Diane M.

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
John Feinstein

We listened to this on a looong drive across Utah.  My husband, who generally doesn’t care for audiobooks actually told our 4-year-old daughter, (normally Daddy’s darling), to be quiet because he was listening to the story!  And now she knows who Coach K, while our son says “ABD – anybody BUT Duke.”

Grade 6-10 - This action-packed mystery is set at the NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament. Eighth-graders Steven Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are aspiring journalists and winners of the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association 14-and-under writing contest. Their prize is a trip, with press credentials and reporting responsibilities, to the Final Four in New Orleans. While exploring the Superdome, they overhear a blackmail threat leveled at Minnesota State University's star player. Threatened with a falsified transcript that would disqualify him and his team, Chip Graber is pressured to deliberately lose the final game against Duke. Stevie and Susan Carol become resourceful sleuths determined to save Chip and to expose the scandal. Throughout the story, famous basketball personalities make memorable guest appearances, including spirited sports analyst Tony Kornheiser and irrepressible commentator Dick Vitale. References to real players and coaches mingle, almost eerily, with the fictitious characters. Feinstein shares his extensive sports expertise, smoothly weaving into the tale a wealth of background information about NCAA regulations, tournament traditions, recruitment and eligibility issues, and gambling. Although the action on the court is vividly described, this story also breaks new ground for teens, focusing primarily on the influential role of media in promoting college basketball. Readers will enjoy the rivalry and chemistry between outspoken but insecure Stevie and savvy-beyond-her-years Susan Carol, and their spunky determination to get the scoop. Mystery fans will find enough suspense in this fast-paced narrative to keep them hooked.

Diane M., Administration

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American on purpose: The improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot

Monday, July 5, 2010
Craig Ferguson

I really like Craig Ferguson.  I liked him as the annoying Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show, and I like him as the host of The Late Late Show.  His monologue preceding the 2008 Presidential Election entitled “If You Don’t Vote, you’re a Moron,” should be required watching on YouTube. 
In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: success on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, and later as the host of CBS's Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008.
In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared:

“As I dozed on the farty rattly airplane on the way home, I though about my short conversation with the president. We had been talking about Scotland; he had visited for a while when he was younger and expressed a sort of puzzled awe at the amount of drinking that was done there, hinting he’d taken part in a fairly major way.  We talked a bit about the dangers of booze.  I’ve been sober for 17 years, and according to rumor, he himself a little longer then that.

“It’s a long way from where I’ve been to standing here talking to the president.” I told him

“It’s a long way from where I could’ve ended up to being the president,” he replied.

“Only in America,” he chuckled.  We clinked our glasses of sparkling water.
“Damn straight, Mr. President,” I said.  And I believe it.”

Diane, Administration

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