Looking for something to get you in the Halloween spirit?  What’s better than a good zombie story?  The Walking Dead has aired two seasons on AMC so far and the library owns both.  Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma after being shot on duty to discover that while he was asleep, the world has changed.  At least half of the population has been wiped out.  There’s no more government, no military, and none of the comforts of the world he remembers.  And what’s more, all those people who have died have woken back up as bloodthirsty zombies.  Rick must struggle to survive and find his family who he knows must still be alive.

I’m not usually into scary or gory stuff, but this series is so compelling that I was immediately hooked.  It reminds me of my all-time favorite show, Battlestar Galactica; at its heart, The Walking Dead is a drama about how people deal with the destruction of their world and figure out how to survive while still dealing with the issues of their past.  If you can’t get your hand on a copy of the DVDs, the library also owns the graphic novels that the show is based on.

Charles Todd’s A Duty to the Dead (the first mystery in the Bess Crawford series) has far too much life and vigor for the god-awful cover design it’s been dealt. It’s really a hideous cover: the image, the colors, the fonts, they’re all drab and uninteresting. But if you can look past them, this is an engaging mystery novel with a heroine anyone would love.

Bess Crawford is a gentleman’s daughter and an Army nurse in the Great War (if you’re thinking of Lady Sybil Crawley right now, you’re not alone!). She’s injured when the hospital ship Britannic is sunk, and during her convalescent leave, she visits the family of Arthur Graham, a wounded soldier she befriended, to deliver the deathbed message he begged her to pass on to his brother. What she finds in the Graham hometown of Owlhurst is a web of secrets and lies that the all-too-British neighbors have happily swept under the rug while they keep calm and carry on.

Bess is in-demand in Owlhurst for her nursing skills, and before long she is pressed into duty caring for a shell-shocked soldier and a possible lunatic. The effect of witnessed horrors and repressed violent memories on the mind is a big part of this novel, which is as much psychiatric as it is suspenseful. In a time when mental health was imperfectly understood, Bess’s intuitively modern understanding of the way our brains work is a mark in her favor.

While you’re waiting (and waiting… and waiting … ) for Downton Abbey to come to US shores next January, this novel can help fill the gap. Its shared setting, dealings with the same issues (the affect of the war on families back home), and the similarities between Sybil and Bess will keep you in the mindset of Downton while you wait for season 3.

November 6

Arthur Christmas

On Christmas night at the North Pole, Santa’s youngest son looks to use his father’s high-tech operation for an urgent mission. Rated PG



Your Sister’s Sister – Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass

A year after the death of his brother Tom, Jack is having trouble coming to terms with his loss and has hit a wall. An intervention in the guise of his best friend Iris results in a planned week of solitude in the country at her family’s cabin. Iris’s sister Hannah has the same idea, and she and Jack inadvertently have a night of drunken confessions and shared experiences. Rated R

Rock of Ages – Tom Cruise, Alex Baldwin

Drew and Sherrie meet in LA while pursuing their dream of life in the big city. Will their love survive the challenges the city throws their way? This musical features songs by Journey, Twisted Sister, Starship, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, and many more. PG-13


November 9

Amazing Spider-Man – Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone

Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father’s former partner.PG-13


November 13

Chernobyl Diaries – Devin Kelley,

Six tourists hire an extreme tour guide who takes them to the abandoned city of Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. During their exploration, they soon discover they are not alone. Posted R


Savages – Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta

Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben, a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon, a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry, raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia. Life is idyllic in their Southern California town, until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. Unrated.

Brave – Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson

Princess Merida, an archer and self-reliant young woman, makes a decision which defies custom and brings chaos to her kingdom. To restore her kingdom, she must rely on her bravery and archery skills. Rated PG


The Watch – Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn

There’s trouble brewing in peaceful Glenview, Ohio. That’s why four civic-minded citizens, armed with flashlights, walkie-talkies, and spiffy new jackets, have teamed up to safeguard their community. But the guys find more than they bargained for when they uncover an alien plot to destroy Earth, and now these bumbling heroes are Glenview’s only chance to save the neighborhood and the world from annihilation. Rated R

