Listen Up! The Shadows by Alex North Reviewed

Paul Adams hasn’t been back to his childhood village in twenty-five years. He left everything, including the horrible crime committed by his classmate Charlie Crabtree, behind. It’s his mother’s failing health that has brought him reluctantly back home. There is no joyful homecoming for Paul. His mother is distraught, something horrible is in his childhood home, someone is following him, and he has caught the attention of Detective Amanda Beck. Detective Beck is investigating a crime that is eerily similar to one that happened twenty-five years ago. Is it a strange coincidence that Paul is suddenly back in town? Is Charlie Crabtree back? What did happen to Charlie?

This new offering from the author of The Whisper Man, is a haunting psychological thriller with strong Stand By Me vibes. The story alternates between the past and Paul’s recollection of the crime and the present as Paul struggles to reconcile his memories with what is happening in this new case. The tension builds slowly as the the strange truth behind both cases is slowly and deliberately revealed. The skillful narration of Hannah Arterton (Safe, The Five on Netflix) and John Heffernan (Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Collateral) bring the story to life and draw the listener in.

The Shadows is a great pick for readers and listeners who enjoyed The Chalk Man and other titles by C.J. Tudor and the Family Upstairs and other titles by Lisa Jewell.

Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan audio for an advance reader/listener copy for review.

~Megan

Imagine Your Story – Summer Reading

The official Rocky River Public Library summer reading season has come to an end, but, of course, summer reading continues! Many of you participated this year, though our format required some flexibility on your part – and we really appreciate it! Winners will be announced soon – stay tuned!

In the meantime, what have you been reading? Do you feel like it’s hard to focus on reading in the pandemic or just the opposite? I started this pandemic out poorly – I just couldn’t concentrate – but then slowly, a few books caught my attention and hit the sweet spot of what I needed to read.

First up, Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza. I am always drawn to books by Latin American authors, and I’m so happy I picked up this debut after reading about it on The Morning News Tournament of Books. Optic Nerve was in the final challenge, but lost to Normal People by Sally Rooney (which is another good book btw). Sign up to get notifications about this tournament and you’ll be on top of some of the best books of the year.

Back to Optic Nerve. First off, this book is not a plot driven story; it’s a series of reflective vignettes that center around a piece of art, a painting, a drawing, etc. The author is an art critic, and so is the narrator, so I’m sure there are biographical influences – each chapter she talks about a piece of art that moves her – and the artist’s life – and weaves it through something happening in her life. Some of the artists are well-known, but the works of art are not, because they’re generally in museums in Buenos Aires. I loved her writing, her reflections; someone describes it as ‘deeply felt’ – yes – it’s just one of those books.

I also just finished reading Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry – I read it in one day, it’s that engaging. The story of two middle-aged Irish gangsters, waiting in a Spanish port for the next boat from Tangier – doesn’t sound too thrilling, I know. But their conversations in their Cork accent, their flashbacks, their relationship – comic, but deeply sad as well.

What’s next? – well, I just started listening to Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – it’s about the death of Shakespeare’s 11 year old son during the plague – sounds timely. And I’m hoping to read some galleys of books coming out this Fall – I’ve got Jess Walter’s The Cold Millions on my iPad. I loved his book The Beautiful Ruins, and I’m hearing great things about this one as well.

Happy Reading!

~ Dori

Imagine Your Story -Variety Pack

You know how sometimes (or fairly often) it can be hard to settle down and read? I’ve found a variety pack of options to entertain myself, and maybe some of these ideas will appeal to you as well…

Magazines! From HGTV to Gourmet to bite sized articles in How it Works that help me learn something new, I’ve been enjoying flicking those pages until something catches my eye.

I’ve also been reading from the Diverse Voices for Younger Readers collection. I 100% think books for teens and younger readers can be as good -or better!- than adult books as they tell stories that are compelling but tend to be shorter (aka don’t get bogged down in wordy, unnecessary extras). Why not give it a try?

Sometimes I just listen to music while I clean or do some crafting…

But if you want to be ambitious? You could join me in the Great Courses Myth in Human History and -so far, so good!! And then I have an eye on How to Make Stress Work for You….

I hope one of these choices sounds appealing and gives you something new to try!

