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This week’s staff pick is “Simply Sensational Cookies” by Nancy Baggett.  With school back in session and the end of summer, you might need a pick me up, and what better way than a batch of delicious homemade cookies?  The staff has tried several recipes from this book, and they’ve all come out so well that the results don’t last long.  The directions are easy to follow, each recipe is marked as to it’s level of ease (and many are ‘very easy’), and we recommend reading the blurbs at the beginning of each recipe because she has some great tips like rinsing raisins in hot water to keep them plump and from drying out the cookies. Her introduction is also chock-full of great baking advice.  This book passed our staff test, and we highly recommend it any time you need a new cookie recipe.

“Sophisticated, contemporary cookie recipes from one of America’s most respected baking experts. From bestselling cookbook author and award-winner Nancy Baggett comes “Simply Sensational Cookies, ” a delicious collection of cookie recipes that covers both the classics that mom used to make and modern, innovative ideas for the adventurous baker. Whether you’re a novice baker, an experienced cook, or a parent looking for new treats to try, this is the ideal cookbook for cookie-lovers, with more than 200 recipes ranging from fast and simple no-bake preparations to challenging projects for experienced bakers.Features more than 200 recipes, from traditional cookies like chocolate chip to sophisticated, savory cocktail nibblesIncludes gorgeous and inspiring full-color photography throughout Nancy Baggett is also the author of “Kneadlessly Simple” (Wiley) and twelve other highly respected cookbooks

Whether you need quick treats for the kids to snack on or fancy fare for your next cocktail party, “Simply Sensational Cookies” offers a wide range of recipes that will satisfy your every craving.”–From Goodreads.com


Simply Sensational Cookies

Nancy Baggett

Published: Sep 26, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown is this week’s staff pick.  Our staff member said she was totally absorbed by the book and learned about rowing, or crew, while immersing herself in Joe Rantz’s (one of the rowers) story.  While the story mostly focuses on Rantz, it goes into the personal history of the entire team and sets their quest for Olympic gold against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise to power and the propaganda machine.  This balance of personal history and world events makes a riveting story.  We have it in several formats, so check out a copy today.

“Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.


The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled  by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.”–Taken from Goodreads.com

 

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This week’s staff pick is Lexicon by Max Barry.  And it’s a doozy.  Our staff member read this a year ago and still can’t’ stop talking about it.

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics–at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”, adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell–who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he’s done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.

As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love–whatever the cost.”–Goodreads.com 


Lexicon

Max Barry

Published: Jun 18, 2013 by Penguin Press HC, The
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A Discovery of Witches is the first in a trilogy by Deborah Harkness.  The trilogy is now complete with July’s publishing of The Book of Life, and the series is so consistently great that really, we think you should read all three. These books are a fantastic combination of fantasy, historical fiction, romance, suspense and adventure. Our staff member thought they were like a more accessible (and fantasy instead of science fiction) Neal Stephenson.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism” –Taken from Goodreads.com

The Library has these in regular and large type, as well as audiobooks.  Please note, the large type works are on order and should be in soon.

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It’s the end of July, which means there are only 15 more days to log your summer reading!  While you’re doing that and picking your next selections, so you can win our great prizes and get entered in our Grand Prize drawings, here’s a fun interactive periodic table that goes with our summer reading theme!  Theme recommendations are available on our summer reading pages, and we have bookmark recommendations for adults as well.