New Books for the Week of February 1, 2016: Focus on Nonfiction

Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions by Valerie J. Frey



This book is a guide for gathering, adjusting, supplementing, and safely preserving family recipes and for interviewing relatives, collecting oral histories, and conducting kitchen visits to document family food traditions from the everyday to special occasions.



The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman



Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human?




Make ‘Em Laugh: Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends by Debbie Reynolds and Dorian Hannaway



In this fabulous personal tour, Debbie Reynolds recalls wonderful moments with the greats of the entertainment world—Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Phyllis Diller, and many, many more—sharing stories that shed new light on her life and career and the glittering world of Hollywood then and now. Debbie has plenty to tell—and in Make ’Em Laugh, she dishes it in the warm, down-to-earth voice her fans adore.


Home Fires by Julie Summers


Home Fires, Julie Summers’s fascinating social history of the Women’s Institute during the war (when its members included the future Queen Elizabeth II along with her mother and grandmother), provides the remarkable and inspiring true story behind the upcoming PBS Masterpiece series. Through archival material and interviews with current and former Women’s Institute members, Home Fires gives us an intimate look at life on the home front during World War II.


Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup by Katie Webster


Step into the sugar shack as seasoned sap-tapper Katie Webster takes you behind the scenes of her backyard maple sugaring hobby. Then try your hand at her Maple Ginger Roasted Salmon or Smoky and Sweet Turkey Chili. Pour yourself a Maple Peach Old Fashioned and enjoy a helping of Bananas Foster Bundt Cake. Explore 100 sweet and savory recipes, including plenty of vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly options, all featuring the incomparable taste of maple.


The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton



The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new worldview.



Tasting Wine & Cheese: An Insider’s Guide to Mastering the Principles of Pairing by Adam Centamore


Tasting Wine and Cheese explains how to taste, evaluate and appreciate wine and cheese, helping you learn how ‘taste’ works, how to think about food and wine in general, and how to bring them together in combinations that will bring a smile to your face! But, learning is only half the fun. Tasting Wine and Cheese accompanies you on a tasty safari into pairing principles through individual chapters that highlight wines and the cheeses that love them.



Food Gift Love: More than 100 Recipes to Make, Wrap & Share by Maggie Battista


In Food Gift Love, Maggie Battista, a food-gift guru and rising star of the blog world, celebrates her expertise in and enthusiasm for small-batch, hand-crafted foods. She features 100 memorable, edible gifts for any occasion with simple, delicious recipes, detailed wrapping instructions, and stunning photography.

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New Books for the Week of January 24, 2016

Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher

keeper of the  stars


When her mother died from pneumonia, Penny Cartwright was heartbroken. But now, after burying her younger brother just 12 years later, she is devastated. Anger, guilt, and sorrow cloud Penny’s mind, and the last thing she wants is to be reminded of her pain—but that’s exactly what happens when a stranger comes to town.




love in lower-case by Francesc Miralles

love in lowercase


When Samuel, a lonely linguistics lecturer, wakes up on New Year’s Day, he is convinced that the year ahead will bring nothing more than passive verbs and un-italicized moments—until an unexpected visitor slips into his Barcelona apartment and refuses to leave. The appearance of Mishima, a stray, brindle-furred cat, becomes the catalyst that leads Samuel from the comforts of his favorite books, foreign films, and classical music to places he’s never been (next door) and to people he might never have met (a neighbor with whom he’s never exchanged a word).


Perchance to Dream by Charles Beaumont

perchance to dream


It is only natural that Charles Beaumont would make a name for himself crafting scripts for The Twilight Zone—for his was an imagination so limitless it must have emerged from some other dimension.Perchance to Dream contains a selection of Beaumont’s finest stories, including seven that he later adapted for Twilight Zone episodes.



Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne

hunters in the dark



Adrift in Cambodia and eager to side-step a life of quiet desperation as a small-town teacher, 28-year-old Englishman Robert Grieve decides to go missing. As he crosses the border from Thailand, he tests the threshold of a new future.



In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

in a different key

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.


The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bavald

readers of broken wheel recommend


Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor―there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

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New Books for the Week of January 17, 2016

KooKooLand by Gloria Norris



In the tradition of The Glass Castle and With or Without You, a bracingly funny and chilling true crime memoir about a girl’s gutsy journey to escape her charismatic yet cruel father’s reign–an unforgettable story of violence, love, and, ultimately, triumph.



Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz



The New York Times bestselling author of Trust No One and River Road delivers a novel that twists and turns into a read that will leave you breathless. Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters–until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.



