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Time to Talk Turkey About Thanksgiving Movies and Books November 18, 2017

Posted by Dori in Book List, Fiction, Holiday Books, Literary Fiction, Movies, Uncategorized.
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When you work in a library, you usually have at least one display up that corresponds to a current holiday. Thanksgiving is always the difficult holiday; there are just not many books or movies that revolve around Thanksgiving which is surprising, considering that it’s ripe with potential to explore family issues.

Here are a few titles that either take place during Thanksgiving or have a special or funny scene devoted to the holiday:

Movies:

MV5BMTYwMTc2NjA3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk1NTc0MQ@@._V1_UY268_CR2,0,182,268_AL_MV5BZTM3ZjA3NTctZThkYy00ODYyLTk2ZjItZmE0MmZlMTk3YjQwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTA4NzY1MzY@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BNWU0ZDllZWEtNWI4ZC00YjIzLTk3YjMtZmE0MmFiNzg4MmRlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BNTQ1NzI1MzgtYWM3ZC00YjdhLWE1ODAtMmU0YzQzYjY3MjNiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjk1Njg5NTA@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BNDQyMDM3MzIyMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzUwMDU2NA@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMzNiYzQyNGEtYjFiOS00OTcyLTg5YzItMDQ2ZGRmZjE1N2Y4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMTU3NDgzNTI1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzcwMjgyMQ@@._V1_UY268_CR4,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMjIwMTk0Njc4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc5MjkzNA@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMjg0YzYzYzktNTY3NC00MDE0LThjMzYtMmY0MWZlNDdiYWY2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDk3NzU2MTQ@._V1_UY268_CR1,0,182,268_AL_

Books:

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Wishing you and yours a very peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving –

~ Dori

 

 

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I know a book you would love! I just can’t remember the title… November 10, 2017

Posted by gregoryhatch in Book Discussion, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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I was struck this morning to reread a book I loved as a teen. There was just one problem, I couldn’t remember the title. Worse, I couldn’t even remember the author. As much as we adore our books a lapse of memory is bound to happen. So what do you do? Asking the reference desk here at the library is always a great start but not always possible.  Thankfully there are tools and tricks to help jog that memory and find that book.

If you remember the author of the book you are looking for, finding the title isn’t such a herculean task. When at the library you can put the author’s name into the search bar of the catalog and find all the books your library owns by them. Of course if your library doesn’t own a copy of the book you are seeking this option may not work for you. Luckily many authors working today have a professional website with a list of their work. A bonus is that author sites are a great place to go if you are trying to figure out what book comes next in a series. If the author doesn’t have their own website online book retailers can be another great resource for finding that elusive title.

Now if you are in the same boat I was in this morning you are going to have to do a bit more research. In my mind there are two ways to go about this. You can first try to find the author and then use the suggestions above to zero in on the book you are looking for, or you can try and find the title.  If you know the author is known for a particular series or style of writing the first method can be the quickest.  With the second method you first instinct can be to type in the search bar “book that was about…” or “book set during…”. There is always a chance that you will luck out and the book you are looking for will be one of the top posts. More likely you will get hundreds of websites that you have to search through to find anything that could be helpful. Websites like www.goodreads.com and www.fantasticfiction.com have genre sections which you can browse to help narrow your search. Goodreads offers forums where you can request help from other users. These websites also have the benefit of displaying the covers of the books. The Library of Congress has an amazing page of resources on just this subject:  https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/lost/novels.html which shows other ways to use those sites and many others.

This morning the best resource for me was Goodreads’ forums and I was able to find the book I was looking for:

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny.ANightInTheLonesomeOctober(1stEd).jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Greg

 

 

 

 

2016 Favorites – Top 12 Edition December 16, 2016

Posted by Dori in Book Awards, Book List, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Holiday Books, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016, Uncategorized.
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2016 was a book lover’s dream – I was like a kid in a candy store. Between reading and listening, I managed to finish a lot of literary fiction, and a few science fiction and suspense titles, but I have some catching up to do into 2017. Here are the books that I relished in 2016, in no particular order:

laroseLaRose by Louise Erdrich
Erdrich is a writer that I never miss and this book sums up what I love so much about her writing: devotion to characters, insightful commentary on American culture, family love and exploration of the mystical.

