Modern Westerns

Louis L'Amour drinking a coffee at a campsite

by Kerry Hanahan,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Interested in Westerns set in more modern times? Louis L’Amour never got to experience the innovations of the 21st Century, but these Western authors did and they are bringing a new twist on an old genre.

Black River
S M Hulse
DB 80695
Wes Carver has not returned to Black River since he was held hostage in a prison riot while serving as a corrections officer. Now his former captor, Bobby Williams, is up for release, and Wes must consider what he believes and whether he can let Williams walk away. Some violence and some strong language. 2014.

Tim Johnston
DB 80525
Eighteen-year-old track star Caitlin Courtland chose a family trip to the Colorado Rockies as a graduation gift. She is running with her sixteen-year-old brother, following by bike, when she is abducted. Follows each Courtland family member during the next two years. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2015.

Bad Country
C B McKenzie
DB 80369
Retired from the rodeo circuit and scraping by on piece-work as a private investigator in southern Arizona, Rodeo Grace Garnet, a Pascua Yaqui, accepts when an elderly Indian woman asks him to discover who murdered her grandson. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Tony Hillerman Prize.   2014.

Beach Reads in December

by Gabrielle Bucci,
LBPH Reader Advisor

I know the holidays are upon us and it’s a favorite activity for some to indulge in Debbie Macomber’s annual Christmas publication or a Richard Paul Evans title to get in the spirit of things. I, however, don’t want to read anything that reminds me of that singular despicable aspect of winter: THE SNOW! We’ve had some terrible weather these last few years with subzero temperatures I’m in no hurry to get reacquainted with. Colder climates aside, I suppose I can appreciate the whimsy of prancing through the white stuff but only if there’s a pumpkin spice latte at the end of the road.Snowman made of sand wearing sunglasses on the beach

One activity I find helpful to get me through the season is enjoying an audiobook set to a much warmer and more tolerable setting. I particularly enjoyed the golden city of San Francisco in Armistead Maupin’s Mary Ann in Autumn (DB 72107) while the snow piled up last February. One place in particular I wouldn’t mind being during these upcoming months is the beach. But since getting there won’t be very likely for many of us this winter, here are some titles to keep us dreaming of warmer days ahead:

Barefoot Season
by Susan Mallery
DB 74395
Wounded army veteran Michelle Sanderson returns to her family’s Puget Sound island inn that is now run by her onetime friend, single mom Carly Williams. The women attempt a working relationship despite their past betrayals and current problems.

Beach Town
By Mary Kay Andrews
DB 82313 / CL 15766
Location scout Greer Hennessy has found the perfect Florida beach town for a film, but local mayor Eben Thibadeaux doesn’t want movie people descending on his town. While romance blooms between Eben and Greer, drama on the movie set causes problems.

Books that Break the Binary

Graphic of a checklist with the options Male, Female, and Non-binary, with a pen checking off the box next to and underlining Non-binary.

This will be the first in a series of posts that explore matters of social justice through discussion of books that “break the binary.”

by Briana Albright,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Let’s talk about gender identity.

Defined by the Human Rights Campaign as “one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither,” gender identity is an important component of one’s larger social identity. A person’s gender identity and gender are often assumed to be the same as their sex. Although this may be true for most people, it is important to remember that gender identity and gender do not automatically correspond to sex. Likewise, gender identity does not “naturally” align with a particular sexual orientation. Though much of what we encounter on a daily basis suggests otherwise, gender identity is as fluid and varied as human experience itself.

With hate crimes and acts of violence disproportionately affecting those whose gender identities do not conform to societal norms, we need radical change. We need radical change so that things like this and this stop happening. We need federal legislation that protects and supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people. We need to reconsider the norms we so easily accept — that maleness equals masculinity and femaleness equals femininity. But most importantly, we need to change the way society as a whole perceives gender identity — as a binary that classifies sex and gender into two distinct, opposite, and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine.

