b2ap3_thumbnail_donteverlookback.jpgHooray! Retired Police Detective Baruch “Buck’’ Schatz returns, more ornery than ever, in Daniel Friedman’s terrific second mystery, Don’t Ever Look Back. Friedman introduced the colorful octogenarian in Don’t Ever Get Old, imagining what life would be like for a Dirty Harry type of character in his 80s.

At 88, Buck is in even worse physical shape in Don’t Ever Look Back, thanks to injuries he incurred in the first book. He is living with his wife in a senior assisted living facility, and must use a walker to get around. As annoying as the walker is, Buck discovers that it turns out to be a handy weapon.

Buck’s sedentary lifestyle, filled with painful physical therapy appointments, is disrupted when an b2ap3_thumbnail_danielfriedman.jpgenemy from his past shows up at the retirement home. The 80-year-old criminal, known only as Elijah, got away with a huge bank robbery heist in 1965 when Buck was a cop. But now Elijah beseeches Buck for help, saying his life is in grave danger.

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This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. John Green with Heather Thompson, Heather Beverley and Ellen Jennings.

Don’t be too jealous … last week two of my colleagues and I were lucky enough to snag tickets to hear John Green deliver the Zena Sutherland Lecture entitled “Does YA Mean Anything Anymore? Genre in a Digitized World” at Chicago Public Library. Sound boring? Then, you don’t know John Green very well.

Who’s John Green, you ask?? Only the hottest YA author right now and he’s only going to get more famous in the next few weeks. Just ask any teen about The Fault in Our Stars. Quick background for newbies: John Green has been writing books for young adults since 2006 when Looking for Alaska was published. That book was read by just a few, according to Green,  until it won the ALA’s  Printz Award for “exemplifying literary excellence in young adult fiction.” His next three books sold well enough and won some awards, but with the 2012 publication of The Fault in Our Stars and its movie which will be released in June, John Green has become a YA god and we cannot keep any of his books on our shelves at Cook Park or Aspen Drive Libraries. Even adults are discovering his magic.

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GeorgeActor George Clooney has reason to celebrate this week!  The famous bachelor turned 53 on May 6th -- and also just announced that he is officially off the market.  Yes -- he's engaged!  Sorry, ladies!  So much for all those claims over the years that he would never get married!  The lucky woman is 35 year-old Amal Alamuddin, a lawyer specializing in international law and human rights issues.

 

Clooney spent many years working in television before finally hitting it big on the silver screen in the mid-1990's, co-starring in such popular TV series as ER and The Facts of Life.  These days, the talented actor is able to pick and choose his film projects, and often writes, directs, and produces them as well.  Clooney has been awarded two Oscars thus far in his career:  the first for his supporting performance in the intense thriller Syriana, and most recently for his role in producing the 2012 Best Picture winner Argo

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b2ap3_thumbnail_bellweatherrhapsody.jpgWhen I started reading the delightful Bellweather Rhapsody (publication date May 13), it was clear to me that Kate Racculia was a band geek growing up. Both my kids were band geeks, and attended music festivals like the one in Racculia’s second novel. The author’s attention to detail, from the black bottoms and white tops to the quirky guest conductors, rings with authenticity.

The stars of the show are Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker, two twins who are polar opposites. Alice loves being the center of attention and singing her heart out to anyone who will listen. Rabbit (a nickname for Bertram) is his sister’s quiet side kick, who feels most alive when he is playing his bassoon, Beatrice. When they both are chosen to go to an all-state music conference from their small town, Alice can’t wait to meet new friends and show off her talents. Rabbit hopes to just get through the long weekend.

But soon it becomes clear that this won’t be just an ordinary music festival. Alice
b2ap3_thumbnail_kateracculia.jpgis assigned to Room 712, where a murder/suicide took place 15 years before. When Alice finds her roommate Jill hanging from the ceiling in their room, she rushes to get help. A few minutes later, Jill’s body is gone, and a note is left saying, “Now she is mine.’’ The
horrified Alice is determined to find out what happened.

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 In January, Connie featured Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, recent winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. This was a book I loved as well, and after Connie raved about Adichie’s preceding novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2007, I knew I had to read it, too! Find it in print or eBook in our catalog.

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