 

undergroundThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Deserved winner of the National Book Award, this book is a wildly creative and harrowing look at slavery and its legacy. A must read.

 

 

beforeBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
Hawley, a screenwriter, deftly takes us through a horrific plane crash, exploring the survivor’s guilt and the investigation into the cause.

 

 

mynameMy Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
This small book packs a punch – mother/daughter relationships, poverty, marriage – are all addressed powerfully and in Lucy’s voice – lovely and sad.

 

 

vegetarianThe Vegetarian by Han Kang
There’s no doubt that this is a weird book – it’s about a young woman whose choice to become a vegetarian impacts her whole family in tragic ways – but it’s also both mesmerizing and beautiful.

 

 

queenQueen of the Night by Alexander Chee
Chee’s historical epic about a 19th century American who becomes a famous Parisian courtesan and opera singer envelops and transports you.

 

 

commonCommonwealth by Ann Patchett
This is my first Patchett novel and I may have to read her earlier books based on this one – who doesn’t love a book about a dysfunctional family that sucks you in and doesn’t let go?

 

 

multipleMultiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra
Zambra is a Chilean author and his books often deal with memory and choice within the framework of Chile’s recent authoritarian history. This one’s in the form of a multiple choice test

 

 

goldenThe Golden Age by Joan London
Maybe my favorite of all, London’s look at how people deal with displacement in their lives takes place during the polio epidemic in Australia after World War II. It’s surprisingly sweet and tender and you’ll fall in love with the characters.

 

 

moonglowMoonglow by Michael Chabon
History, relationships, life, love, rockets! – all in Chabon’s signature style.

 

 

 

swingSwing Time by Zadie Smith
I haven’t quite finished Smith’s latest about two young brown girls growing up in London and the different paths they take based on family, race, class and culture, but I’m entranced so far.

 

 

darker

 

gathering

A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
I always like to dip into some great science fiction and I really enjoyed these first two in a series that take us to fantastic parallel worlds.  No. 3 is up next year!

 

BONUS CHRISTMAS BOOK:

fieldsThe Fields Where They Lay by Timonthy Hallinan
I chose this book for my Holiday read and I think I’ve found a new mystery series! It’s funny and clever and the mystery unfolded perfectly.

 

 

 

If` I could keep going, I’d throw these in as well: Debuts The Mothers by Brit Bennett and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Yid by Paul Goldberg, To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey, A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl, A Great Reckoning by  master of mystery Louise Penney, The Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood and The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

Fall/Winter Book Goodness October 12, 2016

Posted by Dori in Book List, Debut Author, Fantasy, Fiction, First Novel, Literary Fiction, Non-Fiction, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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Recently, we were lucky enough to have a visit from Amanda Fensch, a representative of Penguin Random House books, who visited the library to buzz about hot new titles. Amanda was an impressive presenter and offered very tempting descriptions of so many books!  As a result, I’ve added a boatload of books to my Fall and Winter reading list.

Here’s a few titles that really struck my fancy:

downloadI’m usually not a reader of nonfiction…so little time, so many books, etc…. but Amanda’s description of Spaceman by Mike Massimino sounded both funny and informative. Massimono, an astronaut who’s appeared on The Big Bang Theory AND repaired the Hubble Telescope, describes his road to becoming both a space traveler and a pop culture hero.

