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My Friend Leonard
James Frey
1573223158
July 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
In the bold and heartbreaking My Friend Leonard, James Frey picks up the story of his extraordinary life pretty much where things left off in his breakout bestseller and Book Review Best Book of 2003, A Million Little Pieces, the fierce, in-your-face memoir about Frey's kamikaze run of self-destruction and his days in rehab. Fresh from a stint in jail from pre-rehab-related charges ("On my first day in jail, a three hundred pound man named Porterhouse hit me in the back of the head with a metal tray."), clean-living Frey returns to Chicago and gets sucker-punched with a cruel blow that will leave readers ducking for cover in anticipation of the blinding bender that's sure to come. But then the titular Leonard, the larger-than-life Vegas mobster ("West Coast Director of a large Italian finance firm") whom James befriended in rehab, steps into...


The Cottonmouth Club

0374315620


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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–As this coming-of-age novel set in 1960s California opens, 11-year-old Mitch is gearing up for a summer of monster movies and sleepovers with his best friend. He is dismayed to learn that his family will be spending two months in rural Louisiana instead. Upon arrival, he is unimpressed with the small town and his overall-clad relatives. Over the next two months, he deals with a first crush, a raging bull, a charismatic troublemaker, and third-degree burns. By his 12th birthday, Mitch has learned to respect his country cousins and himself, and has made a successful transition to adolescence. For the first two thirds of this novel, the narrator's voice is inconsistent and stilted, and the plot meanders down several paths before settling on a main road. The author tries to weave in as many...


Friendship
Mildred D. Taylor
0140389644
February 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
It's hot and humid in 1933 Mississippi, when an elderly black man and a white store owner test their friendship against a backdrop of racism and peer pressure. An explosive confrontation takes place when the black man, Tom Bee, greets the clerk, John Wallace, by his first name--an intimacy unheard of at the time. A group of witnesses heckles Wallace for what they perceive as his permissiveness, and in spite of his private promise to Bee to allow him to greet him this way, Wallace betrays Bee, shooting him in the leg. This brief but poignant story won the 1988 Coretta Scott King Award. It provides strong characterization as well as food for discussion on racism and human relations. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal
Grade 2-6 A hot,...


Number the Stars
Lois Lowry
0440227534
Feb 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
The evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark is one of the great untold stories of World War II. On September 29, 1943, word got out in Denmark that Jews were to be detained and then sent to the death camps. Within hours the Danish resistance, population and police arranged a small flotilla to herd 7,000 Jews to Sweden. Lois Lowry fictionalizes a true-story account to bring this courageous tale to life. She brings the experience to life through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggles Ellen's family out of the country. Number the Stars won the 1990 Newbery Medal. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
Set in Nazi-occupied Denmark in...


A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles (American Girl Library)
Patti Kelley Crisswell
1584857110
June 2003
Paperback
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How to Lose All Your Friends (Picture Puffins)

0140558624


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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1-This reverse etiquette book advises readers to never smile or share; to be a bully and whine; to tattle and be a poor sport. Each "rule" offers specific examples and is illustrated with brightly colored pictures. While children are always interested in stories showing the complications and potential pitfalls of social interactions, this plotless treatment is not likely to hold much appeal for them. Also, it's unfortunate that "tattling" is presented as undesirable. Granted, the examples given are minor ones involving friends who are misbehaving in not terribly destructive ways, but youngsters do need to know that there are situations in which "telling" is perfectly acceptable. Carlson's cartoon-style art is a little more crudely done here than in her previous books, and her figures are more...


Bridge to Terabithia
Katherine Paterson
0064401847
June 1987
Paperback
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Book Review
The story starts out simply enough: Jess Aarons wants to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade--he wants it so bad he can taste it. He's been practicing all summer, running in the fields around his farmhouse until he collapses in a sweat. Then a tomboy named Leslie Burke moves into the farmhouse next door and changes his life forever. Not only does Leslie not look or act like any girls Jess knows, but she also turns out to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. After getting over the shock and humiliation of being beaten by a girl, Jess begins to think Leslie might be okay. Despite their superficial differences, it's clear that Jess and Leslie are soul mates. The two create a secret kingdom in the woods named Terabithia, where the only way to get into the castle is by swinging out over a gully on an enchanted...


