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Time to Talk Turkey About Thanksgiving Movies and Books November 18, 2017

Posted by Dori in Book List, Fiction, Holiday Books, Literary Fiction, Movies, Uncategorized.
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When you work in a library, you usually have at least one display up that corresponds to a current holiday. Thanksgiving is always the difficult holiday; there are just not many books or movies that revolve around Thanksgiving which is surprising, considering that it’s ripe with potential to explore family issues.

Here are a few titles that either take place during Thanksgiving or have a special or funny scene devoted to the holiday:

Movies:

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Books:

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Wishing you and yours a very peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving –

~ Dori

 

 

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Shop Small Saturday November 16, 2017

Posted by gregoryhatch in Uncategorized.
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One of the great things about being a librarian is not only providing great customer service and materials but also being a part of the community. November 25 is Shop Small Saturday, an annual event encouraging people to shop small. This year, in an effort to support and promote local small businesses in our community, Rocky River Public Library has signed up to be a Neighborhood Champion and will be holding a raffle. All through November bring in a receipt from a local business and be entered for a chance to win a basket of goodies. One entry per receipt.shopsmallflyer

-Greg

What we’re reading in November… November 13, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Uncategorized.
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Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer EganA childhood encounter with her father and a local gangster remains in Anna Kerrigan’s memory, even after he disappears and she grows up to work at as a diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard during World War II. Why did her father leave? Did it have something to do with the gangster or was it because of her disabled sister Lydia? Egan’s look at the life of a smart, capable young woman and the mystery surrounding her father’s absence is an engaging novel chock full of historical details. Dori


Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka…There’s only one person who has ever truly understood 14 year old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle Finn Weiss.  Awkward, shy and feeling disconnected from her older sister, June feels she can be her true self only in the company of Finn.  When Finn dies of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down.  At Finn’s funeral June notices a strange man lingering beyond the crowd.  A few days later she receives a package in the mail, with a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet.  Hence begins a remarkable friendship which both desperately need for their loss, and courage to carry on.  The novel takes place in the 1980’s where the reader is exposed to the fear & ignorance of the AIDS virus.  We follow this very quirky yet strong young girl in her journey to find peace with herself and the world around her.  This is a beautiful coming of age novel, and your heartstrings will tug for June and all the people in her life.  Mary


The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly and Molly McGill by Jim Fergus

The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of…This is the story of Margaret and Susie who were part of the original “Brides for Indians” program. They moved west and married Cheyenne warriors. Their husbands were killed when the village was attacked by the U.S. Army. Their babies froze to death on the escape route to the Lakota’s, and these women want revenge. Molly McGill, a new participant in the “Brides for Indians” program which is obsolete, still marries a warrior named Hawk. Margaret and Susie and the new recruits train to become warriors. Told in alternating chapters from the journals of Margaret and Molly, the sequel to One Thousand White Women is a compelling tale. Emma


Books Of Blood: Volumes One To Three by  Clive Barker

Books of Blood 1-3 by Clive BarkerThe season for horror may have passed for most of the country, but I continue to delight in stories of the strange, the uncanny, and the unnerving. Clive Barker began his career with a series of short stories put together in Books of Blood. Here we have the first 3 volumes of tales that are sure to satisfy any fan of the macabre or the curious. If you love Barker’s movies this is a great introduction to his written work. Some fans will even notice a few plots that have become films since this collection’s publication.  This may not be the book for everyone but with Barker’s ability to create worlds within each story and his trademark take on horror, it is bound to find fans in readers looking to keep the Halloween season going a little longer.  Greg


Kenyatta’s Last Hit by Donald Goines 

Kenyatta's Last Hit by Donald GoinesThe final book in Goines’ Kenyatta series appears on the surface to be nothing more than another urban fiction/crime novel.  At times grisly, others lascivious, it is above all else honest and relevant. If not for the uniquely 70s patois and sartorial descriptions, this is a novel that could have been written today.  The struggle against institutionalized racism, an unaddressed heroin epidemic, privilege, and greed are all catalysts in a story that still strike a chord today.  Goines creates many strong characters, most who are doing unquestionably bad things, but like the best authors, he makes you question who is actually the villain. Trent


