Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Morning Introductions

Yes, that is a Christmas book you see among our offerings this week.  By the time it goes through the review process and gets posted to our site, shoppers will still have plenty of time to purchase and get it home before the holidays.  Meanwhile, enjoy the last few days of summer!

The Santa Club A delightful book with captivating illustrations, The Santa Club transitions your child from receiving gifts to experiencing the joy of giving. With sensitivity, faith, and love, The Santa Club tackles the serious question, Is Santa Claus Real? To be read with your child, this wonderful book not only answers that sometimes dreaded question but it also addresses the questions of why Santa comes at Christmas and who was the first Santa. The Santa Club is a wonderful parenting resource and a stunning childrens book, and is sure to become an annual family favorite.

The Conscious Catwoman Explains Life on Earth Julie Newmar, known to millions as Catwoman on the 60s Batman television show, explains life through her eyes.

Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny Today’s pop music—genre-crossing, gender-bending, racially mixed, visually stylish, and dominated by dance music with global appeal—is the world that Nile Rodgers created. In the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote and produced the songs that defined that era and everything that came after: “Le Freak,” “Good Times,” “We Are Family,” “Like a Virgin,” “Modern Love,” “I’m Coming Out,” “The Reflex,” “Rapper’s Delight.” Aside from his own band, Chic, he worked with everyone from Diana Ross and Madonna to David Bowie and Duran Duran (not to mention Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Prince, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Depeche Mode, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Grace Jones, Bryan Ferry, INXS, and the B-52’s), transforming their music, selling millions of records, and redefining what a pop song could be.

Liesl and Po Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone. That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable. Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

Peter Huddleston lived a dull life in a quiet town with his decidedly normal father and stepmother; he awoke each morning with the intention to fit in and be like everyone else. But something always seemed to get in the way of those best intentions. With his prized boomerang constantly in his fingers, Peter blunders from one misunderstanding to another until his exasperated father bundles him off for the summer to visit his aunt Gillian at her home, Hillside Manor. Peter quickly learns that Hillside Manor is no ordinary summer retreat, and that his mother s sister is anything but an ordinary woman. Within its vast walls, and 3,000 rooms, the wondrous Hillside houses many secrets, including the fact that it serves as gateway between our world and the mysterious Galadria, where Peter s mother s family currently rules. Peter has been summoned to Hillside to learn that he is the only heir to his royal family, and to determine if he is prepared to face The Rites of Passage. The rites are not the only challenges Peter will face during his summer of tutelage at the hands of his aunt and her strange and fascinating entourage. Peter is embroiled in the dynastic challenge as his aunt s heir, inheriting the enmity of Knor of the House of Shadowray, who covets the crown of Galadria. With his trusty boomerang and armed with magical trinkets, Peter gamely faces the challenges to prove himself in this eccentric and privileged world. Aid comes from strange and unexpected places, but inexorably Peter is pushed and tested to his breaking point. His successes put him in evermore peril and catapult him closer to a confrontation with Knor, and to a grizzly realization that he might not survive the summer!

Catherine the Great The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones. Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands.

The Little Bride Inspired by the little-known real history of the Jewish settlement of the Great Plains, The Little Bride is an elegantly written tale of a sixteen-year-old Russian mail-order bride stranded on the South Dakota prairie, married to a man twice her age, and falling increasingly in love with her nineteen-year-old stepson.

Dakota: Or What's Heaven For The lives and schemes of frontier politicians, Northern Pacific Railroad executives, bonanza farmers, and homesteaders converge in the story of Frances Houghton Bingham, who marries the son of a Red River Valley bonanza farmer in order to remain near her new husband s sister. Emotionally complex, willful and resourceful, Frances is seduced by the myths of opportunity driving the settlement of Dakota Territory, and dares to dream of a new world in which to realize her unconventional desires. Providing a counterpoint to the dramatic risks taken by Frances is the generous voice of Kirsten Knudson, the daughter of Norwegian homesteaders. As Kirsten grows from a voluble girl to a formidable woman, her observations (equal parts absurdity and insight) reveal the heart of the novel.

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