The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray


While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul’s fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul’s plan is not what it seems–and neither is Claude’s employer, the Investment Bank of Torabundo, which swells through dodgy takeovers and derivatives trading until–well, you can probably guess how that shakes out.


How to Break Up with Anyone by Jamye Waxman



Not all relationships are made to last forever. Sometimes what starts as a beautiful friendship or productive partnership turns toxic, or one-sided, or unhealthy – and the best solution for both parties is to end it. In How to Break Up With Anyone, relationship expert Jamye Waxman has written a guide to every step of a non-romantic breakup.


The First Hostage by Joel C. Rosenberg


The president of the United States . . . is missing. With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.


American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890 by Jerome A. Greene


As the year 1890 wound to a close, a band of more than three hundred Lakota Sioux Indians led by Chief Big Foot made their way toward South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation to join other Lakotas seeking peace. Fearing that Big Foot’s band was headed instead to join “hostile” Lakotas, U.S. troops surrounded the group on Wounded Knee Creek. Tensions mounted, and on the morning of December 29, as the Lakotas prepared to give up their arms, disaster struck.

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2016 Reading Challenge

I don’t know about you, but I like to challenge myself. Whether it is lifting more weight at the gym than last time or cooking a more delicious pasta sauce than ever before, there is something about a challenge that really gets me motivated.  So why not try a reading challenge? A quick Google search led me to the 2016 Reading Challenge by Popsugar. As I peruse the list, I think to myself about how I’m going to fit in all of these books and still read everything else that I need to, but that’s the challenge.

So, a National Book Award winner, what titles come to mind? Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections”, but I’ve already read that. So a look at the recent winners leads me to “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Its narrator, a young girl in a family of three brothers, tells the story of her family and community during Hurricane Katrina. I think I will give it a try.

Also on the list, a book from Oprah’s Book Club, this might be harder to find since I have already read most of these books. Wild by Cheryl Strayed Then I remember I have a copy of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed sitting on my bookshelf at home, a gift from a friend that I have not gotten to yet.  “Wild” is a nonfiction book about Strayed’s life changing decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Taking on this thousand mile journey with no experience and alone, Strayed entertains us with her fierce, gritty, and sometimes funny story.

A little farther down the list I see, a book with a Blue Cover. Now this could get interesting.El Deafo by Cece Bell  “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green pops in my head, but again I’ve already read that. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio has a striking blue cover, but as a former youth librarian I can’t count this book that I read a few years ago. But that gets me thinking, I never got to “El Deafo” by Cece Bell. This is a juvenile graphic novel about a girl who loses her hearing at the age of four and the challenges of starting school and fitting in with an awkward hearing aid.

Now I have a good starting point for my 2016 Reading Challenge. If you are looking for some book suggestions, stop at the information desk at the Willmar Public Library or send me an email.


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Winter Reading

“Book Your Winter Getaway”, the annual winter reading program sponsored by the Pioneerland Library System and its member libraries, runs now through March 11th.

The program, open to ages 18 and beyond, is held every year during the winter months and rewards readers for doing what they love to do: read. For every five books you read or listen to, you will be rewarded with a mug or tote bag (limit of two, while supplies last).

At the end of the program, your reading record(s) will be entered into a drawing for gift cards from Target, Home Depot, The Green Mill, Goodness Coffee House, Lulu Bean’s, Jake’s Pizza, Cornerstone Coffee, Cub Foods, and The Barn Theatre.

2016 WRP Artwork Color

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New Books for the Week of November 9, 2015

The Promise by Robert Crais







Elvis Cole and Joe Pike find themselves working together on the case of a missing woman that leads them to encounter drug traffickers and war veterans. Read the latest by bestselling author Crais to find out if they can solve the crime before she, or they, are killed.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom






Frankie Presto, abandoned as an infant and raised by a music teacher, was sent to America when he was just nine years old with only a guitar to his name. As time goes on, he makes a name for himself in the music scene until he vanishes one day. He reappears, much to the delight of his fans, just before his death in order to change one last life. Albom’s latest book will not disappoint his fans, one with a message about the power of talent to influence people’s lives.

A Christmas Escape by Anne Perry






Anne Perry’s latest in her Christmas Stories series takes us to a Mediterranean island where CHarles Latterly is spending his holiday, hoping to be cheered up. When a body is found, he begins an investigation to find out who among his fellow guests is guilty, all of whom have no holiday cheer.

Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker







Dear Mr. You chronicles the life of the author through the letters she wrote to men who have made her who she is today. The letters reveal the complexity and power that can be found in relationships.

Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child







Pendergast and Greene travel to a seaside village to investigate the theft of a wine collection but when they open the cellar, they find a skeleton.

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New Books for the Week of November 2, 2015

The Crossing by Michael Connelly







Harry Bosch left the LAPD six months ago but now has been asked to help his personal defense attorney on a case. The puzzling murder case puts Harry on the other side of the courtroom and he is in danger of betraying the very principle he has lived by.

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini







Troublemaker is Leah Remini’s eye-opening memoir about her painful split with the Church of Scientology after 30 years. This journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom provides readers with an inspiring story about a woman living an honest life.

He Killed Them All: Robert Durst and My Quest for Justice by Jeanine Pirro







Prosecutor Pirro offers the story of her investigation into accused murderer Robert Durst in her book He Killed Them All. When she reopened the cold case into the disappearance of Kathie Durst, Pirro was seen as the bad guy for looking at her husband. In this book, she makes her case for why Durst is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay







Jason Gay, a popular columnist for The Wall Street Journal, delivers his guide to modern living, a book he promises will make you laugh and will help you learn how to appreciate what you have.

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams







In 1966, Pepper Schuyler sells a vintage Mercedes and thinks she has found a way to finally take care of herself, but the new owner of the car has secrets of her own. When she takes Pepper under her wing, the two begin to uncover the provenance of the car and they must come together to face their pasts. This is the final book by Williams about the Schuyler sisters.

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild







When Annie McDee’s new boyfriend doesn’t show up for his birthday dinner, the painting she bought for him becomes hers. As the story of the painting is unveiled, Annie finds herself at the center of a scramble over the ownership of the work of art.

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving







Avenue of Mysteries tells the tale of what happens to Juan Diego, an older man, when he travels to the Philippines where what happened to him in the past collides with his future.

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende







Alma is sent to live in San Francisco with her aunt and uncle during World War II. There, a gentle lover affair begins with a Japanese American. When he is forced into an internment camp, the two are forced away from each other. Throughout their lives, the two reunite again and again but are forced to hide their love from the world.

The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro







Alizee Benoit, an American painter, vanishes in New York City in 1940. Now seventy years later, her great-niece uncovers hidden paintings that may hold the key to the mysterious disappearances. The Muralist brings readers into a world of prewar politics and European refugees as two artists collide under powerful historical forces.

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New Books for the Week of October 26, 2015

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell







Dr. Kay Scarpetta receives a video on her phone that reveals secrets about her niece while working on another case. Unsure who she can trust, Scarpetta must make difficult decisions with personal consequences in the 23rd book by Cornwell featuring Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline







Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on the case of a 12 year old boy in juvenile detention after fighting a class bully. Unable to free him, she is still haunted by the outcome. Now, he is indicted for killing the same bully and Bennie feels that she has to represent him. In this book, the third in Scottoline’s Rosato and DiNunzio series, Rosato must relive her past in order to get to the truth and obtain justice.

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen







Violinist Julia Ansdell picks up the music for The Incendio Waltz, but while playing the piece she blacks out. To try and get to the bottom of this strange occurrence, she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music and uncovers a dark secret that one family will do anything to protect.

The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman







The Theory of Death continues Kellerman’s popular Decker/Lazarus series. When the body of a man is found in the woods, Decker must dig to uncover the identity of the man and the facts behind his suspicious death, taking him into the world of scheming academics.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff







The Witches: Salem, 1692 is an account of the mystery of the historic Salem Witch Trials, one of the few moments when women played a central role in American history. While much has been written about this event in history, no one has looked at it with the same lens as Schiff, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra.

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore







Drew Barrymore looks back on the adventures of her early years in her new book, the first she has written since she was 14 years old. Fans of celebrity memoirs will enjoy this new one.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem







My Life on the Road is Steinem’s candid account of how her early years led her to the life she has had, revealing how she grew personally during her involvement in the equality movement.

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George







Inspector Lynley returns in George’s latest novel, A Banquet of Consequences. Lynley and Havers set out for London for one of their most complex cases yet in this loved series.

Slade House by David Mitchell






Slade House spans five decades, beginning in 1979 and concluding in 2015 as readers are taken on a reality-warping short novel that Mitchell fans won’t want to miss.

After Alice by Gregory Maguire







The bestselling author of Wicked turns his attention to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and her friend Ada. Briefly mentioned in the book, Maguire brings Ada to life as she embarks on a quest to find Alice and bring her home.