Ranger Games: a Story of Soldiers, Family, and an Inexplicable Crime by Ben Blum

Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family…This story explores the role that Ranger indoctrination and training played in the commission of an armed bank robbery. Alex Blum always dreamed of serving his country in the elite Army Ranger squad. After surviving the grueling training, 19 year old Alex attained his dream and was set to deploy to Iraq in August of 2006. To the shock and horror of his family, he never made it to Iraq. Instead, he was arrested for armed bank robbery along with four other Rangers. Blum was arrested and confessed to being the getaway driver. His defense? The robbery was simply an elaborate training exercise. Written by his cousin, this book digs deep into Alex’s story. The author, a former computer scientist, needed to get to the bottom of this bizarre event. Fans of true crime stories and the podcast story will want to add this to their reading list. Megan


Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment by Robert Wright

Why Buddhism is True: The Science and…I really enjoyed Robert Wright’s Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment. His argument was really fascinating – that mindfulness meditation can loosen the grip on our minds that natural selection holds – that, essentially, we are wired to see the world in a certain way because of natural selection, but that this way might not be good for our species, or the world at large. According to Wright (and evolutionary psychology), we are built – our brains are wired – to pass on our genes. Therefore it is in our evolutionary interests to identify with our feelings and thoughts, because our feelings and thoughts might have saved us when we were hunting in the wild. But nowadays, as Wright argues, this vehement identification with what we feel and think can foster tribalism. His answer to this problem of tribalism, essentially, is mindfulness meditation, which he argues can allow us to perceive the world more truthfully (and with more beauty), by letting us see things without our story about things. Andrew


 

The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka

The Big Smoke by Adrian MatejkaThis is a book of poems that tell the story of Jack Johnson, a Jim Crow-era boxer who became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion. The Big Smoke won the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. The poems do a wonderful job of showing how black people were (mis)treated at the turn of the nineteenth century and illustrating what impossible hurdles Johnson had to clear in order to be accepted into the white-dominated professional sports world. The poems also do a good job of humanizing Jack Johnson. While Jack Johnson has been painted as a larger-than-life, mythic American hero, poet Adrian Matejka shrink away from a thorough investigation of Johnson’s flaws. A must-read for those interested in the intersection of sports, history, and race relations in the United States. Lyndsey


Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

 Eleanor Flood wakes up with small ambitions to improve her life, but little does she know, her day will propel her into an unimaginable future.   The characters were charming, the plot twist was surprising, and the overall tone was upbeat and enjoyable. Beth

 

 


The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Detective Gemma Woodstock’s life is complicated- her relationship with her boyfriend is shaky, and her place as the only female detective in the department is exhausting.  When the body of a young woman found floating in the lake turns out to be Rosalind Ryan, things take a turn for the worse.  Gemma was captivated by the mysterious Rosalind in high school and becomes obsessed with finding her killer after her death.  But by solving the case, it is possible that some of Gemma’s own secrets won’t be able to remain in the past.  Sara

 

 

I know a book you would love! I just can’t remember the title… November 10, 2017

Posted by gregoryhatch in Book Discussion, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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I was struck this morning to reread a book I loved as a teen. There was just one problem, I couldn’t remember the title. Worse, I couldn’t even remember the author. As much as we adore our books a lapse of memory is bound to happen. So what do you do? Asking the reference desk here at the library is always a great start but not always possible.  Thankfully there are tools and tricks to help jog that memory and find that book.

If you remember the author of the book you are looking for, finding the title isn’t such a herculean task. When at the library you can put the author’s name into the search bar of the catalog and find all the books your library owns by them. Of course if your library doesn’t own a copy of the book you are seeking this option may not work for you. Luckily many authors working today have a professional website with a list of their work. A bonus is that author sites are a great place to go if you are trying to figure out what book comes next in a series. If the author doesn’t have their own website online book retailers can be another great resource for finding that elusive title.

Now if you are in the same boat I was in this morning you are going to have to do a bit more research. In my mind there are two ways to go about this. You can first try to find the author and then use the suggestions above to zero in on the book you are looking for, or you can try and find the title.  If you know the author is known for a particular series or style of writing the first method can be the quickest.  With the second method you first instinct can be to type in the search bar “book that was about…” or “book set during…”. There is always a chance that you will luck out and the book you are looking for will be one of the top posts. More likely you will get hundreds of websites that you have to search through to find anything that could be helpful. Websites like www.goodreads.com and www.fantasticfiction.com have genre sections which you can browse to help narrow your search. Goodreads offers forums where you can request help from other users. These websites also have the benefit of displaying the covers of the books. The Library of Congress has an amazing page of resources on just this subject:  https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/lost/novels.html which shows other ways to use those sites and many others.

This morning the best resource for me was Goodreads’ forums and I was able to find the book I was looking for:

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny.ANightInTheLonesomeOctober(1stEd).jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Greg

 

 

 

 

What we’re reading now… October 16, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book Review, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine

They May Not Mean To, But They Do: A Novel…The challenges, frustrations and fears associated with aging parents and how to care for them (even when they are not interested in being cared for) are issues that many have dealt with or will struggle with at some point in their lifetimes. We are introduced to 86 year old Joy Bergman, sole caregiver of Aaron, her husband struggling with significant health issues, soon to lead to his demise.  We observe Joy as a lonely widow, struggling to keep her independence while yearning for constant company of her beloved children Molly and Daniel.  Molly and Daniel have their own struggles, believing Joy can not manage on her own, and are pressing for change ( in her best interests, of course!).  The struggles for all characters are portrayed well, without feeling that the author has taken any sides.   We see all the characters at their best and worst.  Joy is is a kind yet fiesty woman, and at times, made me laugh out loud.  I found this to be a poignant novel which I would recommend. Mary

Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein

Mindfulness: Six Guided Practices for…I’ve been reading a smart and insightful book called Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein.  The book is about the Buddhist practice of mindfulness – essentially becoming aware of the ways our minds work, the good and the bad, and looking at these things in a non-judgmental way.  There are chapters about how to handle difficult feelings, as well as how to treat one’s own thoughts, which I found super interesting.  Unlike traditions like Freudian psychoanalysis, in which one really tries to get at the meaning of one’s thoughts, this book suggests that we treat our thoughts as insubstantial and fleeting, like clouds in the sky.  Andrew

 

Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Break-Up Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in…Spence, a librarian that balances snark and sincerity, chronicles her long history of book relationships.  She encapsulates her enduring loves and salacious affairs through love letters but also includes the occasional Dear John letter.  Filled with wit and passion this may be a fun and quick read but reader beware Dear Fahrenheit will be sure to lengthen anyone’s to-read list. Trent

 

 

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

The Illustrated Man by Ray BradburyThere is something about October that leads my thoughts to Ray Bradbury. It may be his use of the month in titles or my childhood love of The Halloween Tree. Either way, to me October is Bradbury month. I decided to revisit the first work of Bradbury’s I have ever read, The Illustrated Man.  I always recommend this book as an introduction to Bradbury’s work or for someone who may not be drawn to short story collections. The thing that makes a short story collection strong is variety in narrative but united in their creative voice. The Illustrated Man has both in spades. From a pre-Star Trek hologram room to a look at the Mars-based afterlife for authors, the work contained in this collection never allows the reader to be complaisant in their expectations on what the next tale will bring.  A great collection of works for a fall evening when you want to be entertained and challenged. Greg

 