The Myth of You and Me: A Novel of Friendship
Leah Stewart
1400098068
August 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Stewart peers into the complicated heart of friendship in a moving second novel (after 2000's Body of a Girl). Ever since a cataclysmic falling out with her best friend, Sonia, after college, Cameron's closest companion has been Oliver, the 92-year-old historian she lives with and cares for in Oxford, Miss. Oliver's death leaves Cameron alone and adrift, until she discovers that he has given her one last task: she must track down her estranged best friend (whose letter announcing her engagement Cameron had so recently ignored) and deliver a mysterious present to her. Cameron's journey leads her back to the people, places and memories of their shared past, when they called themselves "Cameronia" and swore to be friends forever. It was a relationship more powerful than romantic love—yet romantic love (or sex,...


Elements of Style
Wendy Wasserstein
1400042313
April 18, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
In the classic primer that Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles) names her dishy first novel after, Strunk & White note, "Style not only reveals the spirit of the man but reveals his identity." Wasserstein tries to apply that aphorism to Manhattan's wealthy elite shortly after 9/11. Upper East Side pediatrician Francesca "Frankie" Weissman doesn't have quite as much disposable income as the Manolo moms and Bonpoint babies that frequent her office. She's drawn into the city's circles of old and new money, including those of blue-blooded Samantha Acton; reinvented Californian Judy Tremont; and self-made film mogul Barry Santorini, son of a South Philly cobbler. As mothers stockpile Cipro and gas masks after 9/11, none of them stops believing that "life could be controlled if...


Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War
Charles Bracelen Flood
0374166005
October 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
The lives of Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman are classic underdog stories. Both of these "obscure failures" experienced more disappointment than success prior to the start of the Civil War. By 1861, they had each resigned from the U.S. Army and failed in several civilian pursuits between them, including farming, real estate, retail, and banking. Further, Grant was known as a drunk and Sherman was labeled insane. But once they threw themselves into the war effort, their best traits and talents began to reveal themselves. Even their motives were similar--both men joined the war not to eradicate slavery but to hold the Union together, believing that secession was equal to treason. This dual biography gracefully reveals how the two men grew to be "as brothers," why their partnership proved essential to victory for the...


The Sign of the Beaver
Elizabeth George Speare
0440479002
July 1984
Paperback
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Book Review
When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family's newly built homestead. One day, Matt is brutally stung when he robs a bee tree for honey. He returns to consciousness to discover that his many stings have been treated by an old Native American and his grandson. Matt offers his only book as thanks, but the old man instead asks Matt to teach his grandson Attean to read. Both boys are suspicious, but Attean comes each day for his lesson. In the mornings, Matt tries to entice Attean with tales from Robinson Crusoe, while in the afternoons, Attean teaches Matt about wilderness survival and Native American culture. The boys become friends in spite of themselves, and their inevitable parting is a moving tribute to the ability of shared experience to overcome...


A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines
0375702709
Sept 1997
Paperback
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Book Review
Oprah Book Club® Selection, September 1997: In a small Cajun community in 1940s Louisiana, a young black man is about to go to the electric chair for murder. A white shopkeeper had died during a robbery gone bad; though the young man on trial had not been armed and had not pulled the trigger, in that time and place, there could be no doubt of the verdict or the penalty.

"I was not there, yet I was there. No, I did not go to the trial, I did not hear the verdict, because I knew all the time what it would be..." So begins Grant Wiggins, the narrator of Ernest J. Gaines's powerful exploration of race, injustice, and resistance, A Lesson Before Dying. If young Jefferson, the accused, is confined by the law to an iron-barred cell, Grant Wiggins is no less a prisoner of social convention. University...



Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Dr. Seuss
0679805273
January 1990
Hardcover
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Book Review
Inspirational yet honest, and always rhythmically rollicking, Oh, the Places You'll Go! is a perfect sendoff for children, 1 to 100, entering any new phase of their lives. Kindergartners, graduate students, newlyweds, newly employeds--all will glean shiny pearls of wisdom about the big, bountiful future. The incomparable Dr. Seuss rejoices in the potential everyone has to fulfill their wildest dreams: "You'll be on your way up! / You'll be seeing great sights! / You'll join the high fliers / who soar to high heights." At the same time, he won't delude the starry-eyed upstart about the pitfalls of life: "You can get all hung up / in a prickle-ly perch. / And your gang will fly on. / You'll be left in a Lurch."

