Already a favorite with book clubs, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a charming novel that will make you laugh and cry about characters that seem as real as your neighbors.

During World War II Guernsey Island, situated in the English Channel, was invaded and occupied by the Germans beginning in 1940. All communication with England was completely cut off for nearly five years. The cruel practices of the German commanders and near starvation conditions forged strong bonds among the islanders.

Written as a series of letters between Londoner Juliet Ashton and the residents of the island shortly after the war, the history of the occupation of the island and the resident’s struggles to survive is slowly revealed. As the stories are told, a vivid picture of the people is painted – their strengths and weaknesses, their quirks and cleverness, their loyalty to and concern for others. When Juliet finally arrives at the island to visit, she is welcomed as part of the family and quickly takes her place in island lore.

There is a satisfying end to the book, but all of the characters suffer losses; it is their ability to move on while remembering and honoring what happened that make them so real and makes their stories come to life. Treat yourself to this novel – you’ll be glad you did.

You know you should be eating better, you’ve read the articles about eating more vegetables and maybe you need to lose a couple pounds. But making a major change in your eating habits can be difficult – and maybe you’re not quite ready to give up that Thanksgiving turkey or steaks on the grill.

The Flexitarian Diet by Dawn Jackson Blatner will show you how to make simple changes without brow-beating or guilt. Her rules: eat more plants, and do the best that you can. That’s it! Anyone can do that. Jackson offers alternatives and simple ways to slip more healthful eating into your daily routine, but doesn’t criticize choices. Focus is on five main areas – meat alternatives (although meat is still “allowed”), fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and sugar and spice. A series of simple recipes and exercise tips round out the book.

No more excuses – start getting healthier the fun and painless way!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The month is promoted by a coalition of national nonprofit organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies, with the purpose of raising breast cancer awareness, sharing information and providing screening services.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death (after lung cancer) in women; more than 170,000 women will be diagnosed and more than 40,000 women will die from the disease this year. It is estimated that 2 million women living in the United States today have been treated for breast cancer.

Besides a healthy lifestyle and early detection through regular exams, the best way to fight breast cancer is to educate yourself. If you or someone you know has fought or is fighting the disease, the Davenport Library has many books that may be helpful including:

Breast Cancer: the complete guide by Yashar Hirshaut

The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: the script you need to take control of your health by Dede Bonner

After the Cure: the untold stories of breast cancer survivors by Emily Abel

Cancer is a Bitch or, I’d Rather by Having a Midlife Crisis by Gail Konop Baker

Pretty is What Changes: impossible choices, the breast cancer gene and how I defied my destiny by Jessica Queller

Choices in Breast Cancer Treatment: medical specialists and cancer survivors tell you what you need to know by Kenneth Miller

There’s no need to limit your gardening to spring and summer – fall is also a great time in the garden. And while it might be getting a bit late to do a lot this year, now is the time to look around and see what autumn plants are looking their best in your neighborhood and in the local parks.

Fallscaping by Nancy Ondra shows you how to extend your garden into autumn with gorgeous photography, can’t miss plant combos and practical ideas. There are the usual suspects, of course – ornamental grasses reach their full glory in the fall, as do sedums, asters and mums. But Ondra also talks about also selecting plants for the color of their foliage and for berries and fruits that will persist long after flowers have faded and leaves have fallen.

There’s lots of practical advice too for all of the end-of-season jobs and for fun projects such as planting bulbs in pots, preparing tender plants for winter, garden clean-up, saving seeds, and quick fixes for bare spots in your flower beds. This beautiful and inspiring book will have you looking forward to your garden’s glorious last act.

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Happy Columbus Day, where we celebrate the discovery of the North America by Christopher Columbus. Of course, there are many theories about other people that may have gotten here first, and there are several Native American groups that would have an argument about how great this was, but tradition (and the lure of a three-day weekend) keeps us setting aside the second Monday of October in observance of the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

Many government offices, banks and schools are closed today, but your Davenport Public Library is still open! We’ll be open our regular Monday hours – 9:30am to 5:30pm at Fairmount, and 12 noon to 8pm at Main for all your information and reading needs, Christopher Columbus-related or not.

