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Top of the List 2017 December 15, 2017

Posted by Dori in Audio, Book Awards, Book List, Book Review, Debut Author, eAudio, Fantasy, Fiction, First Novel, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction, Science Fiction, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2017.
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I must admit that I did not read as many books as is my norm this year. I will not offer up a bunch of excuses (except 2017 was a whopper of a year, wasn’t it?), but will share the best of those I did read, with many gems in the bunch:

lincolnLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
I listened to this remarkable Booker Prizewinning book in audiobook form – with its cast of notable actors casting a spell that had me hooked. It was so unique:  moving, funny, weird, and insightful. I think it’s one of those audiobooks that I need to now read in book form. Don’t miss this one.

 

exit - CopyExit West by Mohsin Hamed
Two young people who fall in love in an unnamed country when a civil war erupts escape through metaphysical ‘doorways’. Finding themselves as refugees, they have to come to terms with their pasts and futures. Brutal and ravishing.

 

anythingAnything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
A short story that follows the lives of people briefly encountered in her previous book My Name is Lucy Barton that is just beautifully written and offers glimpses of the wonder of humanity. These are the kinds of books I’m drawn to – seemingly simple but powerful.

 

mountainThe Mountain: Stories by Paul Yoon
Another seemingly simple book. In restrained but exquisite prose, Yoon’s short stories are about people across the world who’ve been molded by tragedy and loss but still put one foot in front of the other and carry on.

 

manhattanManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Egan delves into straight up historical fiction, creating characters that resonate and enveloping readers in the fascinating world of New York City during the Depression. Not my favorite Egan, but a great example of ambitious historical fiction.

 

allgrownAll Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
This book made me laugh and that was important this year!  Her main character is a single 39-year-old woman who’s living life defying, while worrying about, the expectations of others and society at-large. She might exasperate you, but she sure is someone a lot of us can relate to.

 

leaversThe Leavers by Lisa Ko
This debut about a young Chinese-American boy who’s adopted into a white family after his immigrant mother disappears is a moving look at what happens to those who leave and those who are left behind. Plus it’s an eye-opening look at the effects of U.S. immigration policy.

 

saintsSaints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
Raise your hand if you love a quality dysfunctional family book!  If so, this is one you have to get a hold of asap. Irish immigrants to Boston, family deception that resonates through the next generations – it’s got it all.

 

longwayclosedThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit and by Becky Chambers
My co-worker recommended these to me and I thank her for it! These are the first two in Chamber’s Wayfarers series and they are adventurous, funny and meaningful outer space dramas. Even better as audiobooks!

index (1)On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
This is a short but incredibly important book to read right now! A historian of the Holocaust, Snyder takes lessons from the past to guide us for the future.

 

And a bonus:

fifthThe Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison:
I must admit that I haven’t finished this one – I began listening recently and I’m hooked. It’s the first book in a trilogy – The Broken Earth series – and is set in a post-apocalyptic society. The world building is incredible and the characters, fascinating. I’ll be spending much of my winter with this series.

 

Happy Holidays and best to you and yours!

~ Dori

 

 

 

 

 

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First comes a Debate, Second comes a book! September 26, 2016

Posted by Gina in Audio, Biographies, eAudio, New Books, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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Like many Americans, you may be planning to watch the first Presidential Debate tonight at 9pm between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. After all the dust has cleared, come check out the Biography section here in the library to read about the past presidents. Browse the New Nonfiction displays, I think I see a new book about Clinton and Trump every week! There are many titles on Audiobooks and the OverDrive and Hoopla applications in case you would rather listen than read.

usa

I’d rather Listen! September 9, 2016

Posted by Gina in Audio, eAudio, Music, Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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Are you going on a trip in the car this weekend? What about walking at the park or going hiking? Have you ever thought about taking a book, not to read but to listen to? I have a 5 hour drive to see my parents when I go home for the holidays, so I always stock up on audiobooks. I also try and go on walks at the parks and around my neighborhood. I also use the Hoopla and OverDrive applications on my phone to listen to books. In addition, Hoopla has a variety of music albums that can be listened to.

Come check out the New Audiobook display, or the ones in the general collection here in the library. We have a Playaway collection too.

