jump to navigation

We’re Celebrating! November 15, 2018

Posted by Dori in Uncategorized.
add a comment

This Saturday, November 17th, Rocky River Public Library is celebrating its 90th Anniversary. The library was built in 1928, but the idea began in 1877 when members of the newly formed North Ridge Literary Society decided to contribute an annual fee to purchase 345 books for a public library.  The Society and its social fellowship dissolved in 1902, the books were put in storage and, 22 years later, they became a library for adults at Rocky River High School, growing to 4,590 books.  The Rocky River Board of Education then authorized the election of a Board of Trustees for a public library to be known as Rocky River Public Library.  In 1927, the new Board of Trustees voted to spend $25,000, a gift from Thomas and Emily Macbeth, for land and landscaping for a new library and in 1928, Rocky River Public Library is dedicated. Its first librarian/director is Miss Katherine E. Wilder.

To observe our anniversary, let’s look back at movies and books from the 1920s. Here are a few titles in our collection:


paradiselighthousequietmanhattan transfer

Hope to see you on Saturday!

~ Dori


Elizabeth Bishop’s Poems at RRPL November 14, 2018

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.

Image result for elizabeth bishop

Some of the many pleasures of working as a librarian are ordering books (spending money on books – what could possibly be more fun or interesting or even challenging?), and then actually seeing the book once it has arrived, holding the book in your hand, and (lovingly) placing it on the new books shelf, where it will hopefully be swept up soon by an interested reader.  If you are a lover of books, and a believer in the value of reading, receiving an ordered book is kind of akin to actually handing a book to a patron who has been looking for that particular book.  Although it’s not the same exchange, both carry a suggestion of possibility – the possibility that this book will open new worlds, will utterly absorb the passionate reader, will even change the reader’s life.  Whether I am directly handing the book to a patron, or placing it on the shelf for a future patron, both allow me as a librarian to express in a quiet way my love for the act of reading.

I say all this because today, one of my favorite books of all time came into the library this afternoon.  If you know me, you could probably guess that it’s a book of poetry – and it is.  The book is simply called “Poems,” but it is actually the collected poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, a 20th century American poet who was born in 1911 in Massachusetts and died in 1979, and wrote what I believe to be some of the best poems of the 20th century.

So why all the hyperbole?  What is so special about Bishop?  For me, there has always been something special about Bishop’s eye – her powers of description are so intense and unique and funny and interesting, and the details of her description often build in power, and end on just an amazing note.  Her poems are so artful, and they are also deeply intelligent.  It feels like she saw the world in such an interesting way, and then had the ability to translate this unique vision into language and poetry.

All of which is to say, that today, because the book came in (and I should say that it’s not a new book, but it is a book I believe our collection needed), I wanted to celebrate Elizabeth Bishop’s life and work by sharing a poem by her with you.  It was very hard to decide on which poem to share, but I thought the poem she wrote called, very simply, “Poem,” is a great place to start, a poem she wrote later in her life.  The poem is about a painting Bishop finds, or sees, or discovers anew.  Here it is:


About the size of an old-style dollar bill,
American or Canadian,
mostly the same whites, gray greens, and steel grays
– this little painting (a sketch for a larger one?)
has never earned any money in its life.
Useless and free, it has spent seventy years
as a minor family relic
handed along collaterally to owners
who looked at it sometimes, or didn’t bother to.

It must be Nova Scotia; only there
does one see gabled wooden houses
painted that awful shade of brown.
The other houses, the bits that show, are white.
Elm trees, low hills, a thin church steeple
– that gray-blue wisp – or is it?  In the foreground
a water meadow with some tiny cows,
two brushstrokes each, but confidently cows;
two minuscule white geese in the blue water,
back-to-back, feeding, and a slanting stick.
Up closer, a wild iris, white and yellow,
fresh-squiggled from the tube.
The air is fresh and cold; cold early spring
clear as gray glass; a half inch of blue sky
below the steel-gray storm clouds.
(They were the artist’s specialty.)
A specklike bird is flying to the left.
Or is it a flyspeck looking like a bird?

Heavens, I recognize the place, I know it!
It’s behind – I can almost remember the farmer’s name.
His barn backed on that meadow. There it is,
titanium white, one dab. The hint of steeple,
filaments of brush-hairs, barely there,
must be the Presbyterian church.
Would that be Miss Gillespie’s house?
Those particular geese and cows
are naturally before my time.

