WPSU's BookMark

    For National Poetry Month, poet and frequent BookMark contributor Marjorie Maddox reviews Jerry Wemple's newest poetry collection, The Artemas Poems. The linked poems about a man named Artemas are set in small-town Pennsylvania.

    Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

    April 10, 2014

    Centre County Reads is an organization that encourages county residents of all ages to read and discuss the same book. This year's pick is Mary Roach's Packing for Mars. Our reviewer, Hannah Burks, is this year's undergraduate intern for the Center for American Literary Studies at Penn State.

    Longtime State College resident Cindy Wolf reviews Notes from Inside a Burst Bubble: Penn Staters on the Sandusky Scandal. The collection of essays, blog posts, and news articles is edited by Sheila Squillante and Dave Housley.

    The Evening Hour by Carter Sickels

    March 13, 2014

    Lauren Ostberg reviews Carter Sickels' The Evening Hour, a novel set in a West Virginian coal town. Sickels earned his MFA from Penn State. He will be visiting Penn State University Park on March 20 as part of the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series.

    The shale gas industry

    Ties That Bind by Dave Isay

    February 13, 2014

    WPSU's Emily Reddy, who usually hosts BookMark, reviews Dave Isay's Ties That Bind. It's a collection of interviews about love and gratitude celebrating the first ten years of radio's StoryCorps.

    Mandarin Gate by Eliot Pattison

    January 30, 2014

    Linda Short reviews Eliot Pattison's latest book, Mandarin Gate. It's a political thriller set in Tibet and the seventh book of Pattison's Inspector Shan series.

    Marjorie Maddox's Local News from Someplace Else is a collection of poems about how the tragedies we hear about in the news affect us at home. Amanda Richards reviews.

    Who Stole New Year's Eve? by Martha Freeman

    January 2, 2014

    Martha Freeman's Chickadee Court Mysteries are set in a town based on State College. Shelby Caraway reviews Who Stole New Year's Eve?, the latest installment in the series.

    Beautiful Souls by Eyal Press

    December 19, 2013

    Penn State Reads is a new program that encourages first-year students to read the same book over the course of a school year. The inaugural pick, Eyal Press's Beautiful Souls, explores why people choose to stand up for what they believe is right, even when it's difficult to do so. Our reviewer, Jonathan Marks, is the director of Penn State's Bioethics Program and a senior fellow at the Rock Ethics Institute.

    Building Stories by Chris Ware

    December 5, 2013

    Penn State awarded this year's Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize to Chris Ware for his latest work, Building Stories. Sara Hoy reviews.

    November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. Ann Kolanowski reviews Donald and Carol Ford's Carol's Alzheimers Journey, a memoir about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease.

    Stephanie Powell Watts' We Are Only Taking What We Need is a collection of short stories about African American women in North Carolina. Millheim resident Abby Minor reviews.

    Happy Halloween! WPSU's own Kristine Allen reviews Thomas White's Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History & Lore.

    Young Mr. Roosevelt by Stanley Weintraub

    October 24, 2013

    Philip Winsor reviews Stanley Weintraub's latest book, Young Mr. Roosevelt. Weintraub will be speaking about his book at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg on November 6.

    Gold by Barbara Crooker

    Gold, Barbara Crooker's latest book of poetry, deals with themes like loss and aging. Reviewer Marjorie Maddox is a poet, herself. She teaches at Lock Haven University.

    For Banned Book Week, Andrew Bode-Lang reviews Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers. Books from the Captain Underpants series were the most frequently challenged titles in the country last year.

    Horse People: Stories by Cary Holladay

    September 12, 2013

    Rebecca Kuensting reviews Horse People, Cary Holladay's collection of short stories. Holladay will be visiting Penn State University Park on September 24 as part of the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series.

    The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

    August 29, 2013

    WPSU's Kate Lao Shaffner reviews the winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson, is an epic novel set in North Korea.

    Harriet and Mr. Nobody by Michael Casino

    August 15, 2013

    Michael Casino's memoir, Harriet and Mr. Nobody, is the story of one Pennsylvania's life over a century. Reviewer Olivia Toms is from State College.

    Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

    August 1, 2013

    Sometimes a book can get under your skin. Maggie Muir reviews Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a short story collection by Karen Russell.

    Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report has become a household name, and not only because he's funny. Daniel Mallinson reviews Penn State professor Sophia A. McClennen's Colbert's America: Satire and Democracy.

    It's time for BookMark, the book review show on WPSU. It's been 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg. For the 4th of July, reviewer Raymond Beal revisits this key event in American history. Civil War historian Allen C. Guelzo's Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, is a narrative account of the three-day battle.

    Andrew Blum's Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet is a behind-the-scenes look at how the internet works. Blum is a featured author in this year's BookFest PA. Amanda Minchin reviews.

    Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman

    June 6, 2013

    Becky Aikman's memoir, Saturday Night Widows, is about how she pursued healing after her husband's death. Aikman, originally from Brookville, PA, is a featured author at this year's BookFest. Reviewer MIschelle Marie (also known as KC O'Day) is a morning radio host at WALY 103.9.

    An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

    May 23, 2013

    Sarah May Clarkson reviews Charles Todd's An Unmarked Grave, a novel that piqued her interest because it's been likened to PBS series Downton Abbey. Charles Todd is one of the featured authors of this year's BookFest, PA.

    Former Penn State professor Josip Novakovich is a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, which is awarded every two years to a writer for his or her body of work. Jessica Matzko reviews Navokovich's book, Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust.

    Jennier Haigh's latest book, News from Heaven: The Bakerton Stories, is about the residents of a fictional coal mining town in Pennsylvania. Reviewer Kirk Weixel has long been an admirer of Haigh's work. He's known the author since she attended high school with his children.

    The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

    April 11, 2013

    This year's pick for One Book Bradford is Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. It's a novel about family, aging, and death--told through a Golden Retriever. Reviewer Cheryl Bazzoui lives in Bradford. She is a pet owner, registered nurse, and author.

    Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

    March 28, 2013

    Since 2010, Penn State's Center for American Literary Studies has paired with Centre County Reads to present a program in which the entire community--on and off campus- -is encouraged to read a single novel. This year, the selection is Sandra Cisneros' Caramelo. Reviewer Shannon Brace is a student intern at the Center for American Literary Studies.

    This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

    March 14, 2013

    First-grade teacher Sue Shaffner has read thousands of children's books. She reviews a new personal favorite: Jon Klassen's This is Not My Hat, this year's Caldecott Medal winner.

    For Black History Month, Eric Ian Farmer reviews The Amistad Rebellion, an account of the slave rebellion at sea that proved pivotal to our country's notions of freedom.

    The Next Full Moon by Carolyn Turgeon

    February 14, 2013

    Travel writer Jill Gleeson reviews Carolyn Turgeon's The Next Full Moon. This young adult novel is a fairy tale set in Central Pennsylvania.

    Muchacho by LouAnne Johnson

    January 31, 2013

    Muchacho, by LouAnne Johnson, tells the story of how a boy with a troubled past begins to realize his potential. Our reviewer, Joan Papalia-Eisert, lives in Youngsville, where she grew up with the book's author, LouAnne Johnson.

    Bombshell: Women and Terrorism by Mia Bloom

    January 17, 2013

    Bombshell examines the stories and motives of female terrorists. Our reviewer, Paige Deckert, is a PhD candidate at Penn State University Park. She's also a research assistant at the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at Penn State.

    Learn Something New Every Day by Kee Malesky

    January 3, 2013

    WPSU's own Emily Reddy usually hosts BookMark. Today she reviews a book that could be just the thing to help you with your New Year's resolutions: Learn Something New Every Day: 365 Facts to Fulfill Your Life, by Kee Malesky.

    Some Stones Shine by Joseph C. Tarone

    December 20, 2012

    Some Stones Shine, by Joseph C. Tarone, follows four brothers who find work in a coal patch after the death of their father. Our reviewer, R. Thomas Berner, is a 9th generation Pennsylvanian from the coal region where the book is set. He's also a retired journalism professor who taught at Penn State for 28 years.

    After Action by Dan Sheehan

    December 6, 2012

    Major Erik Orient has been a Marine for 22 years. He works for Penn State's Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. Major Orient reviews After Action: A Cobra Pilot's Journey, by Dan Sheehan. Sheehan is a fellow Marine who came back from Iraq carrying the lingering impacts of war.

    Where We Once Gathered: Lost Synagogues of Europe by Andrea Strongwater contains descriptions and colorful illustrations of synagogues destroyed on or around Kristallnacht. The book is reviewed by Linda Short, a Jewish history lecturer at Penn State University Park.

    Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

    October 25, 2012

    Dead End in Norvelt won the prestigious John Newbery Medal for children's literature in 2012. Our reviewer, Steven Herb, chaired this year's committee to select the companion prize, the Randolph Caldecott Medal for Illustration. He's also a child of the 60s, which is when today's book is set.

    Waterproof by Judith Redline Coopey

    October 11, 2012

    Waterproof, a historical fiction by Judith Redline Coopey, paints the story of a woman who survived the Johnstown flood of 1889. Our reviewer, Denise Holliday Damico, is a professor of history at St. Francis University near Johnstown. Damico specializes in water history and has assigned class projects on the flood.

    Blue Moon Over Cuba by William B. Ecker & Kenneth Jack

    September 27, 2012

    In October of 1962, the United States was held rapt by the Cuban Missile Crisis. This book tells the story of Navy members who held a little-known, but important job. They took aerial reconnaissance photos over Cuba.

    Nude Walker by Bathsheba Monk

    September 13, 2012

    Small town America is changing. Linda Short reviews Nude Walker, a book about the challenges in one Pennsylvania town when a group of soldiers returns from war. The author, Bathsheba Monk, lives in the Lehigh Valley.

    Paterno by Joe Posnanski

    August 30, 2012

    Joe Posnanski had unprecedented access to Joe Paterno in the last two years of his life. Posnanski set out to write a biography and stumbled on a scandal. This book outlines Paterno's life, including the last turbulent months before the longtime Penn State coach died of lung cancer. State College resident and Penn State grad Jonathan McVerry reviews the book.

    The End of Country by Seamus McGraw

    August 16, 2012

    Marcellus Shale drilling is a subject of interest for many people in Pennsylvania. Our reviewer, Ray Beal, lives in an area that has seen some changes as a result of gas drilling. He reviews an author's account of real people that take on every angle concerning the issue.

    Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

    August 2, 2012

    Lisa Genova has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. In her second novel, she explores a real psychological condition called "left neglect." Our reviewer, Cheryl Bazzoui, explains how the main character deals with losing awareness of the left side of her body.

    When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore

    July 19, 2012

    The beach is a place to enjoy sun, surf, and sandcastles, but what happens when a dragon arrives? Babs Bengtson reviews this playful children's book by Boalsburg author Jodi Moore.

