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Anxious

People

by Fredrik Backman

An unemployed bank robber, in the middle of a nasty divorce, desperately needs money to pay rent in order to have access to her children and avoid eviction. She tries to rob a “new-fangled cashless” bank. Escaping from the bank, the would-be robber runs into an apartment open house full of potential buyers and takes them hostage. The local police are a father and son team on duty together this day before New Year’s Eve. The reader slowly learns the personal stories behind the various “hostages” and the two policemen. The robber gradually earns support from those she has taken hostage. They don’t want her hurt and help plan a way out. Also they are not totally forthcoming with the truth when questioned by the police.

A combination of comedy, drama and mystery makes for an unusual read by the author of A Man Called Ove.

~Emma

Virtual Book Club – Favorite Books with Dragons

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved dragons. Give me a book with a dragon in it, and I’ll devour it cover to cover. The Dragonriders of Pern books by Anne McCaffrey were probably my first introduction to dragons in ‘mature’ literature, and I instantly fell in love. If you, too, are a lover of all things draconic, or maybe even wished to have a pet dragon of your very own, check out some of my favorite fantasy novels featuring dragons! 

Click any of the book covers below to be taken to our catalog, where you can request a copy of the book with your library card number and PIN. I’ve also included links to our e-media services Overdrive and Hoopla where available. 

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik catalog link

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – first book in the Temeraire series

Naomi Novik does not only pen fairy tales for adults – you may know her as the author of the witchy fairy tales Uprooted and Spinning Silver, but she got her start with an alternate universe history of the Napoleonic Wars. Her Temeraire series features an English Navy captain who accidentally bonds with a baby dragon and then must join the air force, where sentient dragons are employed as living airships.

His Majesty’s Dragon Overdrive link

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan catalog link

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan – first in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series

In Marie Brennan’s delightful Lady Trent series, a famous, distinguished scientist and lady of the peerage and pens her memoirs and recounts her humble beginnings as an ordinary young woman who discovers the long lost secrets and history of dragons. 

A Natural History of Dragons Overdrive link


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman catalog link

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – first in the Seraphina series

In this inspired take on dragon lore, the dragons aren’t gigantic scaly fire-breathers – at least not all the time. They can transform into human-shape and are nearly indistinguishable from regular humans, which is why they are treated like second-class citizens by fearful humans. When a prince of the realm is murdered, seemingly by a dragon, our hero Seraphina must solve the mystery. This young adult series is a treat for teens and adults alike!

Seraphina Overdrive link

The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker catalog link

The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker – first in the Tide Child trilogy

In this grimly realist novel, two nations have been at war for as long as anyone can remember. They make sailing ships out of dragon bone, but their ships are disintegrating and no one has seen a dragon in hundreds of years. When a dragon is spotted far out to sea, the two nations must race to see who can capture the dragon and win the war. 

The Bone Ships Overdrive link

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede catalog link

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede – first in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles series

Yes, this one is a children’s book, but it’s so much fun! In this irreverent fairy tale, Princess Cimorene is bored with living in a castle and decides that she doesn’t want the traditional princess life of being pursued by the princes from surrounding kingdoms, so she runs away to live with a dragon.

Dealing with Dragons Overdrive link

Dealing with Dragons Hoopla link

If you’re a dragon lover like me, any of these books will scratch that dragon itch. Share your favorite dragon books in the comments below!

Make sure to join us next week for a very spooky installment of the virtual book club!

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The Paper Daughters of Chinatown

by Heather B. Moore

The Occidental Mission Home in San Francisco was a refuge for Chinese women who escaped a life of slavery and sex trafficking. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many young Chinese women were given false identification papers and a new life story to match in order to come into the U.S. illegally. They were tricked with the promise of an arranged marriage to a wealthy man but instead were often sold to the highest bidder and forced into prostitution.

Donaldina (Dolly) Cameron intended to spend one year at the Occidental Mission Home teaching sewing. She quickly became a favorite of the young women and soon participated in dangerous rescues due to the criminal Tong (the Chinese secret society). Eventually Dolly became the director of the home and stayed for almost 40 years.

A nonfiction book to consider reading is The White Devil’s Daughters: The Woman who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown by Julia Flynn Siler.