A sketch done in an hour, “in one breath,”
once taken from a trunk and handed over.
Would you like this? I’ll probably never
have room to hang these things again.
Your Uncle George, no, mine, my Uncle George,
he’d be your great-uncle, left them all with Mother
when he went back to England.
You know, he was quite famous, an R.A….

I never knew him. We both knew this place,
apparently, this literal small backwater,
looked at it long enough to memorize it,
our years apart. How strange. And it’s still loved,
or its memory is (it must have changed a lot).
Our visions coincided – “visions” is
too serious a word – our looks, two looks:
art “copying from life” and life itself,
life and the memory of it so compressed
they’ve turned into each other. Which is which?
Life and the memory of it cramped,
dim, on a piece of Bristol board,
dim, but how live, how touching in detail
-the little that we get for free,
the little of our earthly trust. Not much.
About the size of our abidance
along with theirs: the munching cows,
the iris, crisp and shivering, the water
still standing from spring freshets,
the yet-to-be-dismantled elms, the geese.

I have read this poem many times, and it still remains fresh, “crisp and shivering,” like the iris in the last stanza.  What is amazing to me about this poem is that no matter how many times you read it, the epiphany that is at the heart of the poem – the way in which the speaker of the poem gradually realizes that she recognizes the painted scene, and then is able to reflect really deeply but reticently about the meaning of such a scene – always feels surprising and spontaneous and real.  Somehow, Bishop was able to kind of encode a dawning realization into her language, and this realization always feels intensely significant.  What she is chronicling is in many ways a different way of seeing things, starting with the inherited painting, moving into the recognition of the scene painted, and ending with what the painting means to her.  And this is done so wonderfully, without too many linguistic pyrotechnics, humbly, in a kind of plain (deceivingly plain) language.  What a great poem.

If this poem captures your attention, and you are interested in reading more of Bishop’s poetry, please come to RRPL and check out the book!  Here is a link to put a hold on it.  Also, below are some resources to learn more about Bishop’s life and work.  She is a poet who rewards many rereadings.  With that said, Happy Reading!

Paris Review interview:


New Yorker articles about her biography:



Poetry Foundation Profile, with Poems:




What we’re reading in November November 13, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Adventure, Book Awards, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Reviews, Uncategorized.
add a comment

In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes 

Cover image for Things are starting to look up for Dix Steele.  Looking for a new start in post-WWII Los Angeles he has found a swanky new apartment and reconnected with his old war buddy, now a homicide detective, Brub.  All he needs now is to find love, and he has his eye on his alluring neighbor, an up-and-coming starlet, Laurel Gray.  If he can have Laurel all to himself, he may not even strangle women walking alone at night anymore.  Well that, and if Brub’s nosy wife Sylvia would stop being suspicious of Dix and find him charming and agreeable like everyone else.  An excellent post-war noir that subverts some of the traditional misogynist motifs of the genre.  Megan Abbott, an accomplished noir author in her own right, has written more knowledgeably on how In A Lonely Place accomplishes this in the Paris ReviewTrent


The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Cover image for This is the source material for the Disney animated movie The Sword in the Stone as well as the Broadway and movie musicals Camelot. It includes four books in one: The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, and The Candle in the Wind. I am still in the first book, so not very far into the story of King Arthur. The fantasy adventure has a comic tone that I was not expecting. I thought the Disney movie was responsible for the funny talking animals and Merlin’s absent-mindedness. However, those aspects are present in the novel. Merlin and the author as narrator make anachronistic references to appeal to readers of the 1950s and 1960s close to the time when the novel was published. In fact there are a couple satiric jabs at current society since it is suggested that Merlin has been to the future and is living backward through time. It is a massive medieval adventure, but so far the chapters move along quickly. At least while Arthur is known as a boy named The Wart in the first book it seems like it is aimed more at younger readers, but I wonder if the tone changes later when Arthur reaches adulthood. I’ll keep reading and find out.  Byron