We need to break the binary and the best way I know how to do this, or at least to start doing this, is to read and talk about books that call into question the norms we so easily accept. Here are three books that do just that:

Front cover art for the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides depicting a ship adrift in a black sea and the outlines of two human figures, one smoking lying down and the other kneeling. White, sinuous lines float from the figure's cigarette to the top of the black sea, representing both smoke and ocean currents.

by Jeffrey Eugenides
DB 54934
At forty-one, hermaphrodite Cal Stephanides examines the rare genetic mutation that has caused his gender change since birth as a girl in 1960. He describes his teenage revelations, his Greek grandparents’ guilty secret, and his coming-of-age in Detroit. Pulitzer Prize winner. Bestseller. 2002.

Not My Father's Son by Cumming, with the author on the cover

Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir
by Alan Cumming
DB 80261

Emmy- and Tony-award winning actor reflects on growing up with an abusive father, his years in show business, and the family secrets and stories that were revealed when he agreed to be on an episode of the genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? Bestseller. 2014.

Death in Venice

by Thomas Mann
DB 60162
Death in Venice relates the story of a lonely German artist in search of spiritual fulfillment in Venice, where he becomes spellbound by a beautiful Polish boy. Includes eleven other stories displaying the Nobel-prize-winning writer’s use of irony and subtle characterizations. 1911.

New Locally Produced Title!

by LBPH Staff

Check out the latest title narrated and produced right here in Pittsburgh.  This particular was narrated by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on October 8th, World Sight Day.

Cover for Moxie by Armstrong

Moxie, The Dachshund Of Fallingwater
by Cara Armstrong
DBC 5568

Like most dogs, Moxie knows the best spots in a house. During a spirited romp through Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, this pearl-wearing dachshund takes us on a charming tour of her beloved and remarkable home.  For high school readers.  2009.

This title is available for download through BARD or you can request it through our online catalog.

Celebrate Jewish Book Month

by Eric Meisberger,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Poster for Jewish Book MonthNovember is Jewish Book Month. The celebration of Jewish books in Public Libraries in the United States began in 1925 in Boston by a public librarian named Fanny Goldstein. What began as a single book display in one branch of the Boston Public Library has spread to a month long celebration of Jewish books all over the country. Now, for the month preceding Hanukkah, Jewish Book Month is celebrated at libraries all over!

Here at LBPH we have many books to help you celebrate Jewish Books Month. From history to mystery, biography and memoir to books on tradition Jewish celebrations, celebrate Jewish Book Month with some of the titles below!

Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder
Matt Axelrod
DB 79039
Jewish cantor takes a light-hearted look at the eleven most important Jewish holidays. Instead of simply explaining the obligations of the Jewish faith as expressed in biblical texts, Axelrod shows where each holiday, along with its rituals, came from in an historical context. 2014.

Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California
Frances Dinkelspiel
DB 68746
Great-great-granddaughter of Isaias Hellman, California’s premier financier of the nineteenth century, uses primary sources to trace Hellman’s 1859 immigration to Los Angeles and role in spurring the city’s and state’s development. Discusses Hellman’s leadership, from opening his first bank to investing in transportation, education, land development, utilities, and wine. 2008.

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved out an Empire in the New World
Edward Kritzler
DB 69348
Historian explores Jewish refugees’ flight to Jamaica during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. Includes accounts of Sinan, known in the sixteenth century as the “famous Jewish pirate,” and of Rabbi Samuel Palache. 2008.

Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore
Elisa New
DB 72869
Harvard professor, intrigued by carvings on her great-grandfather Jacob’s cane, investigates her family history. Describes what she learned about Jacob Levy, who was born in Lithuania and moved to Baltimore, and his friendship with Bernhard Baron, another Jewish immigrant. Chronicles their prosperous businesses, family intermarriages, and eventual enmity. 2009.

My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq
Ariel Sabar
DB 71273
Journalist depicts the lives of his Jewish Kurd ancestors. Describes the efforts of his father, Yona, to preserve their traditions and ancient native tongue, Aramaic–the language of Jesus–after relocating from Kurdistan to Israel and later to UCLA in California, where the author was born. Nat’l Book Critics Circle.   2008.