~Emma

 

 

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager Review

Maggie Holt was five when her parents bought the sprawling Victorian estate called Baneberry Hall. The young family spent just three weeks in the house before they fled in fear, abandoning their belongs, never to return. The nonfiction account of the horrors and hauntings of Baneberry Hall, written by her father, was an international bestseller. While Maggie has no memory of the events that are outlined in the book, the story itself has haunted her for 25 years. She has never believed that the book was true, but she has never managed get her divorced parents to reveal to her what really happened in that house. When her father passes away she is shocked to learn that she has inherited Baneberry Hall. Why did her father still own the house? Maggie returns to a house she doesn’t remember with the intention of restoring it and selling, putting the nightmare forever in her past. Her arrival in town is not a welcome one. People that she knows a characters in the book are real people and they have stories of their own to tell. Maggie is interested in learning the truth, but as events outlined in the book begin to occur again in the house, Maggie is forced to consider that her father’s account may be more fact than fiction after all.

I went in to this book blind. I have read and enjoyed other books by Riley Sager, so I assumed I would also enjoy this one, despite my terror of haunted houses. Thanks, dad, for letting 5 year old me watch Amityville Horror. Totally scarred for life. But I digress…Anyway, we have a haunted house with a nonbeliever living in it. I want to be a nonbeliever, so I was onboard with Maggie’s goal to disprove the validity of her father’s book. Also, side note, I love a book within a book. But dang it, if that house isn’t creepy and probably haunted and it turns out a lot of the things in the book ARE true. Will Maggie finally learn why they fled in the middle of the night? You bet she does. Did I see the answer coming? NOT. AT. ALL. This is a perfect spooky season (aka, October) read that left me questioning everything to the very surprising end.

If you are into spooky, haunted houses, you should join us for Novel Scares, a horror book club. This month we are talking about another cursed how, The Good House by Tananarive Due. Register now to receive the Zoom link.

Happy Spooky Reading!

~Megan

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by Tracey Enerson Wood

I love this story of a strong independent real-life woman, namely Emily Warren Roebling. Emily was the person responsible for completing the Brooklyn Bridge. Emily’s father-in-law, John A. Roebling, was the original engineer but died of tetanus before the project began. Emily’s husband, Washington A. Roebling took over the project. Unfortunately, he became deathly ill with decompression sickness (caisson disease) and was confined to bed for several months never quite recovering. In the novel showman P.T. Barnum befriends Emily helping her overcome her fear of public speaking since Emily was required to make fundraising speeches. (The story spans 1864-1884 and women just did not do that, at least not very often.)

If you are interested in wonderful nonfiction book on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, I suggest reading The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough.

~Emma

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Malloy

Dr. Sam Statler, a newlywed psychologist, is missing. He and his wife, Annie, recently moved from NYC to his small upstate New York hometown. The move serves two purposes-a fresh start for the couple and to be close to Sam’s ailing mother. Sam’s private practice is located in a charming old building with the perfect landlord. He spends his days listening to the problems of his mostly female clientele and his free time celebrating the small milestones in his marriage. This quiet life suits Sam, which is why Annie can’t believe he would have willingly disappeared. However, the search for her husband reveals that Sam may not be everything she believed him to be.

To be honest, it’s best to go into this book knowing as little as possible about it. Know that it is a strange and twisty story; a first rate psychological thriller. Sam has a reputation in his hometown. His sessions are being listened in on. And who is that French woman? Is Sam really missing or did he disappear? Readers will have questions and the author is stingy with the answers until the stunning truth is revealed. I listened to the audiobook version and at first I struggled with the narrator, but by the end I could not believe how perfect the narration was.

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Malloy comes out October 13th. Add it to your TBR list and place a hold today

~Megan

Reconnect @ RRPL – #GrumpLit

There are so many fans of A Man Called Ove, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and books along those lines, that there is indeed a hashtag for books starring lovable curmudgeons. I am not sure why this is a trend but let’s face it, Charles Dickens gave us Ebenezer Scrooge and we’ve wanted more ever since. So stop your scowling, because I may have found your next new favorite book!

In The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons, Eudora is an 85-year-old with no friends or family in her life. Although in decent physical shape (she swims laps at the local pool almost daily), Eudora considers herself done living. Having cared for her mother at her own end, Eudora never wants to be in a position where she is forced to rely on someone else when she can no longer care for herself. She’s decided she will end things on her own terms and has written to a clinic in Switzerland that promises to allow her to do just that. Eudora is eagerly awaiting to be accepted into this program when she meets and is befriended by her new neighbors’ daughter, Rose, an adorable, wise-beyond-her-years 10-year-old with a built-in wild fashion sense and an inability to take “no” for an answer.