November Road by Lou Berney

Cover image for November road :Frank Guidry, a charming, well-dressed gangster who works for a New Orleans mob boss, has just returned from Dallas after following orders to deliver a blue Eldorado, when he learns that JFK has been assassinated. When Frank receives orders to return to Texas to dump the car in the ocean, he knows that his involvement means he’s next to die and decides to run for his life, a ruthless hitman in hot pursuit.  Meanwhile, Charlotte, mother of two young girls, decides to leave her alcoholic husband in Oklahoma and travel to Los Angeles to find a better life. When these two meet on Route 66, sparks fly and Frank convinces Charlotte to travel with him – the perfect cover – but he soon realizes that he could grow to like this new role.  Evocative and suspenseful, it’s got 60s sensibility, romance, a road trip, seedy motels, neon-lit Las Vegas, diners and Dylan. I listened to the fantastic audiobook version through Hoopla! Dori


 Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917  by Jonathan Frankel

Cover image for Prophecy and politics :This is one of the more challenging books I’ve read this year, since there is a lot of information and, unfortunately, the font is small.  I also have traditionally struggled with reading books on history, but I’m giving it another go.  The book, at its best, is fascinating, and it can read like a novel – it is full of letters and speeches and ideas and characters and excerpts from socialist and nationalist literature.  Much of the book is devoted to the Bund, the group of Jewish socialists, founded in Russia in the 19th century, that spread to Lithuania and Poland.  Members of the Bund struggled with their cultural and political identities – how much were they Jews, and should be devoted to Jewish causes, and how much were they Russians, and should be devoted to Russian causes?  The history of the Bund is in many ways a history of the Russian Revolutions in 1905 and 1917, seen from a Jewish perspective, and it’s been fascinating to see figures like Vladimir Lenin interact with prominent members of the Bund.  It is also a history of Israel before Israel became a nation (the competing ideologies for Russian Jewry in the 19th century became nationalism, with roots in Palestine, and socialism, which had roots in Russia and America).  A challenging but worthwhile read. Andrew


The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor D. LaValle

Cover image for The ballad of Black TomWith only being 151 pages long this book packs quite a punch. The Ballad of Black Tom is a retelling of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook but from the perspective of Tommy Tester. LaValle’s narrative highlights not just the horrors of the supernatural but of the racism and xenophobia as events unfold. The author creates  characters who are grounded in reality who then deal with the swell of the uncanny. You will be caught up in the fast paced narrative and even fans of the lovecraftian source material will have whiplash from the conclusion and epilogue. Greg 



The Fallen by David Baldacci

Cover image for The fallenEvery once in a while you need an action book with a good guy who you know will win.  That is Amos Decker in this new Memory Man book, The Fallen.  Amos and his journalist friend Alex take a vacation to visit Alex’s sister in a small, depressed Pennsylvania town.  Even when he is not looking for trouble, trouble finds him, and Amos discovers two dead bodies in the neighbor’s house.  It is soon apparent that something big is going on in this little town, and there’s no telling who is a part of it.  After suffering a concussion, Amos’s infallible memory begins to get a little fuzzy and less reliable.  Will he still be able to solve the case or was his memory the only thing that made him an amazing detective?  A quick and easy read that is a bit predictable but enjoyable none the less.  Sara


 Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit by Amy Stewart

Cover image for Miss Kopp just won't quitThis novel is based on on actual events and centers around two of them.  Anna Kayser’s husband has her committed to an insane asylum for the fourth time under false pretenses, and deputy Constance Kopp knows she doesn’t belong there.  In 1916, Sheriff Robert Heath is running for congress and a new county sheriff will be elected. The new sheriff has no desire in keeping a woman deputy sheriff on board. He quickly dismisses Deputy Kopp. Robert Heath loses the election and Constance Kopp is unemployed. The fourth entry in the Kopp sisters series leaves lots of loose ends to be worked out, but it’s a quick fun read for fans of historical fiction. Emma



Warcross by Marie Lu

Cover image for WarcrossEmika Chen is a broke, orphaned eighteen-year-old with a criminal record – one she got from hacking computers. And, like the rest of the world, she’s obsessed with a virtual reality game called Warcross (think Quidditch meets Ready Player One). On the opening day of the International Warcross Championships, Emika is hurting for rent money. When she hacks into the game and attempts to steal an expensive item, she glitches herself into the action and reveals her identity. Emika thinks she’s going to be arrested, but instead, she’s pursued by the game’s creator, heartthrob Hideo Tanaka, to become a spy in next year’s tournament. But the sinister plot Emika uncovers could unravel the entire Warcross empire.   I picked up this book because I wanted to be able to recommend more sci-fi to teens. I am really enjoying the pacing of the book (Marie Lu knows how to write a thriller!) and the diverse cast – Emika, like the author, is Chinese American, Hideo is Japanese, and Emika’s Warcross team captain, Asher, uses a wheelchair. Recommend this NYT Bestseller and its sequel, Wildcard, to fans of The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and Divergent.  Lyndsey





New Non-Fiction Roundup – November 2018 November 5, 2018

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Living with the Gods: On Beliefs and Peoples by Neil MacGregor – An acclaimed art historian explores the connection between faith and society by tracing the paths that different communities took to understand and describe their place in the cosmic order and how these narratives eventually shaped societies.

