level, you see, I couldn’t give up drinking until I’d given up you.”
      “Life without anesthesia” is about how exposed one feels after giving up an addiction.  In her case, she hid behind anorexia and alcoholism.  In conquering a food disorder and alcoholism, she was sometimes flooded with too many emotions, but also experienced an authentic life.  Ms. Knapp was also a fine social critic.  The piece entitled “Teddy Bear II” is about a case where a woman abandoned her father who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  She argues that we as a nation do a very poor job of caring for our elderly.  She could be funny, too.  How many of us can relate to spending inordinate sums of money to furnish our homes in “Notes on Nesting” I saw myself in “I hate money”: “I hate money.  I hate dealing with it, thinking about it, managing it, planning for it, and accounting for it. On the other hand, I don’t have too many problems spending it, which complicates matters considerably.” ” Bills? What bills? I don’t see any bills. Who’s Bill? Let’s talk about something else.” Some essays might appeal more to women.  In “Barbie does death”, Ms. Knapp states that “The big walk down the aisle  is allegedly something a girl starts dreaming about as soon as she’s old enough to dream”.  She did an informal poll of 15 of her friends, and only two had the wedding fantasy.  The majority fantasized about being rock stars or superheroes.  The title essay “The merry recluse” is about the joys of living alone, and how this flies in the face of societal expectations.  It would have been amazing to see what other issues she would have tackled, if she had lived.

Seaworthy : a swordboat captain returns to the sea

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Greenlaw, Linda
Seaworthy : a swordboat captain returns to the sea
Linda Greenlaw wrote The hungry ocean, The lobster chronicles, and more. She was played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the film “The perfect storm.” The book opens with Linda in jail in Newfoundland, so you know something goes wrong.  Linda decides to return to the Grand Banks off the coast of Canada to fish for swordfish after a ten year hiatus.  She has assembled a fantastic crew consisting of her friends Archie, Timmy, Dave, and an acquaintance, Mike.  She captains the Seahawk, a 63-foot boat in need of repairs.  Linda doesn’t know if she still has what it takes to be a swordfish captain at the age of forty-seven.  She wonders about her physical and mental abilities.  Will her body hold up? Will the crew respect her? Will she find fish?
     The crew nicknames the ship the Sh-thawk, because of all of the equipment failures.  I laughed out loud when she quoted Mike complaining to Archie about his cooking, “How about a salad? Did you order any lettuce? How about cabbage? I like coleslaw. We don’t have a single veggie on board, do we? I’ll have the first confirmed case of scurvy in the last century.” And this is Linda’s take on Mike:  “Mike snacked while lying in his bunk.  He got up one morning and found an entire Kit Kat bar in one of the folds of fat under his chin.  When he ate the melted mess, I was torn between disgust and admiration.”
      The book is suspenseful and it is fascinating to learn about life aboard a fishing vessel. Squeamish readers may want to skip sections that describe harpooning fish and killing sharks. The climax is when the Canadian Coast Guard arrests her for illegally fishing in Canada’s waters.  My problem with the book is that Ms. Greenlaw was not forthright about having a film crew with her the whole time. I read about it on the internet, and it is confirmed in her acknowledgements: “Thanks to Tom Beers and the crew at Original Productions and the Discovery Channel for making this trip possible.”  Some have accused Ms. Greenlaw of intentionally fishing in Canadian waters as a publicity stunt, or to get a book deal.  The question is whether she knew she drifted into Canada or not.  She claims she did not know, and that the tides shifted. You decide.