Rose inserts herself into Eudora’s world, bringing along another older neighbor and widower named Stanley. Their kindness and exuberance for life forces Eudora outside of her comfort zone, and she finds herself not only trying new things, but also reflecting on her past and the possibilities of what might lie ahead.

Although you’ll need a handkerchief nearby (not a Kleenex—Eudora is a classy lady), this novel is ultimately a feel-good story that will lift your spirits and make you laugh out loud.

-Carol

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by Jennifer Steil

The novel begins in Vienna in 1938. Both parents are professional musicians. 10-year-old Orlanthe (Orly) Zingel’s mother sings opera, and her father plays viola with the Vienna Philharmonic. When the opportunities for Orly’s parents disappear, the family makes the decision to leave Nazi-occupied Austria and escape anywhere Jews are still welcome. Eventually the three obtain visas and are allowed to emigrate to La Paz, Bolivia. (Orly’s older brother stays behind to work with the French Resistance.) Everything is new and different including the language. Orly is the first to find a friend and tackle Spanish. Slowly Orly’s parents find ways to connect with their new environment.

This is not a happy-ever-after story, but it’s an important history lesson in its depiction of refugees being transported to a brand new life in a brand new place. The story reveals a little known or perhaps forgotten part of Holocaust history. Bolivia accepted over 20,000 Jewish refugees during WWII. After the war, some Nazis escaping Germany also emigrated to Bolivia.

~Emma

Great Book Series to Great TV Series

I was late to reading Michael Connelly’s excellent, hard-boiled crime novels starring Harry Bosch as a tough, no-nonsense war veteran and LAPD cop, a modern-day Philip Marlowe, who goes after justice no matter what it takes. Connelly started writing about Bosch in 1992 and there are now 20 books in the series. I’m not yet through with them all but am enthralled and entertained so far by the series’ fast-paced action, its true-to-life descriptions of relationships and police work, and its gritty and bustling setting of Los Angeles, where just about anything can and does happen.

Late to the party as I am, I guess it also makes sense that I’ve only just discovered that the series “Bosch” was adapted for television in 2014 by Amazon who has just ordered its seventh and final season. With the weather turning chillier, I’m looking forward to working my way through all of them.

So far, I’ve binged-watched the first season, which stars Titus Welliver who magnificently embodies Bosch. Let me tell you, he’s not the only thing about this series that won’t disappoint. Unlike most TV adaptations, in fact, each of the characters in “Bosch” feel as real and complex as they are portrayed in the novels and some of the novels’ characters get even more developed on the screen. This is likely due to the fact that Michael Connelly serves as an executive producer and writer for the show. And, despite updating Bosch’s timeline as well (in the books he is a Vietnam vet but has served in the Gulf war and Afghanistan on the show), everything else rings just about right for this reader/viewer.

Want to jump in? No, I can’t buy you an Amazon Prime membership, but I can tell you to start reading the series with book #1, The Black Echo

-Carol

Reconnect@RRPL – One Sweet Read

One of my favorite reads this summer was Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman.

cecily

When you look its adorable frosting-filled cover, you just know this book is going to be a sweet read and it is, but there is also a good bit of depth in here to balance out the sugar!

In this novel we meet Kate. She is a 39-year-old advertising agent for a local grocery store. She is in love with her boyfriend Nick. The two are all set to move in (and Kate thinks, eventually marry) when Nick gets cold feet and asks for a break, and Kate finds herself hurt and, worse, moving back home with her mom.

To get her mind off her troubles, Kate volunteers to give food demonstrations at a retirement home. There, she meets Cecily, a 97-year-old who is always complaining, and won’t even taste what Kate has cooked. Kate loves a challenge and forces herself into clever and cantankerous Cecily’s world but isn’t always happy to hear her advice about Kate’s boring job or her thoughts about waiting around for a man. When Cecily gives Kate a cookbook from the 1950s, it becomes more like a self-help manual for Kate, and cooking her way through the recipes gives Kate the confidence to demand better things.

This is a perfect summer read about good food and good friendships, that also requires a box of Kleenex close at hand. As you root for Kate to get her life together, it is Cecily who is the real star here, with her jaw-dropping insults, fascinating life story, and brusque but well-meaning advice- and, bonus, her character is based on the author’s own grandmother.

I just loved seeing these two women become unlikely friends. Check this one out if you are looking for that perfect heartwarming and totally delicious read. -Carol