Friday, May 30, 2014

What's New in Mystery and Fiction

Wondering what will be the new titles in mystery and fiction for June?  Here are a few titles: 

Top Secret Twenty-one: a Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich
The 21st installment (obviously) in the series involving bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.  

Terminal City by Linda Fairstein
This is Fairstein's sixteenth mystery with ADA Alexandra Cooper.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Continuing the story of  Clare Randall begun with the novel Outlander.  This is the eighth book in the Outlander series.

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter's first "stand alone" novel, this book involves race relations, violent crime, and political upheaval.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In Memory - Gordon Willis

Master cinematographer Gordon Willis' work propelled the narratives of many films from the 1970's and the society that they embraced. Three films that he shot — Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” (1972) and “The Godfather Part II” (1974) and Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” (1977) — won the Academy Award for best picture. Cinematographer Conrad Hall called Mr. Willis “the prince of darkness” for his use of minimalist light and embrace of shadows in Marlon Brando's Don Corleone and Woody Allen's beloved Manhattan.  Some of his other films include Zelig, Purple Rose of Cairo, Parallax View, All the President's Men, and Bad Company.
Mr. Willis grew up in Queens, New York, the child of former Broadway dancers. He grew up loving movies and wanting to be an actor, but after performing in some summer stock productions, gravitated toward stage design, theater lighting and ultimately photography. 
Gordon Wills died on Sunday  at his home in North Falmouth, Massachusetts. He was 82.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Freezing People Is (Not) Easy

Freezing People Is (Not) Easy: My Adventures in Cryonics
Bob Nelson

Bob Nelson was no ordinary T.V. repairman. One day he discovered a book that ultimately changed his entire life trajectory,The Prospect of Immortality by Professor Robert Ettinger. From it, he learned about cryonics: a process in which the body temperature is lowered during the beginning of the dying process to keep the brain intact, so that those frozen could potentially be reanimated in the future.  

A world of possibilities unfolded for Nelson, as he relentlessly pursued cryonics and became the founder and President of the Cryonics Society of California. Working in coalition with a biophysicist, in 1967 Nelson orchestrated the freezing of Dr. James Bedford, the first human to be placed in cryonic suspension. Soon thereafter he began freezing others who sought his help, obtaining special capsules and an underground vault. Underfunded, Nelson struggled desperately, often dipping into his own savings, and taking extraordinary measures to maintain his patients in a frozen state. His fascinating memoir reveals his irrepressible passion for life and chronicles the complicated circumstances that comprised his adventures in cryonics.

A  look back at the optimistic age of the new frontier when everything and anything seemed possible. When even a T.V. repairman could try to conquer mortality. 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Mantle of Command FDR at War 1941-1942

The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942

by Nigel Hamilton

Based on years of archival research and interviews with the last surviving aides and Roosevelt family members, Nigel Hamilton offers a definitive account of FDR's under appreciated command of the Allied war effort. Hamilton takes readers inside FDR's White House Oval Study, his personal command center, and into the meetings where he battled with Churchill about strategy and tactics and overrode the near mutinies of his own generals and secretary of war.

Time and again, FDR was proven right and his allies and generals were wrong. When the generals wanted to attack the Nazi fortified coast of France, FDR knew the Allied forces weren't ready. When Churchill insisted his Far East colonies were loyal and would resist the Japanese, Roosevelt knew it was a fantasy. As Hamilton's account reaches its climax with the Torch landings in North Africa in late 1942, the tide of war turns in the Allies' favor and FDR's genius for psychology and military affairs is clear. This intimate, sweeping look at a great president in history's greatest conflict is thought provoking.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: RUSSIAN ROULETTE: how British spies thwarted Lenin's plot for global revolution

Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot
for Global Revolution
by Giles Milton

In 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II, a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin's communist revolution was now underway. But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the Tsar. His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes, starting with the British Empire. 

Russian Roulette tells the spectacular story of the British spies in revolutionary Russia and their mission to stop Lenin's red tide from washing across the free world. They were an eccentric cast of characters, led by Mansfield Cumming, a one-legged, monocle-wearing former sea captain, and included novelist W. Somerset Maugham, beloved children's author Arthur Ransome, and the dashing, ice-cool Sidney Reilly, the legendary Ace of Spies and a model for Ian Fleming's James Bond. 

Cumming's network would pioneer the field of covert action and would one day become MI6. Living in disguise, constantly switching identities, they infiltrated Soviet commissariats, the Red Army, and Cheka (the feared secret police).  This nonfiction book is written more like a novel then a history book and follows the agents in a sequence of bold exploits that stretched from Moscow to central Asia.