Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Authors who've died since 2000

This broad variety of books made for one of our most rowdy (in a good way!) meetings to take place in quite a while.  I believe we all discovered something unexpected or lost to memory.  Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 18th and it is our biannual Salon Discussion so there is no assigned topic.  Bring any book you'd like to share with us!

On to the list!

The Early Stories, 1953-1975 by John Updike (Specifically, the stories "A & P" and "Early Easter")
His pen rarely at rest, John Updike began publishing fiction, essays, and poetry in the mid-fifties, when he was a staff writer at the New Yorker, contributing material for the “Talk of the Town” sections. “Of all modern American writers,” writes Adam Gopnik in Humanities magazine, “Updike comes closest to meeting Virginia Woolf’s demand that a writer’s only job is to get himself, or herself, expressed without impediments."  He is known to many first as an author of short stories, with dozens having graced the pages of the New Yorker before being published in collections. Many other readers know his shorter fiction either through the O. Henry Prize Stories or anthologies of American literature, where they would have entered into the at times sad, at times triumphant thoughts of, say, a certain check-out clerk at the local grocery store; “A & P” serving as a model of dramatic irony for at least two generations of English literature teachers. (from

2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clark, creator of one of the world's best-loved science fiction tales, revisits the most famous future ever imagined in this NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, as two expeditions into space become inextricably tangled. Heywood Floyd, survivor of two previous encounters with the mysterious monoliths, must again confront Dave Bowman, HAL, and an alien race that has decided that Mankind is to play a part in the evolution of the galaxy whether it wishes to or not.

Minority Report and Other Stories by Philip K. Dick (Specifically, the story "Minority Report)
This volume covers a wide span, from late 1954 through to 1963, the years during which Dick began writing novels prolifically and his short story output lessened. The title story of this collection has been made into the Steven Spielberg-directed movie of the same name, while "The Days of Perky Pat" inspired one of Dick's greatest works, the novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch; The Penultimate Truth grew from "The Mold of Yancy". Philip K. Dick is shown at his incomparable prime in this fourth volume of the definitive collection of short fiction.

"Minority Report" is about a future society where murders are prevented through the efforts of three mutants who can see the future. Paradoxes and alternate realities are created by the precognition of crimes when the chief of police intercepts a precognition that he is about to murder a man he has never met. The story also touches upon the dangers of a powerful post-war military during peacetime. Like many stories dealing with knowledge of future events, "The Minority Report" questions the existence of free will.  In 2002, the story was adapted into a film directed by Steven Spielberg.

I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections by Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn’t (yet) forgotten.  Filled with insights and observations that instantly ring true—and could have come only from Nora Ephron—I Remember Nothing is pure joy.

Here is a link to a 2006 interview of Nora Ephron about her book I Feel Bad About My Neck on The Diane Rehm Show.  Click here.

Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities by Elizabeth Edwards

She’s one of the most beloved political figures in the country, and on the surface, seems to have led a charmed life. In many ways, she has. Beautiful family. Thriving career. Supportive friendship. Loving marriage. But she’s no stranger to adversity. Many know of the strength she had shown after her son, Wade, was killed in a freak car accident when he was only sixteen years old. She would exhibit this remarkable grace and courage again when the very private matter of her husband's infidelity became public fodder. And her own life has been on the line. Days before the 2004 presidential election—when her husband John was running for vice president—she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After rounds of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation the cancer went away—only to reoccur in 2007.

While on the campaign trail, Elizabeth met many others who have had to contend with serious adversity in their lives, and in Resilience, she draws on their experiences as well as her own, crafting an unsentimental and ultimately inspirational meditation on the gifts we can find among life’s biggest challenges. This short, powerful, pocket-sized inspirational book makes an ideal gift for anyone dealing with difficulties in their life, who can find peace in knowing they are not alone, and promise that things can get better.