 

rogueAnother non-fiction title is Rogue Heroes by Ben MacIntyre. This untold story is a look at one of WWII’s most important secret military units. MacIntyre was given access to a lot of previously unknown materials, so this should be an eye-opening book. MacIntyre has written some other fascinating histories too, including Operation Mincemeat and A Spy Among Friends .

swingNow, onto fiction, starting with Swing Time by Zadie Smith. It’s been a long time since Smith’s written a novel (her others include White Teeth, On Beauty and NW) and I’m excited to see what insightful fiction she’s come up with this time. This novel is about two friends who dream of becoming dancers though only one is talented enough, the paths they take and how their friendship evolves.

bearI love an adult fairytale – they’re creepy but oh so creative. The Bear and the Nightingale, a debut novel by Katherine Arden sounds like it’s right up my alley. Russian forests, evil step-mothers, monsters, folk wisdom and a heroic young woman. Yes! Did you love Uprooted by Naomi Novik? I’m hoping this one will be similar.

 

allOne more that Amanda discussed – I believe she said it was a ‘must read’ (and that’s all I have to hear), is All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. It involves time travel – a man in the future travels to the past and must decide whether to stay or return – but don’t let that turn you off, it’s really about love and family and is filled with humor and heart. Check, check, and check – I like all those things!

That’s just a few of the titles Amanda talked about. For more information, feel free to stop in or call. You can also place items on hold through our catalog.  Happiest of all, Amanda will be back in the Spring to talk more books so look for that in the calendar and join us!

Happy Reading!

~ Dori

 

 

 

All the Big Words (are in Literary Fiction!) October 5, 2016

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Literary Fiction.
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That’s right, we discussed literary fiction this time! Literary fiction is defined by a multi-layered, experimental, or technical virtuosity writing style. The focus is more on character than plot and will prompt a high degree of interaction between reader and book. When you read what people had to say about their books, you might just find something to suggest to your own book discussion group!

Megan: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is a deeply moving yet disturbing love story. Wavy, the daughter of a meth dealer father and a mentally ill mother, is taught from an early age to not trust anyone. When one of her father’s thugs wrecks his motorcycle eight-year old Wavy is the only one who sees the accident. Her decision to help Kellen will forever change both their lives. Kellen becomes her friend and protector and she is his constant companion. No one takes notice of the relationship between the strange, silent child and the enormous ex-con with a heart of gold until Wavy becomes a teen. Wavy and Kellen’s story is heartbreaking and engrossing and at times even uncomfortable to read about. No matter what you believe about their relationship, their story will stick with you long after the book is done.

Chris: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. It’s 1991 and Lotto and Mathilde have just married a few months after falling madly in love with each other at first sight. Theirs is romance friends envy because it seems so perfect in every respect. But a decade later, it’s revealed that things are not always as they seem. Yes, there are two sides to every story and this novel is written with Lotto telling his side first followed by Mathilde’s side which is the more interesting. It reveals the secrets that they kept from each other, and it’s these secrets that ultimately kept the marriage together. A fascinating read–A New York Times Best Seller, Finalist for the 2015 Book Award and named Best Book of the Year by many publications.

Beth: Lynda Cohen Loigman’s introduces us to two sisters by marriage and their families as they cohabitate in a two-family home in Brooklyn, NY. The story unravels the complexity of family relationships as it shares their story over 30 years, through the different family members’ perspectives. The Two-Family House leaves the reader pondering on relationships and choices over a short lifetime.

Gina: In J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the story is told by main character Holden; reminiscing on the time in his life that could be considered to be his lowest point. After be expelled from his fourth prep school, Holden went on a journey to New York to find himself. Holden battles with the understanding of innocence, sexuality, and the meaning of life; but through this journey, he finds hope in his sister’s youthfulness. This is a true American coming of age book for everyone to enjoy.

Carol: In The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, Lib Wright is a former “Nightingale” nurse in 1850s London who is sent to a small Irish village in order to investigate the locals’ claim that eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell hasn’t eaten anything in months, but instead is surviving on manna from heaven. Lib is obviously skeptical and when Anna’s health declines during the observation period, Lib finds a hard time avoiding emotional involvement. Is she witnessing a miracle or is Anna in dire need of help? The Wonder is an atmosphere novel with a slow-building suspense that left me completely enthralled from start to finish.

