The latest book by Emily Giffin, Heart of the Matter, delves into the dynamics of what can happen with a chance encounter and how seemingly small things can completely change lives.

Stay at home mom Tessa Russo’s days are spent with her two young children while her husband, Nick, a world renowned pediatric plastic surgeon, works long hours which keeps him away from his family much of the time.  While celebrating their anniversary at a five-star restaurant, Nick receives a call that will completely alter their future as a couple.  A five year old boy, Charlie Anderson, has been burned on his hands and face at a birthday party and Nick has been called to the hospital to treat him.

In the days and weeks to follow, Nick develops a strong bond with Charlie’s single mother, Valerie, and with the boy.  With the days, nights and weekends in which they spend together watching over him through surgeries and rehabilitation, their relationship slowly turns romantic.  Nick’s wife Tessa eventually learns of the affair after his admission that he has just ended his relationship with Valerie.  Tessa’s decision about her future is not easy or simple, and Giffin’s characters have true depth and thoughfulness in the decisions which they make.

Each chapter of Heart of the Matter alternates between Tessa’s and Valerie’s voices and this technique makes each of the two women multi-layered, complex and real. Giffin has a talent for creating empathetic female characters which the reader truly cares about.  Heart of the Matter is Giffin’s fifth book and each of her previous novels conquer similar themes – women at a juxtaposition in their lives as well as the complex choices which go with them.

September 7

Solitary Man – Michael Douglas, Mary Louise Parker

Ben Kalmen, a fifty-something New Yorker, discovers that he is not the man he wanted to be. Through many business and romantic indiscretions he has lost his once-successful car dealership. Now he must make the decision to face the challenges of his not-so-youthful life.

September 14

Letters to Juliet – Amanda Seyfried,

In Verona, Italy, the beautiful city where Romeo first met Juliet, there is a place where the heartbroken leave notes asking Juliet for her help. It’s there that aspiring writer Sophie finds a 50-year-old letter that will change her life forever. She sets off on a romantic journey of the heart with the letter’s author, Claire, now a grandmother, and her handsome grandson. All three will discover that sometimes the greatest love story ever told is your own.

Prince of Persia – Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley

It’s a race against time when a rogue prince reluctantly teams up with a rival princess to safeguard a magical dagger that gives its possessor the power to reverse time and rule the world.

September 21

Robin Hood – Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett

In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.

Secret in Their Eyes ( Spanish)

Recently retired criminal court investigator Benjamin decides to write a novel based on an unresolved rape and murder case which still haunts him. Ben shares his plans with Irene, a judge and former colleague he has secretly been in love with for years. But Benjamin’s search for the truth puts him at the center of a judicial nightmare, as the mystery of the heinous crime continues to unfold in the present, and tests the limits of a man who seeks justice and personal fulfillment at last.

September 28

Iron Man 2 -Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow

Now that the world knows billionaire inventor Tony Stark is the armored superhero Iron Man, his life has suddenly become even more intense. Everyone wants in on the Iron Man technology, whether for power or profit, but for Ivan Vanko, it’s revenge. With Pepper Potts and James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes at his side, Stark must once again suit up and face his most dangerous enemy yet.

also being released in September:

MacGruber, Killers, Just Wright, Babies, Get Him to the Greek

Sure they give you a sweet deal on a phone when you buy one.  They’re not counting on you being a big-picture person.  Over the life of the contract, each one of those little amenities or extra services really add up.  There’s a huge markup, additionally on those accessories, i.e. junky headsets that make you look like a pretentious fool or schizophrenic in a public place and only cost 30 cents to make…

Or in this case, charging dock.  Not only does this free one you can make yourself look sweeter, it stays on the outlet and off the floor/countertop.

Anyone have a shampoo bottle?

submitted by Sarah W

What would it be like to feel no pain? Not just the absence of paper cuts and bumped knees, but the absence of guilt or shame? Would it be a blessing or a curse?

Sean Ferrell explores the possibilities in his book, appropriately titled, Numb. His main character, an amnesiac, is found wandering around by a traveling circus. When asked who he is, he replies, “I’m…numb.” The name sticks, especially after he unknowingly nails his hand to a wood structure and can’t pull free.

His condition is taken for talent and without conscious effort or desire, Numb becomes the star act in the circus and then in New York, where he – or rather his numbness – acquires an agent, a fan following, a lot of people who want to make him their personal cash cow…and a girlfriend who would be his salvation – if he can just find the courage to feel

The New York Times says Numb is a statement about media bombardment, fame in the Internet Age, and a culture in which instant gratification takes far too long.

Maybe. But I also say it’s a fascinating read.

As soon as I discovered that the first chapter of Sloane Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake was about her collection of plastic ponies, all gifted to her by past boyfriends, I knew I was in for a random and hilarious read.  The book is a collection of humorous essays about Crosley’s life, including everything including her quest to find out the true meaning behind her name, starring as Mary in the camp Christmas play despite the fact that she’s Jewish, and her brief stint as a vegan.