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New Books for the Week of October 19, 2015

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham 






Sebastian Rudd defends people other lawyers won’t because he believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial. Rogue Lawyer tells the story of various clients he represents and of Rudd himself, a colorful and vivid character that drives this legal thriller.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith







Career of Evil is Galbraith’s (aka J.K. Rowling) third Cormoran Strike novel. A mysterious package gets delivered to Strike’s assistant, Robin, and she becomes horrified when she discovers it is a woman’s leg. Strike has a list of four potential senders but when the police focus on a suspect that Strike doesn’t agree with, he takes the case into his own hands.

Host by Robin Cook







When Lynn, a fourth year medical student, is faced with the brain death of her boyfriend after a routine surgery, she begins to search for answers. In her search for evidence of medical error or malpractice, she uncovers a far bigger problem. When she begins to receive death threats, she becomes involved in a race against time to uncover and reveal the full truth before her efforts are stopped.

Golden Age by Jane Smiley







Golden Age is the last book in Smiley’s Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga trilogy. Golden Age begins in 1987 with the next generation of Langdon’s facing a new series of political and social challenges. The conclusion to this trilogy combines drama and emotional suspense as Smiley’s look at one family’s hundred year history comes to a close.

The Lake House by Kate Morton







When Alice’s brother Theo goes missing one summer night, the tragedy tears the family apart. Decades later, Alice is enjoying her career as a successful author but the unsolved case of Theo’s disappearance still looms in her mind. Miles away, a young detective stumbles upon an old estate and she connects with Alice as they uncover shocking truths about the past.

We Were Brothers: A Memoir by Barry Moser







Barry and Tommy Moser grew up in Tennessee and as they grew older, their attitudes grew further apart and they eventually struggled to find common ground. After a tipping point, the two refused to speak. In this memoir, Barry recalls why they grew apart and how they were able to overcome their divide and reconcile before it was too late. Anyone with a sibling will enjoy this true story about the complex relationship siblings often have.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell







Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is a humorous portrayal of Lafayette, the Frenchman who had a large impact on the United States when he sailed into New York in 1824. Those interested in historical novels will enjoy the humor Vowell puts into her writing as a nice change of pace from typical reads.

The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf







This graphic novel captures Sattouf’s childhood, spent under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who has big dreams for the Arab nation. He moved his family around from France to Lybia and finally Syria to pursue his dreams. This novel reveals the truth of this eccentric family and is a must read for fans of Maus and Persepolis.

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor







Night Vale is a small town where the lives of two women, and two mysteries, converge. Pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is determined to solve the mystery of a mysterious man who gives her a paper marked King City. Meanwhile, PTA treasurer Diane is trying to reconnect with her son after he takes an interest in his estranged father. These two women’s lives collide as they both find themselves coming back to King City. King City may hold the key to their mysteries, but will they be able to find it?

Home is Burning: A Memoir by Dan Marshall







Dan’s mom has battled cancer her whole life. This time, however, is different as her latest relapse comes at the time of her husband’s diagnosis with ALS. Dan decides to return home to help, living in the basement and reconnecting with his siblings. Together, the siblings form Team Terminal, detemined to help their parents battle illness and support each other along the way. This memoir will speak to anyone who is or has cared for aging parents.


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New Books for the Week of October 12, 2015

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg







City on Fire is told from multiple viewpoints of various people living in New York City in 1977. All the characters are somehow tied to a shooting in Central Park and are trying to figure out how they are connected to the crime when the famous blackout changes the lives of these entangled characters forever.

See Me by Nicholas Sparks







Nicholas Sparks is back with a new novel about a chance encounter. Colin and Maria meet during a chance encounter and soon fall in love. When Maria’s past begins to slowly come out, the two must decide whether they want to break off their relationship or work through the troubles brought on by the past. Sparks’ fans won’t be disappointed by this new one.

Foreign Affairs by Stuart Woods







Stone Barrington returns in Woods’ latest novel titled Foreign Affairs. When Barrington heads to Europe for a meeting, his trip is plagued by accidents and unfortunate events. As he sets out to learn the truth, he finds that these events may have been a warning sign – and he just might be the target.

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand







Winter Stroll is the sequel to Hilderbrand’s novel Winter Street. The Quinn family is preparing for a family Christmas but when Kelley Quinn’s estranged wife Mitzi shows up, the Inn becomes flooded with romantic feuds. The Quinn’s work to get through the holidays unharmed, but they might need more than a Christmas miracle to do just that.

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani







Based on a true story, All the Stars in the Heavens focuses on Loretta Young, an actress who met Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Gable, already married, falls for Loretta. When Loretta gains a new young assistant, the two become fast friends as they encounter scandal and adventure spread over decades. Their bond however will be put to the test when they face the greatest obstacle of their lives.

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