    Don Juan in Hankey, PA by Gale Martin

    July 5, 2012

    Mischelle Marie, aka KC O'Day, is a local morning radio personality at WALY 103.9. She reviews the debut novel by author Gale Martin, Don Juan in Hankey, PA. Martin will be featured at Schlow Library's upcoming Bookfest PA on July 14th.

    Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

    June 21, 2012

    State College Area High School student Abby Reese reviews the popular teen series Pretty Little Liars. Sara Shepard, the author of the books-turned-TV-show, will be speaking at Schlow Library BookFest PA on July 14th, 2012. Shepard has surprising ties to State College.

    Ulysses by James Joyce

    June 7, 2012

    June 16th is a little-known holiday. For fans of classic literature, it marks a day for commemorating Ulysses, a work by James Joyce. Kate Hoffman, a State College Area High School English teacher, has been participating in "Bloomsday" for years. She reviews the book in honor of this year's upcoming celebration.

    The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

    May 24, 2012

    WPSU's Kristine Allen, our arts and culture reporter, reviews a book about why we do what we do. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg looks at how habits are created and how we can change them.

    The Last Speakers by K. David Harrison

    May 10, 2012

    Can you imagine being one of the last people to speak your language? High schooler Sophia Fricke reviews The Last Speakers by K. David Harrison.

    Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

    April 26, 2012

    Susan Vreeland's latest novel, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, is this year's selection for One Book Bradford, a community reading event. As part of the event, Vreeland will visit the Pitt Bradford campus on Tuesday, May 1st at 7:30 pm.

    Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

    April 12, 2012

    Our reviewer, Linda Short, is an avid mystery reader. Her latest endorsement in the genre goes to writer Harry Dolan. She reviews his first novel, Bad Things Happen. The sequel, Very Bad Men, is out now.

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    March 15, 2012

    The author of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, will speak at the Mt. Nittany Middle School auditorium via Skype video call Tuesday, March 20th, at 7 pm. WPSU's Patty Satalia will moderate. You can find more information about Centre County Reads and other upcoming events at www.centrecountyreads.org.

    A Matter of Simple Justice by Lee Stout

    March 1, 2012

    Our reviewer, Nancy Eaton, helps kick off Women's History Month by sharing a book about a Penn State alumna who worked in the Nixon administration. The book, A Matter of Simple Justice, premiers on March 8th at a Women's History Month event at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

    To celebrate Black History Month, Harriet Gaston reviews a fictional story about the Underground Railroad in central Pennsylvania

    Push by Sapphire

    February 2, 2012

    Semhar Mengisteab, a high school student from State College, recommends a novel that will help you commemorate Black History Month, which begins this week.

    On Canaan's Side: A Novel by Sebastian Barry

    January 19, 2012

    Irish writer Sebastian Barry brings us this fictional history of an Irish-American family told by its matriarch.

    Christmas with Tucker by Greg Kincaid

    December 22, 2011

    Cheryl Bazzoui, an author and Bradford resident, reviews a young adult Christmas novel. Christmas with Tucker, by Greg Kincaid, is about a young boy struggling through his first Christmas after the death of his father with the help of a neighbor's dog.

    The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

    December 8, 2011

    Paige Cooperstein, a Penn State University Park student, reviews Rebecca Rasmussen's debut novel. Rasmussen received one of her Master of Fine Arts Degrees at Penn State.

    The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

    November 27, 2011

    Looking for a great book about food this Thanksgiving? Anthony Bourdain called this novel, "Outstanding!" Let our reviewer, Sheila Squillante, tell you more about this culinary journey that travels from India to France.

    Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas about Cities by Witold Rybczynski

    November 10, 2011

    Hear how some Pennsylvania cities fared in a new book by the architecture critic and University of Pennsylvania professor, Witold Rybczynski.

    Retired Lock Haven University Professor, Carolyn Perry, came out with her memoir this year. It details her survival of Hurricanes Agnes and Katrina. Our reviewer, Marjorie Maddox, is the director of the Creative Writing program at Lock Haven University.

    Spiral by Paul McEuen

    October 13, 2011

    Pamela Kavanaugh, a former science teacher and high school librarian, brings her love of science and reading together when she reviews the debut novel of Cornell physicist, Paul McEuen. That novel is Spiral.

    Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball by Rebecca Alpert

    September 29, 2011

    If you're gearing up for major league baseball playoffs, you'll want to read Rebecca Alpert's new book, Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball.

    The Burning Soul by John Connolly

    September 15, 2011

    John Connolly, the author of The Burning Soul, will speak at Schlow Library in downtown State College on Tuesday, September 27th at 7 pm. Mystery fans will not want to miss this.

    Penn State Football kicks off this weekend. Gear up for another season of sports with David and Matt Pencek's new book, The Great Book of Penn State Sports Lists. Our reviewer, Joshua Guiher, says it would be a great feature at any tailgate.

    Bright's Passage by Josh Ritter

    August 25, 2011

    Josh Ritter was scheduled to open at the Dispatch concert on Sunday August 28th at the Bryce Jordan Center. But Hurricane Irene prevented his arrival. In lieu of hearing him perform live, Rachel Sweeney reviews Ritter's debut novel, Bright's Passage.

    The Help by Kathryn Stockett

    August 11, 2011

    Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel, The Help, was just released as a film. The film stars Viola Davis, Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer. Our reviewer, Sarah May Clarkson, is a frequent contributor to BookMark.

    This Strange Land by Shara McCallum

    July 27, 2011

    This Strange Land is a collection of poems written by Shara McCallum and released with an audio CD of her reading. It is McCallum's third book of poetry. Our reviewer, Marjorie Maddox, is a poet and prose writer.

    How Did You Get This Number? by Sloane Crosley

    July 20, 2011

    Sloane Crosley published a new collection of essays, How Did You Get This Number?, last year in 2010. If you remember her debut collection, I Was Told There'd Be Cake, you can be assured of another hilarious read.

    Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline

    July 13, 2011

    Lisa Scottoline is a mystery writer visiting State College this Saturday as a part of BookFestPA. A local writer, Maggie Gould, reviews one of Scottoline's suspenseful stories.

    The Headhunter's Daughter by Tamar Myers

    July 6, 2011

    Author Tamar Myers was born in the Belgian Congo. Her latest mystery series takes readers there. Myers will visit State College on Saturday, July 16th as part of BookFestPA.

    Weather Whys: Facts, Myths and Oddities explains weird weather phenomena with wit and efficiency. The author, Paul Yeager, will be in State College as a part of 2011's BookFestPA.

    The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

    June 22, 2011

    Today's reviewer, Linda Short, has reported on racial issues for the monthly newspaper Voices. She takes that interest to the book world by reviewing The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

    Flawless Ruins by Kieryn Nicolas

    June 15, 2011

    Kieryn Nicolas, a State College Area High School student, has written her second novel. It's out today and her high school English teacher, Kate Hoffman, has reviewed it for BookMark. Hoffman also reviewed Nicolas' first novel, Rain.

    Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

    June 8, 2011

    Six months ago Book Mark producer Sarah Blake was anticipating a baby. She just gave birth to a baby boy last Wednesday. We're rebroadcasting her review of Spoon to celebrate.

    Under Glass by Jen Hirt

    June 1, 2011

    A Penn State Harrisburg professor recently published her first book of literary nonfiction. This collection of essays shares family stories, and tales of amazing, old greenhouses that made up the family business.

    Dog on It by Spencer Quinn

    May 25, 2011

    A new mystery series will have you barking for more! Narrated by a fun-loving canine, these books follow a dog and his owner as they run the Little Detective Agency.

    The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

    May 18, 2011

    When a NYC journalist visits State College and falls in love with a farmer, what happens next? Our review will tell you about the exciting new book that tells this true story.

    The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine

    May 11, 2011

    Fiction can help us through difficult truths and can move us to act. One novel recently captivated a local college student, and she came to WPSU to share her review.

    Women of the West by Dorothy Gray

    May 4, 2011

    A local author captures the stories of many amazing pioneer women of the West in this historical nonfiction book that's been brought back to print.

    World Tree by David Wojahn

    April 27, 2011

    For the last week of National Poetry Month, we take a look at a book published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Find out more about a poet that's working everything from Reagan to Scrabble into his exciting poems.

    God, Seed by Rebecca Foust and Lorna Stevens

    April 20, 2011

    It's our third week of National Poetry Month! Our book this week is half poetry and half paintings and drawings. No matter the form, the book explores nature and the amazing world that surrounds us.

    Domain of Perfect Affection by Robin Becker

    April 13, 2011

    For the second week of National Poetry Month, we take a look at the most recent collection of poetry from the talented Penn State laureate.

    National Poetry Month begins, and BookMark starts the celebration with a book by a Pittsburgh poet reviewed by an Altoona poet!

    The Wisdom of Wooden by John Wooden and Steve Jamison

    March 30, 2011

    Wrap up March with a little more March Madness! As the final game of the tournament approaches, listen in for our review of a book by a basketball legend.

    Under Glass by Jen Hirt

    March 23, 2011

    A Penn State Harrisburg professor recently published her first book of literary nonfiction. This collection of essays shares family stories, and tales of amazing, old greenhouses that made up the family business.

    Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

    March 16, 2011

    A new mystery series will have you barking for more! Narrated by a fun-loving canine, these books follow a dog and his owner as they run the Little Detective Agency.

    BookMark: More by Barbara Crooker

    March 9, 2011

    Learn more about a moving new book of poetry by a local poet, who recently read at Lock Haven University. You may have heard her poems on The Writer's Almanac.

    BookMark: Catina's Haircut by Paola Corso

    March 2, 2011

    Start March off with a book that will take you to Italy! This novel, composed of linked short stories, follows four generations of an Italian family. They immigrate to Pittsburgh, and many stories take place there as well.

    It's the final week of Black History Month! Listen in to learn more about a forthcoming biography of a literary activist. A Penn State professor authors the book, and a Penn State student offers her review!

    BookMark: The River Is Rising by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

    February 16, 2011

    This week is our third book for Black History Month! A professor at Penn State's Altoona campus recently won a Liberian Award, recognizing her work as critic, professor, and poet. Hear more about her poetry in this review.

    BookMark: Black Like Me by John Griffin

    February 9, 2011

    Black History Month continues on BookMark. This week we're featuring a book of nonfiction that just reached its 50th year in print! Hear more from two local high school students.

    BookMark: Lighthead by Terrance Hayes

    February 2, 2011

    BookMark kicks off Black History Month with this year's National Book Award winner in Poetry. It's sure to delight, and the poet, Terrance Hayes, will be reading in State College on February 10th!

    BookMark: Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

    January 26, 2011

    Find out more about this year's pick for Centre County Reads. Described as a true-life novel, by the award-winning author of The Glass Castle, this new book is sure to be a treat.

    BookMark: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

    January 19, 2011

    When a NYC journalist visits State College and falls in love with a farmer, what happens next? Our review will tell you about the exciting new book that tells this true story.

    In 1951, tissue samples from Henrietta Lacks arrived in a lab. Amazingly, the cells still survive today. One book tells the story of this woman and her legacy.

