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Book Review: An Appetite for Murder

An Appetite for Murder
An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book as a result of Twitter. As a librarian and author of the Writer’s Guide to Government Information, I sometimes get authors following me.

I don’t always follow back, but @LucyBurdette‘s profile said she was an author of a series based on a food critic living in Key West Florida. I think Key West is beautiful. I also appreciate food and mysteries, so I followed her back and asked what the first book in her series was. I didn’t realize till later that she is also one of the people who write the Jungle Red Writers blog, a blog I enjoy for its friendliness, wit and food references.

An Appetite for Murder has appealing characters, plausible situations and honestly kept me guessing till the murderer was revealed. I also liked how a gay couple was worked into the script as just two more characters. One partner was a psychologist friend of the protagonist who just happened to be gay.

As you would expect from a food based mystery, there are many descriptions of food. These are done well, whether set in a restaurant or if it’s something the main character is making for her friends. As a bonus, a few of the dishes mentioned in the book have recipes at the end.

There was nothing in the story that really set my head shaking and brought me out of the story. It was a great read for a weekend and I will definitely be checking out the other books in the series.

View all my reviews

Oral Histories from Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

ExxonJukebox

The following announcement recently came across my desk at work:

 

The Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC) are proud to announce the completion of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Project Jukebox, available online at http://jukebox.uaf.edu/exxonvaldez, People who visit the site can access oral, visual, and written resources that offer a rich understanding of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.

Exxon Valdez tanker leaking oil in Prince William Sound, April 13, 1989. Photo by Charles N. Ehler. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Collection, ARLIS.

This project highlights conversations with 20 people talking about the oil spill, the impact the spill had on their lives and on the environment, the cleanup response, the long-term effects of the spill, and changes in the oil industry monitoring system.

On this 25th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Project Jukebox has helped preserve stories from people that may not be well-known and have made them accessible to the public. The information discussed in these interviews will be of interest to local residents of Prince William Sound who were impacted by the spill, to Alaskans who want to know more about the event from the people who experienced it, and to people around the world hoping to prevent similar accidents in their coastal waters.

This project was supported by funding from the Alaska State Library, Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services, and the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council.

For more information about this project, please contact:  
Leslie McCartney, Curator of Oral History, University of Alaska Fairbanks

lmccartney@alaska.edu  (907)474-7737

Alicia Zorzetto, Digital Collections Librarian, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council

alicia.zorzetto@pwsrcac.org   (907)277-7222

 

Here’s a list of the people included in the Jukebox:

  • Gary Bader
  • Joe Banta
  • Robert Benda
  • Tom Copeland
  • John Devens Jr
  • John Devens Sr
  • Jane Eismann
  • Patience Faulkner
  • Katie Gavenus
  • David Janka
  • Marilyn Leland
  • Bob Linville
  • Craig Matkin
  • Riki Ott
  • Roy Robertson
  • Gordon Scott
  • Jerome Selby
  • Rick Steiner
  • Scott Sterling
  • Jonathan Wills

This effort at preserving Alaska’s history was made possible in part with state and federal grant funds and led by libraries. Your taxpayer dollars at work to save the past so it hopefully doesn’t keep getting repeated in the future.

Review: Tales of Alaska’s Bush Rat Governor: The Extraordinary Autobiography of Jay Hammond, Wilderness Guide and Reluctant Politician

Tales of Alaska's Bush Rat Governor: The Extraordinary Autobiography of Jay Hammond, Wilderness Guide and Reluctant Politician
Tales of Alaska’s Bush Rat Governor: The Extraordinary Autobiography of Jay Hammond, Wilderness Guide and Reluctant Politician by Jay S. Hammond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall a good read for those in Alaska history. The whole book is a series of vignettes rather than a single narrative. The effect is somewhat disjointed. I personally found the first third of the book hard to get through, but things did quickly pick up from there.

More documentation of material would have been nice – examples of the Anchorage Daily Times treatment of him, bill numbers for legislation Hammond said he got passed because legislators weren’t much for reading.

On the plus side, Hammond is far from self-aggrandizing in this book and he’s up front about his mistakes and failures.

If you live in Alaska and haven’t read the biography of one of the fathers of the Permanent Fund Dividend, you really ought to pick up this book and read.

