New books on tape (and one on CD) at the Juneau Public Libraries:
• "Baudolino," by Umberto Eco, read by George Guidall. How can you tell when a liar is telling the truth? If the story is good enough, does it matter? Baudolino, a 13th century peasant boy, uses his unique intellectual gifts to charm his way into being adopted by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick. Baudolino is a masterful manipulator with no qualms about lying, even to the emperor. He is also a forger who understands the importance of belief in passing a forgery. That Baudolino truly believes his own lies makes it hard to pick out truth from fiction in this engrossing historical fiction. (unabridged)
• "Vagabond," by Bernard Cornwell, read by Tim Pigott-Smith. It is the 1300s, and life for Thomas of Hookton is grim. In search of the Holy Grail, he enters a battle between the Scots and the Brits, emerging alive with a new deadly enemy, a Dominican Inquisitor, who is also after the Grail. Thomas' advantage is a notebook left to him by his father, which gives clues to the location of the Holy Grail, but his enemy's advantage is the torture chamber. Sequel to "The Archer's Tale." (abridged)
• "The Punch," by John Feinstein, read by Richard M. Davidson. In December 1977, a fight broke out during a basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston captain Rudy Tomjanovich ran in to break it up and received a blow that broke every bone in his face and dislodged his skull. The effects of the punch were life-threatening for him, career-ending for Kermit Washington (who threw it) and game-changing for the NBA and its fans. Feinstein writes about the two combatants' lives and the culture of basketball, before and after the punch. (unabridged)
• "Full House," by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King. Ever wonder what Evanovich did before she hit it big with the Stephanie Plum mysteries? She wrote romances under a pseudonym! While Billie Pearce is not Plum, devoted readers have caught glimpses of her in this happy single mom, whose beau of the moment is a rich guy trying not to notice that he's fallen in love with a middle-class woman. First of a series of reissues. (abridged)
• "The Crazed," by Ha Jin, read by Norm Lee. In the days leading up to the Tianamen Square massacre, Jian Wan's professor and future father-in-law has had a stroke and Jian is assigned to care for him. Jian has always been a good student, sober and conventional, so when Professor Yang begins raving to invisible tormentors, Jian is sorry that his teacher seems to have gone mad. Soon, though, bits of Yang's story come together, forcing the blinders from Jian's eyes and mind as he realizes for himself the truth about his society and government. (unabridged)
• "Blackwood Farm," by Anne Rice, read by Stephen Spinella. Quinn Blackwood has been haunted all his life by a being he calls Goblin. When Quinn is made a vampire, Goblin begins to feed off him, making him more powerful, vicious, and tangible to others. At last, Quinn realizes he needs help and searches out Lestat, who may have the skills and power to free him from his doppelganger. (abridged)
• "From a Buick 8," by Stephen King. In the back of a police barracks shed in rural Pennsylvannia sits an old Buick Roadmaster. It's been there for 20 years, and none of the officers talk about it, except, finally, in short reminiscences to Ned, the son of a slain cop. Their stories of interdimensional portals, alien creatures, and strange disappearances, ignite Ned's interest in the car, but in the end, the mysteries that surround the car remain. (unabridged)
• "The Diamond Age," by Neal Stephenson, read by Jennifer Wiltse. In a stratified society where nanotechnology is taken for granted, a "book" designed to educate a girl of the upper classes falls into the hands of a street urchin named Nell. And Nell is hungry for the knowledge the book offers, soaking up ideas, morals, and attitudes from the book like a sponge. But what will it do to the world to have a beggar with the thoughts of an upper crust mover and shaker? (unabridged)
Last, but not least, we've got David Sedaris on CD! If you've heard him on NPR, you know he is laugh-out-loud funny! We've got "Barrel Fever" (short stories and essays), "Naked" (memoirs of family life), "Me Talk Pretty One Day" (tortured memories of growing up with a speech defect), and "Holidays on Ice" (tales from his days as a Macy's Christmas elf). (abridged)
Many thanks to those who came to the Mendenhall Valley Library to help decorate our "sky" last week. Our ceiling is going to be beautiful!
If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have Internet access, your library card and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site (www.juneau.lib.ak.us/library) and looking at our catalog. The "In the Stacks" column is now archived! Go to the Juneau Public Libraries' Web site and look for "In the Stacks."