Archive for April 2011
Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas and the Catastrophe that Ended the Outlaws’ Bloody Reign (Nonfiction: Stephan Talty) c. 2007
Posted April 21, 2011on:
Summary: In 1655, 21-year-old Welshman Henry Morgan crossed the Atlantic determined to make a fortune at any cost. Operating on behalf of the King of England, Morgan would terrorize the vast and heretofore unchallenged might of the Spanish Empire. Building an army out of an undisciplined collection of adventurer’s, runaway slaves, soldiers and cutthroats, Morgan’s feats would change the face of the world.
Review: Sensationalizing history is a common strategy for publishers trying to sell nonfiction books; this is the rare story that is actually more sensational than the sales pitch. Crushing colonial armies, sacking cities, seizing vast treasure fleets and all the while outwitting opponents at every turn, Morgan is like a movie character on steroids. If you want well written history that will truly, genuinely, amaze you, this is a perfect selection. It’s also well researched, and you’ll find yourself learning quite a bit along the very fun ride. I checked out the audiobook, and would highly recommend the experience; the reader was excellent.
Read-a-likes: Reader’s interested in further nonfiction reading on piracy should take a look at The Sea Rover’s Practice by Benerson Little or Pirates: Predators of the Sea by Angus Konstam and Michael Kean for further history, or try Dangerous Waters by John S. Burnett for a look at the modern variety. For a fictional twist, Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton and Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe are worth a look.
Availability: This book is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library as an Audio Book and an eAudiobook. Click here to check on the availability!
Review by Eric.
For patrons who have Kindles and have been disappointed to find out that MyMediaMall is incompatible with them, good news arrived today! Both Overdrive (the company behind MyMediaMall) and Amazon have announced that later this year the Kindle will be compatable with MyMediaMall. Lake Bluff Library cardholders are eligible to download eBooks and eAudiobooks through this site.
Other local libraries subscribing to this service include (but are not limited to) Lake Forest Library, Cook Library, and Highland Park Library. MyMediaMall’s page of member libraries provides a list of all participants. If you live farther away and want to see libraries that may be a member of Overdrive, but not specific to MyMediaMall, you can view an expanded search here!
Stay tuned here and on our website for updates! To read the announcement from Overdrive regarding Kindles, please click here!
Author: Preston, Douglas & Child, Lincoln
Title: Gideon’s Sword
Publication Date: 2011
Number of Discs: 9 CDs, 10 Hours.
Geographical Setting: United States and various European countries
Time Period: 1980s to Present
Series: Gideon Crew, Book 1
Plot Summary: Gideon Crew, computer technology genius and all-around thief, spends his entire development undertaking the challenge of vindicating his deceased father from the shame of a crime he did not commit. Having succeeded eventually, after many years of study with the sole purpose of acquitting his father, Gideon looks forward to a normal life at long last. Unfortunately for him, a man named Manuel Garza literally steals him away and introduces him to someone who can pay him $100,000 to perform one task. The problem, as with many undercover activities, is that obstacles immediately jump in Gideon’s path, launching the listener into a fast-paced race against the clock, to prevent the shift of power among world nations.
The reader, Broadway actor and television star John Glover, highlights the sense of urgency in the book. His even-toned voice often leaves the listener hanging on by a thread, and in constant suspense.
Subject Headings: Children of murder victims, Fiction; Revenge, Fiction; Suspense fiction; Secrets; Murder witnesses; Fathers – death; Wrongful death.
Appeal: Engrossing, engaging, intriguing, multiple points of view, well-drawn, action-oriented, character-centered, investigative, linear, details of computer science and physics, political, dangerous, smart, unusual, witty.
3 Terms that Best Describe this Book: Plot-centered, vivid, contemporary.
Similar Fiction Authors and Works:
Lee Child’s The Hard Way: Suspenseful, plot-centered, and fast-paced; a series read-a-like as well with a similar focus on revenge.
Brad Meltzer’s The Book of Fate: Suspenseful, plot-driven, and richly detailed; a legal thriller with government conspiracy.
Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Ben Macintyre’s Agent Zigzag: Intriguing, meticulously researched, and exhilarating; a biography of German WWII spy Eddie Chapman.
Annotation by Carlen
Summary: It is May 1940, and the second World War is well underway. England, standing alone against Germany, is in the midst of it’s darkest hour. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle is a veteran of the first World War, determined to do his bit, even if he can’t get to the front. With the help of Detective Sergeant Paul Milner and Mechanized Transport Corp (MTC) driver Samantha Stewart, Foyle must maintain order on the home front and ensure that ordinary crimes do not get lost amidst the chaos of war.
Review: Each of the four episodes included in this first season is about 1 hour and 30 minutes long, and follows the solution of a single story arc. There are strong procedural overtones (the crime solvers are all with the police, after all) but the way Foyle uses intuition and observation to close each case is very reminiscent of Conan Doyle’s Holmes. The mysteries often have multiple threads that are pulled together in the last 20 minutes, and are excellently written. The acting and cast are fantastic; actors portraying a family often share physical attributes and mannerisms. Fair warning, this show is VERY British. In the first 10 minutes of the first show, Foyle attempts to arrest a man and is seemingly stunned that the fellow would run rather than simply wait for the handcuffs to be applied. Throughout the series, those being arrested routinely take their plight in stride, occasionally asking if they have time to pack. If you are a fan of crime dramas that have tons of action, this is probably not for you. If it’s story that you’re looking for, you’ll struggle to do better.
Read-a-likes: For further World War II mysteries, you might try reading James Benn’s Billy Boyle series, or Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels. For those looking for other British mystery series should take a look at another BBC series, Rosemary and Thyme.
Availability: This item is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library as a DVD. Click here to check on the availability!
Review by Eric.
Summary: Ali Rose, small town girl and waitress, has big dreams of singing stardom. These bring her to Burlesque, a nightclub that features, you guessed it, Burlesque-style entertainment. Young Ali is enchanted by the performances she witnesses and begins her quest to be a part of the act.
Appeal: Though the plot is somewhat predictable, it does feature Christina Aguilera, whose performance is impressive. Other notable cast members include Cher, Stanley Tucci, Eric Dane, and Dancing with the Stars former pro Julienne Hough. If you are looking for a deep, thought-provoking story, this movie is not for you.
For the most part, Burlesque provides the fun, lively, and talent-packed entertainment it promises.
Three words that best describe this film: Steamy, Campy, Upbeat
Review by Carlen