Library Staff Were Reading 2005 Edition...



[AC = Audiocassette, CD = Compact Disc, LP = Large Print]


1,001 Delicious Soups and Stews / Sue Spitler

Simple recipes that are prepared with ingredients that are readily found in most kitchens. I checked this book out so often, I had to purchase a copy of my own. (Mrs. Harville from SCS)


Bobbed Hair & Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties / Marion Meade
Captures the colorful & exciting lives of 4 female Jazz Age writers, 1920-1929. (Maria from SCS)
Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: the Story of Black Hollywood / Donald Bogle
I love to read histories about Hollywood, and this book told a story I've never read before. (Kristen from SLC)
The Forgotten Soldier / Guy Sajer

Classic WW2 account from a young German soldier and his terrible experiences fighting on the Russian Front--good stuff! (Librarian from RSV)


Founding Mothers / Cokie Roberts [AC, CD, LP]

This biographical look at the women of the revolutionary era was fascinating.  It made me wonder where we might be today as a country if it hadn't been for them. (Gretchen from CMS)


From Soupy to Nuts! : A History of Detroit Television / Tim Kiska

If you can't remember the words to the Faygo Kid commercial or the theme song of Boofland, this is the book for you. Whatever happened to Soupy Sales, Wixie and Captain Jolly? You will find the answers here. (Librarian from SCS)


Glass Castle: A Memoir / Jeanette Walls [CD]

So fascinating and disturbing, it is like you can't look away!   MSNBCs Jeannette Walls grew up with genius/unstable dad, an artistic/unstable mom and numerous neglected sibs.  This memoir, although frequently painful, provides the reader with a unique glimpse of truly crazy dysfunctional family relationships, the choice of homelessness and wandering. (Marie from CMPL)

This memoir of the author's bizarre childhood at the hands of two people who should never have become parents is both shocking and inspiring.  A terrific read. (Connie Doherty from TPL)


Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell's Fatal Obsession with Alaskan Bears / Nick Jans

Fascinating account of the possibly inevitable demise of a bear advocate at Katmai (AK) Natl. Park in October 2003, after 13 summers of bonding with the grizzlies and battling Park rangers. (Barb Williams from TPL)


Letters from the Hive:  An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind / Stephen Buchmann

While we expect books about honey and bees to appeal to children, this adult book is really charming.  It's short, sweet and very informational. (Librarian from RSV)


My Cat Spit McGee / Willie Morris

Although I’m not a cat person, this book was very enjoyable.  A follow-up of sorts to My Dog Skip, it is the comical account of how a dog lover became helplessly attached to a quirky cat. (Lanette from CHE)


Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America / Barbara Ehrenreich [CD]

A sobering examination of the lives of low-skilled workers in America.  The author goes undercover taking a number of low paying jobs – waitressing, house cleaning, working at Wal-Mart, etc. – and encounters first-hand the hardship and humiliation one endures while trying to make ends meet in such positions. (Phil from CMS)


Notes from a Small Island / Bill Bryson [CD, LP]

A must-read for Anglophiles! Bryson's commentary about his travels around Britain is hilarious, touching and deadly accurate. Warning: this book will make you homesick for the sceptre'd isle. (Cathy Russ from MCL)


Please Kill Me: the Uncensored Oral History of Punk / Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

If you want to know about the early days of punk rock, this book tells the story from the people who lived through it.  It has stories from musicians, journalists, and assorted hangers-on. (Kristen from SLC)


PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives / Frank Warren

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project in which people confide their deepest secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.  This is a profound and provocative glimpse into each other's fears, regrets, obsessions and desires. It's impossible to put down. (Connie Doherty from TPL)


Rao's Cookbook / Nicholas Pellegrino

Simply the best! The recipes in this cookbook are as close to my Italian aunts' cooking as I have ever seen. The instructions are clear, the ingredients readily found, and the meatballs are "to die for"!! I plan on buying my own copy of this book---it's a keeper! (C. Federspiel from MCL)


Rocket Boys: a Memoir / Homer H. Hickam, Jr. [AC, LP]

A fascinating look at the 1950’s space race, a West Virginia coal mining town, and teenage boys with a lot of determination!   Also published as October Sky, which is the movie title. (Lanette from CHE)


Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of

World War II / Robert Kurson [AC, CD, LP]