Mr. Food's Favorite Cookies by Art Ginsburg
Television's Mr. Food offers quick and easy recipes for a delicious assortment of cookies, including no-bake cookies, "dunkers," "rollouts," and innovations, plus tips on mailing cookies and a special section for kids.

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
When asked, Maurice Sendak insisted that he was not a comics artist, but an illustrator. However, it's hard to not notice comics aspects in works like In the Night Kitchen. The child of the story is depicted floating from panel to panel as he drifts through the fantastic dream world of the bakers' kitchen. Sendak's use of multiple panels and integrated hand-lettered text is an interesting contrast to his more traditional children's books containing single-page illustrations such as his wildly popular Where the Wild Things Are.

Coyote Waits by Tony Hillerman
The car fire didn't kill Navajo Tribal Policeman Delbert Nez—a bullet did. And the old man in possession of the murder weapon is a whiskey-soaked shaman named Ashie Pinto. Officer Jim Chee is devastated by the slaying of his good friend Del, and confounded by the prime suspect's refusal to utter a single word of confession or denial.

Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn believes there is much more to this outrage than what appears on the surface, as he and Jim Chee set out to unravel a complex weave of greed and death that involves a historical find and a lost fortune. But the hungry and mythical trickster Coyote is waiting, as always, in the shadows to add a strange and deadly new twist.

The following Hillerman novels were adapted to the movie screen: The Dark Wind, Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time.

Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales by Ray Bradbury
For more than sixty years, the imagination of Ray Bradbury has opened doors into remarkable places, ushering us across unexplored territories of the heart and mind while leading us inexorably toward a profound understanding of ourselves and the universe we inhabit. In this landmark volume, America's preeminent storyteller offers us one hundred treasures from a lifetime of words and ideas -- tales that amaze, enthrall, and horrify; breathtaking journeys backward andforward in time; classic stories with the undiminished power to tantalize, mystify, elate, and move the reader to tears. Each small gem in the master's collection remains as dazzling as when it first appeared in print.

There is magic in these pages: the wonders of interstellar flight, a conspiracy of insects, the early bloom of love in the warmth of August. Both the world of Ray Bradbury and its people are vivid and alive, as colorfully unique as a poker chip hand-painted by a brilliant artist or as warmly familiar as the well-used settings on a family's dining room table. In a poor man's desire for the stars, in the twisted night games of a hateful embalmer, in a magnificent fraud perpetrated to banish despair and repair a future, in a writer's wonderful death is the glowing proof of the timeless artistry of one of America's greatest living bards.

The one hundred stories in this volume were chosen by Bradbury himself, and span a career that blossomed in the pulp magazines of the early 1940s and continues to flourish in the new millennium. Here are representatives of the legendary author's finest works of short fiction, including many that have not been republished for decades, all forever fresh and vital, evocative and immensely entertaining. This is Bradbury at his very best -- golden visions of tomorrow, poetic memories of yesterday, dark nightmares and glorious dreams -- a grand celebration of humankind, God's intricate yet poignantly fallible machineries of joy.

The Cat Who Wasn't There by Lilian Jackson Braun
Qwill's on his way to Scotland--and on his way to solving another purr-plexing mystery. But this time Koko's nowhere the scene of the crime. He and Yum Yum are back in Pickax being coddled by a catsitter...but Koko won't sit still once Qwill's traveling party returns--minus one member. He's behaving oddly, and Qwill knows what that means: Koko may have been miles away from the murder scene, but he's just a whisker away from cracking the case!

Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints by Phyllis Diller (Not available in the JCLC system)
If you've ever seen the Surveyor moon pictures, you've seen Phyllis Diller's living room. But disasters like this don't just happen, They're planned. How? Here are just a few examples of the diligent Diller method for guaranteeing total abstinence from the curse of housework.

Here is a link to an interview with Phyllis Diller from the Comedy Hall of Fame Archives.  Click here.

I Didn't Come Here to Argue by Peg Braken (Not available in the JCLC system)

Here is a link to an interview with Peg Bracken in 2007 on the NPR show, All Things Considered.  Click here.