View all my reviews

Attn Anchorage: Nerd Art, Job Search Help, Start Your Business and More @ Your Library

I live in Juneau, not Anchorage. But I know people who do. This week you ought to be paying attention to what’s going on in your libraries:

From: McGourtySA@ci.anchorage.ak.us [mailto:McGourtySA@ci.anchorage.ak.us]
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2014 4:50 PM
To: aklalist@akla.org
Subject: [AKLA List] Adult Services Events – Loussac Library – Week of May 18

 

(This is an AKLA List message, replies will go to the whole list.)

May 1-31st

Nerd Art – 3rd Floor Gallery and 4th Floor Innovation Lab

Fan art, science as art, comic book art, manga, and more!  Explore all manner of geekery at Loussac Public Library! FYI – You might just see a certain blue police box while you’re here!

 

For more information please contact mcgourtysa@muni.org.

 

Tuesday, May 20

Job Search 101: Resumes and Interviews – 6pm – Innovation Lab

Ben Krisher, Castle Resume Services, explains how to write a resume and tips for a successful interview. The workshop introduces resume styles, resume building tips and formatting tricks to make your resume stand out.
A Q&A about job seeking and interview skills will also be included.

 

Please contact Darla at hanedc@muni.org or 907-343-2893 for more information.

 

Conversation Salon: Information is Not Knowledge – 6pm – Ann Stevens Room

Join UAA and APU faculty, community leaders and your neighbors for an informal exploration of the themes in Brooke Gladstone’s book, The Influencing Machine. How are these themes relevant to ourselves, our community and our state?
May’s discussion topic:  How Media Shapes Our Reality of Everyday Life
Facilitated by Sue Fallon, Alaska Pacific University, and Anna Brawley, Agnew: Beck Consulting

 

For more information please contact sterlingrs@muni.org.

 

Sandra Walker: Little Merchants – 7pm – Public Conference Room

Join author Sandra Walker as she shares evocative stories from hilarious to horrific and poignant to repugnant from the golden era of youth delivering newspapers.

Based on extensive research and interviews with hundreds of former news carriers, Little Merchants explores the rich and colorful history of this important icon.

The author will be signing books after the presentation.

 

For more information please contact pendletoncl@muni.org

 

Wednesday, May 21

Let’s Talk Anchorage: Doing Democracy – 6pm – Ann Stevens Room

Doing Democracy is collaboration between Let’s Talk Anchorage, the Anchorage Public Library and Alaska Common Ground.

Please join the community conversation about how we do democracy. What are the responsibilities of citizens, and what information do we need to make decisions?

Join facilitators from Let’s Talk Anchorage as we engage in a deliberative dialog and democratic process around important issues facing Alaskans.

 

For more information please contact sterlingrs@muni.org

 

Alaska Writer’s Guild – 7pm – Innovation Lab

Join us at the Loussac Library to hear author David Brown discuss “The Transition Game, From Writing to Marketing.” This informative workshop takes a look at the difficulty involved transitioning from writing a book to switching gears & getting that book on the market.

David Brown attended Cuesta College Creative Writing Program. Served as a Columnist for the Woonsocket Call (RI), Edible East Bay(CA) & Castro Valley Forum(CA). Author of true crime story, Deacon’s Crossbow (Createspace). Past President and Program Director for AWG. A 400 page historical novel, Return of the Free Faller is in the hands of Mr. Brown’s literary agent. Recently completed, Grace and Dizzy, a book of short stories.

 

For more information please contact mcallisterdj@muni.org.

 

Thursday, May 22

Heck Yeah! It’s Time to Start My Own Business – 5pm – Public Conference Room – Also Available Via OWL

This 2-hour interactive, informative, and never the same way twice, monthly tutorial, serves as a starting point for anyone who has ever thought about starting their own business.

“Diamond” Dar Johnson will answer questions about business and financial planning needed to start your own business.

For more information, please contact mcgourtysa@muni.org.

 

Rick Mystrom: Solve Diabetes, Lose Weight, and Live Healthy – 7pm – Wilda Marston Theatre

Rick Mystrom, author, former mayor of Anchorage and type I diabetic will share ways on how to be healthier, trimmer, and feel better by developing good eating patterns that become good eating habits.

This presentation will be life-changing for type 2 diabetics who want to lower their blood sugar and lose weight, pre-diabetics or borderline diabetics who want to avoid ever getting diabetes, type 1 diabetics who want to improve their blood sugar control, and anyone—diabetic or not—who wants to loseweight and live healthier.

 

For more information please contact pendletoncl@muni.org.

 

Saturday, May 24

Loussac Library Science Fiction Double Feature Picture Show – 12pm – Wilda Marston Theatre

Loussac Library will be showing a mixture of classic and cult science fiction movies this summer! All films are free and open to the public.