Crosley’s essays are witty and relatable.  I know that as a child of the ’90s, I appreciated her chapter-long ode to the computer game Oregon Trail.  Because really, didn’t we all watch our oxen die as we tried to ford the river?  Though some of the essays didn’t seem to go anywhere and forced me to do a bit of skimming, for the most part the book is very entertaining.  One of my favorites was the story of her first real grown-up job in publishing and the suddenly evil boss she had to deal with.  Her solution?  Decorate a giant sugar cookie in the image of the boss’ face and give it to her.  If you’re looking for a good laugh, Sloane Crosley’s book is for you.

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You can!, with Mango Languages.  Mango is an online language-learning system that teaches conversation skills for 22 languages as well as 13 ESL courses.  Offerings include, but are not limited to:  Spanish, Vietnamese, German, Italian, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish to English, Vietnamese to English, etc.

By listening to and repeating material designed from native conversations, you’ll learn individual words and phrases and know how they’re used in practical situations and conversations.  You’ll not only learn grammar, vocabulary and conjugation, you’ll learn how to communicate.  Using a microphone or other audio input allows you to have your own pronunciation charted and compared to that of a native speaker.

Mango is a new product available to you in the Do Research Online portion of our website.  It may also be found in the For Students and For Adults sections of our in-house menu.  We encourage you to Create A Profile by providing an e-mail address and creating a password so that you can keep track of your learning progress.  When you first sign-up Mango will send you a confirmation e-mail to which you will need to respond to establish your account.  And remember to check your Junk Mail folder if that e-mail doesn’t quickly appear in your e-mail Inbox.

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The Wedding Girl by Madeleine WickhamOnly a couple more months until my wedding (GAH!) so I picked up Madeleine Wickham’s The Wedding Girl, hoping that the funny, whimsical hijinks of Milly Havill, the main character, would distract me from stressing out. Unfortunately, those hijinks turned out to be kind which cause more panic than giggles.

The story begins when eighteen year old Milly travels to Oxford on her first summer away from home and gets swept up in an intimate friendship with two gay men, Allan and Rupert. Soon the men approach Milly with an elaborate favor–Would she agree to marry American-born Allan so that he can remain in England to be with Rupert? Milly doesn’t hesitate before saying yes and soon finds herself smiling and waving at passerbys as she stands arm-in-arm with Allan in front of the registry office.

Ten years later, Milly has four days until she weds Simon, the son of a local millionaire, and her secret marriage has begun to leak out sending Milly and everyone around her in a downward spiral as they try to make the wedding still happen. This seems like it may just be the perfect set-up for a witty, British comedy ala Death at a Funeral, does it not?! But no! It is heavy and melancholy, but still every bit a page-turner thanks to the questions surrounding the whereabouts of Rupert and Allan. Although I enjoyed The Wedding Girl, I would instead suggest Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble for Brides who are looking for a fun, romantic read with lots of wedding drama.

For the last decade, Gretel Ehrlich has been obsessed by an island, a terrain, a culture, and the treacherous beauty of a world that is defined by ice. In This Cold Heaven she combines the story of her travels with history and cultural anthropology to reveal a Greenland that few of us could otherwise imagine.

Ehrlich unlocks the secrets of this severe land and those who live there; a hardy people who still travel by dogsled and kayak and prefer the mystical four months a year of endless darkness to the gentler summers without night. She discovers the twenty-three words the Inuit have for ice, befriends a polar bear hunter, and comes to agree with the great Danish-Inuit explorer Knud Rasmussen that “all true wisdom is only to be found far from the dwellings of man, in great solitudes.” This Cold Heaven is at once a thrilling adventure story and a meditation on the clarity of life at the extreme edge of the world. – Barnes and Noble synopsis

Smilla’s Sense of Snow (based on a novel by Peter Hoeg) is another story that has a strong sense of northern atmosphere. The plot actually hangs on the study of ice crystals, and ends in a climactic chase on ice fields in Greenland. The cultural nuances among the Danish, Inuits and Greenlanders are a fascinating part of the story.

Smilla is a prickly character but cares deeply for a little boy in her apartment building in Copenhagen who falls to his death from the roof.  She believes he has been murdered, due to the fact that he is afraid of heights and never would have played on the roof.  Fans of conspiracy will love the complicated and multi-layered plot that reaches back into the distant past of Greenland.

Winter Solstice is a perfect book for a sweltering summer day.  Rosamund Pilcher does an amazing job of describing the quiet beauty of snow and the cold winter light. This is in contrast to the heartwarming style Pilcher is known for. Sometimes referred to as literary comfort food,the characters and the domestic settings are appealing  – people you’d like to know and places you’d like to live.

This is an unusual romance; a group of relative strangers who are all suffering in their own ways  end up together in an old house in Scotland. As they prepare to celebrate Christmas, they begin to heal and to care about each other.