Hold Still by Lynn Steger Strong

THold Still: A Novel by Lynn Steger Stronghis novel alternates viewpoints between Maya Taylor, a tenured professor living in New York City, and Ellie, her 20-year-old drug addicted daughter, who Maya sends to Florida to care for a friend’s child and get “a fresh start.” But just as things are looking up for Ellie, she makes a fatal mistake. Years later, as Maya and Ellie are still struggling to cope with their guilt and grief, Maya must own up to the parts of herself she sees in Ellie. Just as the chapters alternate in perspective, they also alternate between before and after the accident, building suspense. Selected by the Huffington Post as one of the “32 Books to Add to Your Shelf in 2016,” Hold Still balances an expertly woven plot with complicated, relatable characters. Lyndsey

 

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Since all of the men are off to war, the Vicar eliminates the church choir in The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan. When Miss Prim, a music professor, arrives in Chilbury, she insists the choir can be resurrected as a ladies’ choir. The choir lifts the spirit of participants and congregations/audiences. The story is told through diary entries by 13-year-old Kitty, her older sister Venetia, widowed Mrs. Tilling and midwife Edwina Paltry. Lots of things happen in Chilbury including bombings, baby-swapping, love affairs and undercover operations. An entertaining story. Emma

 

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir…In The Best We Could Do debut author Thi Bui explores what it means to be both a parent and a child. With the birth of her first child she realizes that there is more to her parents than she fully comprehends. And so, she sets out to understand their lives in Vietnam and their escape after the fall of South Vietnam. As she explores her family’s past she is able to better understand her own childhood and recognize and appreciate her parents’ sacrifices and unspoken gestures of love. In addition to the poetic storytelling, this graphic memoir is also beautifully illustrated and meticulously researched. Megan

 

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel by Tom PerrottaMrs. Fletcher is a humorous depiction of a divorcee who has found herself attempting to overcome empty nest syndrome. Each of the characters is searching for a way to fill a void, and though few of them are terribly likeable, you can’t bring yourself to look away. Beth

 

 

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen…Helena has a loving husband and two beautiful daughters.  She has a few quirky habits such as taking two week camping trips alone, bear hunting and maintaining an impressive collection of guns and knives.  She also has a secret-she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena never knew about the abduction and loved her father, but eventually learned the truth and saw how brutal he could be when he tortured a man who appeared at their cabin.  Twenty years later, her father has escaped from prison, killed two guards and disappeared into the marsh. The police begin a manhunt, but Helena knows that because of her rigorous wilderness training as a child, only she stands a chance at finding him before he finds her. Sara

 

Less: a Novel by Andrew Sean Greer

Less: A Novel by Andrew Sean GreerArthur Less is anxious: he’s about to turn 50, his boyfriend has just left him to marry another, and his book deal has gone sour. How to deal? Less cobbles together numerous invitations and creates an around-the-world trip that ferries him to a literary conference, an author competition, a retreat, and a teaching assignment. Along the way, Arthur considers his past, his great romance with a famous poet, his mid-list literary career, and (vainly) the ravages of middle age, yet his optimism, kind heartedness and quirkiness win the day. Written with playful and witty prose, Less is a charming journey.  Dori

 

 

Eeek…the HORROR! October 9, 2017

Posted by Dori in Book List, Fiction, Horror.
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All you horror fans, you know this month is for you. But those of us who aren’t regular readers of the genre can find things to relish as well. Who doesn’t like to feel a little thrill of fear once in a while?

Here’s a list of hair-raising books to explore; some are classic, some new, but all are sure to get you in the mood for this creepiest of seasons (click on covers to explore further):

littleclassicsilence

araratsomethingshining

wongittales

hornshearthaunting

frankbarker

draculabrokenharvester

Check out the Horror Writers Association for more eerie titles.

Happy Haunting!