Need help getting familiar to the Hoopla and OverDrive applications? A staff member at the reference desk can assist you or use the Digital Library page to find instructions for your device.

Have fun reading, or rather listening!

-Gina

 

Adventures in Stand Up Comedy July 14, 2016

Posted by Megan in Audio.
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I love audio books. Getting a car with a CD player was so exciting; I had NO IDEA how much I would love listening to books in the car. Then I upgraded to a smartphone and a car with Bluetooth. My head nearly exploded with all the NEW listening options. Overdrive audio! Hoopla! Podcasts! Everything was awesome…until it wasn’t. A couple of months ago I hit my first ever listening slump and I panicked. Reading slumps happen all the time, but I have never grown tired of listening. In fact, I depend on audio books to keep me “reading” when I am in a book slump. Thankfully my dear friend and fellow librarian Beth stepped in with the solution: stand up comedy. Beth curates our extensive music collection and when she created a stand up comedy display she took me “shopping.” Since then I have been laughing my way through our collection. I am hooked! Now, fair warning, this stuff is NOT family-friendly, but if you have a stressful work commute, why not spend your time laughing?

I started with some oldies but goodies, some big names in the comedy world-

Louis C.K.

 

Mitch Hedberg

 

 

Craig Ferguson (Love the accent!)

craig

This was great. I was on a roll. I listened my way through Patton Oswalt and Jim Gaffigan, Dimitri Martin and Ryan Dalton. But then I realized I hadn’t listened to any funny ladies. Beth had me covered! She had recently added some new material and was eager to get it out there. Thanks to her I discovered some new favorites.

Beth Stelling  and Emily Heller were my favorites of this bunch, but seriously, all of these woman are hilarious.

I just finished listening to Aziz Anzari (oh my gosh, I love him) and Amy Schumer .

All of these albums are in our collection. I enjoyed them all, but I have saved the best for last. I rolled into work this morning laughing like a lunatic. Why? Because of this guy:

hannibal

Of course, I might discover a *new* favorite next week…

Happy Listening!

~Megan

 

A Mid-Summer Report July 7, 2016

Posted by Megan in Audio, Beach Reads, Book List, Fantasy, First Novel, Mystery.
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If you ask me, mid-summer is an ideal time to compile a Best Of list. People have a little more time to read and listen to books. Maybe you are trying to catch up on your to read list or maybe you are looking for a hot new summer read. Whatever your needs, we have you covered! With my own personal reading I have been doing a little bit of both. Here’s what I have been reading and loving so far this summer:

hundred

A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl is the story Alex and his mother and their journey from New York to L.A. via the world of Cons. It’s about the comic book industry, it’s about feminism and fandoms and a family that is going through traumatic changes. This story was so beautiful and the relationships that are explored will stick with you. For another coming of age story try The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extent.

naked

So, I took the plunge into J.D. Robb’s long-running In Death series (psst-this is Nora Roberts, in case you didn’t know that already). What have I gotten myself into? Naked in Death introduces Eve Dallas, a NYC police lieutenant. The year is 2058. Prostitution is now legal, but crime is still crime and murder and political corruption are at the heart of Dallas’s case. I can totally see the appeal of this series! It’s a futuristic crime-thriller with lots of sexy bits! I will definitely keep plugging away at this series, which is currently 43 books and counting!

mis for

Speaking of long-running and on-going series, I started Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone series in preparation for the author’s visit to Rocky River (save the date, October 14 and check back with us for more details!). I started with A is for Alibi way back in January and am currently waiting for N is for Noose to be available for me! These books, starring PI Kinsey Milhone are quick, easy, and fun reads. Perfect for summer!

every

Finally, how about a little magic for your summer reading? Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (aka, Mira Grant) is a dark and mysterious novel that answers the what if the magic doorways, wardrobes, and rabbit holes that swallow children up are real? The children at  Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is a place for children to go after their magic fantasy world has gives them the boot. When this once safe-haven becomes the site of vicious murders Nancy, the newest arrival, sets out to figure out what is happening. This short book is lovely and weird.

What are you reading this summer?