—Stacey

Imagine Your Story -Book vs Movie

How often have you had the discussion about which was better -the book or the movie? All the time, right? And how often do you pick the movie over the book? Not as often as you pick the book, right? Well, I’ve got a win/win for you this week! You can read the book *and* watch the movie, in any order, and walk away thinking, “that was great!” Are you curious yet?

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson blends his personal experiences and life journey with his drive to create social justice and encourage us all to get involved. I read this book when it first came out, and have enjoyed it as an audio book as well, and I think part of what makes Mr. Stevenson’s book so special is how a reader can emotionally connect to experiences, feeling his pain and his joy, while breaking down those systemic issues surrounding the inequality of our justice system. Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative leading force in the creation of the Legacy Museum as well as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Mr. Stevenson is changing our World for the better!

“But what about Just Mercy as a movie?” you ask. This movie focused in on how Mr. Stevenson became Mr. Walter McMillian’s lawyer over other experiences in the book. Sometimes it’s that trimming that can leave a reader feeling like something was missing, but I would be surprised to hear that after you watch this film. Instead, I’d guess you might also think of this as an additional chapter to the book?

I hope you read *and* watch Just Mercy, and then -please, let me know what you think!

Take care
—Stacey

Imagine Your Story -Books (also available in audio!)

I’m doing more reading and listening to fiction books right now, it’s feels like less pressure than trying to absorb more facts that I may (or may not) remember later and it’s a little odd because I *love* me some good nonfiction. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ And I’ve been reading all sorts of books: dark and gritty stories, and then families who have complex but loving relationships, and then a Gothic sci-fi story, and then a fancy literary fiction book, and next I hope to read something a little funny. It’s a good thing there are so many books out there in the World because I’m bouncing around from genre to genre! *boing!* Watch out epic fantasy, you’re up after humor!

Do you mind if I give a shout out to one of my recent, two-thumbs up reads? The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz: Such engaging characters you fall right into the story. (And having lived in Ashtabula for a while -bonus moments were had!)

Hmm, maybe epic fantasy will have to wait. I just checked out Black Panther graphic novel, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates… Gotta go read now!

Don’t forget to be kind to yourself!

-Stacey

Imagine Your Story-Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy a story. Their portable format allows for them to be enjoyed while on the move.Whether you are exercising, gardening, or working on your newest creative project, audiobooks can make for a great addition.

If you are new to audiobooks why not try our pick for our upcoming:

Imagine Your Story Virtual Book Discussion

Listen to this family memoir about how 81-year-old Jay Mendelsohn, who had been a professor of mathematics, enrolls in his son Daniel’s class on The Odyssey. Later, the two men take Mediterranean cruise, retracing the mythical journeys of Odysseus.

Register and you will be emailed a link to join the virtual event on Monday, June 22, 2020 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Or checkout the selection of biographical audiobooks over at Overdrive!



Imagine Your Story @RRPL

 

Imagine Your Story – Books

Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini After the death of three of her sons and a decade after the assassination of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln is declared legally insane and is committed to an asylum. After watching his mother’s…

I Read YA! Do You?

Regular readers will remember that I have already shared all of my 5-star YA reads of 2020. It’s now time to start sharing some of my 4-star recommendations. American Panda by Gloria Chao. Seventeen year old Mei is a pre-med…

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this weeks picks, there are many varieties, such as romance, horror, mystery, and so much more to choose from! Here are some books that may peak your interest! Hideaway by Nora Roberts – A family ranch in Big Sur…

Your Library Staff at Home -hunh?

Ooo! What happened? Somewhere over the past few weeks, I’ve realized my attention span has gotten very short. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? It’s a good thing I’m already a fan of making lists -and checking items off the list. Now I need to figure out how to remember where I put my most current list… heh heh. (I also need to remember to recycle that finished list-geez,)

So maybe you’re on the same page as I am (book humor on purpose!) and you’d like to listen to an entertaining book or podcast right now? Great! May I suggest the following podcasts: Stuff You Should Know-covering a wide variety of topics, the length varies by episode, Flash Forward -possible futures based on current ideas, Imaginary Worlds-mostly SF topics but also plenty of general appeal, or NPR’s Life Kit -nicely compact discussions of truly helpful tips for navigating everyday life. May I suggest an older nonfiction book: Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt -I learned so much about European Starlings and Mozart (of course?) plus musical moments were included in the audio book! And how about an older mystery/dark comedy series: Izzy Spellman Series starting with The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz -you too might fall a little in love with this seriously loving and dysfunctional family like so many of us have!