~ Dori

 

What We’re Reading Now… September 12, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Biographies, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, poetry, Science Fiction, Thrillers.
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Here’s a look at some of the books the Adult Services department is reading now:

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

 

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

Hapless Jackson begins his foray into crime by investing every penny he has in a sure-fire scheme to turn legitimate ten-dollar bills into counterfeit one-hundred dollar bills. It is only after Jackson loses all his money, and some of his bosses, that he turns to his streetwise brother Goldie for help. Goldie, who dresses as a Sister of Mercy and collects alms for ‘charity,’ works the seedier side of Harlem in aid of not only Jackson but Goldie’s own pocketbook. Written and set in 1950s Harlem this is a grippy and taut classic crime caper.  Trent

Cover image for John Ashbery :

 

John Ashbery: Collected Poems

I’ve been re-reading John Ashbery’s Collected Poems, 1956-1987, published by the Library of America.  Ashbery passed away last week, and there have been some wonderful tributes written about him online.  His poems are so wonderful, mysterious, and enigmatic – they feel like adventures of the mind, where you don’t know where you’ll end up, but the process can be exhilarating.  For readers who enjoy experimentation with language, Ashbery is one of the greatest.  Andrew

Cover image for Magpie murders

 

 Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz is a mystery within a mystery. Susan Ryeland is the editor of popular, but difficult, author Alan Conway’s books. When he suddenly dies of a suspicious suicide after turning in his most recent manuscript, Susan begins some detective work of her own, beginning with investigating the contents of the manuscript. Will it reveal Conway’s killer? Dori

Cover image for In the Great Green Room

 

In the Great Green Room by Amy Gary

In the Great Green Room is a fascinating window into the life of Margaret Wise Brown, the children’s author who famously penned Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and over 100 others. The book begins in Margaret’s childhood: a whirlwind of boarding schools in Switzerland and Massachusetts, shoulder-rubbing with members of elite United States families, and family vacations in island homes off the coast of New York–all the while, Margaret’s mind was constantly turning out whimsy. Later in her adult life, she had a playfulness that drew a stream of friends, associates, editors, and lovers to her house. She spent her first royalty check on a cartful of flowers; she lead a group called the Bird Brain Society where any member could declare a day Christmas and the other members would come over and celebrate it; the line between play and life was never entirely clear to her. Just when, at 42, she was engaged to be married and began settling into a more stable life, she died suddenly. This biography is a wonderful read for those interested in bold, brilliant women who made a mark on the world in unconventional ways. Lyndsey

Cover image for Girls made of snow and glass

 

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Girls Made of Snow and Glass  is a new YA retelling of Snow White. Mina, the daughter of a magician, has a heart of glass. When she and her father move to Whitespring Castle Mina devises a plan to win the king’s favor so that she can be the queen and finally know love. When she finally succeeds at her plan, she becomes a stepmother to the princess Lynet. Lynet is the spitting image of her dead mother, who by all accounts was beautiful and delicate. Lynet is headstrong and fierce and hates living the the shadow of a mother she never knew. When King Nicholas declares his intention make Lynet the Queen of the South instead of Mina, he creates a rivalry between the two women. Is Mina capable of destroying the one person who loves her? Can Lynet save the only mother she has even known? Megan

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I recently revisited this personal favorite of mine after watching the TV adaptation produced this past summer. Gaiman is a master story teller that produces accessible, yet still challenging, novels. To enter the world of American Gods is to enter a place where every deity ever worshiped on American soil is given a corporeal presence. Recently released from prison Shadow Moon is greeted with devastating news that sets him on a fantastical journey which reveals the gods living among us. These deities who live on attention and worship are far from their heyday and are showing the signs of the neglect. It doesn’t help that their worshipers have shifted their attention to new gods created through our culture’s adoration of technology, media, and the world economy. A book that seamless combines the world and troubles of the everyday with the fantastical. I would recommend this to readers who are new to Gaiman and get a full picture of his style and world building. Greg

Cover image for The undoing project :

 

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis is about the research that two men did 40 years ago about the way we make decisions. This is a very biographical, anecdotal depiction of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. If you go into this book wanting to know about the men who created the field of behavioral economics, you’ll enjoy this one. Beth

 

 

Cover image for Nutshell :

 