Star Ghosts by Hans Holzer (Not available in the JCLC system)

According to Hans Holzer, an expert in psychic phenomena, the ghosts of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow and other top stars still inhabit the Hollywood mansions in which they once lived.

Compelled to seek the peace that eluded them when they were alove, they now roam the corridors of their former homes, lost in the shadowy world between life and death.


Is This You, Jean Harlow?
A Visit With Carol Lombard, Thanks to Julie Parrish
Word From Marilyn Monroe
Do the Barrymores Still Live Here?
Rudolph Valentino is Very Much Alive
Elvis Presely: Death is Not the End!
James Dean and Lesser Hollywood Ghosts
The Last Adventures of the Late Clifton Webb
The Two Lives of Gaye Spiegelman, Topless Mother of Eight
Hello There, Harry Houdini!
The Hollywood Psychic Scene

The works of Edward Gorey
A truly prodigious and original artist, Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000), gave to the world over one hundred works, including The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Guest and The Wuggly Ump; prize-winning set and costume designs for innumerable theater productions from Cape Cod to Broadway; a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as The New Yorker and The New York Times, and in books by a wide array of authors from Charles Dickens to Edward Lear, Samuel Beckett, John Updike, Virginia Woolf, H.G. Wells, Florence Heide and many others. His well known animated credits for the PBS Mystery series have introduced him to millions of television viewers. Gorey's masterful pen and ink illustrations and his ironic, offbeat humor have brought him critical acclaim and an avid following throughout the world. (from

Happiness is a Warm Puppy by Charles Schulz
These collector’s editions perfectly recreate the original look and feel of the best-loved Peanuts books—their paper, their ink, even their lamination.  And of course, the heartwarming content that charmed the world, sold millions, and launched the career of Charles M. Schulz remains untouched. On every spread there’s a tiny tidbit of wisdom from one of the gang, along with one of Schulz’s irresistible drawings.  It’s a trip down memory lane that every Peanuts fan will cherish.

The Wit and Wisdom of Snoopy by Charles Schulz (not available in the JCLC system)

Kids Say the Darndest Things by Art Linkletter
Almost 50 years since its first printing, this famous collection of children's wisdom and witticisms is now back in print in a facsimile edition to entertain a whole new generation. KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS! includes the best of the unconsciously funny, everyday thoughts and reactions kids shared with kid-at-heart Art Linkletter on his long-running radio and television series House Party .Gems include tips for conjuring up a sibling: "Give Mommy a lot of real sweet food so she'll get fat -that's how you get a baby ";and hysterical observations: "Our pussycat has got some kittens and I didn't even know she was married. "Illustrated with cartoons by Charles Schulz (yes, that Charles Schulz) and with a new introduction by Bill Cosby, KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS! will prove as popular with the readers of today as it was when it first was published five decades ago.

The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
Never had there been as close a bonding as the one that existed between the daring and adventurous young Lord Jaxom and his extraordinary white dragon, Ruth. Pure white and incredibly agile, Ruth was a dragon of many talents, though almost everyone on Pern thought he was a runt that would never amount to anything. But Jaxom knew better, knew he could teach his dragon to fly and to destroy the deadly silver Threads that fell from the sky. Disobeying all rules, Jaxom and Ruth trained in secret. Their illicit flights seemed but a minor disobedience - until they found themselves in the path of danger and in a position to prevent the biggest disaster of all.

Jeffrey's Favorite 13 Ghost Stories by Kathryn Tucker Windham
This is the first anthology of the author's own favorite ghost stories from the highly successful Jeffrey series of books that began in 1969 with 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey. Hundreds of thousands of these books have been sold. The present volume includes 13 of the best of Mrs. Windham's stories, representing mysterious and supernatural doings from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Most of the stories are related to historical places and sometimes to historical people.