But fear not! Dr. Seuss, with his inimitable illustrations and exhilarating rhymes, is...



4th of July
James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
0316710601
May 2, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Mega-bestseller Patterson teams up with journalist/novelist Paetro for a rousing fourth installment of the Women's Murder Club series. This time, bright, tough SFPD Lt. Lindsay Boxer is battling police brutality charges while chasing down a clan of murderers. When a botched police arrest of two gun-toting minors expands from a shaky preliminary hearing to what promises to be a nerve-rattling jury trial of Lindsay, she flees the pre-trial media frenzy for the serene haven of sister Cat's house in Half Moon Bay. But instead of finding relaxation and romance with her Homeland Security beau, Lindsay becomes embroiled in the ruthless crimes of a troika of killers who've been slashing and flogging victims all over town. With surprisingly little aid from the Murder Club, Lindsay performs her detective handiwork (and...


The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini
1594480001
April 2004
Paperback
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Book Review
In his debut novel, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini accomplishes what very few contemporary novelists are able to do. He manages to provide an educational and eye-opening account of a country's political turmoil--in this case, Afghanistan--while also developing characters whose heartbreaking struggles and emotional triumphs resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned over. And he does this on his first try.

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever,...



Owen & Mzee: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship
Craig Hatkoff, Peter Greste (Illustrator)
0439829739
February 1, 2006
Hardcover
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 5 When the six-year-old contributor to this book saw the photograph documenting the extraordinary friendship between a baby hippo (Owen) and a 130-year-old giant tortoise (Mzee), she persuaded her father to help tell their story. Originally an e-book, the hardcover version begins with images of the duo, whetting readers' appetite and providing reassurance as the potentially disturbing plot unfolds. After a scene depicting a pod of hippos near the Sabuki River in Kenya, the text describes the 600-pound baby's displacement and separation from the group during the 2004 tsunami. Children witness the challenging rescue and meet the knowledgeable staff at an animal sanctuary. From Owen's first approach for protection to Mzee's unexpected tolerance, the photographs, mostly by BBC photojournalist...


Holes
Louis Sachar
0440414806
May 2000
Paperback
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Book Review
"If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy." Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be "the largest lake in Texas" is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!" Despite his innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp...


Circle of Quilters (Elm Creek Quilters Novels)
Jennifer Chiaverini
0743260201
March 28, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
In a move that may frustrate fans, the eighth episode of Chiaverini's best-selling Elm Creek Quilts series (after The Sugar Camp Quilt) focuses on a roster of new quilting talent, as the rural Pennsylvania quilting retreat loses two of its charmed teachers. Each of the five candidates gets her or his own chapter; they begin variously-Maggie's first quilting find, a busy day for harried mom Karen, chef Anna's panic over a last-minute catering gig, Russ meeting his future wife, a morning argument between Gretchen and her husband-but they all end at Elm Creek Quilts, in an interview with the series's lead characters. Though the pleasures of the novel are many-well-drawn characters, cleverly intersecting plotlines, and Chiaverini's charming sense of humor among them-these may be cold comfort for those eager to find...


Freak the Mighty
Rodman Philbrick
0439286069
May 2001
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Two eighth-grade misfits-one physically impaired, the other with a learning disability-become fast friends in a story PW found "choked with cliches and stereotypes." Ages 10-14. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9-A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss. Large, awkward, learning-disabled Maxwell Kane, whose father is in prison for murdering his mother, and crippled, undersized Kevin are both mocked by their peers; the cruel taunting they endure is all too realistic and believable. The boys establish a friendship-and a partnership. Kevin defends them with his intelligence, while Max is his friend's "legs," affording him a...


The Friendship Test
Elizabeth Noble
0060777745
December 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Noble (The Reading Group) spins another compulsively readable yarn, guided by the cozily familiar conceit of lifelong friendship taking root among vastly different gals. This fab four, deftly rendered with a few pen strokes as distinct personalities—brassy American Freddie; doting, maternal Tasmin; beautiful, sensitive Sarah; and scholarly, serious Reagan—meet in Oxford in the '80s and nurse each other through heartache and calamity with soul-baring dish sessions and fervent avowals of friendship, calling themselves the Tenko Club. The divergent threads of their adult lives are destined to knot again in 2004, after Freddie suffers a double blow with her husband's affair and her estranged father's death. Her oldest friends rally to her cause, each in her own way—from caustic honesty to fierce...