November 20

Magic Mike – Matthew McConaughey, Joe Mangteaniello

Mike, an experienced stripper, takes a younger performer called The Kid under his wing and schools him in the arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money. Rated R


Expendables 2 – Sylvester Stallone, Liam Helmworth

When Mr. Church decides to reunite the Expendables, and one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.Rated R


November 27

Lawless – Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy

The true story of the infamous Bondurant brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic outlaw tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel The Wettest County in the World, the loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation’s most notorious crime wave. Rated R

Step up : Revolution – Kathryn McCormick

Emily arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer and soon falls in love with Sean, a young man who leads a dance crew called ‘The Mob’. When a wealthy business man threatens to develop The Mob’s historic neighborhood and displace thousands-of people, they all work together to turn their performance art into protest art, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause. Rated PG-13

The Campaign – Will Ferrell, Zach GalifianaKIS

In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate. Their man, naive Marty Huggins, is director of the local Tourism Center. Rated R


November 30

Men in Black 3 – Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith

Agent J must travel back in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s and save his partner, Agent K, from being assassinated by an alien. Along the way, Agent J teams up with young Agent K and learns that there are secrets to the universe that Agent K never told him. Rated PG-13

Sparkle – Whitney Houston, Jordan Sparks

Set in the 1960s, Sparkle and her two sisters form a singing group and dream of becoming stars beyond the affluent Detroit suburb where they come from, and where they are already well-known. But as the sisters become more famous, the close-knit nature of their family begins to fall apart. Features the late Whitney Houston’s final screen performance. Rated PG-13

American Canopy is a fascinating and unique historical work that tells the remarkable story of the relationship between Americans and trees across the entire span of our nation’s history.

The history of trees in America is no less remarkable than the history of the United States itself–from the majestic white pines of New England, coveted by the British Crown for use as masts in navy warships, to the orange groves of California, which lured settlers west. In fact, without the country’s vast forests and the hundreds of tree species they contained, there would have been no ships, docks, railroads, stockyards, wagons, barrels, furniture, newspapers, rifles, or firewood. No New York City, Miami, or Chicago. No Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, or Daniel Boone. America – if indeed it existed – would be a very different place without its millions of acres of trees.

As Eric Rutkow’s epic account shows, trees are indivisible from the country’s rise as both an empire and a civilization. Never before has anyone treated our country’s trees and forests as the subject of a broad historical study, and the result is an accessible, informative, and thoroughly entertaining read. (description from publisher)

Sophisticated, contemporary cookie recipes from one of America′s most respected baking experts 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 featuring more than 200 recipes, from traditional cookies like chocolate chip to sophisticated, savory cocktail nibbles with gorgeous and inspiring photography throughout.

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. (description from publisher)

From Bobbi Brown, world-famous makeup artist, Pretty Powerful is a new kind of makeup manual that starts with who you are, rather than how you look.

In this book, Bobbi interviews dozens of real women, celebrities, and athletes about what beauty means to them and shows, step-by-step, how to achieve each look. Along the way, she shares her trade secrets for striking eyes, youthful skin, pretty lips, and perfect brows for any age, skin color, or beauty type. Brimming with hundreds of stunning makeover ideas, recommendations for the best tools and products, inspiring beauty stories, and expert tips not found anywhere else, Pretty Powerful is the must-have guide for lasting beauty, inside and out. (description from publisher)

If the slowly lengthening nights and cooling winds have you longing for the perfect title to take with you under the covers, check out any one of these lush, engrossing novels.

In Amanda Coplin’s dense debut novel The Orchardist, an orchard farmer called Talmadge has been tending the same grove of fruit trees in the foothills of the Cascades for half a century. His life is changed forever by the appearance of two young sisters and the violent men who trail them. This turn-of-the-century America is as wild as it can be: a nation where solitude is genuine and there truly are places that the law just doesn’t reach.

The Crimson Petal and the White offers a lurid, intoxicating look at the oft-visited streetwalkers, orphans, and gentle ladies of Victorian England. From the high to the low, the people who make up this fabled society are brought together through the dreams of a surprisingly well-read young prostitute named Sugar. Author Michael Faber invokes the gas-lit ambiance of that era but tinges his narrative with an irresistible modernity that makes this novel unique.