Or if you want to fall down a rabbit hole of what? who knew? I need to try that! nope. Yes! May I suggest checking out #recipes on TikTok? (If you can figure out a good way to limit your time on this one -please send that good tip my way?!)

And please, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, okay?
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home -Sunshiny Sunday Edition!

We’re firmly into Spring now and the sun is coming out so much more often -it’s fabulous! Although Fall will always be my favorite season (warm days/crisp evening air, s’mores, the leaves as they turn beautiful colors), but also very happy to have the sunshine and open windows we can enjoy now. (Downside? Pollen. so. much. pollen. sigh…)

So this week maybe we’ll have the chance to be outside a little more -maybe listening to an audiobook like Crazy Rich Asians or podcast like Flash Forward while taking a walk, or calling a friend while we sit in the sun. Doesn’t that sound nice? (I might add a scoop of ice cream in there -cone or bowl- but that’s me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

Once you’re in for the evening and  you’re looking for something to watch, I can say Victorian Slum House, the 1900s on hoopla is a series worth spending some quality time with! I’ve really enjoyed the previous series PBS has created, from Frontier House to The 1940s House, sending everyday modern people back in time to experience the daily life of that time period. As these volunteers get caught up in their new world so do viewers and soon it feels like we’re all in it together… (and reminds me how lucky I am to live in a time and place where indoor plumbing is the norm)!

Today, while I continue some serious Spring cleaning, I’m going to start listening to Wisdom From a Humble Jellyfish by Rani Shah and update you my progress next week!

Be kind to yourself and enjoy that extra Vitamin D shining down!

—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home – Making & Crafting

I have always bemoaned my lack of time to do many of the things that I really like to do, like knitting, drawing, sewing and baking. Now, during this challenging time, I’ve no excuse; I’ve got the time, plus making is soothing and helps with the anxiety.

First, I’ve got a shawl to finish. I started it, I’m embarrassed to say, about a year and a half ago for a trip to Iceland. My sister Barb and friend Lynn also began their shawls for our trip, but they completed theirs. Mine, on the other hand, is still on the needles. Here’s a shot of Barb and Lynn in their lovely shawls while we were in Iceland and a shot of my unfinished shawl with some bonus pet shots! The bright colors were to help i.d. our bodies in case we fell down a volcano or iceberg – lol. 

The pattern is a traditional Icelandic shawl called Skakki by Helene Magnusson and uses traditional Icelandic wool. I’ll share the finished product next week – I promise!

As I’ve been knitting, I’ve been watching TV, a few movies, and have been listening to books and podcasts. I’ve signed up for Acorn TV through RBDigital and watched all of Agatha Raisin, a funny, tongue-in-cheek murder mystery series set in a small town in England based on the books by M.C. Beaton. I’ve also started an Irish mystery series called Blood, which is much more serious, so I’m taking that one slowly. 

I’ve watched  Jojo Rabbit, which I liked a lot more than I was expecting to, and Ad Astra, which is a deep dive with Brad Pitt into outer space. 

Knitting and listening to audiobooks is an A+ combination. My latest listen is Himself by Jess Kidd, because I wanted an Irish narrator for the St. Patrick’s season. It’s available on the Libby app, which I’m addicted to! Don’t have a library card? It’s not a problem; you can create an instant digital card to access titles. 

As far as podcasts, I really love the BBC Series In Our Time which covers historical events, famous people, science and nature – it’s fascinating. For these times, I enjoy the soothing voice of Krista Tippet at the On Being Podcast and it’s many offshoots. 

creativebug

If you could use some crafting inspiration, check out Creativebug. Log in using your library card and you get access to all kinds of video tutorials. They’ve shared a 7-week Home Crafting Guide to provide inspiration to begin a variety of projects, from easy to complex, with projects for children and adults. Week 1 includes a Kid’s Weaving Lesson and Color Meditation. These suggestions, however, are just the beginning; sign up and explore Creativebug to find something that speaks to you!

I’d love to hear what you’re making, so comment below. Stay safe and stay home!

~ Dori