Steve: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is a tense page turner that finds Georgia plantation slaves Cora and Caesar on the run as they escape their horrible lives via a vast physical underground railroad. The two at first find their way to South Carolina and settle into a seemingly progressive town with caring citizens, only to find out that the town is doing experiments with disease and birth control on runaway slaves. The two continue seeking freedom elsewhere, while desperately trying to outrun the brutal slave catcher Ridgeway.

Emma: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway was written in 1952. For 80+ day’s Cuban fisherman Santiago has had a run of bad luck. He’s caught no fish. So Santiago finally travels far beyond the other fishing boats and eventually catches a giant marlin. It takes him two days and nights to bring the fish back to shore strapped to the side of his boat. He loses most of it to sharks on his return trip. The marlin would have fed him for many months or it could have been sold at a good price. This is a rather sad but beautiful long short story.

Dori: In Joan London’s award-winning book The Golden Age, 12-year-old Frank Gold is convalescing at a home for victims of polio after World War II. The child of Hungarian refugees who have unwillingly been resettled in Perth, Australia, he’s an observant, dreamy boy who yearns to be a poet. When we first meet him, he’s wheeling around the hospital with one goal: to glimpse Elsa, the only other child his age and the object of his affections. The book doesn’t just limit itself to Frank and Elsa, though; London is attentive to all her characters and their inner lives. Her writing has a lovely radiance and she’s able to evoke the feelings of displacement, growing up, finding hope and safety and, of course, love.

Sarah: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout is about a young mother, Lucy Barton, who is recovering from a minor operation that became complicated and and kept her in the hospital for months. She and her mother haven’t spoken for years, having become estranged after Lucy’s harsh upbringing in a poverty-stricken small town. Yet Lucy is touched and grateful when her mother comes to visit for five days. She tells Lucy about the town and people of her youth, about their marriages, lives and deaths, as she and Lucy begin to reconnect. However there is an underlying tension as memories of Lucy’s troubled childhood surface, and we are given a glimpse into how complicated family relationships can be. This was a fascinating and engaging story that left me wanting to get to know Lucy Barton and her mother better.

Lauren: The Girls is Emma Cline’s debut novel. We meet Edie Boyd, a shy and lonely teenager living in California during the late-1960s. She meets a group of girls—mysterious and magnetic Suzanne stands out—and is slowly drawn into their isolated world of counter-culture, freedom, sex, and drugs. At the helm is their leader, Russell, whom the girls all seem to worship. Split between the present-day and Edie’s remembrance of the past, a frightening picture is slowly painted as the girls approach a horrific point-of-no-return.

Stacey: Open the cover on To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey and you’ll find yourself spirited away to a different time and place. Multiple storylines are told concurrently with subtle shifts in tone and style to reflect each character, descriptions of the natural world mix easily with mystical elements, and the use of images enhance a reader’s experience. Recording the past as journal entries but calling certain aspects into question through a contemporary correspondence builds one complex story full of subtle, surprising moments. A beautifully crafted book, from the wildly adventurous story to the presentation on the pages, this is a reading experience you won’t soon forget.

Next time we’ll cover the dangerous world of horror fiction! Horror books are written to frighten the reader (obvs?) and are distinguished by supernatural or occult elements, often featuring the power of the natural world gone awry. Turn on all the lights and -enjoy!