Not all films will be appropriate for children. Due to licensing restrictions, Loussac Library is not able to advertise the titles of the movies shown.

Please e-mail mcgourtysa@muni.org for titles.

 

12pm – “Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect escape from the Earth moments before its destruction and join forces with Zaphod Beeblebrox on board the Heart of Gold and search for the ultimate question.” Rated PG

2:30pm – “In the future, a spaceship is harboring a passenger with a deadly secret. Six rebels on the run. An assassin in pursuit. When the renegade crew agrees to hide a fugitive on their ship, they find themselves in an awesome action-packed battle between the relentless military might of a totalitarian regime who will destroy anything – or anyone – to get the girl back and the bloodthirsty creatures who roam the uncharted areas of space. But, the greatest danger of all may be on their ship.” Rated PG-13

For more information, please contact mcgourtysa@muni.org.

 

Figure Drawing with Nic and Vee Sweet – 12pm – Innovation Lab

            Join Nic and Vanessa (Vee) Sweet for a free figure drawing workshop!  This is a workshop geared towards adults and high school aged teens.  All participants must bring their own supplies.

Nic and Vee Sweet are both graduates of the California Institute of the Arts for Animation.  Currently they run Sleeping Fox Studios.

 

For more information please contact hanedc@muni.org.

 

Keep These on Your Radar!

Photojournalism Art Exhibit – June 1 – Open Call for Art

For more information please contact hanedc@muni.org or mcgourtysa@muni.org.

Jane Austen Book Club – Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope – Discussion on Wednesday, June 4

For more information please contact mcgourtysa@muni.org

Maker Faire – July – Volunteers Needed

For more information please contact mcgourtysa@muni.org

Thrift Fashion Show – August – Volunteers Needed

For more information please contact hanedc@muni.org

Review: Initiates, The: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs

Initiates, The: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs
Initiates, The: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Étienne Davodeau
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recommended without hesitation. This a graphic novel with a “small is beautiful” subtext.

This is the story of a graphic novelist (Etienne Davodeau) and a vinter (Richard Leroy) who agree to learn about each other’s work. The graphic novelist prunes vines, plows fields and attends wine tastings, vinter interviews and cooperage demonstrations. The vinter goes to publisher meetings, writer interviews, conventions and reads many graphic novels. Some novels are to the vinter’s taste, but others are not. We learn a number of details about both crafts. These are two men who take great pride in their work and willing to expand their horizons. It was a joyous and uplifting read.

The illustrations are almost photorealistic and draw you into the world of the book. It’s black and white but that seems to fit the intensity of the craft going on. Many bottles of wine were drunk and many books were read over the course of this work. The end of the book features the first bibliography I’ve seen that also features a wine list.

This very enjoyable book would have never hit my radar if I hadn’t read it on the “Staff Picks” section of the Juneau Public Libraries web site. See http://www.juneau.org/library/picks_category.php?subject=1 and scroll down.

Caution: If you were bored by either My Dinner with Andre or Mindwalk, this book might not be for you. Otherwise, you’re in for a treat!

View all my reviews

Review: Upsetting the Balance

Upsetting the Balance
Upsetting the Balance by Harry Turtledove
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I may be sounding like a broken record here, but the third book in the WorldWar series is just good enough for me to move onto the next book.

As in the previous books, situations and characters are plausible. There are few moments of “but why …” The historical characters feel authentic to me, though that’s really a measure of how the book matches how I was raised to view Stalin, Hitler, Churchill and FDR.

And yet, the problems of the first two books continue to plague this book. Today’s fun fact, repeated several times in all three books is that the best tank commanders will open their hatch and stand in their cupola because it allows them to see more of the enemy, but that exposes them to more danger. In addition, there seems to be more unerotic sex than in the second book, though less than in the first book.

Overall though, it is worth continuing to read the series, at least for now. I just can’t bring myself to give it four stars.

View all my reviews

National Library Week Day 7: Well, When Will YOU Visit Your Library? #nlw14

Now that I’ve spent a whole week talking about the benefits of my local public library, it is my devout wish that you will go forth and visit your local library. If you live in Juneau, that would be the Juneau Public Libraries that I’ve been writing about all week. Here are some pointers if you live elsewhere:

 

Ideally you would visit in person. But checking out their website or even Listen Alaska Plus would do. But visit. Then share what you find. On your blog. On Twitter. On Facebook. Whereever suits you.

 

 

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