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker – The award-winning author of The Color Purple returns with a collection of nearly 70 works of poetic free verse, presented in both English and Spanish, that focus on issues of love, hope and gratitude in our troubled times.

A Tale of Two Murders: Guilt, Innocence, and the Execution of Edith Thompson by Laura Thompson – Delves into the 1922 case of the Ilford murder, which resulted in the hanging death of the perpetrator, Freddy Bywaters, as well as the victim’s wife, who was guilty only of having a romantic relationship with the suspect.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classrom by Ariel Burger – A devoted protégé and friend of Elie Wiesel takes readers into the sacred space of Wiesel’s classroom, showing the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient not only as an extraordinary human being, but as a master teacher.

The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy by Greg Miller – In a book based on hundreds of interviews with those within President Donald Trump’s inner circle, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter investigates the Kremlin’s covert attempt to help Trump win the presidency, Trump’s allegiance to Vladimir Putin and Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen – A provocative new essay collection by the award-winning author of Freedom and The Corrections includes an exploration of his complex relationship with his uncle, an assessment of the global seabird crisis and his young adulthood in New York.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Why Religion? A Personal Story by Elaine Pagels – Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century? Why do so many still believe? And how do various traditions still shape the way people experience everything from sexuality to politics, whether they are religious or not? In Why Religion? Elaine Pagels looks to her own life to help address these questions.

Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton – From the bestselling author of Shout!, comes the definitive biography of Eric Clapton, a Rock legend whose life story is as remarkable as his music, which transformed the sound of a generation.

Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie – Hamish McKenzie tells how a Silicon Valley start-up’s wild dream came true. Tesla is a car company that stood up against  not only the might of the government-backed Detroit car manufacturers, but also the massive power of Big Oil and its benefactors, the infamous Koch brothers.



New Fiction Roundup – November 2018 November 1, 2018

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Come with Me by Helen Schulman – A part-time employee of a tech company owned by her friend’s 19-year-old son acts as his guinea pig to test an algorithm that allows people to access their “multiverses” and see their alternative life choices and paths.

The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim – From the author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter comes the story of two sisters—one raised in the United States, the other in South Korea—and the family that bound them together even as the Korean War kept them apart.

The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem – Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn delivers the same memorable delights: ecstatic wordplay, warm and deeply felt characters, and an offbeat sense of humor. Combined with a vision of California that is at once scruffy and magnificent, The Feral Detective emerges as a transporting, comic, and absolutely unforgettable novel.

Cover image for Cover image for

Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks – Here is Paris as you have never seen it before – a city in which every building seems to hold the echo of an unacknowledged past, the shadows of Vichy and Algeria.  In this urgent and deeply moving novel, Faulks deals with questions of empire, grievance, and identity. With great originality and a dark humour, Paris Echo asks how much we really need to know if we are to live a valuable life.

The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos – A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

Fox 8 by George Saunders – Fox 8 has always been known as the daydreamer in his pack, the one his fellow foxes regard with a knowing snort and a roll of the eyes. That is, until he develops a unique skill: He teaches himself to speak “Yuman” by hiding in the bushes outside a house and listening to children’s bedtime stories. The power of language fuels his abundant curiosity about people—even after “danjer” arrives in the form of a new shopping mall that cuts off his food supply, sending Fox 8 on a harrowing quest to help save his pack.

Cover image for Cover image for

Tony’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani – Set in the lush Big Band era of the 1940s and World War II, this spellbinding saga from beloved New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani tells the story of two talented working class kids who marry and become a successful singing act, until time, temptation, and the responsibilities of home and family derail their dreams.

Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates – “Time travel” — and its hazards—are made literal in this astonishing new novel in which a recklessly idealistic girl dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled (future) world and is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America — “Wainscotia, Wisconsin”—that existed eighty years before.  Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town she is set upon a course of “rehabilitation”—but cannot resist falling in love with a fellow exile and questioning the constrains of the Wainscotia world with results that are both devastating and liberating.

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny – The six-time Agatha Award-winning author of such best-sellers as Still Life and The Cruelest Month presents a latest entry in the popular Chief Inspector Gamache series.






Tony Hoagland, 1953-2018 October 24, 2018

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.
add a comment

There are a lot of great things about getting older (hopefully more stability, more positive experiences, the deepening of relationships, maybe even the growing of wisdom), but one of the sadder things about getting older is that sometimes people who you never knew, but who you admired, pass away.  That happened for me when the poet John Ashbery passed away, as well as when the novelist Philip Roth died.  They were heroes of mine, and it felt like someone I knew closely had died, someone who had changed my life.  Today I heard the sad news that the American poet Tony Hoagland passed away, who wrote really wonderful poems in casual, accessible language that could break out suddenly into great beauty.  Hoagland created poems from ordinary language (his poems did not show off their innovation, nor were they so extraordinarily difficult as to baffle interpretation), but that ordinary language, and the light it shone on our lives, could open up, and open us up, to something truly special and moving.  In honor of Hoagland, I wanted to post a poem of his, that I found on the Poetry Foundation website, which is a great resource.  Here it is, called “A Color of the Sky”:

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
                     when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.


I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.


Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.


Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
in big black spraypaint letters,


which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.


Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.


What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.


Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;


overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,


dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,


so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.


The poem is on the surface about ordinary things – driving from work, calling a friend or partner to apologize about something, hearing songs on the radio, thinking about dreams, noticing liquor stores and police stations – but underneath this surface there is a great attention to, and love for, life in its rich and complex variety.  The poem is this thoughtful and quietly funny celebration of how strange and miraculous it is to be alive – to drive a car, to see a tree “overflowing with blossomfoam.”  It’s so easy to forget how joyful life can be, and the poem ends on this image of a tree “making beauty, / and throwing it away, / and making more.”  The tree, without thought, sometimes without anyone noticing, is “dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,” this amazing image that Hoagland chooses to see and chronicle.  He did this in so many poems.  I encourage you to check out his poems, which can be found in the CLEVNET system, for a dose of that wonderful Hoaglandian ordinariness made beautiful.  May he rest in peace!

Image result for tony hoagland

Tony Hoagland

October Albums October 17, 2018

Posted by Beth in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Music is such a big part of our lives, but with digital music we seldom pay attention to album releases from our favorite artists.   The library offers  two different formats for lending music and they are both great options depending on how you will be listening.  The first format that is sometimes forgotten about is CDs.  Believe it or not, many cars still have CD players, including mine.  Things I love about CDs: they don’t have commercials. I can listen to an album straight through the way the artist intended it to be listened to. The very best feature of CDs is they don’t use cell data!

The library also offers music via a streaming service called Hoopla Digital. Things I love about Hoopla: you don’t have to place a desired item on hold.  If it’s available on Hoopla, you can check it out on your smartphone/tablet/computer immediately.   Hoopla has a great catalog of albums.  Hoopla is free with your library card!

Whether you will be listening online or  with a CD, check out these albums dropping this month:


Stephen King’s Top Horror Movies October 10, 2018

Posted by Beth in Uncategorized.
add a comment

The master of horror  is one of the few who is continuously well acclaimed for the superb adaptation his novels to the big screen.  Stephen King makes sure that his stories are just as frightening in movie form as they are on the page.  Here’s a list of his most popular horror book to movie adaptations:

Cover image for Children of the corn

Cover image for Carrie

Cover image for It

Cover image for The shining




Are you ready to vote? October 6, 2018

Posted by Beth in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Ohio’s general election will be November 6th, but the deadline to register to vote is October 9th.   Make sure your registration information is up to date and check out these great resources for educating yourself on the issues on your ballot:

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections – online registration, voting information, deadlines, poll places

Vote 411.org – election information, online registration, voting guides – nonpartisan

Judge4Yourself – nonpartisan judicial ratings

Look What We’re Reading October 5, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Uncategorized.
add a comment

