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The Outsider: A Memoir by Jimmy Connors

Vita's picture

I was a huge tennis fan during the Connors and Borg era. It was the sport I should have played as a young athlete. The writing feels honest and fresh but not particularly good. Still it is very entertaining and Connors hands out some dirt on tennis folks but what would you expect the author is Jimmy Connors! I liked Connors family stories in East St. Louis. Family was important to what made Connors a tennis star and he gives due homage with no reservations.

 

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power, by Paul Fischer

Caitlin's picture

In this fascinating book, film producer Paul Fischer combines interviews, research, and first-hand investigation to tell the strange story of Kim Jong-Il’s kidnapping of South Korea’s leading director and his star actress ex-wife. Obsessed with film since he was a child, Kim Jong-Il used North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda to build his power within the regime, making the only movies that the isolated North Korean people were allowed to view. As Kim’s ambitions eclipsed his country’s limited filmmaking ability, he decided to recruit new talent—forcibly.

Choi Eun-Hee was South Korea’s biggest and most beloved star; Shin Sang-Ok, her director ex-husband, ran the largest film production company in South Korea. Kim kidnapped both in 1978, and after torturing Shin into compliance, the two began making films for North Korea’s captive audience. With success—their films played to packed theaters for months and won international awards—came the opportunity to escape via a chase straight out of a spy novel.

A must-read for anyone interested in the history and culture of North Korea. 

Juvenile Fiction Selection: The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

Princess Magnolia is not your average princess.  She is sipping hot chocolate and enjoying some scones with the Duchess, but then the monster alarms sounds and she becomes The Princess in Black!  When the monsters start threatening the goats, it's up to the Princess to stop them, along with the help of her trusty stead, Frimpepants.  Princess Magnolia, disguised in black, sets off to save the kingdom.  Can she stop the monsters and keep the nosy duchess from discovering her secret identity?  This is a fun read for any child who loves princesses with a little less frill and a little more adventure!  (Grades K-3 School Library Journal)

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper

Catie's picture

No one is more surprised than Judd Foxman when his father passes away.  Not so much by the death, but by the nonreligious patriarch’s last wish to have the family sit Shiva, a Jewish tradition that requires his mother and siblings to spend an entire week together under one roof.  This wouldn’t be so bad if Judd’s family wasn’t so dysfunctional.  As this group of unique characters are forced to spend time together old wounds are brought to surface and they are made to deal with issues they would have rather continued to ignore.  The only family member not present is Judd’s wife who has been openly having an affair.  As Judd unwillingly reconnects with his family and struggles to deal with the reality of his deteriorating marriage what results is a novel full of biting, albeit slightly dark humor with realizations about family life and love.  

Dreaming Spies, by Laurie King

Caitlin's picture

Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, return for their thirteenth adventure (which, chronologically speaking, takes place between seventh and eighth books in the series, The Game and Locked Rooms, respectively). On their way from India to San Francisco in 1924, Russell and Holmes encounter a missing woman on a cruise ship and a nobly-born British blackmailer who had previously escaped Holmes. Soon, they’re working with a family of Japanese ninjas to avoid a major embarrassment—and a serious diplomatic incident—for Prince Hirohito, the heir to the empire of Japan.

Witty and well-paced, fans of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes will find much to enjoy in this novel, which fills in a once-missing gap in the adventures of this detective duo. While Dreaming Spies references other incidents in the series, it can easily be read alone.

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