An amazing story of perseverance (and obsession) to explain the unknown.  Scuba divers will be captivated by the detail of the underwater explorations.  This year’s “Everyone’s Reading” selection. (Ellen from CMM)


Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World / Rita Golden Gelman

She took an unconventional approach to dealing with her situation in life and enriched her life and the lives of many other people in the process.  An adventure some of us dream about but would never undertake. (Ellen from CMM)


Ten Green Bottles: the True Story of One Family's Journey from War-torn Austria to the Ghettos of 
Shanghai / Vivian Jeanette Kaplan

I was drawn to this book after reading other Holocaust literature and not realizing there was a Jewish settlement in Shanghai.  This is a remarkable, yet disturbing account with a Toronto connection. (Lanette from CHE)


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference / Malcolm Gladwell [AC]

An interesting study of the phenomenon of word-of-mouth epidemics.  Everything from Paul Revere galvanizing troops to the resurgence of the Hush Puppies brand of shoes are discussed as they relate to the “tipping point” theory. (Phil from CMS)


The Ultimate Muffin Book / Bruce Weinstein

Basic muffin recipes with a listing of additional ingredients that may be added to modify the original recipe. (Mrs. Harville from SCS)


The Unknown American Revolution: the Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America / Gary B. Nash

I found this book to be very exciting because it gave me a completely different understanding of the American Revolution. Until I read this book I never completely understood the complex motives that made some of our people into revolutionaries and others into defenders of the British. (Evelyn from EPL)


What Remains: a Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love / Carole Radziwill [AC, CD]

Told with unflinching honesty, this sad, engrossing and poignant story is one that many of us that have lost loved ones suddenly or due to disease, can relate.  Throw in an insider's look at John Kennedy Jr., a favorite of many since his salute, and you have a very good, but sad, read. (Jackie S. from RSV)


What the Dog Did: Tales from a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner / Emily Yoffe

This is a hilarious book about one woman's entry into the world of owning a dog -- not just any dog, but a beagle with "issues."  A great read for dog lovers. (Connie Doherty from TPL)


When Blanche Met Brando: the Scandalous Story of "A Streetcar Named Desire" / Sam Staggs

Juicy, funny and assiduously- researched history of the making and re-making of Tennessee Williams' groundbreaking play for Broadway and movies.  Full of wonderful insider anecdotes! (Barb Williams from TPL)


The Year of Magical Thinking / Joan Didion [CD]

Honest and poignant look at one person's journey through the grieving process in the year following her husband's death. (Kathleen Lamb from CMPL)

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American Gods / Neil Gaiman [AC, Spanish]

I loved how Gaiman interwove the different world mythologies to create a smart, revelatory tale.  I was up late reading this one. (Celeste from CMPL)

Baker Towers / Jennifer Haigh [CD, LP]

The Pennsylvania coal town of Bakerton was home to Polish and Italian immigrants in the 1940s and 50s. The struggles of the 5 Novak children are played out against this background of ethnic customs and coal town life. I loved this timely saga. (Debbie Vercellone from SHL)


Blackbird House / Alice Hoffman [LP]

Chapters trace the various owners of an old farmhouse on Cape Cod over a 200 year period, and the connections that hold them together. The beautiful writing style and historical mood made this one of my favorite books. (Debbie Vercellone from SHL)


Camel Club / David Baldacci

This book is an intriguing follow-up to the 9/11 disaster and the members of the Camel Club make this novel one of the author's best in terms of character development. (Rita Bartone from TPL)


The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell / Lillian Jackson Braun [CD]

This is another entry in the “Cat Who” series.  Patrons love to take these books out, especially if they come in Book on CD series. (Rita Bartone from TPL)


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time / Mark Haddon [AC, CD, LP]

Delightful and instructive novel narrated by a high-functioning autistic British teen whose probe into the murder of a neighbor's poodle leads him to truths about his family and himself. (Barb Williams from TPL)


Designated Targets / John Birmingham

A fascinating mix of science fiction, military techno-thriller, and history, as well as social commentary on today, the Axis of Time series is a wonderful time-travel story positing "what-if" a modern day carrier battle-group was transported back through time to World War 2? Simply riveting and escapist fun for history buffs! (Dave from EPL)


Dust / Charles R. Pellegrino

Provocative events answering question "What if all insects disappeared from earth?"  Scientist/writer Pellegrino enumerates facts/fictions in appendix. Reader will want to adopt a bug. (Diana Franco from TPL)