A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald by Neil…An adapted version of a Neil Gaiman short story,  A Study in Emerald is a graphic novel almost guaranteed to delight fans of Lovecraft and mysteries. We are introduced to the alternative world of Sherlock Holmes where the old god of Lovecraftian has ruled over humanity for 700 years. Taking it’s title, and many of its plot points, from A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle this genre-meshing work entertains while enticing the reader to discover its literary references.  Greg 

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina DalcherVox  is set in a dystopian America where half the population is no longer allowed to work, read, write, or speak more than 100 words a day.   For the least year Dr. Jean McClellan has been forced into silence and torn from her neurological research simply because she is a woman.   As a well renowned researcher in her field, Dr. McClellan is suddenly sought out to get back into the lab to work on finishing her research that improves otherwise damaged cognitive function.  This gives her a bargaining chip to remove her and her daughter’s word restrictions, as the world around her spirals into chaos. She is determined to survive and free her daughter from the chains of the new regime. Beth

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

This is a novel set in the 1980s and contemporary Paris.  The main characters are a director of a Chicago art gallery, and a woman searching for her estranged daughter in Paris.  Both characters are struggling with coming to terms with how AIDS has affected their lives.  This is my favorite read thus far this year. The book is very informative yet so very compassionate about a tumultuous time which should not be forgotten. The author draws in the reader in with two flawed but  soulful main characters.  As a reader, I felt invested in their lives and could not put down the book until I knew their whole The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkaistory. This book gets a huge thumbs -up from me.  Mary                                                     

 The Great Believers by Rebecca Makai is a novel chock full of plots, sub-plots, characters, surprises and emotional poignancy. Told in alternating chapters, it begins in 1985 at the start of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago, where Yale Tishman and his partner, Charlie, prepare for a memorial service for Nico, a friend who has recently died of AIDS. Yale has recently started a job at an art gallery at Northwestern University and is tasked with the job of encouraging a donation of potentially authentic 20th century drawings from a reticent donor. Fast forward to 2015, where Nico’s sister, Fiona,  is in Paris to find her estranged grown daughter. Fiona hung out with Nico’s friends in her youth and continues to grieve the loss of Nico and so many other young men she befriended. One of my favorites of 2018 so far! Dori

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by  Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen…I’ve previously seen the movie adaptation by author Chbosky himself, and I’m currently leading a Film Club for teens at the Lakewood Young Filmmakers Academy. We will be watching the film and reading the book, and then discussing the pros and cons of the adaptation. I had enjoyed the movie and the way the performers brought it to life very much back in 2012. The book is a series of letters that Freshman Charlie writes to an imaginary friend, or perhaps his future self. Charlie, the somewhat introverted “Wallflower”, is coming-of-age in the 1990s and struggles with periods of depression. Sex, drugs, family, friends, and gradually developing skills as a writer all provide drama as he shares his feelings through this time full of change.  Byron

Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America by Eric J. Sunquist

Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews,…This book is a cultural history of African-American-Jewish relations, and looks at the relationship through the perspective of law, politics, literature, and sociology.  There is a lot of fascinating stuff about the way both groups have used the Exodus story as a template for imagining their groups’ destinies.  It is inspiring to read about the African-American and Jewish coalition during the Civil Rights era, but dispiriting to read about the coalition in our present day.  Still, this is a very intelligent and comprehensive book about these two unique and important peoples.  Andrew

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather MorrisThis  novel is based on the true story of concentration survivors, Lale Sokolov and Gita Furman. Lale became the camp tattooist numbering inmates when they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Gita had a relatively safe job working as a secretary at the administrative building. Lale was able to secure sausages, chocolate, and medicine by smuggling out jewels and money confiscated from camp prisoners by the SS. Gita and Lale were separated at the end of the war but eventually find each other and marry. A powerful, gut-wrenching tale.  Emma

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn CroftTara Logan does not have the perfect family, but they are trying and things are looking up.  She and her husband have reconciled after a separation, and her teenage daughter, Rosie, has stopped stalking the boy she had a crush on-for now.  Unfortunately, her luck is not meant to last–Tara wakes up one morning in her neighbor Lee’s bed.  She has no memory other than having a drink with Lee in his living room, but awakens to find him lying next to her, stabbed to death.  In a panic she runs home and waits for the body to be discovered, telling no one what happened that night.  But soon suspicion falls upon herself, her daughter and her husband, and Tara realizes she must find the murderer  before her family is destroyed.  A good thriller with many plot twists- I was guessing until the end.  Sara