Count Those Buzzards, Stamp Those Grey Mules: Superstitions Remembered from a Southern Childhood by Kathryn Tucker Windham

Murder Runs in the Family by Anne George

Mary Alice has spared nothing for her only daughter's wedding -- from seventy-five yards of bridal train to gourmet food for over three hundred guests and enough glittering elegance to make Mary Alice think about finding herself a fourth rich husband to pay for it all.

Practical Patricia Anne has put away her aunt-of-the-bride blue chiffon and settled back into domesticity when fun-loving Mary Alice calls to say they have a post-wedding date with a genealogist from the groom's side of the family. Lunch is a fascinating lesson on the hazards of finding dirty linens in ancestral boudoirs that ends abruptly when their guest scurries off with the local judge, leaving the sisters with their mouths open -- and finishing their luncheon companion's cheesecake -- when the police arrive.

Their mysterious guest has taken a plunge from the ninth floor of the courthouse building -- an apparent suicide. But given the scandals a nosy genealogist might have uncovered, the sisters are betting that some proud Southern family is making sure their shameful secrets stay buried. . .along with anyone who tries to dig them up.

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy
Carnegie medal-winning supernatural romance from Margaret Mahy. The face in the mirror. From the moment she saw it, Laura Chant knew that something dreadful was going to happen. It wasn't the first time she'd been forewarned. But never before had anything so terrible happened. The horrifyingly evil Carmody Braque touched and branded her little brother -- and now Jacko was very ill, getting steadily worse. There was only one way to save him. Laura had to change over: had to release her supernatural powers. And that meant joining forces with the extraordinary and enigmatic Sorenson Carlisle!

A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney by Andy Rooney
The first of these collections of Rooney's satirical TV pieces and syndicated newspaper columns "can be moving, as in 'D-Day,' or can fall flat, as in 'The Faces of Christ,' which is maudlin," said PW . The second, an anthology of only his newspaper work that discusses topics from faulty home appliances and dieting to cliches and celebrity endorsements, is more successful: "Every entry is trenchant and telling and, best of all, fun to read." (from Publishers Weekly)

The Proud Princess, from The Best of Barbara Cartland by Barbara Cartland

Having survived the 1871 siege of Paris with her mother the Queen of Dabrozka, Princess Ilona is summoned back to the war-ravaged kingdom of her father, a tyrannical monarch whose unjust rule has divided the nation into two factions: her own Radák people and the Sáros. Worse still, Russia threatens to march on Dabrozka to impose their iron-clad style of order.

Only Ilona can save her country from this fate – by making a terrible sacrifice. At the Prime Minister’s request, she must marry the Prince of Sáros, their union bringing together the people. This she will do; this she must do – but what her pride will not allow her is to love the aloof, indifferent Prince. Humiliated by the Prince’s evident disregard, and beaten by her own father on the eve of her wedding, it seems that love will never fill her heart – but as war clouds gather over Dabrozka, both the Prince and the Proud Princes are about to share a dramatic change of heart!

(This was the description of the Amazon Kindle edition)The Barbara Cartland Eternal Collection is the unique opportunity to collect as ebooks all five hundred of the timeless beautiful romantic novels written by the world’s most celebrated and enduring romantic author. Named the Eternal Collection because Barbara’s inspiring stories of pure love are just the same as love itself, the books will be published on the Internet at the rate of four titles per month until all five hundred are available. The Eternal Collection, classic pure romance available worldwide for all time.

Here is a link to the website maintained by Barbara Cartland's son, Ian McCorquodale.  Click here.

Every Day by the Sun: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi by Dean Faulkner Wells
In Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes pioneers, noble and ignoble war veterans, three never-convicted murderers  the builder of the first railroad in north Mississippi, the founding president of a bank, an FBI agent, four pilots (all brothers), and a Nobel Prize winner, arguably the most important American novelist of the twentieth century. She also reveals wonderfully entertaining and intimate stories and anecdotes about her family—in particular her uncle William, or “Pappy,” with whom she shared colorful  sometimes utterly frank, sometimes whimsical, conversations and experiences.

