Your Library Staff at Home- Reader’s Advisory

March has proven to be quite a surreal month, and I hope all of our Read it Or Weep readers are staying safe and healthy amid the current global COVID-19 crisis. Rocky River Public Library might be closed until further notice, but rest assured that you can still access an amazing array of great titles from home through our digital library. One positive outcome of social distancing and staying home is that you can really dive into that pile of to-read books that has been beckoning you for weeks! Perhaps there is a classic you’ve wanted to read for years or a favorite you’ve been wanting to re-read- now is the time! (Am I the only one who always has at least 6 books waiting to be read?!)

So what have I been reading while camped out at home? Scroll on!

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Yes, this is a zombie story, but it isn’t your typical flesh-eating undead story thanks to amazing literary writing from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Whitehead. I had been re-reading through this book as it was (somewhat ironically) the title I had chosen for my next Novel Scares Book Club meeting in April (which has since been cancelled due to COVID-19). If you are looking to lean in to current events with your fiction reading, I highly recommend Zone One. After a pandemic has ravaged Earth, the living must attempt to rebuild among the living dead. Focusing on life in New York City and the characters who are struggling with Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, this horror novel is a great read.

The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson

This is Davidson’s second book, but the first I’ve read by him, and I have been absolutely amazed with his writing. This haunting and beautiful Southern Gothic novel takes readers to a town deep in the bayous of Southwestern Arkansas where we meet many complicated characters, including the main protagonist plucky Miranda. Having lost her father as a child one mysterious and tragic evening, she’s been making ends meet ferrying contraband on the river for a corrupt sheriff and a deluded preacher, all the while harboring some serious secrets involving a witch and a rescued child. The story has the feel of a dark fairy tale, and is filled with magical realism. I haven’t finished this book yet, but already it reminds me of one of my favorites: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesymn Ward.

I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum

I read this collection of essays slowly over the past month, processing each essay and thinking it over, before moving on, because it was such a fun book. Reading this felt like having a fabulous conversation with a smart friend and I didn’t want it to end! Nussbaum, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, writes with such an insightful, witty, and conversational tone, providing astute perspectives but still making this accessible to a broad audience. Included in this collection are her profiles of well-known showrunners Jenji Kohan and Ryan Murphy, as well as feminist takes on shows like Sex and the City, True Detective, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and more. Also, it was great to have my endless love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer validated by Nussbaum! Recommended for anyone who loves watching television and a great choice for readers looking for a book that allows them to read short pieces here and there.

Dead Astronauts by Jeff Vandermeer

I adore all of Jeff Vandermeer’s books (if you like weird fiction/ sci-fi/ horror/ speculative fiction you must read his Southern Reach trilogy!) and tore through Borne earlier this year, which is a related story to Dead Astronauts, though not necessarily a prequel read. In this story, the all-powerful bio-tech corporation known only as the Company returns as we once again see the destruction they have inflicted upon the unnamed City. Three rebels are introduced who seem to be traveling through time and various dimensions over and over in an effort to thwart the evil Company- but seem to always fail. A mysterious blue fox who can also travel time and space seems to be an important piece of the puzzle, and monstrous genetically engineered creatures are around every turn. I have no idea where this book is going, but that is part of the fun. Vandermeer’s strange and hallucinatory world building keeps me turning the pages with curiosity!

What are you reading at home? Are you reading happy, cozy novels or are you finding entertainment and comfort in stories of post-apocalyptic futures (like me)?

Keep your eyes peeled right here for more updates on what your library staff is reading, watching, listening, and creating at home!

New Fiction Coming in March 2020

Check out some of the exciting new fiction titles coming to our shelves this spring!

 

3/03: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich – A historical novel based on the life of the National Book Award-winning author’s grandfather traces the experiences of a Chippewa Council night watchman in mid-19th-century rural North Dakota who fights Congress to enforce Native American treaty rights. This powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

3/03: The Numbers Game by Danielle Steel – Setting aside her dreams to raise a family, Eileen reevaluates her sacrifices in the wake of her husband’s affair with a famous actress’s daughter, who discovers that she needs to find herself before committing to someone else. In this stunning novel, modern relationships come together, fall apart, and are reinvented over time, proving that age is just a number.