    BookMark: Time Traveler by Ronald L. Mallett

    January 5, 2011

    After a sudden tragedy, a child is inspired to take a lifelong journey into science. Hear more about this Penn State alum's exploration of time travel with this week's book review.

    BookMark: Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh

    December 29, 2010

    Winner of the PEN/Winship Award for best book by a New England author, you can't miss this book! Set in Bakerton, it not only tells a great story, but it acts as "a love letter to our industrial past."

    BookMark: American Rust by Philipp Meyer

    December 22, 2010

    In this striking debut novel, readers are taken into a small Pennsylvania steel town. The author won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction from the LA Times.

    BookMark: Seal of Honor by Gary Williams

    December 15, 2010

    This book tells the amazing story of a Penn State alum who went on to serve our country as a Navy Seal and later received the Medal of Honor.

    BookMark: Aftershock by Robert B. Reich

    December 8, 2010

    Reich shares his insights on the current economic crisis. Our own, Kristine Allen, offers her review.

    BookMark: Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

    December 1, 2010

    We have a great children's book for any holiday shopping list. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book recommends it, too!

    BookMark: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

    November 24, 2010

    Looking for a great book about food this Thanksgiving? Anthony Bourdain called this novel, "Outstanding!" Let our reviewer tell you more about this culinary journey that travels from India to France.

    BookMark: How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley

    November 17, 2010

    Find out more about a new collection of essays that David Sedaris called, "Perfectly, relentlessly funny." This book is perfect to brighten up the winter evenings.

    BookMark: Time Traveler by Dr. Ronald Mallett

    November 10, 2010

    After a sudden tragedy, a child is inspired to take a lifelong journey into science. Hear more about this Penn State alum's exploration of time travel with this week's book review.

    Learn more about the incredible life and achievements of Bill Strickland. He has made an amazing difference in the lives of thousands in the Pittsburgh area and beyond.

    BookMark: The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum

    October 27, 2010

    Invite a little creepy into your book-reading this Halloween! This book is sure to entertain as it twists through facts and stories all about poison.

    BookMark: The Trouble with the Alphabet by Caryn West

    October 20, 2010

    Using poetry, portraits, and a wealth of research, this book tackles big issues. Listen to learn more about this book and about the human rights of children around the world. And don't forget

    BookMark: Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell

    October 13, 2010

    Head into western Pennsylvania coal country with Tawni O'Dell's newest novel. You might know her first book, Back Roads, which is an Oprah Book Club Selection.

    BookMark: Unscheduled Stop by Paula Zitzler with Susie O'Brien

    October 6, 2010

    In 1893, a circus train crashed near Tyrone. Listen to this review to find out more about what happened!

    BookMark: Hart's Grove by Dennis McFadden

    September 29, 2010

    A stunning collection of short stories is out by a Brookville native. Listen to our review, and then meet the author in Brookville on October 4th!

    BookMark: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

    September 22, 2010

    The winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal is a mysterious book that will have you thinking about time travel and the hidden lives of middle school students.

    BookMark: Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh

    September 15, 2010

    Winner of the PEN/Winship Award for best book by a New England author, you can't miss this book! Set in Bakerton, it not only tells a great story, but it acts as "a love letter to our industrial past."

    BookMark: All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song by Rebecca Foust

    September 8, 2010

    This new book of poetry is by an author who grew up in Hollidaysburg, and you'll see signs of central Pennsylvania throughout the poems.

    BookMark: Rain by Kieryn Nicolas

    September 1, 2010

    A teenage girl makes for an amazing spy in this new novel. Maybe more exciting is that the author is also a teenager!

    BookMark: American Rust by Philipp Meyer

    August 25, 2010

    In this striking debut novel, readers are taken into a small Pennsylvania steel town. The author won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction from the LA Times.

    BookMark: The Coffee Trader by David Liss

    August 18, 2010

    With this work of historical fiction, you don't just travel to Amsterdam

    BookMark: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

    August 11, 2010

    If you're looking for a little suspense, try this new book. It's a perfect read for ages 11 to 15.

    BookMark: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

    August 4, 2010

    Anthony Bourdain called this novel, "Outstanding!" Let our reviewer tell you more about this culinary journey that travels from India to France.

    BookMark: Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell

    July 28, 2010

    Head into western Pennsylvania coal country with Tawni O'Dell's newest novel. You might know her first book, Back Roads, which is an Oprah Book Club Selection.

    BookMark: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

    July 21, 2010

    The winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal is a mysterious book that will have you thinking about time travel and the hidden lives of middle school students.

    BookMark: More by Barbara Crooker

    July 14, 2010

    Learn more about a moving new book of poetry by a local poet. You may have heard her poems on The Writer's Almanac.

    BookMark: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

    July 7, 2010

    Follow the author as he journeys through Mexico and discovers his love for running. And catch him as he runs through State College this Sunday at the Arts Festival 10K race.

    Newspaper columns have been compiled for this delightful book about the rich history and hidden treasures of Pennsylvania. There are plenty of ideas for summer day trips!

    BookMark: U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

    June 23, 2010

    Add a little mystery to your summer. In the most recent book in the alphabet mystery series, Grafton sends Kinsey Millhone looking for a kidnapper.

    BookMark: Rules by Cynthia Lord

    June 16, 2010

    Hear a middle school student tell you what he thinks about this Newbury-award winning novel.

    BookMark: The Coffee Trader by David Liss

    June 9, 2010

    With this work of historical fiction, you don't just travel to Amsterdam

    BookMark: The Great Match Race by John Eisenberg

    June 2, 2010

    It's a big week for horse racing with the Belmont Stakes on June 5th. If you're a fan, you'll love this book about a horse race that took place all the way back in 1823.

    BookMark: The Devil's Alphabet by Daryl Gregory

    May 26, 2010

    A talented local author brings the classic story of the journey home into the world of science fiction, where monsters and mysteries are everywhere. Publisher's Weekly named it one of the Best Books of 2009.

    BookMark: Button Up! by Alice Schertle

    May 19, 2010

    This book of children's poetry won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award from our very own Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

    BookMark: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

    May 12, 2010

    This novel takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, nearly 50 years ago. Learn about a difficult time in our country's past through an endearing tale.

    What conversation would you like to have with your mother this Mother's Day? Read this touching collection of interviews.

    BookMark: Mean Free Path by Ben Lerner

    April 28, 2010

    This book of poetry might be puzzling at first, but before too long, it will win your heart.

    BookMark: The Least of These by Todd Davis

    April 21, 2010

    One poet will show you another way to look at the world around you

    BookMark: The Stranger Manual by Catie Rosemurgy

    April 14, 2010

    Miss Peach is a quirky fictional character who will teach you "what it means to be strange" as you read the poems in this delightful book.

    Join us for National Poetry Month! This book of poetry, a finalist for the National Book Award, has beautiful poems that go into the swamps and out to the stars.

    Newspaper columns have been compiled for this delightful book about the rich history and hidden treasures of Pennsylvania.

    BookMark: Ryan Seacrest Is Famous by Dave Housley

    March 24, 2010

    Pop culture is a buzz in this collection of short stories that's sure to make you laugh.

    BookMark: Losing Season by Jack Ridl

    March 17, 2010

    A book of poetry about high school basketball will remind you of what it was like to be a teenager in the big gymnasium.

    This book finds jazz at the heart of short stories that span from the 1920's to the present.

    BookMark: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

    March 3, 2010

    In this heartbreaking novel, a brilliant Harvard professor learns she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

    BookMark: U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

    February 24, 2010

    In the most recent book in the alphabet mystery series, Grafton sends Kinsey Millhone looking for a kidnapper.

    BookMark: Mr. Agreeable by Kirk Nesset

    February 17, 2010

    Mr. Agreeable is a collection of flash fiction that is both funny and unsettling.

    BookMark: The Patch Boys by Jay Parini

    February 10, 2010

    This coming-of-age story takes place in a Pennsylvania mining town in the 1920's.

    This young adult fiction novel takes place at the height of the civil rights movement.

    BookMark: Slamming Open the Door by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno

    January 27, 2010

    Pennsylvania poet Kathleen Bonnano has written a shocking and moving collection of poems about the murder of her daughter.

    BookMark: Rules by Cynthia Lord

    January 20, 2010

    This Newbury-award winning novel for young adults captures the life of a family with an autistic child.

    BookMark: Fit for Table by Mike Robinson

    December 23, 2009

    Pennsylvania publisher Stackpole Books has a new offering for hunters--a book that tells you what to do with wild game.

    BookMark: Pine Creek Villages by David Ira Kagan

    December 16, 2009

    The "Images of America" series offers concise histories of American towns in picture-postcard format. This installment features the logging towns that grew up along Pine Creek in the late 19th century.

    BookMark: Of the Wing by Georgia Anne Butler

    December 9, 2009

    This book, set in the Pennsylvania woods, is an action-packed adventure that also helps kids learn about birds.

    BookMark: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    December 2, 2009

    Like the classic "1984," this post-apocalyptic tale presents a world where leaders keep the populace pacified--but with television rather than drugs. In a warped version of the TV show "Survivors," teens must compete to the death.

    BookMark: Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Borit

    November 18, 2009

    President Abraham Lincoln's best known speech may also be his most misunderstood. This book cuts through the myths.

    Thirity-three Pennsylvania veterans talk about their experiences during World War II in a book that's a companion volume to a popular TV series on Pennsylvania Cable Network.

    Frank Lloyd Wright is celebrated as America's pre-eminent architect--but his personal life was complicated and stormy. The Fellowship tells the story of the landmark training program Wright created for young apprentices--and the overbearing way in which he directed their professional development.

    BookMark: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

    October 21, 2009

    Director Spike Jonze has turned a children's book with just 300 words into a feature-length Hollywood movie. As "Where the Wild Things Are" hits theaters, it's worth a look at the book to see how it holds up in its original format, 40 years after it was first published.

    Never mind the American Revolution; author Andro Linklater's thesis is that democracy was launched by an innovative tool for surveying land.

    NPR international correspondent Tom Gjelten has written a history of Cuba using the story of the Bacardi family (famous for their rum) as a framework. Successful capitalists and guerilla revolutionaries, the Bacardis played a role in every stage of Cuba's fight for independence.

    BookMark: Ice Cream U by Lee Stout

    September 30, 2009

    If you're a Penn State alum--or a football fan--a visit to the University Park campus probably is not complete without a trip to the Penn State Creamery. A generously illustrated new book from Penn State Press gives fans the history of this venerable institution.

    BookMark: For the Animals Who Missed the Ark, by Jim Barton

    September 2, 2009

    The Pennsylvania Poetry Society just held its annual poetry contest. And the winner is . . . a poet from Arkansas. Dana Washington says, you should read his new book.