This deeply felt memoir explores the close relationship between Dean’s uncle and her father, Dean Swift Faulkner, a barnstormer killed at age twenty-eight during an air show four months before she was born. It was William who gave his youngest brother an airplane, and after Dean’s tragic death, William helped to raise his niece. He paid for her education, gave her away when she was married, and maintained a unique relationship with her throughout his life.
From the 1920s to the early civil rights era, from Faulkner’s winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature to his death in 1962, Every Day by the Sun explores the changing culture and society of Oxford, Mississippi  while offering a rare glimpse of a notoriously private family and an indelible portrait of a national treasure.

Here is a link to a 2001 interview with Dean Faulkner Wells on The Diane Rehm Show.  Click here.

A False Sense of Well-Being by Jeanne Braselton

At thirty-eight, Jessie Maddox has a comfortable life in Glenville, Georgia, with the most responsible husband in the world. But after the storybook romance, “happily ever after” never came. Now Jessie is left to wonder: Why can’t she stop picturing herself as the perfect grieving widow? As Jessie dives headlong into her midlife crisis, she is joined by a colorful cast of eccentrics. There’s her best friend Donna, who is having a wild adulterous affair with a younger man; Wanda McNabb, the sweet-natured grandmother who is charged with killing her husband; Jessie’s younger sister Ellen, who was born to be a guest on Jerry Springer; their mother, who persistently crosses the dirty words out of library books; and of course the stuffed green headless duck. . . .

When a trip home to the small town of her childhood raises more questions than it answers, Jessie is forced to face the startling truth head-on–and confront the tragedy that has shadowed her heart and shaken her faith in love . . . and the future.

Dead-Eye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Deadeye Dick is Kurt Vonnegut’s funny, chillingly satirical look at the death of innocence. Amid a true Vonnegutian host of horrors—a double murder, a fatal dose of radioactivity, a decapitation, an annihilation of a city by a neutron bomb—Rudy Waltz, aka Deadeye Dick, takes us along on a zany search for absolution and happiness. Here is a tale of crime and punishment that makes us rethink what we believe . . . and who we say we are.

What are YOU reading?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Resources on Fraud & Elder Abuse Prevention

Did you know that Alabama is ranked in the top 20 for states in cases of identity theft? Recently Ana Rodriguez ran an article on about a program we have coming up this week on fraud and elder abuse and this disturbing statistic was the headline. We are seeking to change that headline! Please join us this Wednesday, November 28th at 12:30 for a Town Hall Meeting when we will discuss ways to spot and avoid situations of fraud, identity theft, and elder abuse. According to Representative Paul DeMarco, who will moderate Wednesday's event, "We've seen an increase in elder abuse and we want to provide this forum to distribute this information with some of the experts from our state." We will hear from representatives from the Office of the Attorney General for the Sate of Alabama and the Alabama Securities Commission. 

In addition to the above experts, the links below will lead you to further resources for help in spotting fraud, identity theft, and elder abuse situations. If you know of a great resource not listed, please let us know!

  • This web page is a great resource to check out on a regular basis. Even if you think these tips will not pertain to you, you will find information on all types of scams and con artists listed on this page. The most current information (from August, 2012) warns against certain threats to unwary investors as well as a reminder to work only with licensed professionals.
  • Here you'll find numerous resources to help you stay in control of your money AND your identity! Links will take you to information from tips to avoid investor fraud to how to remove your name from telemarketing and email lists.
  • The office of the Attorney General has gathered information meant to protect consumers from all types of fraud. From this page you can file a consumer complaint as well as find links to brochures on phone scams, check fraud, identity theft, and other types of consumer protection information. The FAQ section is particularly detailed, check it out!
  • At this website you will find all the information a senior should know from Medicare to issues involving elder abuse. You will also find a link to which, according to their website, is meant to "assist older adults, individuals with disabilities and their family members locate services they might need as well as other information that might be of interest."