—Stacey

Lots of Wordy Books (aka Literary Fiction!) January 26, 2016

Posted by stacey in Book Awards, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Literary Fiction.
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We’re starting off the year with the Literary fiction challenge -were you able to find something that was characterized by a distinctive writing style, focused more on character than plot, or prompted a high degree of interaction between reader and book? If so, then you were a successful participant in our first genre discussion! If not, don’t worry -we still have eleven more genre challenges to come. You’ll get ‘em next time!
Are you wondering what everyone had to say about the books they chose? Here we go…

Maureen: In Dostoyevsky’s final and epic novel, The Brothers Karamazov, he weaves an intricate story surrounding the lives of three brothers who each have a reason to want their philandering father, Fyodor, dead. One brother is not given the inheritance he feels he is due from his deceased mother, one begrudgingly leaves his beloved monastery work at the command of his father, and one is just disgusted with the total lack of morals displayed by his father. When Fyodor is murdered one fateful evening and brother Dmitry is implicated, the secrets, motivations, love affairs, scandals, and crimes of all of the brothers are slowly revealed to build the story to its conclusion. The Brothers Karamazov is considered one of the greatest works of Russian fiction. While not a quick or easy read (it took several months!!) it was an interesting look into Russian society of the time. If you find yourself looking for another great Russian work from a bit later time period, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is another fantastic, though far-fetched, literary Russian read that is worth a look.

Chris: Snobs by Julian Fellowes is Julian’s first novel and it gives us an insider’s look at England’s upper class in the 1990s and those who aspire to become part of it. Like Edith, who marries the Earl Broughton one of the most eligible aristocrats around. From the very beginning his mother, Lady Uckfield, knows why Edith has chosen her son. Will the marriage last? Many of their friends and so-called friends play a part in the outcome. So many characters, so much drama. Much like the beloved PBS series Fellowes went on to write, Downton Abbey. With one difference for this reader: He seems to not much care for the Broughton Hall characters (perhaps he was finding his way back then) whereas he loves his Downton Abbey people. Me, too.

Megan: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly is a fictional account of a real life murder. The year is 1906 and sixteen-year old Mattie has big dreams. Desperate to earn money and escape her small-town life, she gets a job at the Glenmore Hotel. There she meets Grace Brown, a young guest who asks Mattie to burn a packet of secret letters. When Grace’s body is found in the lake, Mattie realizes that the letters may prove that Grace’s drowning was not a tragic accident but a premeditated murder. Mattie is the product of Donnelly’s imagination, but Grace Brown and her murder are true crimes. Fans of historical fiction and true crime will enjoy this story set in the Anirondaks.

Lauren: Vendela Vida’s The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is set in exotic Casablanca, Morocco and lures the reader in with elements of mystery/thriller. A woman—you, as the story is told in second person—travels to Morocco on her own and almost immediately her money, passport, and identification are stolen. She is at first panicked and desperate to go to the police and seek to recover her belongings only to run up against bureaucracy and corruption on top of the challenges of navigating a foreign country. Gradually she comes to see her situation—a woman without an identity—as an chance to become someone else entirely and find true liberation.

Beth: Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins takes place in a very plausible distant future semi-relinquished, dried out California landscape. The main characters, Luz and Ray are contently squatting in an abandoned mansion until they cross paths with a child who they bring into their fold. With new found responsibility, they pursue a more sustainable home and discover the ambiguous power of their most treasured relationships.

Dori: In Like Family, a spare, slender novel by Paolo Giordano, a married couple hires a childless widow to care for the wife when she has some problems in her pregnancy. After the baby is born, Mrs. A stays on as a nanny for the baby and as housekeeper for the family. After eight years, however, one day she announces that she’s not feeling well and will not be coming back. Sixteen months later, she has passed away from cancer. The husband, a physicist, narrates, telling us all this within the first few pages of the book. The remainder of the book are his memories of conversations he’s had with Mrs. A, what he learned about her and her life and most importantly, he relays the importance of her to his family. Mrs. A helped them all, smoothing over differences between husband and wife, wholly loving their child, and appreciating and encouraging all of them. Without her, they are all bereft and feeling a hole where she once had been. She had an intimate role within their family, at least from their perspective, even though she was employee; she wasn’t family, but was she? Giordano contemplates the variety of love, the definition of family and the value of relationships, however fleeting, in this melancholy but sweet book.