    Written by a former president and historian Forest K. Fisher, this book on Mifflin County offers a unique glimpse into one of the historic areas of Pennsylvania. Pictures, letters, and detailed descriptions of influential people and places map out the county's past from its founding in 1789. Whether you are a history buff, or just a curious Pennsylvania resident, this book has some interesting facts to offer.

    This book, recently featured on NPR's Morning Edition, examines the Earth through a multifaceted lens. On one level, John Felstiner has compiled a noteworthy collection of nature poems and poets, many of whom are from Pennsylvania. On another level, the author takes a breathtaking look at the environmental threats currently facing the natural world. These elements combine in a book designed to spark the desire to preserve, appreciate, and protect our planet.

    This small book by renowned entomologist and humanist E.O. Wilson asks some big questions. What happens when science and religion are necessary to save creation (both the spiritual and natural kind)? Couched in a letter to an imaginary Southern Baptist Preacher, Wilson sends a plea not only to the religious world, but also to the universe. He asks that we put aside differences in thought and bring great minds together

    This Pulitzer Prize winning tale of overweight "ghetto nerd" Oscar Leon is Junot Diaz's debut novel. In a narrative rich in Spanglish, history and culture, it spans the lives of Oscar and several of his family members as they struggle with the family curse of fuku. Fuku stems from actual Dominican folklore Junot grew up with, and its effects can be seen throughout the book as the characters pay dearly for the choices in love, and life, they've made.

    This book follows the life of nutritionist turned author Joan Dye Gussow as she embarks on a journey to create a life based on sustainable agriculture. By farming her own soil, she produces healthy, organic produce, and creates some interesting recipes (included in the book) geared toward her new crops. This Organic Life is an aspiring tale of one woman's goal to live off the land, and the hazards and triumphs she faces because of it.

    This re-issue of the essay collection by NPR personality Cokie Roberts spans generations of women in every field and occupation imaginable. Roberts paints pictures of strength, heroism and courage. The vignettes both inspire and prove that regardless of sex, race ,or age, a goal can be achieved if you set your mind to it.

    BookMark: Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

    June 24, 2009

    The human desire to leave behind something lasting is the concept behind this novel. The narrator, Reverend John Ames, knows his health is failing; as an inheritance for his seven-year-old son, he pens the intricate story of his life. Marilynne Robinson's tale illuminates the difficulties of fatherhood and family, and the ties that bind us all together.

    BookMark # 231: Heartwood by P.J. Picirillo

    June 17, 2009

    Award-winning author P.J. Piccirillo is no stranger to the land and history of Pennsylvania. As a native of the state, he has taken his expertise and experiences and crafted an inspiring debut novel of two men in a small logging town in the Alleghany Plateau. Heartwood follows John Blesh and Tobias Meier as they each try to find their way through life, and reflects the impact that the land and Pennsylvania culture has on them during their journey.

    BookMark # 230: Five novels for middle school students

    June 10, 2009

    Memory Boy by Will Weaver (HarperTeen, 2003) Under a War-Torn Sky by L,M Elliott (Hyperion, 2003) Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Aladdin, 2006) Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Square Fish, 2008) Blood Trailby Nancy Springer (Holiday House, 2006)
    As summertime rolls around again, your child's urge to become a couch potato greatly increases. To combat this summer lethargy, Dotty Delafield has chosen a list of books that will engage and distract even the most stubborn reader. With her concise, engaging pitches, called "Sound Bite Book Talks," she pulls listeners in, and inspires the urge to pick up a book instead of the remote.

    In this collection of thought-provoking essays from edge.org, members from every field of study contemplate what it means to change your mind about something. From thoughts about God and the universe, to scientific findings and human biology, these experts ponder what exactly it means to reconsider previously held beliefs and how it can have an impact on their lives.

    Since the emergence of Memorial Day in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, it has been become a day of reflection on the sacrifices other Americans have made for our country. One resident of Boalsburg has taken this a step further and written a story that takes us back to the Civil War era. In her book, Janice Sweet McElhoe tells us her version of how this holiday came about and the struggles of her fellow townsmen and women during a troubling time.

    Laura Gozenbach has crafted a collection of Sicilian folk and fairy tales that transcend the test of time. Her skill at storytelling transforms these old tales into detailed, thrilling accounts of magical encounters, princes and princesses and other adventures. And now, for the first time, her work has been adapted to English by the translator of The Brothers Grimm to allow an ever expanding audience to enjoy the stories.

    BookMark: American Fractal by Timonthy Green

    May 13, 2009

    A fractal is a patterned object that looks the same whether you view it from close up or far away. Poet Timothy Green sees an analogy in the structure of American society.

    BookMark: Diamond Willow by Helen Frost

    May 6, 2009

    The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is given each year by local organizations to recognize the most outstanding new book of children's poetry published in the previous calendar year. This year, the committee selected Diamond Willow, by Helen Frost, which tells the story of a 12-year-old dogmusher, and her lead dog, Roxy.

    Irish-American journalist and government official Samantha Power recently released this debut book, which explores America's response to genocides in the 20th century. Power touches upon everything from the Armenian genocide to "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo. A Problem from Hell won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction in 2003.

    Author and historian John Hope Franklin passed away a few weeks ago at the ripe old age of 94. He is best known for his landmark book, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans. The book, first published in 1947, sold more than three million copies and altered the way African-American history was studied. Franklin wrote several other books on understanding African-American history. In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

    BookMark: Like a Rolling Stone by Steven Kurutz

    April 8, 2009

    Pennsylvania native and Penn State alum Steven Kurutz translates his love for rock-n-roll music into a debut book that observes life at the "lower altitudes of the music industry." Kurutz follows the tribute band "Sticky Fingers" as the Rolling Stones knock-offs tour North America in 2005-2006.

    BookMark: Watchmen by Alan Moore, Barry Marx (Editor)

    April 1, 2009

    Author Alan Moore is one of the few authors to bring graphic novels into the mainstream. Most recently, his graphic novel Watchmen was adapted into a major motion picture. The events unfold in a United States with an alternate history, where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s to help the nation win the Vietnam War and, eventually, fight off the Soviet Union.

    On March 28, 1979, a cooling malfunction caused a partial melt-down at the Three Mile Island nuclear power facility. The accident resulted in a significant release of radioactivity over an eastern Pennsylvania town. In The Warning: Accident at Three Mile Island, authors Mike Gray and Ira Rosen explore the cause of the accident and the effects it has had on local residents.

    BookMark # 231: Heartwood by P. J. Picirillo

    March 18, 2009

    Award-winning author P.J. Piccirillo is no stranger to the land and history of Pennsylvania. As a native of the state, he has taken his expertise and experiences and crafted an inspiring debut novel of two men in a small logging town in the Alleghany Plateau. Heartwood follows John Blesh and Tobias Meier as they each try to find their way through life, and reflects the impact that the land and Pennsylvania culture has on them during their journey.

    Award-winning author and Lock Haven University professor Marjorie Maddox is best known for her works of poetry. In her new book, due out this April, Maddox pays tribute to America's favorite pastime--baseball.

    This New York Times bestseller is based on a popular episode of Sex and the City. Now it's a movie. Reviewer Nikki Wasserman reviews this humorous self-help book.

    Author Khaled Hosseini is best known for his 2003 award-winning novel, The Kite Runner. The Afghan-American novelist recently followed up with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. A Thousand Splendid Suns covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two courageous Afghani women.

    When the Mason-Dixon Line comes up in discussion, most people think of the Civil War, or segregation. Pulitzer prize- winning journalist William Ecenbarger thinks differently. In his latest book, Walkin' the Line: A Journey from Past to Present, Ecenbarger walks the accessible parts of the 365-mile-long line and seeks out people whose stories shed light on the line's historical and racial significance.

    Many Koreans suffered oppression in the mid 1900s, when Japan took over their country. When My Name was Keoko, describes the struggles one family faced. The young-adult novel is loosely based on the historical experiences of author Linda Sue Park's parents.

    Standup comic and late-night television host Chelsea Handler is known for her ruthless sense of humor. Her second book, Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, is a collection of autobiographical essays about her life. This book is Handler's second on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

    Now in its second year, 'One Book Bradford' is a communitywide project designed to encourage reading and stimulate discussion. This year the Bradford committee has selected David Laskin's award winning book The Children's Blizzard, a non-fiction literary account of a deadly blizzard that hit the U.S. plains states in January of 1888.

    Scientific American has named Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig one of the Top 50 Visionaries in 2008. He is best known as proponent for loosening the restrictions of copyright and trademark laws. In his final book about copyright, Lessig describes how the past and the future can help each of us thrive in today's 'hybrid economy.'

    Each year the literary organization Centre County Reads encourages members of the community to read the same book and discuss it with their neighbors. This year Centre County Reads selected the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi for the community-wide read. The book, which also doubles as Strapi's autobiography, tells the tale of a young girl's life under the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

    The Splendid Table, is a weekly NPR cooking program known for is modern approach toward food and cooking. In the show's recently released cookbook, the program's host Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and its producer, Sally Swift, shares simple recipes and stories for the everyday chef.

    Renowned surgeon a Atul Gawande has written extensively on medicine and public health. In his first book, he shares his true feelings about the medical field: that like its human counterparts, it is often flawed. With riveting true accounts from the operating table, Complications offers readers an unflinching view of modern medicine's limits through the eyes of those who hold the scalpel.

    Harvard professor Marjorie Garber is known for her love of pop culture. Her latest book covers an aspect of American culture most people can't get enough of: Houses. Through a series of essays, Garber takes a look at literature, history, cinema, and psychology to make sense of the fantasies and longings we often project onto our homes.

    Writer and professor Joe Mackall is not Amish, but he has lived in Ohio's Amish country for more than 16 years. In Plain Secrets: an Outsider Among the Amish, Mackall explores the heart of the Amish tradition, and uncovers the meaning behind the hundreds of Amish traditions many of us do not understand.

    Most people think life as a twentysomething means days without a care in the world. Sloane Crosley's debut book, lets you in on the not so carefree life" of the current generation's young adults.

    New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan has written the first installment in a projected series that will include books by different authors,trading cards, and an online game where readers play a part in the story and compete for more than $100,000 in prizes. In the first installment, Riordan reveals the first clue to unlock a family's most powerful secret.

    Award winning author and poet Sofia M. Starnes once said, 'We write for ourselves and for a stranger.' In her two latest books, Starnes takes her readers on a quest to understand herself and one another. The two diverse collections focus on the spiritual exchange" between the natural world and the world of the soul.

    The Horseshoe Curve Altoona, is one of the most famous railroad curves in the United States and an extremely important part in the U.S. railroad industry ... so important that the Nazis tried to blow it up during World War II. Dennis P. McIlnay's latest book talks about the Nazi's plan to destroy the curve, and why we are so lucky that they didn't succeed.

    The Finger Lakes region in Central New York is, like Central Pennsylvania, rich with the beauty of nature . . . lakes, forests, and wildlife. Author Susan Brind Morrow's latest book, is a collection of essays on the history and natural history of the place she calls home.

