Fans of Joanne Harris and Alice Hoffman delight, here is a new author who combines Hoffman’s gift for atmosphere with Harris’ talent for characters and storytelling. The Lace Reader is set in modern day New England and centres on an estranged group of women. Sophya “Towner” Whitney has a troubled past and family from which she has tried to escape by moving to California. When she receives word that her beloved aunt Eva is missing, she returns home to Salem, Massachusetts, and to the strange family circle that has long been the source of unfathomable secrets. There Towner’s severed ties are re-threaded and old webs of lies are untangled, including the mysterious disappearance of her twin sister so many years ago. Reader beware: in this mystery-that-isn’t-a-mystery, not everything is as it seems – even Towner will tell you that. This is a haunting, evocative novel that will perfectly suit a windswept dark night.

Reserve a copy here.
Reviewed November 28, 2008

Oct. 24th

Happyslapped by a Jellyfish
By Karl Pilkington

Most travel memoirs are written through rose-coloured glasses, relating anecdotes for readers of sunshine, language gaffs, delicious local cuisine, helpful people and happy coincidences. Not so with Karl Pilkington’s travelogue, Happyslapped by a Jellyfish. As a former producer and star for XFM Radio’s the Ricky Gervais show, Karl is not a good traveler. He falls into the category of reluctant tourist, one who is mistrustful of foreign places and customs, someone whose touring glasses are more cloudy-grey than silver-lined. For all that he seems to dislike traveling, he does get around. From holidaying in Wales - with chicken-pox - as a youngster, to the stormy and jellyfish laden seas of the Caribbean; from boring Brussels to miserable Malaga, Karl relates his many misadventures and traveling disappointments, with comic illustrations, lots of non-sequiturs and even some bad limericks. This book is ideal two groups of people – those who love to travel but are putting it off due to the economy and want to make themselves feel better about it, and those who realize – like Karl – that their own backyard is the ideal travel destination. To whichever group you belong, this book is a hilarious, fast read. Reserve it in our on-line catalogue here.

Literacy expert Carolyn Munson-Benson offers a wealth of ideas for parents, grandparents, caregivers and other adults to promote early literacy with young children in her recent book, Playful Reading: Positive, Fun Ways to Build the Bond between Preschoolers and Books and You. Stressing that sharing picture books is fun for both children and adults, she offers lists of titles to read together, with an emphasis on familiar, funny, award-winning, concept and beautifully-illustrated books. She provides related activities such as games, crafts, recipes and reflections, and devotes a chapter each to the important issues of positive values, positive identity and social competencies.Recognizing that children will identify with characters whose dilemmas mirror their own, the author has made wise choices of the titles featured in her book – titles that can aid in the healthy emotional development of young children. Carolyn Munson-Benson’s book is full of easy-to-use ideas which will be appreciated by parents, grandparents and other adults working with young children.The author is the founder/director of the Early Bird Project, a Minnesota-based program which brings together children and the best of children’s books.

** Recommended for parents, grandparents, caregivers and other adults.

While parents of young children are generally aware that instilling a love of reading is one of the most significant gifts that they can give to their children, many are unsure just how this is to be accomplished. To address this question, two early literacy/educational experts from the University of Michigan have co-authored a concise guide to what and how to read to young children. The guide is organized in a practical way for time-deprived parents, with a chapter addressing each preschool age division: infants, young toddlers, older toddlers, etc. Annotated suggestions for specific titles for each age group are given, along with fun and easy ideas for building pre-reading skills.This practical resource will inspire parents to read often to their preschoolers, providing the important first steps on the path to later academic success in school.

** Recommended for parents, grandparents, caregivers and other adults.

Published October 2, 2008.

Pool owners may not have had as many chances to use their private swimming facilities very often this past summer given the cooler temperatures and rain, so it may be hard to think of closing it up now that autumn has arrived. This year it may be less of a chore with the help of this book by the “pool-doctor”, Dan Hardy. There are maintenance tips for every kind of swimming pool (except the inflatable kind) and related equipment, and there are sections on heating, sanitizing and on keeping a pool chemically balanced – with the advantages and disadvantages of the different pool chemicals spelled out. There is a chapter on hot tubs and spas, and even a chapter for troubleshooting algae (all four kinds) and other problems, like metal corrosion and phosphate pollution. The chapter on safety includes a checklist for the owner (like knowing CPR) and professional (like not leaving chemicals where children and pets can access them) plus a list of safety equipment to have and chemical treatment charts.
Of special interest at this time of year, there is a chapter with step-by-step directions for winterizing your pool or spa, and the inserted colour photographs show some examples of well-landscaped pools, their construction, equipment and design, for those who are thinking of adding a pool in the future. For quick reference there is a great index and glossary in the back. Until next summer…

Reviewed October 2, 2008
Click here to find it in our on-line catalogue.

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