In the September 16th issue of Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King coins a new term, “ManFiction”. It has become the buzz of the blogs. In Stephen’s words:

“guys have what my son Joe calls ”manfiction.” And publishers sell it by the ton. Here’s a concept so simple it’s easy to miss: What men want from an Elmore Leonard novel is exactly what women want from a Nora Roberts novel — escape and entertainment. And while it’s true that manfiction can be guilty of objectifying women, chick lit often does the same thing to men”

Here is who Stephen King considers manfiction writers:

  • Robert B. Parker
  • Jonathan Kellerman
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • Raymond Chandler
  • John D. MacDonald
  • Michael Connelly
  • Robert Crais
  • Richard Stark
  • Lee Child

If you are interested in what titles we have, please give us a call at 326-7844 and we will get you on your manly way.

Although Marya experienced strong signs of manic behavior at age four it wasn’t until age 24 that she was finally diagnosed with the most severe type of bipolar disorder. Marya takes you through her “crazy” life up until her diagnosis. The tales of her episodes are surreal but the stories of how she copes with them are even more so. She stabilizes her moods with massive amounts of alcohol (starting at age 10) and other drugs. She distracts herself from her mania by focusing on food obsessions (anorexia and bulimia) as well as “cutting”.

Madness was very insightful, clearing up some of the stereotypes of mental illness and being institutionalized (nothing like Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). This was a fascinating and fairly fluid book considering the disorganized nature of the topic. Marya Hornbacher is also the author of the best selling novel Wasted chronicling her struggle with anorexia and bulimia.

Do you speak Spanish?

Did you know that we have books and other materials in Spanish?

We also have bilingual books — with the words in both English and Spanish. This is helpful to English speakers learning Spanish, as well as for Spanish speakers learning English. One such book, Vamos A Viajar! (Let’s go!) can be found in the Spanish Toddler section.

If you’re interested in the current political campaign, you might enjoy reading La Audacia de la Esperanza (The Audacity of Hope) by Barack Obama.

If you’d just like to read a good fiction book in Spanish, there’s Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofa (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) or El Clan del Oso Cavernario (Clan of the Cave Bear) by Jean Auel.

We feature these in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated nationally September 15th-October 15th. This is also a great time to look at the history, art and culture of both Spain and Mexico — indeed of all countries where Spanish is the primary language.

Perhaps the Chinese Democracy album by Guns and Roses is named as such because it will be a cold day in hell before it or the real thing happens. If it were a person, it would almost be getting it’s driver license by now. Most of us were IN high school when they started working on it.

Two things you can be certain of after reading a bit of the new tell-all Watch you Bleed: The Saga of Guns n’ Roses :

1) Lead singer Axl Rose (real name William Bailey) has a violent temper and inflated sense of self-importance. Peruse the list of original band members and countless replacements that now refuse to sit in the same room as him for proof.

2) Their breakout recording “Appetite for Destruction” is consistently in the top 40 rock albums of all time, and has been certified as platinum over 18 times with worldwide sales over 28 million. The band’s lifestyle during this era was one ridden with Sodom and Gomorrah levels of excess as they climbed from the level of homeless drug dealers and grifters to multimillionaire addicts. The most shocking revelation is how none of them are corpses.

If you like Nicholas Sparks, this is NOT the book for you. However, it was penned by Stephen Davis, the same author as the definitive Led Zeppelin biography Hammer of the Gods.

The latest scoop is Chinese Democracy will be out around Thanksgiving. Of course, we’ve heard these whisperings before, only to be interrupted by another lunatic fit from the namesake’s rebel who is now in his late 40’s.

Although, the Cubs have a good shot at the World Series this year, so who knows?

Coming October 7

The Visitor – Richard Jenkins, Hiam Abbass

In a world of six billion people, it only takes one to change your life. Richard Jenkins stars as a disillusioned Connecticut economics professor whose life is transformed by a chance encounter in New York City when he discovers two illegal immigrants living in his city apartment.

Sleeping Beauty – 50th Anniversary Edition

Don’t Mess with the Zohan – Adam Sandler

Coming October 14

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom the Crystal Skull – Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchet

Indy’s back and more fun than ever. Set during the Cold War, this time Indy’s nemesis is the Soviet Union and the race is for the ultimate power to control people. Sly references to the first three films, the return of a favorite character and a new sidekick keep things fun and the action lively.

Mongol: the Rise of Genghis Khan

Coming October 21

The Incredible Hulk – Edward Norton, Liv Tyler

Mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner has searched the world for a cure for his affliction, caused by a military experiment gone wrong. Whenever his emotions get the better of him he turns into a raging, green monster – the Hulk. Banner struggles to avoid the pursuit of the military and battles a new and fearsome monster.