New and Notable Books

Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham

In June 1954, one New Zealand teenage girl decides to help the other murder her mother, exposing a complicated story of love, delusion, and family secrets. New Zealand lawyer Graham's (Vile Crimes: The Timaru Poisonings) well-researched book on the case that inspired filmmaker Peter Jackson's 1994 movie Heavenly Creatures is a readable and eye-opening story of 1950s Christchurch and the complicated family dynamics that produced one of New Zealand's most famous murder cases. The book explores not only the murder itself but the backgrounds of the two girls, Pauline Parker/Rieper and Juliet Hulme (now well-known mystery writer Anne Perry); their forbidden and rumored lesbian relationship; and their troubled family lives, as well as what happened after the young women were released from prison after serving "at Her Majesty's pleasure."

~ Library Journal Express Review


The Simple Joys of Grandparenting by Abigail R. Gehring

For small children, weekends spent with grandma is the equivalent of catnip. In this charming activity book for grandparents, readers will delight in a simple yet captivating bounty of spoils sure to cement Grandma's rock star status. Replete with beloved fairy tales, recipes such as Peter Rabbit salad, and homemade crafts like pinecone birds and pressed flowers, the book also includes a special section with space for building family trees and remembering important dates. Full color illustrations from the likes of Beatrix Potter and Kate Greenaway perfectly capture the innocence of a leisurely childhood and will enchant junior as much as grandma. Yes, one can find all of this information elsewhere, but this is a pitch-perfect combination of simple activities and vintage drawings that make for an instant homesteading classic. VERDICT Wrap this book with a bow and send your mischief-making deputies to grandma's. As Gehring states in the tear-jerking introduction, "Grandparents…are in the perfect position to make their grandchild feel like the most important thing in the world just by being present, by listening, [and] by taking time to get to know him." A lovely title that captures a most special relationship.

~  Library Journal


Some of My Best Friends Are Black by Tanner Colby

Colby (The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts, 2008) turns his attention to one of the most vexing and violent topics in American social history. With depressing persuasiveness, the author argues that we haven't achieved racial integration, because, well, we don't really want to. He looks at several social institutions--schools, real estate, advertising, churches--and finds just one faint glimmer of hope in a Catholic parish in Louisiana, a place where the separate black and white congregations, after decades of debate and nastiness, eventually merged. There is a personal dimension to most of the narrative…. Recommended reading for anyone who still thinks we live in a post-racial America.

~ Kirkus Reviews


The Dog Lived (and So Will I) by Teresa Rhyne

The #1 New York Times bestseller
The #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller
The USA Today bestseller


The tale of a dog who wouldn't let go and the woman who followed his lead.

Teresa Rhyne vowed to get things right this time around: new boyfriend, new house, new dog, maybe even new job. But shortly after she adopted Seamus, a totally incorrigible beagle, vets told Teresa that he had a malignant tumor and less than a year to live. The diagnosis devastated her, but she decided to fight it, learning everything she could about the best treatment for Seamus. Teresa couldn't possibly have known then that she was preparing herself for life's next hurdle — a cancer diagnosis of her own.

She forged ahead with survival, battling a deadly disease, fighting for doctors she needed, and baring her heart for a seemingly star–crossed relationship. The Dog Lived (and so Will I) is an uplifting and heartwarming story about how dogs steal our hearts, show us how to live, and teach us how to love.



How to Be a Good Divorced Dad: Being the Best Parent You Can Be Before, During, and After the Break-Up by Jeffery M. Leving

Divorce attorney and father advocate Leving offers a combination legal strategy-parenting guidebook for dads. He is a vocal advocate for fathers' rights, hosts a weekly radio show in Chicago, and is known for his work on the Elian Gonzalez case in 1999. Covering psychological topics, such as the difference between "good and struggling fathers" and strengthening connections with your kids, the text mostly examines the legal aspects of these issues….

~ Library Journal



No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene

Greene (Praying for Sheetrock, 1991) has written what has to be termed a truly heartfelt memoir about the foreign adoption of five children during the past decade. It was not a casual decision for Greene and her husband to add siblings to their four biological children, but the onset of empty nest syndrome and a long-ingrained delight in a full house prompted them to look outward. Her detailed descriptions of traveling to foreign countries, making awkward first adoption contact, and later discovering and embracing her children's still-living family members makes for one touching reunion after another. She resists the urge to be cloying, however, infusing each chapter with a strong dose of humor and not shying away from the difficulties presented by adopting older children. The struggle to break through sometimes stoic demeanors is tempered by the delight of her new Ethiopian children in dominating sports in a way their American siblings never could (many funny moments here). It's all one big, happy family but also a very real one. Call them the twenty-first-century Waltons, and revel in the joy they have found and brought home for keeps.

~ Starred Review Booklist