Emma: In Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf, Addie Moore has lost her husband. One day she invites neighbor widower Louis Waters to spend nights with her. Nights are especially lonely. Nosy neighbors quickly find out what’s going on, but Addie and Louis don’t care. Gene, Addie’s son, leaves his son Jamie with her for the summer. He does not approve of the relationship between Addie and Louis, and eventually forbids Addie to have contact with her grandson unless she breaks contact with Louis. A beautiful story even with Addie’s bullying son’s interference.

Carol: In My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, the title character is a married New York City writer who reflects on her upbringing by chronicling a few days in the 80s, when as a grown woman, she ends up in the hospital for an extended stay. Lucy’s estranged mother comes to visit during that time, and readers learn about their strange and sad family dynamic from what the two reminisce about and the topics they avoid. This short novel about forgiveness and the bonds of family and love is eloquently written and will be remembered long after its last page has been read.

Steve: The Road by Cormac McCarthy is an excellent but bleak work. In a horrible post-apocalyptic world an unnamed man and his young son are striving to make it to the coast against awful odds. Along the way they elude gangs of violent thugs and scavenge for what little food they can find, all in hopes of finding other good guys.

Stacey: One of my favorite fiction titles to make the list of Notable Books for Adults for 2016 was This Is the Life: A Novel by Alex Shearer. Two brothers, who haven’t always had the easiest of relationships, are brought together again when Louis is diagnosed with a brain tumor and his younger brother provides whatever support he can. A small book with a big impact, there really is something in this book that is likely to make readers laugh, cry, and maybe even pick up the phone to call a loved one…

If you want to keep reading with us, you’ll want to go looking for the first novel of an author you’ve never read before! Finding the debut work of a new author can be pretty exciting, so you might want to start your search …now!

enjoy!
Stacey

Top Ten 2015 December 20, 2015

Posted by Chris in Biographies, Book List, Literary Fiction, Non-Fiction, poetry, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2015.
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I hope you enjoy(ed) these as much as I did. Merry Christmas!

 

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

See How Small by Scott Blackwood

Erratic Facts by Kay Ryan

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

Snobs by Julian Fellowes

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi by Peter M. Wayne, PhD with Mark L. Fuerst

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015 edited by Rebecca Skloot

Unless It Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt

 

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

Fall Into Reading September 9, 2015

Posted by Dori in Book List, Book Review, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction.
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Like it or not, Summer is over. Well, not officially, but it feels like beaches, picnics and vacations and are behind us and Fall is in the air. And with Fall comes coziness, blankets, a chair and books aplenty. I’ve asked my colleagues to list some books they are looking forward to this Fall. Feel free to comment and share your own.last The Last Midwife, Sandra Dallas
I enjoy historical fiction and this one takes place in the 1880’s in a small Colorado town. Sandra Dallas is a wonderful story teller.

comeCome Rain or Come Shine, Jan Karon
The 11th entry in the “Mitford Years” series continues the story of Dooley Kavanagh, Father Tim’s adopted son, as he graduates from veterinary school and gets married.witchesThe Witches: Salem, 1692, Stacy Schiff
This is a recounting of the Salem hysteria in modern times by Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff.eveEve, William P. Young, William
The author’s previous novel The Shack is an unusual tale of the Trinity. Now Eve is an exploration of the Biblical creation story.

~ Emma

makeMake Your Own Rules CookbookTara Stiles
This is the follow-up companion to yoga guru Stiles’s November 2014 release, Make Your Own Rules Diet.  Everything about Stiles—her yoga instruction, philosophy, recommendations, and recipes—are simple and emphasize always doing what works for you.careerCareer of EvilRobert Galbraith
I’m itching to get my hands on the third book in Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)’s murder mystery series starring private detective Cormoran Strike.  Strike and his assistant Robin are wonderful characters I loved immediately—it will be good to have them back.