Girls in Pants
Ann Brashares
0385729359
Jan 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
Ages 12 and up. Best buds Tibby, Carmen, Lena and Bridget are back with their magical pair of shared jeans in Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood. Each summer brings new and difficult challenges, as the perennially separated friends discover afresh this last season before college. Tibby struggles with the idea of close friend Brian becoming her boyfriend, and their fragile relationship is soon tested by a tragedy in her immediate family. Carmen doesn’t know how to react when she finds out that her middle-aged mom is pregnant, and Bridget is unpleasantly surprised to be reunited with the boy who broke her heart two summers ago. Finally, Lena, still coming to terms with the loss of her first love, tries to convince her strict father that art school is a better career path than Greek restaurant management....


Diary of a Spider
Doreen Cronin, Harry Bliss (Illustrator)
0060001534
August 1, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Cronin and Bliss repeat the comic ingredients that made Diary of a Worm so successful in this rib-tickling sequel. This time the diary is written by Worm's friend Spider and filled with similar verbal high jinks, deadpan humor and visual jokes that offer readers a whimsical glimpse of the world from a small creature's point of view. Endpapers feature photos of Spider's family as well as his favorite book (Charlotte's Web), his discovery of a "neat sculpture!" (a toilet bowl) and a playbill from his school's production of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" (a review blurb by Worm says, "You'll dig this play"). Children will relate to the book's droll humor, as when Spider goes to the park with his sister ("We tried the seesaw. It didn't work") or when he takes his molted skin for show-and-tell. A slight story line about...


Truth and Beauty: A Friendship
Ann Patchett
0060572159
April 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
This memoir of Patchett's friendship with Autobiography of a Face author Lucy Grealy shares many insights into the nature of devotion. One of the best instances of this concerns a fable of ants and grasshoppers. When winter came, the hard-working ant took the fun-loving grasshopper in, each understanding their roles were immutable. It was a symbiotic relationship. Like the grasshopper, Grealy, who died of cancer at age 39 in 2002, was an untethered creature, who liked nothing more than to dance, drink and fling herself into Patchett's arms like a kitten. Patchett (The Patron Saint of Liars; Bel Canto) tells this story chronologically, in bursts of dialogue, memory and snippets of Grealy's letters, moving from the unfolding of their deep connection in graduate school and into the more turbulent waters beyond....


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Kate DiCamillo
0763625892
February 2006
Hardcover
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3-6–This achingly beautiful story shows a true master of writing at her very best. Edward Tulane is an exceedingly vain, cold-hearted china rabbit owned by 10-year-old Abilene Tulane, who dearly loves him. Her grandmother relates a fairy tale about a princess who never felt love; she then whispers to Edward that he disappoints her. His path to redemption begins when he falls overboard during the familys ocean journey. Sinking to the bottom of the sea where he will spend 297 days, Edward feels his first emotion–fear. Caught in a fishermans net, he lives with the old man and his wife and begins to care about his humans. Then their adult daughter takes him to the dump, where a dog and a hobo find him. They ride the rails together until Edward is cruelly separated from...


Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Judy Blume
0425193799
Jan 2004
Paperback
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Book Review
Passed on from babysitters to their young charges, from big sisters to little brothers, and from parents to children, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and its cousins (Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great) have entertained children since they first appeared in the early 1970s. The books follow Peter Hatcher, his little brother Fudgie, baby sister Tootsie, their neighbor Sheila Tubman, various pets, and minor characters through New York City and on treks to suburbs and camps.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first of these entertaining yarns. Peter, because he's the oldest, must deal with Fudgie's disgusting cuteness, his constant meddling with Peter's stuff, and other grave offenses, one of which is almost too much to bear. All these incidents are...



Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel
Lisa See
1400060281
June 28, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. See's engrossing novel set in remote 19th-century China details the deeply affecting story of lifelong, intimate friends (laotong, or "old sames") Lily and Snow Flower, their imprisonment by rigid codes of conduct for women and their betrayal by pride and love. While granting immediacy to Lily's voice, See (Flower Net) adroitly transmits historical background in graceful prose. Her in-depth research into women's ceremonies and duties in China's rural interior brings fascinating revelations about arranged marriages, women's inferior status in both their natal and married homes, and the Confucian proverbs and myriad superstitions that informed daily life. Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters' foot binding ("Only through pain will you have beauty. Only...


White Teeth
Zadie Smith
0375703861
June 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
Epic in scale and intimate in approach, White Teeth is a formidably ambitious debut. First novelist Zadie Smith takes on race, sex, class, history, and the minefield of gender politics, and such is her wit and inventiveness that these weighty subjects seem effortlessly light. She also has an impressive geographical range, guiding the reader from Jamaica to Turkey to Bangladesh and back again.

Still, the book's home base is a scrubby North London borough, where we encounter Smith's unlikely heroes: prevaricating Archie Jones and intemperate Samad Iqbal, who served together in the so-called Buggered Battalion during World War II. In the ensuing decades, both have gone forth and multiplied: Archie marries beautiful, bucktoothed Clara--who's on the run from her Jehovah's Witness mother--and fathers a daughter. Samad marries...



The Pigman
Paul Zindel
0060757353
Apr 2005
Paperback
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Book Review
For sophomores John and Lorraine, the world feels meaningless; nothing is important. They certainly can never please their parents, and school is a chore. To pass the time, they play pranks on unsuspecting people. It's during one of these pranks that they meet the "Pigman"--a fat, balding old man with a zany smile plastered on his face. In spite of themselves, John and Lorraine soon find that they're caught up in Mr. Pignati's zest for life. In fact, they become so involved that they begin to destroy the only corner of the world that's ever mattered to them. Originally published in 1968, this novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Zindel still sings with sharp emotion as John and Lorraine come to realize that "Our life would be what we made of it--nothing more, nothing less." --This text...


King Dork
Frank Portman
0385732910
April 11, 2006
Hardcover
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Book Review
In Frank Portman's dazzling debut novel, frustrated song-writer and high school student Tom Henderson finds his dead father's copy of The Catcher in the Rye, and his life changes forever. Part social satire, part mystery, with a healthy dose of rock music (and angst), King Dork is one of our must-read favorites of the year. Bonus Content from Frank Portman

Frank Portman (aka Dr. Frank) is not just an author, he's also a musician. We were lucky enough to get a few tracks and a few words from the man behind King Dork, his band The Mr. T. Experience, and the relationship between his book and his music.

"King Dork"
This is the "title track" for my new book. No matter how many times I say that (and I've now said it at least twice by my count) it still sounds...


Fortunate Son : A Novel
Walter Mosley
0316114715
April 10, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. White Los Angeles heart surgeon Minas Nolan, a very recent widower, meets African-American flower-shop employee Branwyn Beerman when her son Thomas is born prematurely with a hole in his lung, and without a father in his life. Minas has a son, Eric, a week younger than Tommy, and the four, along with enigmatic Vietnamese nanny Ahn, soon form a loving ménage. Following Branwyn's sudden death 50 pages later, Tommy, now six, is plunged into a hardscrabble life when his difficult father, Elton, claims him; he grows up without resentment, talking aloud to Branwyn when he's sad or confused (and sometimes to Elton's on-again, off-again partner, May), but ends up on the streets. Eric, meanwhile, sails through childhood and adolescence, but remains alienated, constantly missing "his brother,"...


Small Steps
Louis Sachar
0385733143
January 10, 2006
Hardcover
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–This sequel to Holes (Farrar, 1998) focuses on Armpit, an African-American former resident of Tent D at Camp Green Lake. It's two years after his release, and the 16-year-old is still digging holes, although now getting paid for it, working for a landscaper in his hometown of Austin, TX. He's trying to turn his life around, knowing that everyone expects the worst of him and that he must take small steps to keep moving forward. When X-Ray, his friend and fellow former detainee at the juvenile detention center, comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme involving scalping tickets to a concert by teenage pop star Kaira DeLeon, Armpit fronts X-Ray the money. He takes his best friend and neighbor, Ginny, a 10-year-old with cerebral palsy, to the concert and ends up meeting Kaira, getting romantically...

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