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A few weeks ago we received two big boxes that had me jumping with glee – a new shipment of books for our Baker & Taylor collection. For those of you who are not familiar with this collection it comprises many popular new fiction and non-fiction titles. Below you will find a listing of these books with some reviews to get your reading juices flowing. Enjoy!

  We all know bad manners when we see them,” author Henry Alford observes. But what do good manners look like in our day and age? When someone answers their cell phone in the middle of dining with you, or you enter a post-apocalyptic public restroom, the long-revered wisdom of Emily Post can seem downright prehistoric. So Alford studies how things might look if people were on their best behavior more often. He travels to Japan to observe its collective politesse. He interviews etiquette experts likely (Judith Martin, Tim Gunn) and unlikely (a former prisoner, an army sergeant). He volunteers as a tour guide to foreigners visiting New York City in order to study cultural divides. He also finds time to teach Miss Manners how to steal a cab, and designates the World’s Most Annoying Bride. Ultimately, by tackling etiquette questions of our age, he presents a seriously entertaining book about grace, civility, and how we can simply treat each other better.–From publisher description

“Investigative humorist Henry Alford explores the illusive art of behaving well… Alford is a charming writer, who seems able to spin delightful stuff from whatever straw he happens to stumble across, and his rumination on good behavior is no exception.” (Salon.com )

“Even the best behaved among us would benefit from a close reading of investigative humorist Henry Alford’s brilliant primer on gracious living, Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?” (Vanity Fair )

The founder of StoryCorps, a national project that records, shares, and preserves the lives of Americans from all backgrounds, presents individuals’ love stories from early dating to finding connections and lifelong commitment.

I have been waiting for months to receive a copy of this book from another library so I was very happy to see that it has become part of our collection for a bit.  Anyone who knows me (and you don’t even have to know me that well), knows that I am an incurable romantic so this collection of stories really speaks to me.  The stories range from finding love in a war zone, unrequited love, love at first sight, loss of love and the redemptive power of love.  Read it with a box of tissues.

“These myriad forms of love will provoke readers to contemplate their own love lives with a new sense of depth.”  (Kirkus)
“[A] heart-poundingly good book…there’s just one word for the book: lovely.”

(The Huffington Post )

  An exposé on the production and consumption of food in America. During the course of a year, former City Limits managing editor McMillan examined the process by which food goes from the field to the table. Whether picking bunches of table grapes, sorting peaches or cutting garlic, the author discovered firsthand the rigors of farm labor working alongside Mexicans and other migrant workers struggling to survive on paltry wages. From the fields, she moved to the produce department of a Walmart, “the largest grocer in both the U.S. and the world.” McMillan exposes some of the megastore’s behind-the-scenes practices, which allow the company to offer significantly discount prices. One such practice is “crisping,” a method of rehydrating wilted greens so they appear fresh and can be returned to the floor. While working in the prep area, McMillan reflects on “doing returns”: “a perpetually growing stack of crates next to the food prep area crammed with rotting lettuce, moldy berries, slimy greens, expired bags of salad, and wrinkled mushrooms” all waiting to be tabulated as returns before going into a compost bin. McMillan also examines an Applebee’s restaurant, demonstrating how food is cooked and served in one of the nation’s largest restaurant chains. She discovers that much of the food comes prepackaged, frozen or dehydrated (no real surprise to anyone who has eaten at Applebee’s) with the only real cooking being a few seconds in the microwave, where bits of plastic stick to the food and need to be wiped off before serving. Full of personal stories ofthe daily struggle to put food of any kind on the table in today’s economy, McMillan’s book will force readers to question their own methods of purchasing and preparing food. Attentive foodies may already know much of the information, but on the whole, McMillan provides an eye-opening account of the route much of American food takes from the field to the restaurant table.  (Kirkus Review)
“Valiant…McMillan’s undercover work for The American Way of Eatingtakes readers on an educational journey.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Best-selling Rice turns away from angels (Of Love and Evil, 2010) in her latest novel to tackle another supernatural phenomenon: the werewolf. Handsome, young Reuben Golding has a burgeoning career as a reporter for a San Francisco paper. Assigned to do a story on a beautiful estate, Reuben is enchanted by Marchent Nideck, the woman who plans to put the house on the market, but his tryst with Marchent ends in tragedy when two men break into the house and murder her. They turn on Reuben, but he is saved by a mysterious creature. While recuperating in the hospital, Reuben notices his hair is growing thicker and his sense of hearing is heightened. And then comes the big change: Reuben transforms into a wolflike creature at night. In man-wolf form, Reuben is able to zero in on cries for help, but his violent, albeit heroic, acts draw the attention of city officials as well as people who mean Reuben harm. Rice weaves her trademark meditations on the role of supernatural creatures in society into an often thrilling, page-turning yarn. (Booklist)
“I want to howl at the moon over this…I devoured these pages…[A] terrific new novel. . . . The plot [is] magnetic, the characters fascinating, and Rice’s style as solid and engaging as anything she has written since her early vampire chronicle fiction.”
(Alan Cheuse, The Boston Globe)
“Anne Rice has done it again.  In her latest novel, The Wolf Gift, the woman who single-handedly, reinvented the vampire genre puts her formidable talent to work rewriting ‘were-wolf’ lore and in the end succeeds magnificently.” (Nola Cancel, Examiner)
  Woods brings Stone Barrington and his right-hand man, Dino Bacchetti, to Washington, D.C., to uncover the truth about the murder-suicide of two White House employees. President Will Lee and his wife, CIA director Katherine Rule Lee, don’t believe that Brix Kendrick bludgeoned his wife, Mimi, to death shortly before he took his own life, and ask Stone and Dino to look into the matter with the help of CIA agent Holly Barker. Stone and Dino discover that Brix was far from a faithful husband; the man had lovers all over the city. As soon as Stone and Dino begin to question Brix’s former lovers, the women start turning up dead—murdered the same way Mimi Kendrick was. While Holly helps Stone and Dino with their investigation, she hopes she can close the door on the pursuit of Teddy Fay. The former CIA operative turned assassin has issued an ultimatum: if the CIA doesn’t stop chasing him, he’ll retaliate. An exciting entry that possibly wraps up one of the longest-running story threads in Woods’ popular series.  (Kristine Huntley, Booklist)