Staff Reading Picks
The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy 1943-1944
by Rick Atkinson
The second volume in a trilogy chronicling the liberation of Europe during World War II focuses on the Allied campaigns in Sicily and Italy, detailing the bloody battles at Salerno, Anzio, and Monte Cassino, as well as the June 1944 liberation of Rome.
Ice: Great Moments in the History of Hard, Cold Water
by Karal Ann Marling
"Put your mittens on; you'll freeze to death!" admonish the world's grandmothers as the temperature plummets. No doubt the Arctic explorers--today in their GORE-TEX, historically in their woolens--needed no such instruction. Icy climes bring with them the dangers of frostbite, but also the poetic beauty of glaciers and ice shelves, of ice palaces and aurora borealis. Karal Ann Marling explores these topics and more as she considers the history of "hard, cold water." What better place to start than with dessert? The pleasure of ice cream on a hot day has been known since the sixteenth century, although it wasn't until a few hundred years later that reliable refrigeration made the treat readily available. Marling expands her icy explorations to the realm of fiction--the ice crossing inUncle Tom's Cabin,the frozen wasteland ofFrankenstein--and to the movies and Broadway.
Cities vie for tourists by building shimmering ice palaces to celebrate winter; explorers compete to reach the poles, and not all live to tell the story. The study of ice by a true aficionado yields fascinating insights and may just inspire readers to embrace winter-or to make their way to the nearest ice cream shop.Resource Link
Coal Black Horse
by Robert Olmstead
When Robey Childs's mother has a premonition about her husband, a soldier fighting in the Civil War, she does the unthinkable: she instructs her only child to find his father on the battlefield and bring him home. At fourteen, wearing the coat his mother sewed to ensure his safety-blue on one side, gray on the other-Robey thinks he is off on a great adventure. But not far from home, his horse falters and he realizes the enormity of his task. It takes the gift of a powerful and noble coal black horse to show him how to undertake the most important journey of his life: with boldnesss, bravery, and self-possession. Yet even that horse is no match for the brutality and senselessness of war, no surrogate for the courage Robey needs to summon in its face. It's in the center of that landscape, as witness to the lawlessness and carnage around him, that he is forced to raise a gun for the first time in his life.
When he returns to his mother, Robey Childs will be the best a man can be, and the worst, irrevocably scarred by all he has seen-and all he has done. When Robert Olmstead published his debut, River Dogs , he was compared to Richard Ford, Raymond Carver, Thomas McGuane. Since that time, Olmstead has received high praise for all of his work. But it's this book that is destined to become a classic. Coal Black Horse joins the pantheon of great war novels- All Quiet on the Western Front, The Red Badge of Courage, The Naked and the Dead .Resource Link
The Fifth Vial
by Michael Palmer
A suspended Harvard Medical School student is kidnapped and left for dead in Rio de Janeiro, while a terminally ill medical genius works on a potentially world-changing cure, and a Chicago detective struggles to identify a mysterious accident victim.