Wednesday's program is free of charge, and no reservation is required. It is part of a regularly scheduled Brown Bag Lunch program, so please bring a sack lunch. The Library provides soft drinks and dessert. Doors open at noon, the program will begin at 12:30. For more information, please contact the Reference Desk at Emmet O'Neal Library at (205) 445-1121. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

National Book Award Winners 2012

Hi Folks!
The National Book Award winners were announced today. Most of the books on the list are available here at EOL in various formats from print to digital, or you could even check out an e reader with the book already on it! Drop by today and check one out.

The winner for fiction was Louise Erdrich's The Round House.

The finalists for fiction were

Katherine Boo won in nonfiction for Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.

Finalists for non fiction include:

Prizes were also awarded for poetry and young people's literature.

Additionally, several titles listed above are available on e readers. With this new program, patrons can check out an e reader pre loaded with titles ranging from bestsellers to mysteries to romance. Check out our various e readers here!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let's Talk Voter Fraud

It’s election season, which means the sphere of public opinion and political intrigue is rife with dishonesty, scams, and double-speak, and I’m not even talking about the candidates.  Voter fraud, while a contentious issue, is a sad reality especially in municipal elections throughout the state of Alabama.

According to the Tuscaloosa News on September 6, 2012, State Attorney General Luther Strange, with the help of federal authorities, launched an investigation into several blatantly fraudulent activities, including Perry County’s Uniontown in which a remarkable 130 percent of the town’s population registered to vote in upcoming municipal elections.  Barring any unnoticed and unlikely influx of 18-and-up men and women into Uniontown since the previous Census, this represents a very evident case of voter fraud.

The numeric inconsistencies in Uniontown, combined with Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman’s new Voter Fraud Unit, in an already controversial year of voter ID laws makes this political season one for more-than-usual concern.

But what can you do to prevent voter fraud?  A great deal of voter fraud happens outside the voter’s individual influence and is therefore difficult to combat as a concerned citizen.  However, staying vigilant and reporting any suspicious or over-inquisitive activity can certainly make a difference.

Typical fraudulent methods used to influence voters include:

·         Disenfranchisement – When those working at the polling station require a condition such as a literacy test or ID in order to distribute or receive your ballot.  As of 2012, Alabama DOES NOT require a voter to present his or her Identification to vote, nor does it require any sort of examination or test.  Ongoing legislation may require voter ID in Alabama as soon as 2014, but as of 2012 no such requirements exist.
·         Intimidation – By which one threatens violence, vandalism, or other harm to people or property to influence a vote.  This extends to corporations as well, handing down hushed mandates or threatening one’s employment.
·         Legal Threats -  Any U.S. citizen, naturalized or otherwise is entitled to vote as a resident in any municipal, state, or federal election.  This does not mean only once, or once annually, as perpetrators of voter fraud might insinuate.  Anyone who attempts to impose limits on an individual’s number of or, legal right to vote is committing fraud.  The only exception extends to convicted felons, and even then only if the disenfranchisement of the vote was not appealed.
·         Vote Buying – In which services, exceptions, or money might be offered to any individual for his or her vote. 

 If you have anything to report, please visit

To read more about Luther Strange’s investigation into Alabama voter fraud, visit

For information about the upcoming election, including information on polling places and sample ballots, please visit which is published by the Office of the Secretary of State of Alabama.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The First Ladies

The Genre Reading Group met this past Tuesday to discuss books about the United State's First Ladies and the talk was lively!

First Ladies: An Intimate Group Portrait of White House Wives by Margaret Truman

"Fascinating. . . . First Ladies is a wonderfully generous look at the women who, often against their wishes, took on what Truman calls 'the world's second toughest job.' " --The Christian Science Monitor

Whether they envision their role as protector, partner, advisor, or scold, First Ladies find themselves in a job that is impossible to define, and just as difficult to perform. Now Margaret Truman, daughter of President Harry Truman and an acclaimed novelist and biographer in her own right, explores the fascinating position of First Lady throughout history and up to the present day.