Margaret Atwood is my favorite author. You probably know her for her famous dystopian masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale, but forget all about that and read The Blind Assassin instead. In this Booker Prize winner, Atwood traces the history of two sisters: Laura Chase, a novelist who dies mysteriously in her twenties, and Iris Chase, who recounts their story as an octegenarian. There is a novel within this novel, written by Laura; within Laura’s novel, there’s a novel within a novel within a novel: a science fiction tale called “The Blind Assassin” as told to Laura by her lover. It sounds impossibly convoluted, but it just works – Atwood’s genius isn’t just plotting, but stunning language: years later, sentences from this gorgeous book will still be rattling around in your brain. It’s unforgettable.

With design ideas for every style, skill level, and budget, from the beloved couple behind the popular blog younghouselove, Sherry and John Petersik’s new book Young House Love is filled with hundreds of fun, deceptively simple, budget-friendly ideas for sprucing up a home.

With two home renovations under their (tool) belts, 5 million blog hits per month, and an ever-growing audience since the launch of their blog in 2007, Sherry and John are home-improvement experts primed to pass on a slew of projects, tricks, and techniques to do-it-yourselfers of all levels. Whether an experienced decorator or a total novice, on a tight budget or with money to spend, any homeowner or apartment dweller will find ideas for his or her own home makeovers here. Learn to trick out a thrift-store mirror, spice up plain old roller shades, “hack” your Ikea table to create three distinct looks, and so much more. With all new ideas (no repeats from the blog!) and more than 250 photographs and illustrations, this is a book that readers will return to again and again for the creative projects and easy-to-follow instructions in the relatable voice the Petersiks are known for. Adding a little wow factor to your home has never been more fun! (description from publisher)

This month is all about pumpkin lattes, Halloween costumes, and vibrant fall leaves, but it’s also when crafty people start looking ahead to the winter holidays. If you’re planning to create or make gifts by hand this year, now is the time to get cracking! Additionally, the Christmas and winter themed books that will be in short supply after Thanksgiving are abundant in October, so you are much more likely to find something inspiring when you stop by DPL.

The Art of Gift Wrapping: No matter what’s inside the package, thoughtful gift wrapping always makes it much more special. Instead of last-resort gift bags and tissue paper, check out this book for ideas and detailed instructions on innovative and lovely gift wrapping techniques.

Classic Crafts and Recipes for the Holidays: For timeless and sophisticated (and decidedly not “beginner”) DIY decorating, Martha Stewart’s books are the way to go. This particular one includes directions for some stunning outdoor-only ice decorations as well as decadent holiday recipes and some very creative uses for velvet.

Knitted Gifts and Holiday Knits each include the instructions for quite a few lovely knitting projects that are sure to please anyone on your gift list, from Christmas stockings to baby booties, cable-knit hats and mittens and decorative ornaments. All projects include photos and patterns. Easy for experienced knitters, but not out of reach for beginners either.

A guest post from Sharon:

Which of these statements are true?

  • Genetically modified foods are harmful
  • Aspartame is unsafe
  • High-fructose corn syrup is worse for you than sugar

If you said none of the above, you are correct!

But if you’re in the majority of people who are both angry and frustrated with conflicting health information, Robert Davis steps in here to help.

The introduction of his book, Coffee Is Good For You, breaks down why there’s so much confusion as to what is good or bad for you, then goes on to explain how the scientific method fits into nutrition studies. For example, different kinds of studies are more reliable than others, and you should always look at who’s funding the studies, and whether or not they had any say as to what goes on in them. A lot of people skip over the introduction of most books, but this one is definitely worth your time!

After the introduction, we get to the meat of the book. Each chapter is divided into categories of nutrition claims (fats, sugars, diets, etc), then broken down further into a specific claim, which is marked as yes, no, half-true or inconclusive, followed by the findings of pertinent studies. If this all sounds very dry, don’t worry: Davis is extremely good at dropping bits of trivia and humor to keep you interested in what’s being said.

Once you’ve read Coffee Is Good For You, just make sure you can soften your know-it-all response of, “Actually…” when someone inevitably recites scraps of flawed information.