Thursday, May 21, 2015

[Book Review] Thirteen Soldiers by John McCain and Mark Salter


Philip reviews THIRTEEN SOLDIERS : A PERSONAL HISTORY OF AMERICANS AT WAR, by John McCain and Mark Salter (Simon & Schuster, 2014)
There have been 13 major military conflicts that the United States has been engaged in since its birth as an independent nation. 13 Soldiers offers accounts of the military service of 13 different individuals, 11 men and 2 women, each of whom served in one of the 13 conflicts.  Written by United States Senator John McCain and his former aide Mark Salter, the book is not a political work. The authors’ aim is to share the stories of 13 people who were all willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  
Most of the individuals themselves left personal accounts of their experiences, and McCain and Salter use their accounts as the basis for their stories of these men and women. The authors also offer an exploration of what each of the individuals shared in common, even though they each served in conflicts years apart from one another.  McCain himself served in combat during the Vietnam War as a Navy Pilot and personally experienced what someone under enemy fire faces.
The authors talk of the hardships, such as lack of food and water and enduring freezing or boiling temperatures, that each of the individuals faced.  They talk of the intensity of the friendships that the 13 individuals made with those they served with; and make the point that only someone who has served in combat can understand the intensity of friendships made during such a stressful time of trial.  They talk of the 13 individuals seeing the unimaginable results of the horrors of war, sights such as men being blown to pieces, of seeing brains oozing from skulls, and of seeing men trying to hold their intestines inside of their bodies, after they have been wounded.  And they talk of each of the 13 individuals facing the fear and terror inherent in any military conflict.  
Each of the 13 men and women were truly remarkable people.  There is the story of Joseph Plumb Martin who joined the Continental army and remained a soldier in it for the duration of the American Revolution.  Martin left a memoir of his experiences that is a primary source for historians of the American Revolution.  Sadly, despite his sacrifices, Martin had to fight hard to see that the Congress awarded pensions to the surviving Continental soldiers after the War.
There is the story of Edward Baker, an African-American, who served with distinction in the Spanish-American War.  Baker, a former Buffalo soldier, was a member of a regiment of other African-Americans soldiers who had been protecting settlers from attacks by Native Americans in the American West.  When his regiment was ordered to Cuba, to help fight the war against Spain, Baker in particular, but also members of his regiment, played a major role in making Teddy Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill the success it was.  But Baker and his regiment never received the credit they deserved for the important role they played.
The stories remind us of the debt of gratitude we owe to these 13 individuals and to all members of our military for the sacrifices they have made for their country.

Philip Williams, Cordova Library

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

[Library Events and Programs] *Two Days Away* Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale

Don't forget the Friends of the Library's Annual Spring Book Sale is this weekend. 

Stop by the Central Library this Friday and SaturdayMay 22-23, 10:00 am - 4:30 pm, to browse and purchase gently-used hardback and paperback books, magazines, children’s books, CDs, DVDs, records, and more. 

All items are $2.00 or less, and your contributions support the Memphis Public Library. 


Monday, May 18, 2015


All branches of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center will be closed next Monday, May, 25th, 2015 for Memorial Day.

Customers have the option of reserving or renewing books by going to or calling 452-2047. 

The Library’s website also offers several resources customers can use anytime—24 hours a day—seven days a week.   E-books and downloadable audio books, magazines, and music can be checked-out for free; online databases contain searchable newspaper and magazine articles, reference books and more; and blogs and newsletters on everything from fiction bestsellers to travel can be read on the web.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Book Review] A Forever Kind of Love by Farrah Rochon

Staff members learn about different genres during monthly Reader’s Advisory classes called "What's Your Flavor."  After each session they must select a book from that genre to read and review.

Reader’s Advisory Romance Genre Spotlight

A FOREVER KIND OF LOVE by Farrah Rochon (Harlequin, 2012)

This is book one in the Bayou Dreams series.

The story starts out with a tragedy that brings Mya back home to a place she hadn't been in over 15 years. She was running from her high school sweetheart and a secret that she was keeping from him. Corey was hesitant but yet so happy to see Mya after all those years. Mya stayed around town longer than she had planned and this lead to her rekindling the passion she once had for Corey. However, the passion only lasted until Corey continued to ask why she left and if she was scared of loving him. Mya couldn’t hold her secret any longer and after 15 years she told Corey about the baby. 

They both were hurt and upset and Mya was ready to leave town again. That is until her Aunt Maureen stopped the car on the way to the airport and advised her that she was wrong and needed to talk to Corey. Mya stopped by to talk to Corey and she realized that he was the one.
Micole Simmons, Raleigh Library

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Friday, May 01, 2015

[Library Events and Programs] Friends of the Library 2015 Spring Book Sale

Make room on your shelves and ready your shopping bags. In 21 days, the Friends of the Memphis Public Library will host its annual Spring Book Sale. All items are priced $2.00 or less!

Click poster to view price list

Friends of the Library
2015 Spring Book Sale

Friday & Saturday
May 22 - 23, 2015
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
(Friends of the Library members only preview sale Friday 8:00 - 10:00 AM)

Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library
Meeting Rooms
3030 Poplar Avenue 

Visit the Friends of the Library webpage


[Awards] 2015 Edgar Awards

May is Mystery Month and I can't think of a better time for the Mystery Writers of America to announce the winners of the 2015 Edgar Awards.

The Edgar Allen Poe Awards are given to "the best titles in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television, published or produced in 2014."

Click the titles below to find the following Edgar winners at one of our library locations. 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann

Click to view all 2015 Edgar Award Winners

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[Book Review] The Stranger by Harlan Coben


Andrea reviews THE STRANGER by Harlan Coben (Random House, 2015)

Everyone has secrets. The secret could be so small the holder may not remember having it, or the secret could be so gigantic it is eating its owner from the inside.  It does not matter the magnitude of the secret because everyone has them. It’s just a matter of what happens when the secrets are exposed.

Enter the Stranger. He thrives in finding out different people’s enormous secrets and exposing them cruelly and elaborately. As sick and twisted as this is, he justifies it by making it a living blackmailing others.

When the Stranger runs into suburban lawyer, Adam Price, he exposes a secret so great that Adam’s entire universe is shattered. Soon the tangled web of lies and deception that Adam and wife Corinne enters is so dark that their perfect life together is just a mirage. Adam comes to realize if he does not play this chess game just perfectly, his American dream will be completely annihilated by these con artists.

Once again Harlan Coben has written an amazingly dark tale that causes readers to lose sleep because they just have to know what will happen next. If you’re a fan of reading non-stop, not sleeping because the story is just that good, or else, getting absolutely nothing done on your to-do list, read The Stranger. I promise, you will not put it down until you have absorbed all of it!

Andrea Bledsoe-King, Poplar-White Station Library

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Friday, April 24, 2015

[News and Notes] April 24, 2015


Günter Grass, German novelist and winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature,  passed away April 13 at the age of 87. He is best known for his debut novel, The Tin Drum, as well as a number of plays and essays.  (NYTimes & The Guardian UK Obituaries) (Gunter Grass library catalog


The 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners were announced April 20th. Click the Pulitzer winning titles below to locate or place holds. (View all 2015 Pulitzer Winners)

Fiction - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Biography - The Pope and Mussolini: the secret history of Pius XI and the rise of Fascism in Europe :  by David I. Kertzer

General NonfictionThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert


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