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

A tale told by a baby-to-be or not-to-be? This story unfolds by a talking fetus who bears witness to an affair between his mother, Trudy, and his uncle, Claude. The adulterous pair are scheming to kill the baby’s father, John. Will the narrator be able to prevent such a crime, and possibly pursue revenge?Many twists and turns as to what will become of our villains, victims and beloved narrator.  McEwan has stuffed this tale with Shakespearean throwbacks and extensive dialogue filled with weighty vocabulary – have your dictionary handy! Mary

Cover image for MY SISTER'S GRAVE:

 

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

This is the first book in the Tracy Crosswhite series, a story of a woman who has spent the last 20 years questioning the circumstances around the death of her sister, Sarah and the murder trial that followed. When  Sarah’s body is finally found, her sister Tracy, now a homicide detective is determined to find out what happened all those years ago, and why people she loved and trusted lied to her.  An exciting, well-written thriller with twists and turns that surprise, but don’t push the bounds of belief.  I’m a little late to the Crosswhite series with the author soon to publish Book #5, but I’m looking forward to getting to know Tracy better as I keep reading! Sara

 

Cover image for On her majesty's frightfully secret service

 

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

Lady Georgiana (Georgie) Rannoch wants to marry her Catholic fiancée Darcy but first needs permission from Queen Mary and parliament. By marrying Darcy she would give up her place in line as 35th in line to the British throne. The Queen asks a favor of Georgie first. There is a party that the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson will be attending. The queen wants Georgie to go to the party and make sure the Prince and Mrs. Simpson don’t marry. Two guests are murdered at the house party and Georgie gets involved in solving the mysteries almost becoming a victim herself. Emma

New in the Reading Room! September 8, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Beach Reads, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Uncategorized.
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Take a look at these new book reviews in our Reading Room.  Click on the link to take you there.

 

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Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth

 

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Agatha Christie: Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

 

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 On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

 

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Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

 

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The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping by Aharon Appelfeld

 

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The Coroner’s Daughter by Andrew Hughes

 

Our Eclipse Picks August 16, 2017

Posted by lgvora in Uncategorized.
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solar eclipse blog

Are you ready for the August 21st solar eclipse? Why not get ready by reading a story that features a solar eclipse as an important plot point? Or, you could read a nonfiction title about the history of eclipses. Whether you’re looking to learn or be entertained, we’ve got some recommendations for you!

Every Soul a Star (2008) by Wendy Mass

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Every Soul a Star is an award-winning novel for children and young adults about three teenagers whose totally different lives intersect during a rare total solar eclipse.  The book hops between the first person narration of overweight and unconfident Jack, beautiful and popular Bree, and homeschooled, science-minded Ally.

After failing science class, Jack’s teacher offers him the chance to be his assistant on an eclipse-viewing trip to Moon Shadow campground. At Moon Shadow, he meets the daughter of the campground caretakers, Ally, who loves her nature-saturated life in the Middle of Nowhere, USA. When model-esque, queen bee Bree arrives at camp with her astrophysicist parents, she and Ally learn that they’re going to be switching lives after the eclipse: Bree’s parents will stay at the campground to do research while Ally’s parents take their children to “civilization” to expose them to new cultural experiences. The girls are horrified and begin scheming up ways to stop the switch from happening.

After Jack’s teacher’s wife falls ill and leaves the campground, the three characters band together to continue his work. As their unexpected friendship grows, so does their confidence, sense of wonder, and contentment with their roles in the world.

American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World (2017) by David Baron 

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Interestingly, this book also follows three characters—though, this time, they’re American historical figures who grabbed their telescopes, headed West, and observed the 1878 total eclipse.

James Craig Watson was a “planet hunter” who wanted to prove the popular belief of his day: that there was another planet between the sun and Mercury that the science community dubbed “Vulcan”. Maria Mitchell was a leader of a woman’s college and astronomer who paved the way for many American women to study science. And Thomas Edison was an up-and-coming inventor who wanted to prove that his invention worked. Watson, Mitchell, and Edison’s work, including their observations of the eclipse, put the United States on the radar of the global science community.