3/03: Deacon King Kong by James McBride – In the aftermath of a 1969 Brooklyn church deacon’s public shooting of a local drug dealer, the community’s African-American and Latinx witnesses find unexpected support from each other when they are targeted by violent mobsters. From James McBride, author of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird, one of the most anticipated novels of the year: a wise and witty tale about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting.

 

 

3/10: The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel – A tale inspired by the final years of Thomas Cromwell describes how after the execution of Anne Boleyn and child-bed death of Queen Jane, the former blacksmith’s son orchestrates a desperate plot to fortify England and save his own life.

3/10: A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler – A gripping contemporary novel that examines the American dream through the lens of two families living side by side in an idyllic neighborhood, and the one summer that changes their lives irrevocably. A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today—what does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don’t see eye to eye?

3/10: Journey of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler – Kurt Austin and the NUMA crew race to identify a link between an ancient Egyptian treasure, a 1927 daredevil aviator’s disappearance and the sinking of a modern fishing trawler to prevent a scheme by a cutthroat arms dealer in the thrilling new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling grand master of adventure.

 

 

3/10: A Reasonable Doubt by Phillip Margolin – When a magician linked to suspicious deaths goes missing in the middle of performing a new trick, criminal defense attorney Robin Lockwood untangles dangerous clues to identify a killer among numerous suspects. By a New York Times best-selling author.

3/10: Devoted by Dean Koontz – A child who has not spoken since his father’s death befriends a dog who understands his wordless communications, which are complicated by the boy’s conviction that an evil is targeting his family. By a #1 New York Times best-selling author.

3/31: Fearless by Fern Michaels – Falling in love with a divorced professor she meets on a singles cruise, widow Anna Campbell accepts his proposal before uncovering disturbing facts about him and his children. By the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Godmothers series.

~Semanur

Nicole’s Top Ten of 2019

It was such fun to look back on what I’ve read this past year and pick my favorites! Below you’ll find mostly adult fiction titles, including some standout graphic novels, as well as a stellar young adult novel (Wilder Girls!). 2019 was also the year I dabbled in reading outside my comfort zone of generally weird and spooky, venturing into the land of romantic fiction and true crime. Much to my surprise, I was so utterly charmed by a romance novel that it ended up on this list (I’m looking at you Chloe Brown). I hope that if you haven’t read one of these titles you will be inspired to stop by and check it out this winter. Maybe you will also find yourself pleasantly surprised by broadening your reading horizons *wink*. Wishing you a joyful holiday season and happy reading!

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Institute by Stephen King

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen by Marjorie M. Liu

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Greg’s Top 11 for 2019

The Chills and Thrills of October

You gotta love October – it’s the first month where you start to feel a little cozy, like sweaters and fires and stew cozy. It’s cuddling up to read books weather, stomping and kicking through rustling leaves weather, knitting weather – as you’ve already guessed, I am a big fan.

October also ends on the perfect note – Halloween – spooky fun where you can dress up as anyone you’d like but there’s also a little nip of horror in the air, a feeling that you can sojourn with the spirits or dance with the devil.

Horror movies and books capture some of that feeling, sometimes reflecting on social and political trends, sometimes just scaring the pants off you! Here are some titles you can check out for yourself:

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Happy Haunting!

~ Dori

Award Winning Books

Trying to fill that one Winter Bingo Square with an Award-Winning book? Look no further! There are so many to choose from, in so many genres, I’ll just mention a few titles and then give you links to lists, so many lists!

I’ll start with local award winners: The Anisfield Book Awards. I have attended the ceremony for the past couple of years and find it inspiring and a source of incredible reading material. Here are a couple of books honored there:

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Then there’s the National Book Awards, a source of a fantastic array of titles, such as the following:

heartlandpoet

Love a mystery? Check out the Edgar Awards and a couple of titles they’ve chosen to honor:

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And there’s also The Hugo Awards, for works of science fiction and fantasy, the RITA Awards for romance, the Eisner Awards for graphic novels and so many more. If you need help choosing a title, stop by the Reference Desk – we’ll be glad to help!

~ Dori

 

 

Winter Book BINGO: Spotlight on LGBTQIA

The Merry Spinster

by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
Confessions of the Fox

by Jordy Rosenberg
RubyFruit Jungle

by Rita Mae Brown
Clariel

by Garth Nix
Less: a novel

by Andrew Sean Greer
So Lucky

by Nicola Griffith
Witchmark

by C.L. Polk

Lists of books with an LGBTQIA authors or character: