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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

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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

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 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

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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

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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

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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

 

 

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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

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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

 

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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

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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.

New Additions to the Reading Room August 4, 2017

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Who Rules Game of Thrones? July 14, 2017

Posted by Dori in Book Discussion, Fantasy.
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got-bannerMany of us here at the library are shall I say….slightly, just a little bit – ah, who am I kidding, REALLY into George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Some of us have read the books, some just have watched the show, but cries of  “Can you believe that Red Wedding?” or “Wow, that Cersei is ice cold!” have been heard around the water cooler.

I don’t know if the popularity is due to the medieval setting, the dragons or the crazy complicated plots, but I do know that the complex characters are one facet that we all love to dissect. So we’ve decided to share our favorites and include a poll so you can join the fun!

Chanel: My favorite characters from the Game of Thrones series are both Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark. Both of these ladies are strong female characters who have overcome obstacles placed upon them at a very young age due to their sex and family tragedy. I admire the fact that they are both survivors who fight hard to survive and will not let anything or anyone hinder them from their goals. They are, in my opinion the Wonder Women of Westeros!

TrentArya Stark: I respect Arya as she drives her own narrative.  She is not controlled or manipulated by others, but instead chooses a path and lets no obstacle prevent her from moving indomitably forward towards her goal.  Arya exudes those hard-to-define-but-you-know-them-when-you-see-them qualities –  moxie, pluck, and chutzpah.

Laura: My favorite character is Jon Snow. Jon is the bastard son of Eddard Stark and was raised at the castle Winterfell, the ancestral seat of House Stark and he is unaware of the identity of his mother. Jon is described as having the “Stark look”, long face, grey eyes and a lean build. Lady Catelyn Stark, Eddard’s wife, views Jon with an icy scorn as he is a constant reminder of her husband’s infidelity but Jon develops a warm and loving relationship with his half-siblings especially the tom-boy Arya (who resembles Jon and like him feels she does not fit in.)

Jon adopts the direwolf Ghost and takes him north to join the Night’s Watch while the rest of the Stark family heads south to face all kinds of turmoil. Jon is loyal, perceptive, strong and brave. I hope he makes it to the end!

Dori: There are so many juicy characters but I have to say that Tyrion Lannister fascinates me. He’s whip smart, both emotionally and intellectually, and because he’s always been persecuted within his family and in the outside world because of his dwarfism, he feels at home with the lower classes, the outcasts and the underdogs. He usually finds his way to what is ‘right’, even if the journey is a little twisted. And he’s still around – they haven’t managed to kill him off!

Megan: The world of Game of Thrones is full of characters we love and even more who we love to hate. It’s easy to love Jon Snow and Daenarys Targaryen. It’s also easy to despise Cersei Lannister and Joffrey Bannister. Some of my favorite characters are the ones who manage to stay good and true, despite the constant turmoil. Yes, Jon Snow is good and true and swoonworthy, but what about Samwell Tarly? I love how kind, loyal, and insightful he is. That description is also fitting for Brienne of Tarth. For me one of the best things about this series is the abundance of powerful women. I always find myself rooting for Arya and Sansa and Daenarys. How’s that for picking a favorite character? I had to take the easy way out and name them all!

Matt presents a haiku:
Onion smuggler
With finger bones close in pouch
Ser Davos Seaworth

George R. R. Martin Recommends… July 6, 2017

Posted by lgvora in Uncategorized.
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Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres on July 16, 2017, and we’re pumped.

So you’ve read the all books, binge-watched seasons 1 – 6, and formed attachments to (some of) the characters. What next? Why not try reading a recent title recommended by GoT author George R. R. Martin himself?

Follow the links to get these recommendations in print, audio, eBook, and eAudiobook from RRPL.

Happy reading!

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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print | audioeBook | eAudio

What Martin said: “The main narrator, an alcoholic who is slowly falling apart, is especially well drawn. It’s a strong story, with a great sense of time and place, and one that had me from start to finish.”

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

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What Martin said: “Larson is a journalist who writes non-fiction books that read like novels, real page-turners. This one is no exception. I had known a lot about the Titanic but little about the Lusitania. This filled in those gaps. Larson’s masterpiece remains THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, but this one is pretty darned good too. Thoroughly engrossing.”

Armada by Ernest Cline

Title details for Armada by Ernest Cline - Available

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What Martin said: “I read an ARC of the long-awaited new novel from Ernie Cline of READY PLAYER ONE fame. ARMADA, like READY PLAYER ONE, is a paean to the video games of a bygone era, and is a tremendous amount of fun for anyone who remembers that time and played those games. (Those who did not may find it incomprehensible, admittedly). Hugely entertaining… though it does make me wonder if we’ll ever see Ernie write something that isn’t about video games. He’s a talented guy, and I am sure that anything he writes would be terrific.”

Lyndsey

Latest Editions! July 5, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Summer Reading.
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Here are the newest additions to The Reading Room. Use the links to see reviews and  book descriptions.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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In Farleigh Field: A Novel by Rhys Bowen

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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New Boy: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier

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News of the World by Paulette Jiles

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Rebel Queen: A Novel

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The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

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The Finishing School: A Novel by Joanna Goodman

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The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

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The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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Here’s what we’re reading now… June 30, 2017

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I Found You: A Novel by Lisa Jewell

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Sara- Single mom, Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the cold, rainy beach outside her house.  He has no name, no jacket and no memory;  she lets him in.  Who is he, and is anyone looking for him?  An interesting read with likable characters that kept me guessing.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Emma- This is the story of Paul Kalanithi, who at 36 years old, had nearly completed his residency in neurosurgery when he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. As physician and patient he faced his death head on with the loving support of his wife and family. An inspirational moving memoir.

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Beth-  We are introduced to Isabel Spellman, private investigator. Following in her parent’s footsteps, Izzy can’t help but run background checks on every potential suitor she meets, usually causing some trust issues early in her relationships.  This funny, engaging story unfolds the wacky world of the Spellman family, leaving the reader craving more.

 

 

The Hours Count: A Novel June 24, 2017

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Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed in June 1953 as “atom spies”. They were the only Americans executed for espionage during the Cold War. In the novel fictional characters Ed and Millie Stein were neighbors of the Rosenberg’s. Ethel, Julius, and Ed were members of the Communist party. This compelling novel combines facts about the Rosenberg’s with fictional neighbors and friends.

~Emma