    Oscar Wilde once said, 'Ones past is what one is.' Award winning author Philip Terman describes this sentiment well in his latest book Rabbis of the Air. In his third major collection of poetry, Terman writes of his Jewish ancestry and his current home in rural Pennsylvania, combining an awareness of history with its connection to the present.

    Russian author and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn made the world aware of the Soviet Union labor camps through his writing. Although he was exiled from Russia in 1974, Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, for his ongoing commitment to promoting the awareness of government mistreatment in the Soviet Union. Sadly, Solzhenitsyn passed away in August of 2008. However, his books about the Soviet prison camps, such as the First Circle, are still very accessible and are read by people all over the world.

    Pennsylvania is a state rich in American history--especially during the Revolutionary era, when the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both signed in Philadelphia. David Liss's latest historical novel takes readers back to that monumental period in Pennsylvania history. The 'whiskey rebels' of the title are fictional but believable characters who have a chance to help shape our nation's destiny.

    BookMark: The Black Notebooks: an Interior Journey, by Toi Derricotte (Norton, 1999)

    September 17, 2008

    University of Pittsburgh professor and author Toi Derricotte is one of the most honored African American poets in the literary world today. Her poems often focus on reality and pressing issues in society today. In this book, her first memoir, which she began writing 20 years ago, Derricotte writes about what it means to be a black woman living in a racially divided world.

    Author Randy Pausch was named 'Person of the Week' on ABC's 'World News with Charlie Gibson' September 21, 2007. His book and speech, The Last Lecture, has attracted international attention, from the media and millions of readers. The book is based on the speech Pausch gave at the 2007 Carnegie Mellon University graduation, titled 'Follow Your Childhood Dreams.' The author died of pancreatic cancer in July 2008.

    Newsweek magazine calls Yasmina Khadra one of the rare writers 'capable of giving the meaning of violence' in the Middle East today. His latest book, The Attack focuses on the continuing hostilities between Israel and the Arab world. The plot involves a respected Arab doctor, living and working in Israel, who learns that his wife has carried out a suicide bombing.

    Native American names grace many of the cities, counties, rivers, mountains, and lakes in Pennsylvania. In fact, according to historian George P. Donehoo, 'No state in the entire nation is richer in Indian names or Indian history than Pennsylvania.' This book tells you the native roots of many familiar names, like Loyalhanna and Lehigh.

    BookMark: A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father, by Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin's Press, 2008)

    August 20, 2008

    Entertainment Weekly has ranked Augusten Burroughs as one of the "25 Funniest People in America" His books are also some of the most heart wrenching. In this, the fifth of Burroughs's memoirs, he tells for the first time about his psychotic father, a man whose behavior defines the word "neglect."

    If you love maps, you'll love this compendium that tells you practically everything you could want to know about the Keystone State. Far more than a how-to-get-there collection of road maps, this atlas has info about everything from ancient Indian cultures to the incidence of divorce in modern society to where in the Commonwealth radon is most prevalent.

    After years of wild success, have we "come to the end of the Internet?" The message of this book is that the internet is moving from innovation to regulation, where access is limited and the government takes control. Zittrain knows what he's talking about; he is a professor of internet governance and regulation at Oxford University.

    How would America handle a major outbreak of an infectious disease? Our nation has weathered terrible epidemics in the past-not necessarily launched by terrorists. This volume documents one of the earliest, the "Great Plague" of 1793 where yellow fever raged through Philadelphia, killing one-tenth of the inhabitants. Doctors of the day had no idea of the source of the fever (mosquitoes) and tried all kinds of cures, most just as damaging as the illness itself.

    Here in Central Pennsylvania we have lots of farms and lots of fresh produce-and many owner-operated eateries that make the most of the abundance. Boalsburg artist Ken Hull has put together an offbeat guide to his favorite places to get a really great meal, made by hand from fresh, local ingredients, and served in an atmosphere you won't mistake for a national chain.

    Here's a book for children from kindergarten to second grade that sneaks in a lesson about accepting diversity while at the same time being wildly amusing. The day the Robobots move in next door is the day the neighborhood goes downhill. They look and act different, so they get snubbed. Then the neighbor kids discover the robokids' cool toys, and the dynamic shifts...

    One of the world's greatest science fiction writers was a native of Central Pennsylvania! H. Beam Piper, the author of Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, spent his early years in Altoona and his old age in Williamsport. Another Pennsylvanian, John F. Carr, has sorted through the false stories Piper told of his own background to reveal the true man behind the stories of aggressively self-reliant heroes.

    BookMark: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen

    June 18, 2008

    The title of the book refers to a proverb from a region in Pakistan. The first time you share a cup of tea with a villager, you are a stranger; the second time, you are an honored guest; the third time you become family. Mortensen, an experienced climber, failed on his attempt to summit K-2; sheltered for seven weeks in a Pakistani village, he went to return their kindness by building the town's first school-and ultimately launching a project that built more than 50 schools across the region.

    BookMark: Five Novels for middle school students

    June 11, 2008

    Memory Boy by Will Weaver (HarperTeen, 2003) Under a War-Torn Sky by L,M Elliott (Hyperion, 2003) Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Aladdin, 2006) Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Square Fish, 2008) Blood Trail by Nancy Springer (Holiday House, 2006) Middle school students have the attention spans of the proverbial gnat. School librarian Dotty Delafield grabs their attention and gets them interested in books with quick, concise pitches she called "Sound Bite Book Talks." Try these on your teenagers to get them reading this summer.

    Do you think of blogs as web pages where teenagers vent their private lives? Nowadays they're more likely to be essential business tools, and in Naked Conversations, you can learn how to make one work for you.

    From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Pennsylvania naturalist Charles Fergus wrote a monthly column for the Pennsylvania Game News. The columns about such topics as the delights of topo maps and the pastime of stump-sitting were collected into an appealing book by PA publisher Stackpole Books; it was out of print but has just been reissued by Penn State Press.

    Reviewers have called the works of State College science fiction writer James Morrow, "Wild Vonnegutian satires full of fantastical . . . events." Buckle your seat belt when you settle into an armchair with his newest book, because you're headed for a fantasy island populated by clones who have beauty, brains, money . . . everything except a conscience.

    Acclaimed local author Steven Sherrill is known for his quirky works: The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break and Visits from the Drowned Girl. His newest novel has a Pennsylvania setting, an abandoned locktender's house along an old canal. But despite the bucolic setting it's more of a horror novel, as the protagonist undergoes an agonizing mental breakdown as she involuntarily revisits her family's painful past.

    If you were asked to name famous Pennsylvanians, you might list William Penn, and Ben Franklin. You probably wouldn't think of John Nicholson. The life of the Commonwealth's colonial Comptroller General makes for fascinating reading, though, with implications in today's economic climate. Nicholson was a notorious land speculator, with shady dealings so vast, it took forty years after his death to unravel the mess.

    Dough. It means bread, the stuff you eat . . . but also moolah, green stuff, money. It's the perfect title for this tough and tender memoir by Mort Zachter. Zachter grows up in a family of workaholics, consumed by the family business, a "bakery" that sells day-old bread. Everyone scrimps and saves. Then, at the age of 36, Mort discovers: they've actually been rich all along. How would YOU deal with that news?

    For National Poetry Month. here's a selection by a Pennsylvania poet, from a Pennsylvania press. Award-winning poet Gregory Djanikian confronts the horror of the Armenian genocide of 1915; his poems also relate his boyhood in Egypt and his eventual emigration to the United States, where he grew up in Williamsport, PA.

    Here in Central Pennsylvania we have lots of farms, lots of fresh produce . . . and lots of owner-operated eateries that make the most of the abundance. Boalsburg artist Ken Hull has put together an offbeat guide to his favorite places to get a really great meal, made from fresh, local ingredients, and served in an atmosphere you won't mistake for a national chain.

    Country singer Tim McGraw tells us to "live like we were dying." For the teen protagonist of this book, high school senior Ben Wolfe, it's an all-too-real challenge; he's been diagnosed with incurable leukemia. Ben decides not to tell his parents or friends, and to go for everything he wants out of life: a spot on the football team, love with a beautiful girl, and the secret to the ultimate meaning of life. Then reality intrudes.

    A new book by local poet Marjorie Maddox, just released by Pennsylvania publisher Wordsong, is all about the whimsical names for groups of animals. You know that a bunch of birds is a flock and an aggregation of fish is a school . . . but did you know that when reptiles slither together, it's a "rumba of rattlesnakes?" Maddox explains it all in amusing rhymes, accompanied by lively scratchboard drawings by local illustrator Philip Huber.

    BookMark: Books For Women's History Month

    March 12, 2008

    Cool Women, the Thinking Girl's Guide to The Hippest Women in History, by Dawn Chipman, Mary Lawrence and Naomi Wax (Scholastic, Inc. 1998) Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells, by Phillip Dray (Peachtree Publishers, 2008) Something Out of Nothing, Marie Curie and Radium, by Carla Killough McClafferty (Farrar, Straus, and Girous, 2006)

    March is Women's History Month, a good time to take a look at the "More Than Petticoats" series. Each volume identifies a set of women who made a difference in one U.S. state. Remarkable Pennsylvania Women brings us the story of such notables as pioneering journalist Nellie Bly and Hannah Myers Longshore, the state's first female medical school professor.

    This spring, the Center for American Literary Studies sponsors a Community Read of "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway for the Penn State University Park campus. This semi-autobiographical novel about the love between an ambulance driver and a nurse in World War I is still timely today.

    Best-selling Philadelphia author Omar Tyree's books have been a hit with black women. His latest book is aimed at the "urban male." It's not the typical "gangsta" book where the protagonist dies, goes to jail, or wises up; this book's hero is a romance writer who switches genres to write a gritty street novel.

    It's a little known chapter in colonial history-between 1558 and 1603, the British government sent tens of thousands of Irish citizens to the new world, technically as indentured servants but in practice as slaves. This novel tells the story of Cot Daley, kidnapped from Galway at the age of ten, sent to Barbados to work side by side with African slaves on a plantation, and now, jailed for her part in an uprising against brutal plantation owners.

    Valentine's Day is coming up, the second busiest mailing day of the year. You take it for granted that our valentines will get to their destinations within a few days . . . thanks to air mail. A new book by local author Kathleen Wunderly documents the key role played by the central Pennsylvania town of Bellefonte when the U.S. Postal Service first launched "Aerial Mail Service" in 1918-back in the days of Curtis Jenny biplanes!

    Hip-hop star and political activist Sister Souljah made a splash with this story of drugs and violence in the inner city. It's the coming-of-age story of 17-year-old Winter Santiago, daughter of a drug dealer, who must deal with challenges ranging from an absent father to the local drug culture to a teen pregnancy.

    Wars are being fought worldwide, and aid agencies estimate that as many as 300,000 of the soldiers involved are children. Long Way Gone is a memoir by one of them. The deeply upsetting story of Ishmael Beah is a depressing account of man's inhumanity to man-and a hopeful example of the amazing resilience of the human spirit.