~Megan

Dori’s Top Books of 2015 December 17, 2015

Posted by Dori in Audio, Biographies, Book List, Fantasy, Fiction, First Novel, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Non-Fiction, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2015.
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Every year I say this and every year it’s true: I did not read nearly enough this year! I’ve been perusing all the lists of Best Books including my RRPL coworkers’ lists and realized that I’ve missed so many – the pile on my nightstand is calling…

In the meantime, here’s a list of books, in no particular order, that thrilled, chilled, amazed, and enlightened me – books that took me to other places, be they the heads of other people, fantastical lands or back in time.

The Book of Aaron by Jim Shepard: told through the eyes of a young Jewish boy as the Nazis sweep through Warsaw – the emotional impact, the plain, raw language – just wow.

The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt: I’ve never read Price before, but I am now a fan. A gritty look at crime and cops in New York with a well-drawn cast of characters. I listened to it and the narrator really captured all the voices.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik: a fantastic fairy tale for grown-ups – go strong women!

Purity by Jonathan Franzen: while maybe not the best of Franzen, it’s a fascinating look at secrecy vs. transparency – in families, in societies and on the internet.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: a weird, violent and really different book that sucks you in with its fantastical story and its offbeat, kick-a@* heroine.

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald : a memoir about recovering from the sudden death of her father – beautiful writing, natural history lessons and a look at T.H. White – an odd mix that works perfectly.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – I love, love, love Lauren Groff – her lush and lyrical writing makes me swoon! It’s the president’s favorite book, too!

A Spool of Blue Thread by Ann Tyler: another audiobook – I’m a sucker for a family story and this slow, meandering look at the Whitshank family through the years resonates.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: this timely book by a writer at The Atlantic is a letter to the author’s son about his experiences as a black man in America. It’s both eye-opening and beautifully written with soaring and passionate prose.

Speak by Louisa Hall: this novel surprised and moved me – it’s told from a number of voices across centuries and explores artificial intelligence while stressing our essential needs for communication and connection.

Enjoy and Happiest of Holidays!

~ Dori

 

Your Book Your Brew November 5, 2015

Posted by Dori in Audio, Biographies, Book Discussion, Book List, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction.
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Both the brews and the books were flowing when the Your Book Your Brew group met Friday, October 23 at Tommy’s Summer Place. We each shared 2 to 3 books that we’d enjoyed and then the discussion took off!

Here’s the list:

Ann:

dayeight

The Day We Met by Rowan Coleman and Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Ed:

gowives

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and The Wives of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit

Sarah:

torchiceprincess

Torch by Cheryl Strayed and The Camilla Lackberg series

Stacey:

crookedsouldumplin

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans, Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery and Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dori:

fateskitchens

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

Mike:

puritycloudlumenlordfearclassa

Purity by Jonathan Franzen, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Luminaries by Eleanor Cotton and Lord Fear and Class A, both by Lucas Mann

Donna:

nemesisbeachalertliar

Nemesis by Catherine Coulter, Beach Town by MaryKay Andrews, Liar by Nora Roberts and Alert by James Patterson

Other books that came up in the conversation were two books by food guru Ruth Reichl, her new memoir My Kitchen Year and her foray into fiction, Delicious. We reminisced about the children’s book All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor and discussed a few biographies, including those about Johnny Carson and Charles Manson and a memoir by actress Jennie Garth (yes, that’s how it goes when you’re talking books – all over the map!). We also talked about The Women’s Room, a feminist novel published in the late 70s, The Library at Mount Char, a weird but really good new science fiction book that Stacey and I listened to and heard raves about Tampa, by Alisa Nutting.

Thanks to Ann, Ed, Sarah, Sarah, Donna and Mike for joining us and we hope more folks will come along and share some book recommendations at our next meeting on Friday, December 11th at 5pm at Erie Island Coffee Co.

Dori

Listen Up! July 16, 2014

Posted by stacey in Audio, Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion.
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This was such an easy category to define! Audiobooks are any book of any genre, it’s only limited by the format -you need to listen with your ears not read with your eyes. Love it! The only catch? I think it takes time to be a good audiobook listener, but once you’ve got the knack you’ll find all sorts of chores aren’t as horrible anymore. Let’s listen in (haha!) to what everyone had to say about their selection this time around, shall we?

