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New to Us! August 21, 2013

Posted by stacey in Book List, First Novel, Genre Book Discussion.
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It’s always nice to find something new to get excited about, right? And what’s better than finding a new author that you enjoy?! So that’s part of why this last genre book discussion was a good time and the other part was that we celebrated the department wide achievements in adding lots and lots of titles to our very own book database: The Reading Room! (There were deliciously edible treats too- good stuff!) The only sad moment may have been at the end, when we chose the next genre to read. (You’ll see.) In the meantime, why not take a look at these titles:

Chris: The Grammarian by Annapurna Potluri tells the story of French philologist Alexandre Lautens who leaves his family behind to go to live in India to study the Telugu language. He stays with the Adivis family and ends up having an incident with one of the daughters, Anjali. It consisted of a trip to the ocean to let the daughter experience what it was like to go into the water, something she was always denied because of her lame leg. It was an innocent outing, even in 1911, but because of this, both are banished from the house. Alexandre ultimately returns to Paris and his family; Anjali becomes a political activist and spends time in and out of jail as a result. There’s a lot of good descriptive writing, especially wonderful are the portraits she paints of India.

Carol: Someday, Someday Maybe is a first novel by actress Lauren Graham. This quick read is the story of aspiring actress Franny Banks. She’d given herself three years to make it in New York, and as the novel opens in 1995, her deadline is quickly approaching. Currently she’s waiting tables, has made one commercial, and is taking an acting class alongside the famous actor James Franklin, who seems suddenly smitten with Franny. Will Franny make it in a dog-eat-dog city and even tougher industry? Will she find love along the way to finding representation? This novel is funny and sweet and it is easy to root for the likeable Franny. This reader will be looking forward to the next time Graham puts pen to paper.

Ann: A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie is the author’s debut of the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James mystery series. Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is finally going on holiday. His cousin can’t use his Yorkshire timeshare in the stately manor house converted to vacation suites so he’s given his week there to Duncan. Kincaid has been working hard lately and is looking forward to some relaxing R&R in the Yorkshire Dales. But on his first morning there he hears children shrieking- only to find the dead body of the assistant manager in the swimming pool. So much for R&R! Kincaid becomes involved investigating the death and butts heads with the local constable. Then when another guest is murdered, Kincaid calls his sergeant, Gemma James in London for some backup assistance. If you enjoy this variation of a “locked room” mystery, there are fourteen more books in the series.

Emma: Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh is the quiet story of 80-year-old bachelor Albert Honig, a 3rd generation beekeeper in California. Albert checks in on his neighbors and finds Claire and Hilda Straussman (the Bee Ladies) dead. As Detective Grayson investigates the murders, the stories of Albert and Claire and Hilda are told. Albert has had a 70-year-old friendship with his neighbors. Young Claire visits Albert’s family and helps with the hives eventually having a few hives of her own. Claire and Albert become good friends but drift apart, and time marches on. A touching story filled with bee lore and wisdom on tending bees.

Megan: What Happens Next is the captivating debut novel by local author Colleen Clayton. Sid Murphy has a lot going for her. She’s a straight-A student, a cheerleader, one of a tight trio of best friends and she has pretty great family. Meeting the handsome and charming Dax on a ski trip changes all of that. Accepting his invitation to a party sets in motion a devastating chain of events and the worst part is Sid doesn’t remember any of it. Back at home nothing is the same as Sid struggles to cope with her trauma. Her attempts to escape her old life lead her to the last person she ever dreamed could help her, Corey, the schools loner and outcast. What Happens Next is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Colleen Clayton will be at Rocky River Public Library on September 30th to discuss her novel.

Dori: Adelle Waldman’s debut novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. takes place in hipster Brooklyn where everyone is writing a book or trying to, and the dating scene is flirtatious and frenzied. Protagonist Nate Piven is about to travel in these circles after years of hard work, as his first book is about to be published, yet he doesn’t quite feel that he belongs. One of the benefits of hanging with the ‘in’ crowd is that, after years of desiring women that were ‘out of his league’, these same smart, beautiful women are now pursuing him. Considering himself a modern, feminist man, he nevertheless finds it difficult to sustain any kind of relationship. When he meets Hannah, a woman who is as well read as he, he thinks that this time it may get serious. Will Nate grow up enough to make it work? Waldman has fun skewering the Brooklyn literati in this sharply written book that makes me glad my dating days are behind me.

Stacey: From the Kitchen of Half Truth by Maria Goodin is a complex mix of the sweet and fanciful, used to cover over less happy times. Meg May’s mother loved to tell crazy, funny stories about Meg’s childhood and Meg loved to repeat these stories until the other kids start to make fun of her. Now she’s a scientist with no interest in participating in her mother’s silly tale anymore. But what harsh truths were these stories being used to hide?

For the next genre we’ll be looking for a book that fits into the horror category! (Eek!) Horror fiction can be written to frighten the reader with strange and or supernatural elements. In fact, the natural world may be twisted and no longer recognizable. If you’d like to further the challenge? Feel free to push the boundaries and find something funny or with a happy ending!

— Stacey

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