    Centre County Reads is a community organization that each year selects a worthwhile book for the community to read together. The group talks, discussion groups, and other literary events related to the book. This year's book is When the Emperor Was Divine, the story of a Japanese family forcibly interned during World War II, and how the confinement affects each member of the family.

    BookMark: We the Living, by Ayn Rand

    January 9, 2008

    Ayn Rand's first novel was her first denouncement of communism . . . and the book she said comes closest to an autobiography. Set in post-revolutionary Russia, it's the heart-wrenching story of a woman who sacrifices everything for the man she loves-and a detailed portrait of socialized Russia, with its ration cards, long lines, and dismal living conditions.

    This week's selection is a novel ripped from the headlines . . . of your local paper. This fall, Pennsylvania's Governor and General Assembly have been fighting over gun control legislation. What better time for a darkly comic novel, by a Pennsylvania author and set in Philadelphia, about a gun-violence victim-turned-vigilante who strikes a blow for peace . . . with a gun?

    BookMark: Groundhog Day, by Don Yoder (Stackpole Books 2003)

    December 31, 2007

    All your questions about this wacky holiday are answered in one concise volume. Author Don Yoder is a pioneer in the study of American regional and ethnic cultures; he was cofounder of the Pennsylvania Folklife Society, longtime editor of the journal Pennsylvania Folklife, and professor of Folklife Studies at the University of Pennsylvania for four decades.

    It's gift-shopping season, and this week BookMark has gift suggestions for avid readers of all ages. Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way by Leonard Marcus (Golden Books, 2007)

    When legislators ban smoking in public places or transfats on restaurant menus, are they looking out for your well-being, or acting like facists? That's the question posed by libertarian Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi, and his answer is clear: he thinks the government intrudes way too much into our private lives.

    BookMark: Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon (Mariner Books, 1982)

    December 5, 2007

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the granddaddy of American road-trip books: Jack Kerouac's On the Road. 25 years ago, William Least Heat Moon wrote a less frenetic road-trip book a trip through small towns with funny names, talking to guys in gimme caps, and eating at four-calendar cafes. The book inspired WPSU producer Cynthia Berger to take a similar road trip back then . . . and she spent the last 8 weeks repeating the experience with Blue Highways as company.

    Carnegie Mellon creative writing professor Hilary Masters writes about Sam Emerson, a Penn State alumnus and Pittsburg restaurant owner with an unconventional past and complicated present. Foodies will love the restaurant ambiance and kitchen info. Details of Pennsylvania shine in this vibrant and touching work of fiction.

    Native American names grace many of the cities, counties, rivers, mountains, and lakes in Pennsylvania. In fact, according to historian George P. Donehoo, No state in the entire nation is richer in Indian names or Indian history than Pennsylvania. This book tells you the native roots of many familiar names, like Loyalhanna and Lehigh.

    Civil unrest in a small kingdom in the Middle East. Diplomats and journalists hunker down in a grand hotel as the bullets fly and world leaders quibble. This novel by journalist Scott Anderson is about an invented country, but if you read the morning paper the plot sounds all too familiar.

    This week marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass" when German stormtroopers smashed the windows of Jewish shops . . . an event often referred to as the start of the Holocaust. A recent book about the Holocaust is "The Lost", Daniel Mendelsohn's account of his search to find out exactly what happened to six family members about whom he was told simply "they were killed by the Nazis."

    BookMark: Too Many Pumpkins

    October 31, 2007

    Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White, illustrated by Megan Lloyd (Holiday House, 1997) The Little Old Lady who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda White, illustrated by Megan Lloyd (HarperTrophy, 2002) No Place for a Pig by Suzanne Bloom (Boyds Mills Press, October 2003) We Keep a Pig in the Parlor, by Suzanne Bloom (Weekly Reader Books, 1988) An Amish Christmas by Richard Ammon (Aladdin Picture Books, 2000) An Amish Wedding by Richard Ammon (Atheneum, 1998) This week: children's books with distinctive illustrations that create a sense of place. Many of featured selections have a Pennsylvania connection: illustrator Megan Lloyd and author Richard Ammon portray their home state.

    Explorers in the 1800s were the astronauts of their day, and the race was, not to the moon, but to find the fabled "Northwest Passage" that would speed the shipping of precious cargo from East to West. This thrilling new historical account tells the story of H.M.S. Resolute and its heroic Captain John Franklin, who tried and failed to discover the fabled route to the Pacific.

    This summer the headlines were all about a mine disaster in Utah. Meanwhile a Pennsylvania mine disaster that got its start in the 1960s is still unresolved today. An underground fire in an abandoned mine ultimately forced the evacuation and abandonment of Centralia, a working class town south of Bloomsburg. This new book from journalist Joan Quigley, whose grandmother lived in the town, tells a story of bureaucratic ineptitude and indecision and of townspeople who stayed despite the dangers.

    A new collection from a local poet explores our connection to the natural world. The publisher writes:

    BookMark: Boy Books II

    October 3, 2007

    The River by Gary Paulsen The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer The Smugglers by Iain Lawrence Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James L. Patterson How do you get a teenaged boy to read? Reviewer Martha Freeman posed that question for us a few months back and tried out some strategies on her own teenaged son. This week she reports back on what said son read over his summer vacation.

    You've heard of the best little whorehouse in Texas? The most famous whorehouse in American history was the high-class establishment run by the notorious Everleigh sisters (pun perhaps intended) in turn-of-the-century Chicago... until a campaign to shut down low-rent bordellos closed its doors too. Author Karen Abbott was born in Philly.

    This summer BookMark featured a series of books that reflect, in different ways, on the phenomenon of the "local food" movement. As farmer's markets reach their glory, the show takes a look at one more, novelist Kingsolver's engaging non-fiction account of a year spent eating home-grown and locally produced foods.

    Students! If you think going back to school is hard, consider this: What if your school were like the grueling, sadistic space-based military academy attended by Ender Wiggin, the hero of the legendary work of science fiction, "Ender's Game?"

    We associate the hearing of voices with madness - yet research shows, the phenomenon is not so rare and not necessarily pathological. This book is a multifaceted review of the phenomenon; author Daniel Smith got interested in the subject because his father and grandfather both heard voices.

    If you love maps, you'll love this compendium of maps that tell you practically everything you could want to know about the Keystone State. Far more than a how-to-get-there collection of roadmaps, this atlas informs about everything from ancient Indian cultures to the incidence of divorce in modern society to where radon is most prevalent.

    Children's author Bill Wallace is known for books that address tough issues in a tender way. This one deals with love and loss. The heroine, Kristine, is coping with the death of her beloved horse Dandy. So, when her grandfather gives her a puppy as a gift, she rejects it at first. Will she open her heart to the new pet?

    Do you know where your food comes from? In this ambitious book, New York Times columnist Michael Pollan lays it all out for you in great detail; reviewers say, "You'll never look at a Chicken McNugget in the same way again.

    This book addresses a distressing fact of the modern workplace: you want to soar with the eagles, but sometimes you work with turkeys. The author, a Stanford management science professor, has the solution: get rid of those jerks!

    What is the recipe for a happy marriage? Psychologists have been cooking up answers for years, but Project Everlasting turns to the experts: that is, couples who have been married for more than 40 years! In this book, couples share their time-tested wisdom on relationship bliss. They talk candidly about respect, sex, and the problems they faced.

    Pete Seeger's music-iconic songs such as "If I had a Hammer"--raised the consciousness of a generation. Dunaway's biography is the first inside look at the long life of a man who worked for social change through his songs.

    Globalization and economic inequity are some of the themes in this novel from up-and-coming writer Kiran Desai, as each of the members of a makeshift family living in the foothills of the Himalayas struggles with questions of identity in a rapidly modernizing India.

    BookMark: What to Eat by Marion Nestle (North Point Press, 2007)

    July 10, 2007

    It's easy to become confused about what to eat. With today's increasingly clever advertising, even a bag of chips can sound nutritious. But nutritionist Marion Nestle, in her new book, What to Eat, offers straightforward information in the often misleading world of food production. She decodes food labels and shows readers the health and environmental effects of what they eat in an entertaining and informative way.

    So your teenaged son thinks reading is roughly as much fun as cleaning his room? Despair not. Today on BookMark, some books and some tips sure to entice the eyeballs of the most video-game obsessed teen.

    BookMark: Sold, by Patricia McCormick (Hyperion, 2006)

    June 27, 2007

    Every year, thousands of girls in Nepal and India are sold into prostitution. Patricia McCormick researched the trade of sexual slavery and interviewed women who have been through it. Her novel, "Sold", honors the women who have undergone the perils of the current sex market. In it, 13- year- old Lakshmi struggles against rape, starvation, and drugs in hopes of finding freedom.

    Magdalena Yoder has another mystery to solve in this Pennsylvania Dutch Series. Colonel George Custard has just come to the cozy town of Hernia to set up a glamorous hotel, when he suddenly gets murdered! Of course, Yoder gets on the case. Liven up those lazy summer days with this Nancy Drew-like tale, cooked up a la Mennonite.

    In his latest novel, Carnegie Mellon creative writing professor Hilary Masters writes about Sam Emerson, a Penn State alumnus and Pittsburg restaurant owner. He takes readers through the tumult of Sam's unconventional past, while drawing on familiar themes of love and death. Details of Pennsylvania shine in this vibrant and touching work of fiction.

    Feeling bad about your messy desk? Well, say good bye to guilt with A Perfect Mess, a book about the benefits of disorder in the corporate world.

    BookMark: The Gift of Valor Random House

    May 30, 2007

    The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award given for military bravery. The first recipient of this award since the Vietnam War was Corporal Jason Dunham, a marine serving in Iraq who sacrificed his life to save his men. Reporter Michael Phillips chronicles the fighting and confusion that led to Dunham's moment of valor, as well as his journey home.

    BookMark: Two Books for Memorial Day

    May 23, 2007

    A Long Long Way, by Sebastian Barry (Viking Adult, 2005) My Detachment, by Tracy Kidder (Random House, 2005) May 28 is Memorial Day, a day to remember the nation's fallen soldiers. Here are two books to read for the holiday, one a work of fiction, the other nonfiction. "A Long, Long Way", by Irish novelist Sebastian Barry, tells the story of a 17-year-old Irish boy caught in the horror of World War I trench Warfare. Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tracy Kidder's newest work is "My Detachment", a memoir of his time in the radio corps during the Vietnam War.

    In the 20th century, South American writers made famous the literary genre called magical realism, which blends real-world events with fantasy. Today's book applies magical realism to the author's hometown of Pittsburgh. Paolo Corso's debut collection of short stories bring a sense of wonder to the the run-down Rust Belt town of her youth.

    In the mood for a short little spine-tingle? James Patterson is known as an expert author of thrillers. In this volume, he's gathered 30 short stories by some of the best known names in the mystery-thriller field.