Carol: Joseph Finder’s edge-of-your-seat thriller Suspicion takes place in contemporary Boston. Writer and single dad Danny Goodman finds that he can no longer afford his daughter’s fancy private school and is given a generous loan by her best friend’s dad, millionaire Thomas Galvin. Galvin might work for a drug cartel though, and the DEA wants Danny to snitch–putting Danny’s and his daughter’s lives in jeopardy. This was a great book to listen to, but next time I pick up a book by Finder, I’ll be sure to get a paper copy to allow me to read it at the lightning fast pace his books deserve!

Julie: Published eight years ago, Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma is just as important for every American to read (or listen to!) today. We are plagued with too much, often conflicting, information on the age old question of what to eat for dinner. Something seemingly simple has become incredibly complicated, but Pollan helps us understand it better. I read the book many years ago and have found that listening to it is even easier and the narrator, Scott Brick, very good at bringing what is already compelling nonfiction, to life.

Steve: Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander, by Phil Robertson, is the autobiography of the patriarch of the popular Duck Dynasty clan. Phil tells of his life story, warts and all, and you might be surprised to learn that he was not a real nice guy, walking out on his family for a life or partying before finding God. The stories about starting the duck call business are pretty funny and are the true strength of the book. There is some preaching and Bible quoting, but it’s not until the later chapters that it becomes more prominent. Narrator Al Robertson, the eldest son of the family, lends an authentic voice to this audio version.

Jamie: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson is set in Newcago (the city formerly known as Chicago) after an unknown event has altered the humans of Earth. Now they come in two categories: normal and epic. Epics have special powers they use for their own gain and rule any weaker opponent with no mercy, until David decides to enact revenge for his father’s death. Everyone thinks that Steelheart is unbreakable, that he has no weakness. But, David has seen him bleed. He sets out to join the Reckoners, a group of ordinary people that study the weaknesses of Epics and destroy them. The reader of this audiobook is MacLeod Andrews, who really brings the action to life.

Megan: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and narrated by Scott Brick is like a love letter to little bookstores and people who love them. It is at once both a heartwarming and heartbreaking story about the power of words. After the death of his wife, bookstore owner A.J. Fikry seems determined to wallow in grief and drink himself to death. However, a bizarre and seemingly unrelated series of events provide A.J. with an opportunity to rebuild his life. Scott Brick, an acclaimed voice artist, is the award-winning narrator of over 600 audiobooks. Fans of audiobooks will no doubt recognize his familiar voice, while those new to listening will be charmed by his work.

Emma: In Can’t Wait to get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, Elner Shimfissle falls off a ladder while picking figs upsetting a hornets’ nest. She dies later at the hospital, enters heaven temporarily, and meets up with a variety of people including her sister, Ginger Rogers, and Thomas Edison. But heaven isn’t ready for Elner just yet. An uplifting and entertaining story.

Lauren: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson relies heavily on Larson’s research of primary source material and recounts the people and events surrounding the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Larson writes in a signature “narrative nonfiction” style, telling the story of true events in a way that reads like fiction. We learn about Chicago before the turn of the century and the Chicago World’s Fair through two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the lead architect of the Fair, and Dr. H.H. Holmes, the man known as “America’s first serial killer,” who lured victims into the labyrinthine Chicago hotel where he did his killing. This book keeps up a swift pace by moving back and forth the creation of the Fair and the sinister actions of Dr. Holmes. Larson takes us on a journey from the construction of the White City through the opening of the Fair and it’s reception around the world, as well as from the moment Holmes claims his first victim to the moment the law finally catches up to the killer. The audiobook is read by Scott Brick. Brick has an impressive resume and brings a smooth and sophisticated tone to the narration that really keeps the listener entranced.

Chris: Bossypants written and read by the great Tina Fey was a real joy. I read the book when it first came out, and even though Tina’s voice was in my head, her comedic timing wasn’t. Oh, what a difference; the audio was so much better. Hearing her recount her dating experiences, working dilemmas—at Second City, SNL and 30 Rock—and just her quirky observations shouldn’t be missed.