An Egg on 3 Sticks / Jackie Fischer

Poignant coming-of-age novel set in the 1970s of my childhood. (Maria from SCS)


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close / Jonathan Safran Foer [CD]

A Damon Runyonesque cast of characters and the aftereffects of an epic scale disaster make this book a provocative read.  Add a precocious boy’s spiritual quest and this reads like an emotionally charged heroic tale. (Librarian from CHE)


The Historian / Elizabeth Kostova [AC, CD, LP]

An ancient book with letters addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor" provides an interesting plot revolving around Vlad the Impaler, commonly known as Dracula. (Sue from EPL)


Interview Room / Roderick Anscombe

A forensic psychiatrist starts treating a venomous and slick Craig Cavanaugh.  A real creepy thriller that makes one keep checking over one's shoulder!  Perfectly calibrated thrills! (Ruth from SCS)


Iron Lake / William Kent Krueger [LP]

Cork O'Connor, a former sheriff, finds his curiosity gets the better of him.  The characters are wonderful and flawed.  Small town Minnesota, Indians, casinos.  A spellbinding story. (Ruth from SCS)


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell / Susanna Clarke [AC, CD]

One of the best fantasy novels I've ever read.  It's a fantasy set in Victorian times, and it captures that era beautifully. (Kristen from SLC)


The Kite Runner / Khaled Hosseini [AC, CD, LP]

An impressive debut novel about two unlikely Afghan friends.  It is a story of betrayal and redemption, with plot twists and realistic characters. (Phil from CMS)

This was my favorite book of 2005. It is a riveting portrayal of a childhood friendship betrayed, forgiveness, and redemption. It brings to life the cultural richness of Afghanistan in the 1970s, a country torn apart by political upheaval, prejudice and war. The author writes about his homeland with love, frustration and regret. A bittersweet must read. (Kathy Champieux from CMPL)


The Lake, the River and the Other Lake / Steve Amick

Several stories in one, this unusual novel, set in northeastern Michigan and written by an Ann Arbor native, covers the emotional spectrum. (Kathleen Lamb from CMPL)


Letters from a Nut / Ted Nancy

If you like to read strange letters to various companies, hotels, & government offices, and then reading their sometimes even stranger responses, then this is the book for you. (Librarian from RSV)


The Lighthouse / P. D. James [CD, LP]

A famous novelist dies in secluded Combe Island's lighthouse. Inspector Dalgleish interviews the odd suspects including the victim's twisted daughter, her lover/daddy's copy editor, and odd island residents. The imaginary island seems very real with great descriptive writing. (Librarian from SCS)


The Mitford Years series / Jan Karon [AC, CD, LP]

Corny, hokey, schmaltzy, sappy? Well, yes. Heart-warming, sentimental, emotional, inspiring? Yes, and then some! You'll love these stories of the fictional town of Mitford, and you'll laugh out loud at the characters with their small-town idiosyncrasies. (C. Federspiel from MCL)


Monkeewrench / P. J. Tracy [AC]

I was quite taken with the quirky, engaging characters with mysterious pasts.  A serial killer computer game comes to life in Minneapolis. (Beth from CMM)


More Letters from a Nut / Ted Nancy

The sequel to his first nutty book--just as funny, and just as nutty. Example - He wants to know if a hotel will permit him to eat their sheets... (Librarian from RSV)


Mortal Allies / Brian Haig [AC]

Fast-paced, irreverently funny, with serious undertones, this novel is a good read for those who enjoy Nelson Demille or Craig Holden. (Kathleen Lamb from CMPL)


Motherland / Vineeta Vijayaraghavan

I enjoyed the glimpses of daily life in southern India and glimpses of the attitudes toward government shown by the main character's (Indian-born, American teen's) family and friends. (Librarian from RSV)


A Mourning Wedding / Carola Dunn

This is a delightful mystery of several offbeat relatives who constantly affect the upcoming marriage of a not-too-young cousin amidst several suspicious.  It is fun to unravel who done it. (Rita Bartone from TPL)


The Murder Artist / John Case [LP, MP3]

Identical twins kidnapped at a Renaissance Fair – their father’s search takes us into the worlds of magic and voodoo.  A riveting page-turner.  (Beth from CMM)