    "Rain Man" was just a movie . . ."Born on a Blue Day" is the real-life memoir of Danel Tammet, a man with the rare form of Asperger's disease known as "Savant Syndrome." He can learn a new language in a week and perform extraodinary mathematical calculations in his head. Though he has the all the odd tics and quirks of someone with Aspergers, he is able to live an independent life--and tell his unique personal story.

    April is National Poetry Month, and BookMark brings listeners a month's worth of poetry book reviews. This week's selection is a collection of poems by the surprise winner of the 1996 Nobel prize for literature: an elderly Polish woman most scholars had never heard of.

    April is National Poetry Month, and BookMark brings listeners a month's worth of poetry book reviews. This week . three poetry books kids will actually enjoy! A collection of elegant haikus that are also guessing games about animals, an anthology of classics, and a collection of poems all about one exuberant, unforgettable character.

    We continue our celebration of National Poetry Month with a collection of poems that share a common theme: The impacts of two devastating hurricanes, Katrina and Rita. These works had special resonance for reviewer Dana Washington.

    April is National Poetry Month, and BookMark brings listeners a month's worth of poetry book reviews, starting with Hometown for an Hour. It's a collection of short postcard-like poems about places and displacement. Speaking of sense of place: poet Jennifer Rose is also a city planner who specializes in downtown revitalization.

    Larry McMurty uses his novelists' chops in this nonfiction account of the lives of Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, the two "demigods of western mythology." McMurtry, who remembers hearing his uncles tell of having seen the legendary Wild West Show, aims to separate the truth from the myth.

    During the spring semester, Penn State University Park's new Center for America Literary Studies is sponsoring a "community read." The novel you should pick up is The Intuitionist, a social allegory in a city of the future where the sprawl is up, not out, and two guilds of Elevator Inspectors, the Empiricists and the Intutionists, compete.

    The protagonist in this thriller is a professor who asks, "Can one man change the course of history?" And in this book, which presents an alternate version of American history during World War II, the answer is "yes." A daring killer has been hired to assassinate President Roosevelt . . . and the chase is on.

    Jennifer Weiner made a name for herself with her "chick-lit" bestsellers: Good in Bed, Little Earthquakes, and In Her Shoes . . . the latter famously made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Cameron Diaz. Avid fans will delight in picking out details of her novels from this collection of 11 short stories written over 15 years.

    BookMark: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

    February 28, 2007

    The Road is a grim, post-apocalyptic tale of a father and son who cross a burned landscape, pushing their meager belongings in a shopping cart, avoiding savage bands of marauders out to rape and enslave their fellow survivors. McCarthy's latest work is one of five finalists for the National Book Critic's Circle award. The winner will be revealed shortly after this review airs.

    During Black History Month the spotlight focuses on important figures on history. This book, a collection of essays, celebrates another kind of hero: black men who are fathers. The powerful true-life stories challenge the prevailing stereotypes of African-American fathers as they celebrate fathers and father figures who were inspiring role models-often in the face of what seemed like overwhelming challenges.

    A woman-journalist goes missing in Paris, along with a man who may or may not be her lover. Left behind is her husband, a self-centered writer. Was the woman killed? Was she kidnapped? Or did she simply escape a rotten marriage? The Arabic word "zahir" means obsession, which plagues the husband/narrator throughout this haunting story about an attempt to recapture a lost love.

    Legendary investigative journalist Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame) takes a close look at how the Bush administration has conducted the war in Iraq. The message you'll walk away with is "Lies were told.

    Children's picture books have gotten glitzy, what with pop-ups, glitter, and doctored photographs. Tired of all the hype? Here are three new books that stick to old-fashioned ways of making an impression on kids. A version of this review previously appeared in the Dec. 31, 2006 edition of the Centre Daily Times.

    Forty years ago, we Americans were more likely to all watch the same TV show, read the same best-seller, and eat the same breakfast cornflakes. Today, that, "common culture" is dead, says Wired editor Chris Anderson, and niche diversification is the hot market strategy.

    Native American names grace many of the cities, counties, rivers, mountains, and lakes in Pennsylvania. In fact, according to historian George P. Donehoo, no state in the entire nation is richer in Indian names or Indian history than Pennsylvania. This book tells you the native roots of many familiar names, like Loyalhanna and Lehigh.

    BookMark: Jimmy Stewart, A Biography, by Marc Eliot (Harmony 2006)

    December 20, 2006

    What makes Jimmy Stewart so wholesome? America's favorite boy-next-door actor got his start in small-town Pennsylvania. Author Marc Elliot has written an exhaustive but error-dotted biography.

    Many books have been written about World War II and Viet Nam, but almost no literary works document the Korean War. DC attorney John Nolan fills the gaps by detailing his experiences as a Marine rifle platoon leader in 1951, the pivotal year of the Korean War.

    This best-selling fantasy tale of a twelve-year-old girl who lives in an alternate universe, where the bad guys do terrible things to children, is about to be released as a major motion picture. That's reason enough, says reviewer Steven Herb of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, for fans to dust off their dog-eared copies and reacquaint themselves with "daemons," "armored bears" and the phenomenon called Dust.

    BookMark: Along the Allegheny River: The Northern Watershed AND The Southern Watershed, by Charles E. Williams (Arcadia Publishing, 2006)

    November 22, 2006

    Arcardia Publishing specializes in titles about regional and local history. This week's book is part of the publishing company's "Postcard History Series." It tells the history of the Allegheny River's northern watershed through reprints of antique postcards, annotated by Charles E. Williams, professor of ecology at Clarion University.

    This romance-thriller is the seventh by St. Marys resident Lauren Nichols. Set in fictional Laurel Ridge, PA (an amalgam of St. Mary's and Kane) the book features such familiar Harlequin romance plot devices as the bad boy who makes good, high school sweethearts who reunite, and a killer who stalks the beautiful heroine but, in Nichols's capable hands, it all adds up to something special and with lots of northwestern Pennsylvania locale details to add to the fun.

    This selection for Veteran's Day is the first-ever collection of poems by a veteran of the Iraq War. Brian Turner served a year as infantry team leader with the 3rd-Stryker Brigade Combat Team. These gripping narratives, which talk about the day-today world of bombings, body bags, and vultures, have been compared to the works of Hemingway and O'Brien.

    BookMark: Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by NPR Correspondent Anne Garrels [Encore] Pubished by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.

    October 25, 2006

    Anne Garrels is National Public Radio's senior foreign correspondent, which means she has reported from such war zones as Bosnia, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Kosovo. Her experiences in Iraq are the subject of a compelling memoir.

    BookMark: Zorro: A Novel, by Isabel Allende

    October 18, 2006

    You know Zorro as the swashbuckling guy with the sword and the cape, skewering bad guys in the name of justice. But what's his back story? What was he like as a little kid? This novel tells the imagined story of the young Zorro: the events that shaped his personality and led to his fateful career.

    If you liked the children's classic The Borrowers, you'll love a new book called The Doll People it the story of some real living dolls. They can move and talk and have adventures . . . and Annabelle Doll even solves a mystery.

    Award-winning author Nihal de Silva's novel wraps its plot around real events the ongoing bloody civil war in Sri Lanka. The story of a fight against injustice has universal appeal but also gives readers intimate details of daily life in Sri Lanka.

    Civil unrest in a small kingdom in the Middle East. Diplomats and journalists hunker down in a grand hotel as the bullets fly and world leaders quibble. This new novel by journalist Scott Anderson is about an invented country but if you read the morning paper the plot sounds all too familiar.

    This entertaining account of Bryson's marathon end-to-end hike along the famous Appalachian Trail is this year's selection for Centre County Reads, an annual initiative to get everyone in the community reading and talking about the same book.

    Award-winning local poet Marjorie Maddox (the director of Creative Writing and a professor of English at Lock Haven University) explores spirituality and religious practice in this new collection of poems.

    Colossal doughnuts in Beaver County. A supersized stocky Santa statue in Indiana. Kittanning's majestic "Cowboy Sam." Many businesses in Pennsylvania -- and across America -- rely on these wacky roadside advertisements-run-amok to attract business. Pennsylvania history buff Brian Butko and his wife Sarah have compiled some of their favorites in this generously illustrated book.

    If you're a backpacking enthusiast, this reliable new guide will help you plan your Pennsylvania outings.

    If you're a backpacking enthusiast, this reliable new guide will help you plan your Pennsylvania outings.

    Grade school students looking for a good summer book will enjoy this story of an ordinary boy named Brandon. He lives in the suburbs and is proud to be a member of UGA (Underacheiving Goof-offs of America). Then Brandon's grandfather leaves the reservation and moves into into Brandon's poster-lined bedroom. It's a tale of a boy who at first denies, then comes to appreciate his Navaho heritage.

    It isn't every day that a history book rates a review in Entertainment Weekly . . . but then, history books are rarely as entertaining as this account of the hunt for Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

    As we celebrate the 4th of July, it's well to consider how ideas shared over a friendly beer played a role in the birth of our nation. Author Peter Thompson, an historian at Oxford, explores the role of Philadelphia taverns as a setting for political debate and as a place where citizens from all walks of life could interact as equals.

    The "electric Michaelangelo" of the title is a Coney Island tattoo artist, and his canvas is the human body. This critically praised book, nominated for a Booker in 2004, is like a tattoo, beautiful but painful -- a love story that is also an account of human suffering.

    Heading for a baby shower this summer? Looking for a gift that's educational yet sure to please? Frequent BookMark book reviewer Steven Herb has the lowdown on the season's best board books for babies

    The first women to enroll at the Pennsylvania State University faced a host of challenges. They were shunted into less-than-challenging courses of study and barred from career-oriented extracurriculars such as the student newspaper. This volume documents changes in the way women have been able to study and learn here, from the institution's founding to today.

    State College resident Claudia Mauner and her friend Elisa Smalley are the authors of Zoe Sophia's Scrapbook: Adventure in Venice the story of an adventurous 9-year-old in spectacles. Now Zoe Sophia--a pigtailed heroine based on Mawner's real-life daughter -- is back for another adventure.

    This charming picture book about a little girl and her grandparents won the Caldecott award for illustration for Huntingdon native Chris Raschka.

    Soldiers carry many things into war: their guns, back packs, ammunition, food. Then there are the intangibles: Fear. Fellowship. Memories. Just in time for Memorial Day, "The Things They Carried" is a collection of autobiographical stories about the Vitenam War.

    Resident mystery buff and Altoona librarian Debbie Weakland reviews this hot new thriller, set 35 years in the future, after terrorists conquer America and civil war divides the nation into a Muslim north and Bible Belt south. The heroine is a young historian who wants to find the truth about the past; her lover is a former fedayeen solider who only wants to live in peace.

    Storytelling is an ancient art, and even in the electronic age, stories still have the power to fascinate. If you've ever dreamed of being a storyteller, this week's book is a collection of 23 enduring tales from around the world, with how-to-tell-it tips for beginning story-tellers.