With her unique perspective as the daughter of a First Lady, Ms. Truman reveals the truth behind some of the most misunderstood and forgotten First Ladies of our history, as well as the most famous and beloved. In recounting the charm and courage of Dolley Madison, the brazen ambition of Florence Harding, the calm, good sense of Grace Coolidge, the genius of Eleanor Roosevelt, the mysterious femininity of Jackie Kennedy, and the fierce protectiveness of Nancy Reagan, among others, Margaret Truman has assembled an honest yet affectionate portrait of our nation's First Ladies--one that freely acknowledges their virtues and their flaws.

Presidents and First Ladies of the United States by Doranne Jacobson
Covering each administration from Washington to Clinton, portraits and historical illustrations are combined with essays on the political and personal lives of every First Couple. These narratives are augmented by fact charts listing the highlights and achievements of the presidents and first ladies.

Commander in Chic: Every Woman's Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady by Mikki Taylor

The nation’s major networks, radio stations, and newspapers call on Mikki Taylor not only to discuss the “Obama look” and its feverish impact on style, but to hear Taylor’s own smart advice on looking polished and pulled together. She’s been privy to Obama’s style philosophy as well as that of countless celebs through her longtime role as beauty and cover director at Essence magazine, where she collaborated with Obama’s team on fashion and beauty choices for prime photo shoots for the magazine.

Now Taylor is sharing the keys to the Obama look with her diary-like observations, tips, and Mikki-isms (her short, ultra-clever style aphorisms) for women everywhere. Mikki knows we all want to possess a signature look and a wardrobe of bankable pieces that allow us the kind of versatility where we never have to worry about what to wear again! Consider Commander in Chic as your personal style diary—one where you’ll find everything you need to know to possess great style—simply, effortlessly, and for keeps.

Cover-to-cover, the book is full of stunning photo-graphs that take the guesswork out of what works. Every chapter in the book shares the kinds of concrete information and inspiring style ideas that not only make getting dressed a fabulous experience, but define what will make you a woman to remember! Here is everything you need to know about style—from your glossary of high-performance hair products and “do how-to’s” to the best makeup finds and techniques to what you need to know to grow your nails long and strong to the most polished hues for all skin tones. In “The Gam Slam,” Taylor tells you how to work summer-pretty legs year-round—from how to keep them even-toned and satiny smooth to vein-free.

Mikki took great care in talking to the experts about what we need to know to manage our lives from the inside out—from our mental and physical health and wellness to the importance of self-nurturing. As a result, you’ll find guiding principles on diet and exercise for the various stages of your life—from age twenty and beyond. You’ll also find the critical information you need to know to nourish your well-being so you can continue to be the empowered woman you are called to be.

All in all, Commander in Chic is a gold mine of information that will inspire you—from head to toe, inside and out—on how to truly style, now and for years to come.

Dear First Lady: Letters to the White House by Dwight Young & Margaret Johnson

Following on the success of their recent collaboration Dear Mr. President, Dwight Young and Margaret Johnson join forces once again to produce this charming collection of correspondence to and from First Ladies during their time in office. A wonderful gift book for any American, Dear First Lady reminds us that ours is a great government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," which entitles us to make our views known to our leaders. Although some of these missives were written by the famous or the infamous, most are from ordinary Americans who wished to connect with their First Lady. Amusing, appealing, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, the letters appear as full-size facsimiles wherever possible so readers can see for themselves the substance and style of these intriguing exchanges.

Dwight Young annotates each letter with biographical and historical stories that illuminate the context and provide broader insights into the public and private lives of presidents’ wives. Richly illustrated with archival photography and images, Dear First Lady paints a fascinating portrait of American culture and a behind-the-scenes look inside the White House.

With presidential history a perennial best-seller, and interest in First Ladies growing as these influential women make ever more prominent contributions to the society and public policy, this rich volume holds limitless gift potential.

