Megan's Favorites of 2019

It’s that time of year, again-the time when we reflect on our year of reading (mostly murder) and make a favorites list (so much murder). I have given up all pretense of creating a Top Ten List and have abandoned descriptions (follow the links for book details), which has helped ease some of my anxiety around this task. If you like mysteries, suspense, and thrillers there are quite a few here!

YA Fiction

Adult Fiction

Nonfiction

Middle Grade

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Holiday Gift Ideas from the Staff at RRPL

After a very informal poll, here’s our wish list of what we want for the holidays – classics, new releases, fantasy to cookbooks, there’s a little something here for everyone.

BOOKS

Children’s Books:

  • The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
  • Christmas Alphabet: 20th Anniversary by Robert Sabuda
  • The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda
  • The Night Before Christmas Pop-up by Clement Clarke Moore and Robert Sabuda
  • The 12 Days of Christmas : A Pop-Up Celebration by Robert Sabuda

Cookbooks and other Nonfiction:

  • The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking by Carolyn Ketchum
  • Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over by Alison Roman
  • Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
  • A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness–and a Trove of Letters–Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup
  • Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • National Geographic Spectacle: Rare and Astonishing Photographs
  • Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Fiction, Fantasy and Graphic Novels

  • The Overstory by Richard Powers
  • The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
  • The Starless Sea Erin Morgenstern
  • The Toymakers Robert Dinsdale
  • Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norell Susanna Clarke
  • Harry Potter-Illustrated Editions
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
  • The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson

Music:

  • Hey, I’m Just Like You by Tegan and Sara (on vinyl)
  • Lost Friends by Middle Kids (on vinyl)
  • Ginger by Brockhampton
  • Chris by Christine and the Queens!
  • Fine Line by Harry Styles

Movies:

  • Yesterday
  • The Paul Newman Collection (set of 7 dvds)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Alita Battle Angel
  • Community. The Complete Second Season. Really the best season with great Christmas and Halloween specials
  • House of X/Powers of X

Also, don’t forget to shop local! Rocky River has many small shops and businesses that would welcome your visit.

Wishing You Joy This Holiday Season!

~ Dori

Winter Reading Bingo is here!

Join us for our second year of Winter Reading Bingo here at Rocky River Public Library! Choose from the three different bingo boards below to find the board that works best for you. Earn a raffle ticket for every bingo you complete (horizontal, vertical, diagonal). Use our Beanstack website to log what you’re reading: https://rrpl.beanstack.org/reader365. You can complete the bingo cards from December – February.

Ford v Ferrari

I really didn’t know too much about the race going into this film. It seemed like an interesting movie about two men trying to do a nearly impossible challenge. I was curious why this event was highlighted for a biography, as to me it isn’t a world changing event. The movie does an interesting job of explaining car development through experimentation to develop a better car rather than using raw math. If anything, this film pushes home the idea that conceptual knowledge and practical knowledge are two very different things at times.

The movie starts from Carroll Shelby’s (Matt Damon) perspective as he races. We can see how intense and stressful the race is to him. We learn that Shelby can no longer race because his doctor told him his heart can’t take the stress anymore. We’re taken to another race where Ken Miles (Christian Bale) is arguing about his trunk capacity being compliant. Shelby tries to help advocate for Miles and Miles throws a wrench at Shelby. Miles goes on to win the race, but we get a glimpse of their racing relationship.

We’re introduced to the main conflict by a disgruntled Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts), he’s not happy with how Ford sales have been and wants someone to bring him an idea to increase sales. Lee Iacocca (Jon Berthal) shows that people want fashionable cars and not just functional cars and suggests buying Ferrari. Ford goes to buy Ferrari but Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) turns them down at the last minute insulting the company and Henry Ford II personally. Henry Ford II is infuriated and vows to beat Ferrari at Le Mans. Iacocca is sent to recruit Shelby and his team, offering a “blank check” to build a car that would beat Ferrari at Le Mans.