    If Jane Austen had lived in India in the 1950s, she would have written this richly detailed novel of love and marriage. And at 1500 pages, it's an entirely suitable book to take on a 24-hour plane ride.

    Just in time for National Poetry Month, a collection of poems about ordinary experiences that are anything but ordinary in the way they connect to a young woman's inner world. Penn State Education grad student Lisa Hopkins is the reviewer.

    Colossal doughnuts in Beaver County. A supersized stocky Santa statue in Indiana. Kittanning's majestic "Cowboy Sam." Many businesses in Pennsylvania--and across America--rely on these wacky roadside advertisements-run-amok to attract business. Pennsylvania history buff Brian Butko and his wife Sarah have compiled some of their favorites in this generously illustrated book.

    Turn on the nightly news these days, and you'll see footage of flames, burning homes, and soot-blackened firefighters . . . . evidence that we're at the beginning of the 2006 wildfire season in west Texas. All the more reason, says reviewer John Sengle, to put "A Season of Fire", by Douglas Gantenbein, on your summer reading list.

    Two years ago, humorist Carl Hiassen was a Newbery honor award winner for "Hoot", his eco-thriller for young adults set in Florida. Now Hiassen's got a new novel for younger readers, featuring a spunky brother-sister who out to bust a casino boat owner who's making some illegal discharges. Their adventures bring them in contact with Hiassens usual cast of hilariously warped characters. Middle schooler Jamie Glass has the review.

    Time travel is a science fiction staple. But Henry De Tamble, the "chronologically challenged" protagonist of this inventive tale doesn't zip around in time to save the universe; instead he keeps unintentionally disappearing without warning, only to reappear at different times in his own life. This creates some challenges in his relationship with his artist wife, Clare, as humorist Pam Monk relates.

    When writer Robert Lewis Stevenson died in 1894, he left behind a wide-ranging literary legacy: story-teller, essayist, dramatist, children's author, poet, travel writer. A new biography will give readers new appreciation for his accomplishments.

    "Magical events happen to an orphan at a British boarding school." This plot synopsis sounds like a new installment in the Harry Potter series, but actually, the spunky heroine is named Gemma Doyle, and the book is Rebel Angels, second installment in a fantasy trilogy-for-teens by New York author Libba Bray.

    Black History Month is over, but it's always a good month to read worthwhile books about the Black experience in America. Today's selection looks like a kids picture book, but don't judge THIS book by its cover.

    February is Black History Month, and history means more than grand events and famous people, it includes personal stories, too. Librarian Dotty Delafield recommends a story for Black History Month that families will enjoy reading together.

    This gentle coming-of-age novel, described by critics as "deliberately random" just won the writer's equivalent of an Academy Award. It's the The Newbery Medal, given for the best written children's book of the year. Local librarian Steven Herb, helped to select this winner.

    Do you make spontaneous decisions? That may be a wiser strategy than you think, according to author Gladwell.

    Author Robert Ludlum died in 2001, yet he's still churning out bestsellers . . . thanks to a succession of ghostwriters. The latest release has a plot that combines elements of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Fugitive".

    Anne Garrels is National Public Radio's senior foreign correspondent, which means she has reported from such war zones as Bosnia, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Kosovo. Her experiences in Iraq are the subject of a compelling memoir. Mike Savage reports.

    The legend of Dracula is a constant source of inspiration for novelists. In the hands of Elizabeth Kostova it's fresh and enthralling. If you liked "The DaVinci Code" and "The Rule of Four" you'll enjoy this thriller, in which an ancient book and a stash of yellowed letters send a young woman on a quest in her father's footsteps.

    BookMark: Weird Pennsylvania , Your Travel Guide to America's Best Kept Secrets [Encore]

    January 4, 2006

    If you want to explore the Keystone State , there are plenty of conventional travel guides to choose from. Or you could try this unconventional NEW guide.

    Two years ago, humorist Carl Hiassen was a Newbery Award Honor winner for Hoot, his eco-thriller for young adults set in Florida. Now Hiassen's got a new novel for younger readers, featuring a spunky brother-sister who out to bust a casino boat owner who's making some illegal discharges. Their adventures bring them in contact with Hiassen's usual cast of hilariously warped characters.

    If you're looking for holiday gift ideas for a youthful avid reader -- say, age 8 to 12 -- Steven Herb has a couple of books to recommend. Both are being considered for the John Newbery Medal, the oldest children's book prize in the world.

    The newspaper humorist Dave Barry was famous for describing outrageous events, then saying, "I am not making this up." The author of today's book IS making it all up and proud of it. Reviewer Bill Carlsen talks about the power of lying.

    The latest Harry Potter movie hit cineplexes last Friday. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is based on Book 4 in the series, which was published way-y-y back in 2002 . . . so, just in case you need a plot refresher before you plop down in the theatre with your popcorn.

    BookMark: Looking Back At Veterans' Day

    November 16, 2005

    Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, published by Vintage (2003) A Month in the Country by J.L Carr, published by Saint Matthews Press (1983). Veteran's Day, which we celebrated last week, used to be called Armistice Day. Nov. 11 is day when, back in 1918, the Allies and the Germans signed the Armistice and the horrors of World War I finally came to an end. Sarah May Clarkson of Juniata College observed Veteran's Day this year by looking back to World War I and its aftermath, as portrayed in two different books.

    BookMark: Wha's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

    November 9, 2005

    Pennsylvania communities held municipal elections this week -- a good time to reflect on the state of politics in America today.

    This unique collection of contemporary works evokes the essence of Pennsylvania. Poems explore the state's physical landscape: the hills and valleys, the farmland and forest, but also its cultural terrain: the coal towns and, steel factories, the Pennsylvania turnpike. The works of distinguished poets and newcomers are included in the more than 100 selections, including such poems as "Steelers, Steelers, Steelers!" by Anne Hayes, "Rowers on the Schuylkill" by Leonard Kress, and "Coal Train" by Jay Parini.

    BookMark: Who Stole Halloween?

    October 27, 2005

    In a previous book, eleven-year-old Alex and his next door neighbor Yasmin solved the mystery of Who is Stealing the 12 Days of Christmas. Now, in Martha Freeman's latest, the young sleuths track down a passle of missing cats.

    BookMark: I Am A Pencil

    October 19, 2005

    A few years ago, children's author Sam Swope volunteered to teach writing to some third-graders in Queens. He liked it so much, he stuck around for three years and got a book out of the experience. It's called "I Am a Pencil".

    For more than 20 years, Dr. Paul Farmer has worked to improve health care in the desperately poor nation of Haiti. Tracy Kidder, known for his close-focus works of nonfiction, has put together a compelling biography of this hardworking humanitarian. Bill Dreschel, a longtime Tracy Kidder fan, has this appreciation.

    BookMark: Riding the Bus With My Sister

    September 28, 2005

    Dotty Delafield "Centre County Reads" is a local effort to get all the folks in one community reading-- and talking about the same good book. This year's selection is "Riding the Bus With My Sister," Rachel Simon's acclaimed memoir about the year in which she comes to know her developmentally disabled sister by sharing her passion for riding on city buses.

    If you want to explore the Keystone State , there are plenty of conventional travel guides to choose from. Or you could try this unconventional NEW guide . . .

    In the wake of the 2004 presidential election, career diplomat Joseph Wilson found himself working for an administration that "outed" his wife Valerie Plane, a CIA undercover operative allegedly in retaliation, after Wilson refuted President Bush's claims that Iraq had tried to by uranium from Niger . The account of these events is just one section in a fascinating account of a foreign service career that spanned almost three decades.

    BookMark: One Shot

    September 7, 2005

    10 years ago, at the age of 40, Lee Child was fired from his corporate job... so he bought 6 dollars worth of paper and pencils, and sat down to write his novel. The result, Killing Floor, turned out to be just the first in a whole series of thrillers with an unconventional detective, Jack Reacher. This summer fans were treated to the ninth Jack Reacher novel.

    Norman Rockwell is one of the most beloved artists in America -- perhaps best known for his cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post , A special exhibition of his works is coming to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in September; UPB history professor Rick Frederick says, the 2001 biography of Rockwell, by Laura Claridge, is recommended reading before you go. Rick Frederick is director of the History/Political Science program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. In connection with the display of Norman Rockwell's art on campus this fall, Dr. Frederick will give a talk on October 19 about one of the artist's most famous images, "The Four Freedoms.

    BookMark: Jerry Engels

    August 17, 2005

    Love is all you need. That's the message in Jerry Engels, the story of a young Penn student in the 1950s, the latest novel by Penn State emeritus professor of English Tom Rogers.

    BookMark: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    August 10, 2005

    True love, a desperate battle, and a death are all in the latest installment in the Harry Potter series. Though the books are written for pre-teens and teens, they have universal appeal for avid readers, as reviewer Carla Lewis relates.

    In the wake of the London subway bombings, there's a renewed interest in the events of 9/11. If you're interested in a look back at the attack on the Twin Towers here's a new book that's an in-depth account of the 102 minutes between the time the first plane struck and the time the second tower collapsed.

    BookMark: American Road

    July 13, 2005

    Despite those high gas prices, a cross-country road trip is still a popular option for Americans on their summer vacations. If you're the kind of person who can read in the car without getting carsick, here's the perfect summer reading to take along.

    BookMark: High Water Mark: Prose Poems

    June 29, 2005

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    BookMark: Pioneer Church

    June 1, 2005

    The Pennsylvania Center for the Book has created an award-winning Literary Map of Pennsylvania -- and this map is about to feature Pioneer Church, a book by Carolyn Otto with illustrations by Pennsylvania illustrator Megan Lloyd. The book has also been selected to represent Pennsylvania on an eleven-city museum tour of children's book art.

    It's "Buy Fresh, Buy Local Week" in Pennsylvania. Do you know where your food comes from? In this ambitious book, New York Times columnist Michael Pollan lays it out for you; reviewers say, "You'll never look at a Chicken McNugget in the same way again.

    BookMark: Agony of an American Wilderness: Loggers, Environmentalists, and the Struggle for Control of a Forgotten Forest, by Samuel MacDonald, published by Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.

    December 31, 1969

    Back in 1923, when the Allegheny National Forest was established, the trees were so sparse locals called it the Allegheny Brush Patch. Thanks to scientific management, the forest today is lush and mature. But the question of continued forest management is controversial. A new book documents the struggle in the Allegheny; Carla Lewis has a personal perspective.

    BookMark: Dirt and All Its Dense Labor, by Gabriel Welsch

    December 31, 1969

    State College resident Gabriel Welsch is a former landscaper and nurseryman, and his new collection of poems reflects his horticulturalist's eye for natural beauty.

    Ten years ago this month, the war in Bosnia came to a formal end with the signing of a peace agreement in Paris. The 11 short stories that make up a new collection by local writer Josip Novakovich all have their roots in the troubled Balkans. For reviewer Pam Monk, this book brought back some memories.

    BookMark: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

    December 31, 1969

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