Join us as we find out a little bit more about the people behind the scenes at your library!
I’ve been reading The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman, which is the fourth book in the ‘Invisible Library’ series. In this series Librarian Irene Winters steals books from alternate worlds for her interdimensional Library, which helps balance the universe between order and chaos. Expect faeries, dragons, and a fun mash-up of fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction! Shannon
I am currently reading The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. The story takes places in 1913 and in 1993. In 1913 Laura Lyons, her husband, and two children, Pearl and Henry, are living at the New York Public Library. An apartment was provided for the superintendent of the library and his family at that time. The main library was a research facility and no items were allowed to be checked out. Occasionally a rare item would disappear, perhaps stolen. There is a mystery behind why the family left the library, what happened to the superintendent, and what happened to the missing items. In 1993, Pearl’s daughter and Laura Lyons granddaughter, Sadie Donovan works as the curator of a special collection at the New York Public Library main branch. A valuable rare item is missing and library employees are suspected of taking it. At this point Laura and her co-workers are searching to track down the item. This is where I am in the novel, and I look forward to finishing it. Emma
As the book opens, we meet 13-year-old Giovanna. Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. “Giovanna looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day” says her father, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise. Giovanna insists on meeting her Aunt Vittoria, described as mean and manipulative. Once Giovanna’s father concedes to the meeting, Aunt Vittoria warns Giovanna it is her father who is cruel and manipulative. As the story progresses, we watch how Giovanna grows from being a child, full of naivete, to a rebellious adolescent, to a maturing young adult, breaking free of her parents’ protective space, and creating her own new world. This is a wonderful coming-of-age novel told in Ferrante’s signature eloquent yet authentic voice. Mary
I’m finishing book #3 of The Broken Earth trilogy, The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. It is a fantasy series with a slow burn mystery as we are allowed to piece together whether this post-apocalyptic world could have resulted from a world very similar to ours. The ironically named Stillness is a land where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are commonplace. Through this one super continent two females, a mother and daughter, Essun and Nassun, have separate but always linked adventures. They are two of the most powerful of a race of Orogenes who can control tectonic movement as well as newly discovered strands of magic energy. Other humans fear them, but also need their powers to survive. Things seem to be heading toward an explosive confrontation between mother and daughter. And what of the enigmatic Stone Eaters? Can our heroines trust their intentions? Will they restore or destroy the Earth? Byron
Set a decade after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, this work of historical fiction explores the imagined back story to that colony’s first recorded official murder. Told in the voices of several colonists, Puritans and their once-indentured servants, this novel sheds light on what was likely a tension-riddled colony with members being afforded different status based on their faiths while others felt marginalized and poorly treated. With characters who come to life, this book makes for a quick and fascinating read that helps reshape some thoughts on our country’s founding. Carol
In the late 1960s, Reed Crowe watched a small plane go down off the coast of Emerald Island, Florida, assumed no one survived, and snagged a marijuana bundle bobbing near the wreckage. Almost twenty years later, Reed can still be impulsive but now owns a kitschy roadside attraction and hotel, both only slightly worse for wear. A few uncomfortable coincidences and a few near misses, it seems there was a survivor and they want to make Crowe pay. Can Reed stay alive long enough to figure out what’s going on *and* find a way to fix things? Quirky settings, some dirty deals and graphic violence, perfectly imperfect characters who are (for the most part) doing the best they can, and an intricately plotted storyline, will keep on surprising you with clever, connected details each time you turn the page. PS: Quentin Tarantino fans -this one’s for you! Stacey
In Heaven and Earth by Paolo Giordano, a group of young men being raised in the farm complex next to her family’s summer retreat accept Teresa into their group, and so begins an intense and emotionally damaging story. Giordano weaves the narrative backwards and forwards in time, as Teresa forms a deep bond with one of the young men, Bern, and they grow up and in and out of each other’s lives, try to start a farm/commune, and dark secrets leading to tragedy come to the fore. A coming of age novel that is beautifully written, emotionally driven, with fascinating characters. Dori
Lizzie Kitsakis has taken a grueling job as a corporate lawyer in an elite New York law firm- not out of ambition, but in attempt to keep her marriage and financial life afloat as her heavy-drinking husband drifts from one job to another and as Lizzie struggles to accept that he isn’t just “a guy who likes to have a good time” as she’s always thought of him, but an alcoholic. She is surprised by a collect call from Rikers from an old law-school-friend- recently-turned-software mogul, Zach. His wife Amanda has been found dead at the bottom of their staircase, and Zach is a primary suspect. He swears he didn’t do it and begs Lizzie for help. Against her better judgment she allows herself to be drawn in- not only to this case, but to the idyllic world of the suburban elite with its private schools, neighborhood parties, cheating spouses, blackmail of dark secrets, and maybe even murder? As she learns more and more about the people involved in this case, she wonders whether anyone, including herself, truly has a good marriage? Sara
It’s been a strange summer, to say the least. And it looks like it’s gearing up to be a strange fall with kids going back to school, fall sports, restaurants being open or not all up for grabs. It’s a time of uncertainty, and although I usually like a good dark thriller with a twisty, unpredictable ending; for now, I think it’s time for some good, old-fashioned humorous books to make me laugh. Hope you enjoy some of these! Sara
Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey
An introspective murder mystery set at a school for magic, where non-magical private investigator Ivy must find the killer while trying to ignore years of built-up resentment for her magical prodigy of a sister. Shannon
Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal
I chose this book from a recommendation of a podcast I listen to and it did not disappoint. An exploration of how technology has historically been used to explore and interact with the supernatural, this book covers a wide range of time periods and topics. The author’s addition of a personal narrative of his own efforts to make and use the discussed technology helps to structure the text. The author is thorough in his research and presents the information in a clear and concise tone. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Real Magic by Dean Radin, Occult American by Mitch Horowitz, or Netflix’s new show Midnight Gospel. Greg
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham is the Hillary Clinton fan fiction you didn’t know you wanted. Hillary and Bill meet at Yale law school and share a strong intellectual, emotional, and physical connection. Well, we know that story of what happened, but Sittenfeld chooses her own adventure in Rodham. Hillary decides against marrying Bill, instead going on to blaze a different trail. Beth
In Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America journalist Kyle Swenson weaves the personal stories of three young men who were sentenced to grow up in prison with detailed accounts of corruption and injustice that plagued the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland police department. Swenson’s narrative is a scathing indictment of systematic discrimination that continues to this day.
On May 19, 1975, Harry Franks, a white salesman, was robbed, assaulted, and murdered in broad daylight in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. Three black youth were sentenced and spent a combined 106 years in prison for the crime. The murderer was never caught. The entirety of the prosecution’s case against Wiley Bridgeman, Kwame Ajamu, and Ricky Jackson was based on the eye-witness testimony of 12-year old Ed Vernon. Nearly 40 years later Vernon recanted his story, revealing that the police used fear and coercion to convince him to tell the story they wanted him to tell. Megan
Marie, a Black woman, languishes in the New York FBI counterintelligence offices during the height of the Cold War. Grieving her sister’s mysterious death and frustrated that she continuously overlooked for high profile assignments, Marie lets herself be recruited when a CIA agent approaches her to infiltrate the entourage of Thomas Sankara, the visiting Burkina Faso president. John le Carré styled spy fiction that combines intrigue and examines issues of family, loyalty, what it is to be a good American. Trent
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
This is a story of two sisters’ lives, beginning in their childhood in the 1950’s to present day. The story begins in Detroit, with Jo and Bethie Kaufman, two sisters who could not be more different from each other. Jo is a tomboy. intelligent and a rebel bent on making the world a more fair place to live in. Bethie is the feminine good girl, with dreams of a traditional life of marriage and “happily-ever-after”. From a young age, the girl’s world is shaken with surprise and tragedy, and they learn to lean on each other for support in order to navigate an ever-changing and evolving world around them. This is historical fiction, and you will experience a trip down memory lane with Weiner’s descriptive writing. I grew close to these sisters as the novel progressed, and by the end, did not want to let them go. Their life journeys were compelling & bittersweet. I strongly recommend this book to shelve on your summer reading list, trust me, you will not be disappointed. Mary
Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon
I have to admit that when I started this book, I thought it was the book with a popular miniseries based on it, but that’s Defending Jacob —oops! This book has a similar theme. Stay-at-home father, Simon, has tried to do a good job raising his two children while his wife works as a successful lawyer. He has doubts as to whether he’s done everything right even now as his kids are teenagers, and his son Jake is not as friendly and outgoing as his sister. One warm November day, Simon receives a text that there has been a shooting at the high school. As he rushes to his children, he discovers that Jake is nowhere to be found. As the story unfolds and suspicion is cast upon Jake, Simon must face his demons about what kind of father he really was, and whether or not he knew his son at all. It was a riveting read, and I enjoyed it all the way through. Sara
Quarantine or no, summer is here. The sound of lawnmowers, and the smell of barbecue fills the air. Some people associate reading a good book with the winter months- cozied up in front of the fire. But my best memories of reading are being outside, in the shady grass or on a blanket by the pool. After our months of being quarantined indoors, it’s finally time to spread our wings (safely and distantly) to the outdoors. No need to feel guilty about not cleaning the house and reading a book instead–you are spending time outside! How many times did your mom tell you to do just that?! Here’s a list of June titles to enjoy while you appreciate the space and freedom of a summer day.