In its starred review, Booklist said David Baron brilliantly presents “three larger-than-life figures intent on making their mark” while “transport[ing] us to a remarkable moment that brought a nation together to witness the wonders of the heavens.”

The Strain (2009) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan 

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In this horror novel, Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro and crime novelist Chuck Hogan pair up to imagine what might happen during a solar eclipse–in a universe where vampires exist.

When the story opens, a plane arrives in New York City, touches down, and goes dark. Authorities force open the airplane door and discover all the passengers and crew but four are dead. One of the survivors, an attorney, threatens legal action, and the four survivors are released. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather and his former colleague and lover, Dr. Nora Martinez, are called in to examine the bodies. They find no disease. They do find, however, that a large coffin filled with soil ended up in the plane’s cargo hold.

Meanwhile, a total eclipse occurs over NYC, and a creature stowed on the plane escapes into the city. Over the next 24 hours, the four survivors gradually transform into vampires while many of the seemingly dead passengers disappear from the morgue and return to their families, spreading the vampire virus all over the city. Joined by a motley crew of fighters, Eph and Nora must find a way to stop the infection and save the city—including Eph’s wife and son—before it’s too late.

The Strain is the first of a trilogy of books and has been running as a television series on FX since 2014.

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Mask of the Sun: The Science, History, and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses (2017) by John Dvorak

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One part scientific explanation, one part historic snapshot, this book is a fascinating introduction to all things solar eclipse. After giving an overview of how eclipses work (including a four-page illustrated “eclipse primer” that is so so helpful), Dvorak presents an interesting collection of stories and anecdotes that chronicles humanity’s obsession with eclipses. Civilizations in Asia, Europe, Central America, and the Middle East interpreted eclipses as bad omens and devoted a surprising amount of effort to predicting when they would occur. They had sets of rules for what you should and shouldn’t do during an eclipse to avoid becoming unlucky.

The Library Journal gave Mask of the Sun a starred review, noting that the author “does an excellent job of conveying the wonder of eclipses, describing both their historical-cultural value and the inspirational effect they have on people.”

What we’re reading now.. August 7, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Uncategorized.
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Here’s a glimpse of  what some of us at the reference desk are reading now!

Beth-  Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkin’s most recent murder mystery takes us to a small town in the UK where Nel Abbott spent the majority of her life unfolding the mystery of the ‘drowning pool’. This is a slow moving, eerie tale about love, deceit, and the dark secrets of small town life.

Dori- Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

This novel blends literary fiction and fairytale to tell the story of two young lovers living in an unnamed country immersed in a Civil War. As they become refugees, fleeing through ‘doors’ into Greece, then Britain and then Marin County, California, we are immersed in their journey to reimagine their lives. Frightening, tender, and imaginative, it’s a spell-binding novel. It also was just long-listed for the Booker Prize!

Emma- In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

Longtime friends Ben Cresswell, Jeremy Prescott, and Lady Pamela Sutton are doing their part for England during World War II. Ben was injured in an airplane crash so he is working for British intelligence. Jeremy is a flying ace who spent time in a prisoner of war camp. Pamela works at Bletchley Park. A solider with a failed parachute falls to his death on the Lord Westerham’s estate. Why was this soldier even in the area? The mystery begins with a standalone novel full of secrets and surprises.
Sara- The Dry by Jane Harper

Amid the worst drought in Australia in a century, Federal agent Aaron Falk goes to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend Luke who is assumed to have killed his wife, son and then himself.  Emotions are high as crops die and tempers flare. Certain facts don’t add up and Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, and long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets. A great debut novel with an unexpected ending.

 Andrew- The Dream Colony: a Life in Art by Walter Hopps

This book is a kind of memoir or autobiography, and is made up of interviews with Walter Hopps, a charistmatic and brilliant art curator who was one of the first people to show Pop Art in a museum setting. He also curated famous shows of the artists Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. Hopps has an amazing memory for the shows he produced and the artists he worked with, and he’s also a wonderful and intense storyteller. If you have an interest in 20th century American art, this is a great read.