Stacey: Homeland by Cory Doctorow is the sequel to Little Brother and I would suggest reading them in order for maximum enjoyment, but it’s not deal breaker. The content of these stories is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, with the Government playing fast and loose with the civil rights of citizens but the more recent publishing dates appropriately reflect the changes in technology, the global political climate, and still manage to include entertaining pop culture references! A bonus feature to the audio edition? Wil Wheaton is the reader!! So. Much. Fun! -and thought-provoking too.

Next time? We’re going from one pretty open-ended genre -audiobooks- with plenty of options to another pretty open-ended genre -award winners! The easy-peasy definition of this genre: the book you chose won some sort of official, recognized award! Enjoy!

— Stacey

Mistaken lyrical identity May 16, 2014

Posted by Julie in Audio, Music.
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You know how we often interpret emails and texts differently that they may have been meant? Tone of voice and gestures can create totally different meaning. And who hasn’t heard lyrics differently, not just meaning but the completely wrong words. Like hearing the classic Jimi Hendrix lyrics from “Purple Haze”: Excuse me while I kiss this guy. No wait, back it up, that’s: Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

bonnie tylerAnd the Bonnie Tyler song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart?” First of all, how many remember it?? And then did any of you know she was singing: Living in a powder keg and giving off sparks? I never had a clue…it became “hmmm hmm hm hmmm” and then hop back in with: I really need you tonight, forever’s gonna start tonight

Anyway, my latest is the Bastille song, “Pompeii“, I really thought they were singing: I’m beginning to be an optimist about this. Well, that misconception was just corrected for me to the detriment of my outlook. It’s really: How am I going to be an optimist about this. Of course, the video and the rest of the lyrics aren’t terribly upbeat, so I should’ve seen it didn’t fit…. Oh well, I think I’ll keep singing it with my interpretation!

— Julie

Dori’s Best of 2013 December 20, 2013

Posted by Dori in Audio, Fiction, Top Ten.
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Another year of great books, but when I read all these end of the year lists, all I can think of is that there are so many left undone! But enough wallowing…here are my favorites:

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra: delves into the surreal horror and tenderness of the lives of Chechens during their ethnic civil war. When Russian soldiers kill her father, a village doctor hides a young girl with a surgeon in the nearest city – we learn of their past, present and future and how they all weave together.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride: a remarkable look at abolitionist John Brown – told from the perspective of a young slave – there was some repetition that an editor should have addressed, but the subject, story, language and wit made it unique and wow, that John Brown was some crazy bad*ss!  – crazy sane!

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner: this one was a difficult read, but it’s stuck with me – the story of a woman artist in the 70’s – the tone was so amazing plus the cover, I mean, come on, doesn’t that tempt you?

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes: what starts out as a seemingly cute potential relationship story evolves into one addressing euthanasia – really well done.

The Son: a Novel by Philipp Meyer: an epic western historical saga – just my cup of tea – with lots of details about the lives of American Indians and Anglo/Mexican relations. I could not put it down.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Gaiman’s weird world of memory and childhood; so intriguing.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer: I listened to this one on audiobook and even though I did not love all the characters, I found this story of a group of friends who meet at an arts camp as teens funny, relatable and heartbreaking.

Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers: this is one I listened to as well – it is told by a soldier in Iraq and his experiences of friendship and tragedy – a powerful and beautifully written first novel.

Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol: I do love some Scandinavian mysteries – so dark, wintery and gloomy and this one fits the bill perfectly. Instead of a detective who’s going off the rails, it stars a Red Cross nurse, and in this one she’s trying to save the life of a Ukrainian refugee and her daughter.

2 for the price of one – Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery and How the Light Gets In: I started late in the Inspector Gamache series, and these two latest show Penny at her best – with page turning suspense, heart breaking relationships and multi-dimensional characters.

Oh and I’m in the middle of listening to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson: an autistic Australian professor of genetics navigates love – it’s funny, touching and clever – you will fall in love with Don Tillman!

And I guess I should make it ’13 in 13′ like my colleagues – so I will add the The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman, another first novel. A comedy of manners about the love lives of smart, hipster Brooklynites – she does some fine skewering!

That’s it – must get home to get some more reading done (in between decorating, eating, etc.)! Happy Holidays to all –

~ Dori