~ Lauren

girlGirl Waits With GunAmy Stewart
This a novel about a woman who spoke up and took action when that was frowned upon in her era. I like strong female characters and look forward to meeting Amy Stewart’s character Constance.cityCity on FireGarth Hallberg
This is a debut novel with something for everyone…a citywide blackout, rich New York heirs, punk rockers, and a reporter all twisted up in a Central Park shooting . Should be interesting!

~ Maureen

lakeThe Lake House, Kate Morton
The queen of the dual-period historical fiction storylines, Kate Morton, is releasing The Lake House this October.  In this novel, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police and retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall. There she finds herself at a loose end, until one day she stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace. Set in 1933 and then 70 years later, like Morton’s other best-selling novels, it sure to be a lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies.wakeThe Wake of Vultures, Lila Bowen
Also out this October is the planned first of a series set in a paranormal-filled Wild West that finds blind Nettie killing a man and gaining her eyesight to the weirdness in the world around her. With her newly opened eyes (and money stolen from the dead man), Nettie leaves behind her horrible life and embarks on a journey that leads her to her people and her own strange roots.

~ Carol

furiouslyFuriously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, Jenny Lawson
I love a good female memoir and if there’s some humor, I’m all about it.  This memoir sounds funny and down to earth.felinesFelines of New York, Jim Tews
I’m a big fan of Humans of New York, and this satirical spinoff is equally entertaining, though not nearly as serious.  I love a good story, but I’m also interested in a good laugh, and this is sure to bring the joy.

~ Beth

winterWinterMarissa Meyer
Winter is the fourth book in The Lunar Chronicles series. This series is an amazing mash-up of teen science fiction and fractured fairy tales. Readers new to the series will want to start with Cinder, where you will meet the title character who is an orphaned cyborg. She is a second-class citizen in New Beijing, but her talents as a mechanic catch the attentions of the young prince. Soon Cinder is swept into an intergalactic struggle. Each book in the series introduces a new character, but they all advance the same storyline. Tension has been slowly building and shocking secrets have been revealed and everything will come to a head in this final book. I can’t wait to see if everyone gets their happily ever after!carryCarry OnRainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell introduced Simon Snow in her smash hit, Fangirl. In Fangirl, the character Cath writes fan fiction about her favorite fictional character, Simon Snow (which is totally a nod to Harry Potter, if you ask me). Now, fans of Fangirl get to experience the story Cath loved! I am so excited for this book because I loved Simon and Baz from the fan fiction stories in Fangirl.  How incredibly meta is this? It’s the story that a fictional character used to write fictional fan fiction! That’s a lot to wrap my head around!afterAfter AliceGregory Maguire
From the mastermind behind the Wicked series comes a new twist on the classic tale, Alice in Wonderland. In this reimaging, Alice’s friend Ada journeys through Wonderland in search of the missing Alice. I obviously like retellings and I have been on a bit of a Wonderland kick recently, so this one is a must-read for me!

~ Megan

fatesFates and Furies, Lauren Groff
I really loved Groff’s last book, Arcadia – her writing, her ideas, her storytelling – so this one about a marriage told from the perspective of the husband, Lotto (Fates) and his wife Mathilde (Furies) will, hopefully, fufill my need for more of Groff’s intelligence, insight and amazing writing. marvelsThe MarvelsBrian Selznick:
Selznick’ s The Invention of Hugo Cabret was a beautiful, weird, boundary pushing book and I can’t wait to, once again, be mesmerized by his images and immersed in his mystifying stories. The Marvels weaves together together two seemingly separate stories, one told through images about a theatrical family and a shipwreck in the 18th century and the other told in words about a young man in 1990’s who has run away from boarding school in search of an address where his uncle lives. tsarThe Tsar of Love and TechnoAnthony Marra
Marra’s first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, was an emotional doozie of a novel about human endurance set in war-torn Chechnya. This is a collection of interconnected short stories set in the same part of the world and if it’s anything like the first, I’m all in.

~ Dori