This film really has a few central dynamics: Ford the company, Shelby’s racing team, and Miles’s family. Shelby and Miles’s relationship are often the highlight, but Shelby is trying to do what’s best for his business and his friend which sometimes conflict with each other. Miles is clearly a great driver and is immensely helpful developing the car, but he can be emotionally extreme and isn’t sure if he should even be a racer at his age. In my opinion, this is one of the best sports films I’ve seen in years. So, I’d recommend it if you want to see an exciting biography. Rated PG-13

Ryan

New Fiction Coming in December 2019

Take a look at some of the exciting new fiction coming to our shelves this winter. Whether you are looking for a literary fiction read, a historical page-turner, or a medical thriller, we have something for you!

 

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12/03: Genesis by Robin Cook – New York Times-bestselling author Robin Cook takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of harnessing DNA from ancestry websites to catch a killer in this timely and explosive new medical thriller.

12/03: The Peppermint Tea Chronicles by Alexander McCall Smith – The latest book in Alexander McCall Smith’s popular 44 Scotland Street series is a sheer delight. Once again, Scotland Street teems with the daily triumphs and challenges of those who call it home, and provides a warm, wise, and witty chronicle of the affairs in this corner of the world.

 

12/10: The Book of Science and Antiquities by Thomas Keneally – The bestselling author of The Daughters of Mars and Schindler’s List, returns with an exquisite exploration of community and country, love and morality, taking place in both prehistoric and modern Australia.

12/10: The Wicked Redhead by Beatriz William – The dazzling narrator of The Wicked City  brings her mesmerizing voice and indomitable spirit to another Jazz Age tale of rumrunners, double crosses, and true love, spanning the Eastern seaboard from Florida to Long Island to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

12/10: Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin – A ferociously talented writer makes his stunning  debut with this richly woven tapestry, set in a small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves, that depicts several generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, and fate.

12/17: The Network by L. C. Shaw – A pulse-pounding, page-turning thriller involving corruption, secrets, and lies at the very deepest levels of government and media.

 

 

 

 

 

New Nonfiction Coming in December 2019

Here are some nonfiction books for you to take a look at this winter!

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12/03: The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom by Toni Morrison – It’s compelling sequence of flashes of revelation- stunning for their linguistic originality, keenness of psychological observation: the reach of language for the ineffable ; the singular power of women; the original American sin of slavery; the bankruptcy of racial oppression; the complex humanity and art of black people.

12/10 How Not to Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss  by Michael Greger – In this powerful new book, discover the cutting-edge science behind long-term weight loss success. Every month seems to bring a trendy new diet or weight loss fad – and yet obesity rates continue ti rise, and with it a growing number of diseases and health problems. It’s time for a different approach. 

12/31: Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by B. J. Fogg – The world’s leading expert on habit formation shows how you can have a happier, healthier life by starting small. Already the habit guru to companies around the world, Fogg brings his proven method to a global audience for the first time.  Whether you want to lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or exercise more, Tiny Habits makes it easy to achieve.

 

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12/31: The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It by John Tierney & Roy F. Baumeister – This wide-ranging book shows, we can adopt proven strategies to avoid the pitfalls that doom relationships, careers, businesses, and nations. Instead of despairing at what’s wrong in your life and in the world, you can see how much is going to right and how to make it still better.

12/31: Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World With the Practice of Rain by Tara Brach – In this heartfelt and deeply practical book, she offers an antidote: an easy-to-learn four step meditation that quickly loosens the grip of difficult emotions and limiting beliefs. Each step in the meditation practice ( Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture) is brought to life by memorable stories by author.

 

 

What We’re Reading Now…..

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is in Trouble: A Novel by Taffy…

Meet recently separated Toby Fleishman, medical professional by day, kids every other weekend, newbie bachelor exploring the the singles scene through a dating app on his phone. Toby’s life has been turned upside down by his ex-wife’s disappearance.  Has she truly disappeared, is she avoiding Toby and their shared responsibilities with their kids, or is she having a nervous breakdown?  Toby will embark on a desperate search for his ex-wife while juggling his career and trying to parent 2 unraveling kids.  Don’t pass this book up.  From the outside it seems like another “Bridget Jones ” type story, but there is much more here to enjoy and explore. This book is witty, fast-paced, with sharp observations about marriage, divorce and parenting in today’s world.  Mary

The Tale of the Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

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This is the tale of the ‘shining’ Genji, the favorite son the Japanese Emperor, and Genji’s many romantic dalliances and the resulting political consequences. While a bit of slog at roughly 1200 pages and with an unsympathetic main character, this novel, argued by many to be the world’s first novel, fascinatingly details the intricate court life of a thousand years ago in Heian Period Japan. Trent

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

High school dropout Galaxy “Alex” Stern has narrowly escaped her disastrous Los Angeles past of drug dealer boyfriends and violence, awakening in a hospital bed the sole survivor of a gruesome multiple homicide. While recovering, she is offered a strange but irrefutable second chance: attend Yale completely free of cost if she serves as the new “Dante” for Lethe. Lethe is the Ninth House of the Houses of the Veil, secret societies at Yale that generally practice magic to ensure their own professional success and financial security. Alex is responsible for overseeing the rituals and magic of the other eight houses, assuring everyone involved survives and that no dangerous magic escapes. Soon though a young woman is found brutally murdered on campus and Alex suspects magic was involved. Wildly atmospheric and emotional charged, this page-turner is highly recommended for fans of dark adult fantasy. Nicole

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

The Topeka School: A Novel by Ben Lerner

Lerner is one of my favorite contemporary novelists.  Whenever I read one of his books, I feel that he is describing aspects of my own experience, but much better than I could ever do – sort of giving me the words, or some words, I guess, that make sense to me, and help me understand my own life up to this point.  The Topeka School is a fictional take on Lerner’s adolescence – he grew up in the Midwest, Jewish, white and privileged, but also experienced anomie, rootlessness, angst, all the blues that come with being a teenager.  The novel is very smart, poignant, and incisive, as well as experimental in ways I find really interesting and exciting. Recommended as a fascinating study of violence, whiteness and maleness, that is not afraid to be both honest and compassionate.  Andrew

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Nebula and Hugo Award winning Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a quick placed novella that introduces the reader to Binti as she leaves home to study at the most prestigious university in the galaxy, Oomza University. The author propels the reader into a futuristic world where marvels of technology live as the everyday and intergalactic travel is routine.  At times the amount of new information and fast pace can be a bit overwhelming, but when enjoyed as a whole series (there are two sequels that expand on many of the terms, concepts introduced) the reader is presented with a rich narrative that explores heroism, growth, and family.  Greg

The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

It is 1957 and Naoko Nakamura wants to marry American serviceman Jimmy Kovac. Her family has other plans for her including an arranged marriage. Pregnant Naoko leaves her family’s home to marry Jimmy. When Jimmy is away, Naoko finds herself in a maternity home designed to take care of unwanted pregnancies, namely mixed-race children. Eventually Naoko escapes from the maternity home and her sickly baby is born. Decades later in Ohio Jimmy’s daughter, Tori, is given a letter from her father on his deathbed to be given to Naoko in Japan. Tori is determined to find her half-sister. This is an enjoyable well-researched piece of historical fiction.  Emma

Inland by Tea Obrecht

Inland by Tea Obreht

Two lives unfold in the late 19th century American West in Inland by Tea Obrecht. A duel narrative, we hear the story of Lurie, a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts, lost souls who always want something from him. Lurie’s mysterious traveling companion hears his story. Meanwhile, Nora awaits the return of her sons and her husband in drought stricken Arizona while conversing with her daughter, who died in infancy. Haunted by their pasts, Nora and Lurie do what they can to survive. I listened to the audiobook, which was transporting, with talented narrators who really captured the characters. Dori

El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson

El Norte: the epic and forgotten story of…

A deep detailed history of the Caribbean and North America with a little coverage of major events in Meso and South America. The Spanish have older roots here than the English. Written records like diary entries and letters by government and church administrators are quoted as often as possible. Gibson is specific also about the different ingenious cultures (ex. Tainos, Maya, Apalachee, and Zuni) encountered. It is a thick history book and is taking quite a commitment of time to work through it, but I am finding it constantly fascinating.  Byron