The Wilsons by Cass R. Sandak
A biography of Woodrow Wilson, with emphasis on his years as president, tells the story of the only president who had two first ladies: Ellen Axson Wilson and Edith Boling Wilson.

Edith Wilson: The Woman Who Ran the United States by James Cross Giblin
An informative and readable introduction to the life of an important First Lady. Giblin focuses primarily on the years after she became the wife of President Woodrow Wilson. He makes clear that throughout her lifetime, Edith Bolling Wilson succeeded in overcoming both personal and professional obstacles. Her marriage immediately put her into the country's political limelight and her strength and support for her husband were evident during the tumultuous times of World War I and its aftermath. Her role during his illness is clearly explored. The black-and-white line drawings that illustrate the text are marginal. For reports or pleasure reading, this simply written, well-organized volume captures this remarkable woman's personality and contributions to society.

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson by Alice Flanagan
Presents a biography of the wife of the twenty-eighth president of the United States, a woman who helped her husband manage the affairs of his office after he suffered a stroke.

The Girls in the Van: Covering Hillary by Beth Harpaz
The Girls in the Van is the ultimate press pass to Hillary Clinton's historic Senate run, following the first lady from the moment she dons a black pantsuit and a Yankees cap all the way to her historic victory. This book is a front-row seat in the press van as Hillary takes a "My Fair Lady" -style Yiddish lesson, invokes Harriet Tubman thirty times on a tour of black churches, and spends as much time explaining why she kissed Yassir Arafat's wife as she does justifying why she stays married to Bill. The Girls in the Van takes you on an unforgettable trip, from the ladies room at the Waldorf to the garden of the Clinton's Westchester home.

GENERAL DISCUSSION:  Discussion about The Girls in the Van brought to mind a great book I read several years ago called Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns by Erika Falk, which explores past women presidential candidates, objectivity in journalism (more often, the lack thereof), and political aspects of gender roles and expectations.

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts comes New York Times bestseller Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families–and their country–proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it.

While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts brings us women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favoured recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed and Martha Washington–proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived.

Sara & Eleanor: The Story of Sara Delano Roosevelt and Her Daughter-in-Law, Eleanor Roosevelt by Jan Pottker

We think we know the story of Eleanor Roosevelt--the shy, awkward girl who would redefine the role of First Lady, becoming a civil rights activist and an inspiration to generations of young women. As legend has it, the bane of Eleanor's life was her demanding and domineering mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt. Biographers have overlooked the complexity of a relationship that had, over the years, been reinterpreted and embellished by Eleanor herself.

Through diaries, letters, and interviews with Roosevelt family and friends, Jan Pottker uncovers a story never before told. The result is a triumphant blend of social history and psychological insight--a revealing look at Eleanor Roosevelt and the woman who made her historic achievements possible.

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock
After losing her high-octane job as an entertainment blogger, Noelle Hancock was lost. About to turn twenty-nine, she'd spent her career writing about celebrities' lives and had forgotten how to live her own. Unemployed and full of self-doubt, she had no idea what she wanted out of life. She feared change—in fact, she feared almost everything. Once confident and ambitious, she had become crippled by anxiety, lacking the courage required even to attend a dinner party—until inspiration struck one day in the form of a quote on a chalkboard in a coffee shop:

"Do one thing every day that scares you." —Eleanor Roosevelt

Painfully timid as a child, Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated herself to facing her fears, a commitment that shaped the rest of her life. With Eleanor as her guide, Noelle spends the months leading up to her thirtieth birthday pursuing a "Year of Fear." From shark diving to fighter pilot lessons, from tap dancing and stand-up comedy to confronting old boyfriends, her hilarious and harrowing adventures teach her about who she is and what she can become—lessons she makes vital for all of us.

The Genre Reading Group's next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 27th at 6:30pm and the topic is "In Memoriam: Authors Who've Died Since 2000."  There is a display of eligible titles at the second floor reference desk but you are always free to research and select your own!  For more information, contact Holley at 205-445-1117 or