My Sister's Keeper / Jodi Picoult [AC, CD, LP]

This work of fiction could have been ripped from the headlines with its theme of family ties and medical ethics.  It's a compelling story with a shocking twist. (Gretchen from CMS)


Never Let Me Go / Kazuo Ishiguro [AC, CD, LP]

This story is much more than the friendship/love triangle between Kathy H., Tommy and Ruth.  Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale in its depiction of a potential dystopia.  Very moving.  (Celeste from CMPL)


The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series / Alexander McCall Smith [AC, CD, LP]

Despite the title, these are not mysteries; rather they are a series of stories about Precious Ramotswe and the people with whom she surrounds herself and make up her world in Botswana.  It is rare to read a series imbued with such warmth, decency and goodness yet is not mired in piety.  The series provides a reading oasis, a respite from our complicated and, sometimes petty, lives. (Marie at CMPL)


The Penelopiad:  the Myth of Penelope and Odysseus / Margaret Atwood

Part of a series for contemporary authors to re-tell familiar myths, Canadian Margaret Atwood has crafted a small book with a different point of view - told through the eyes of Penelope and her 12 hanged maids.   Smart and clever, with 21st Century feminist sensibility, this is a literary treat that is pure dessert! (Marie at CMPL)


Prince of Fire / Daniel Silva [AC, CD, LP]

An Israeli agent struggles with issues of justice and revenge.  The Cold War may be over; we are fortunate that the stylish spy novel lives on! (Beth from CMM)


Secret History of the Pink Carnation / Lauren Willig [CD, LP]

This book is about the Pink Carnation, a true-life enigma who worked in France after the Revolution.  It is a book full of romance and adventure. An intriguing story. (Ruth from SCS)


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian / Marina Lewycka

This is the best work of fiction I have read this past year. I would recommend "A Short History" to anyone who has an interest in history, likes a humorous, but thoughtful read, and has a sibling or an aging parent. (Sue Ferrell from SBL)


Snobbery with Violence / Marion Chesney

Snobbery with Violence pits the headstrong Lady Rose with the brooding and somewhat jaded, Captain Harry Cartwright, in a contest of wills as the unlikely couple team up to solve a murder that occurred during the society event for aristocratic young women with "dubious matrimonial prospects." (Jackie S. from RSV)


Star of the Sea / Joseph Conrad [CD]

Well-written, intricate mystery set on a ship carrying immigrants from Ireland to the U.S.  Excellent historical detail regarding Irish famine and the voyage to America. (Diana Franco from TPL)


The Tarnished Eye / Judith Guest [AC, CD, LP]

A Sheriff investigates the brutal murders of a family in northern Michigan. Very good suspense kept me guessing and references to places in Michigan, especially Ann Arbor, were fun. Based on a true story. (Debbie Vercellone from SHL)


The Time Traveler’s Wife / Audrey Niffenegger [AC, CD, LP]

I don’t like science fiction, but this story is so unique it doesn’t seem like it’s sci-fi.  It’s more a story of love and what people will sacrifice to keep their loved ones.  (Ellen from CMM)


True Believer / Nicholas Sparks

A novel about the budding romance between a science journalist and a librarian in a small, southern town.  (Rita Valade from RSV)


Twilight / Stephenie Meyer

An incredibly engrossing vampire/adventure/love story. (Maria from SCS)


Unwed and Undead / Mary Janice Davidson

Janet Evanovich meets Dracula!  Betsy, the new Queen of the Undead is sassy and funny.  Her friends are a hoot – you will laugh out loud. (Celeste from CMPL)


Wicked / Gregory Maguire [LP, CD]

One of the weirdest and most thought-provoking books I've read in a long time, turning the Wizard of Oz story on its head. An excellent book discussion book, but not one for the impatient. (Cathy Russ from MCL)


Woman in White / Wilkie Collins

Nineteenth century gothic mystery novel with excellent character development and setting.  Collins is forerunner of today's psychological suspense writers.  Now an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. (Diana Franco from TPL)


A Year in the Merde / Stephen Clarke

Humorous novel about a Brit who moves to Paris to open an English tea house. (Rita Valade from RSV)

[AC = Audiocassette, CD = Compact Disc, LP = Large Print]  

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Suburban Library Cooperative

a lot of determination!   Also published as October Sky, which is the movie