Best of BARD: October 2015

by Tony Mareino,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Don’t poke the bear. We should learn our lessons, doubly so when it comes to James Patterson. If you come at him, he will win. Don't Poke the Bear logoKing Patterson rules the roost, what else is new. Taking top honors in the Top Five this month is none other than the latest and greatest by J-Pat, holding off a Parker homage, the new Jack Reacher, and the latest Grafton making a repeat appearance. What else rounds out that Top Five, you ask? Yet another Patterson, lurking in the shadows. Let’s heed our warnings, and we’ll check out how it all plays out next time in the Best of.

The Murder House
James Patterson
DB 82516 / CL 15850
Abandoned for years after a string of vicious killings, a wealthy beachfront estate in the Hamptons known as “The The Murder House by PattersonMurder House” becomes the scene of another gruesome crime involving a Hollywood power broker and his mistress. Detective Jenna Murphy believes the murder is an open-and-shut case but uncovers the dark history surrounding the nightmarish mansion as more bodies begin to surface. Unrated. 2015.

Robert B Parker’s The Devil Wins: A Jesse Stone Novel
Reed Coleman
DB 82450 / CL 15873
Three bodies are discovered in an abandoned factory building. One–a man in a blue tarp–is only hours old. Two, however, are the remains of teenage girls who were friends of Officer Molly Crane and went missing after a Fourth of July celebration twenty-five years earlier. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

Small Wars: A Jack Reacher Story
Lee Child
DB 82377
In this short story set in 1989, MP Jack Reacher is assigned to solve the murder of a young officer found ten miles north of Fort Smith. Reacher calls his brother, Colonel Joe Reacher, at the Pentagon for intel and taps Sergeant Frances Neagley for help. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.Truth or Die by Patterson


Truth or Die
James Patterson
DB 81871 / CL 15770
After a serious professional stumble, attorney Trevor Mann may have finally hit his stride. And he’s found happiness with ambitious journalist Claire Parker. But when Claire’s latest story leads to a violent confrontation, Trevor’s newly peaceful life is shattered, as he tries to find out why. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2015.

Sue Grafton
DB 82149 / CL 15833
A remorseless serial killer leaves no trace of his crimes. She knows who he is, but the test is whether PI Kinsey Millhone can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

Who’s Afraid?

by Devon Evans,
LBPH Librarian

Edward Albee, considered to be one of the most controversial playwrights in American history, is best known for his three-act play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which enjoyed 644 performances on Broadway. The play, written as a satire of the wholesome 1950s family, focuses on the marital relationship between George and Martha and their hapless visitors, Nick and Honey, who become caught up in George and Martha’s web of words, alcohol, and lies.

Though set in the living room of George and Martha’s home, this play is anything but homey. Before their visitors even arrive it becomes obvious that George and Martha’s relationship is acerbic. Martha seems to delight in belittling her husband, and though George initially seems weary and down-trodden it’s not long before he bites back with comments about his wife’s age, alcoholism, and apparent promiscuity.

A picture of George, Martha, Nick, and Honey caught in an emotional tableau.

This angry, claustrophobic play was brought to life on the silver screen with Richard Burton as George and Elizabeth Taylor portraying Martha, a role she gained thirty pounds for. I practically had a panic attack the first time I saw the movie. The relentless barrage of loud, savage words was almost too much to bear but, like the visitors Nick and Honey, I became mesmerized by the decay of George and Martha’s marriage.

Ablee’s original three-act received the Tony Award for Best Play in 1963. In 1967 Elizabeth Taylor received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Martha. Want to know why Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was so celebrated? You can start by reading Albee’s play.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A Play
Edward Ablee
DB 22921

This contemporary drama presents a night of warfare between a college professor and his wife, witnessed by their two guests, a young instructor and his wife. They experience crescendos of anger, contempt, revenge, humiliation, and paradoxically, understanding and compassion. Strong language. 1962.

This play is available for download on BARD or can be ordered through our online catalog.