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 Nonfiction Coming in February 2020

 

Here are some nonfiction books to take a look at! Whether you’re looking for a new memoir, a WWII history title or an interesting new science book, we have something        for you!

 

02/04: Brother & Sister: A Memoir by Diane Keaton – The Academy Award-winning film star and best-selling author of Then Again presents a memoir of her complicated relationship with a beloved younger brother, who transitioned from a close sibling into a troubled and reclusive alcoholic.

02/04: Open Book by Jessica Simpson – An unstinting memoir by the pop artist and fashion icon traces the story of her life before and after fame, the role of faith in her achievements and her difficult decision to step out of the limelight. Guided by the journals she’s kept since age fifteen, and brimming with her unique humor and down-to-earth humanity, Open Book is as inspiring as it is entertaining.

 

 

02/11: Hold On, but Don’t Hold Still: Hope and Humor from My Seriously Flawed Life by Kristina Kuzmic – A popular speaker on family and parenting tells her story of ditching her fairytale dreams and falling in love with her unpredictable, chaotic, imperfect life. Delivering inspiration and “parenting comedy at its finest,” here is one woman’s story of ditching her fairytale dreams and falling in love with her unpredictable, chaotic, imperfect life.

02/11: Decoding Boys: New Science Behind the Subtle Art of Raising Sons by Cara Natterson – Citing the less-recognized behavioral tendencies of male adolescence that complicate communications between parents and children, a guide to raising teen boys shares strategic guidelines on effective parenting, managing screen time and understanding the sources of negative behavior. By the bestselling author of The Care and Keeping of You series and Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys.

 

 

02/11: In the Land of Men by Adrienne Miller – The author of The Coast of Akron traces her coming of age in the male-dominated 1990’s literary world, discussing her relationship with David Foster Wallace and her achievements as the first female literary editor of Esquire.

02/18: Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction by David Enrich – The New York Times finance editor and award-winning author of The Spider Network presents a journalistic exposé of the scandalous activities of Deutsche Bank and its shadowy ties to Donald Trump’s business empire. Darkly fascinating and yet all too real, it’s a tale that will keep you up at night.

 

 

02/25: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz  by Erik Larson – The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake draws on personal diaries, archival documents and declassified intelligence in a portrait of Winston Churchill that explores his day-to-day experiences during the Blitz and his role in uniting England.

02/25: Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet–one Bite at a Time   by Mark Hyman – The best-selling author of The Blood Sugar Solution explains how today’s agricultural policies have been compromised by corrupt influences, sharing insights into how everyday food choices shape chronic disease, climate change, poverty and other global crises.

 

~Semanur

New Nonfiction Coming in January 2020

Check out this selection of nonfiction books for your reading list in the new year.

 

01/07: Martha Stewart’s Organizing: The Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home & Routines by Martha Stewart – The ultimate guide to getting your life in order&;with hundreds of practical and empowering ideas, projects, and tips&;from America&;s most trusted lifestyle authority.

01/07: Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion by Ingrid Newkirk & Gene Stone – The founder and president of PETA and a bestselling author pair their tour of the astounding lives of animals with a guide to the exciting new tools that allow humans to avoid using or abusing animals as we once did. Animalkind is a fascinating study of why our fellow living beings deserve our respect, and moreover, the steps every reader can take to put this new understanding into action.

01/07:The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy, Updated and Expanded Edition by Elizabeth Kendall & Molly Kendall – An updated, expanded edition of the author’s 1981 memoir detailing her six-year relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy, which was the basis for the Amazon Original docuseries, includes a new introduction and a new afterword by the author, never-before-seen photos, and a startling new chapter from the author’s daughter.

01/07: Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives by Daniel J. Levitin – A leading neuroscientist and best-selling author examines how to make the most of our post-60 years by examining those who age joyously and discussing resilience strategies and practical, cognitive enhancing tricks. Levitin turns his keen insights to what happens in our brains as we age, what you can do to make the most of your seventies, eighties, and nineties today no matter how old you are now.

 

 

01/14: Elemental Knits: A Perennial Knitwear Collection by Courtney Spainhower – This book is for women who aspire to be ever stylish, more comfortable, and less wasteful. A collection of 20 customizable knitting patterns counsels do-it-yourself crafters on how to select practical patterns and fibers while creating wardrobe-enhancing fashions for different times of the year.

01/14: Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness by David Perlmutter & Austin Perlmutter – The #1 New York Times best-selling author of Grain Brain and his son, also a medical doctor, explore how modern culture threatens to rewire our brains and damage our health, offering a practical plan for healing.

 

 

01/21: Murder Your Darlings: And other gentle Writing Advice from Aristotle to Zinsser by Roy Peter Clark – From an influential American writing teacher comes a collection of 50 of the best writing strategies distilled from 50 writing and language books—from Aristotle to Strunk and White.

01/28: A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Ingenious Young Women Whose Secret Board Game Helped Win World War II by Simon Parkin – Tells the triumphant story of a group of young women who helped devised a winning strategy to defeat the Nazi U-boats and deliver a decisive victory in the Battle of the Atlantic.

 

~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

Stacey’s Top Ten Fiction (and Nine Nonfiction) of 2019!

If you check out some of my previous Top Ten lists -you might notice I like to go for bonus titles.. heh! This year I split my list into ten fiction and a bonus nine nonfiction… double heh! I’ll also mention, this year I was part of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction Committee -and the entire list is worth a look! You’ll also notice some of the titles on that list are also on mine, so maybe that counts as a double Top Ten suggestion?

This list is *not* in order of preference but does follow the Librarian Tradition of Alphabetical Order:

Fiction
 Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
No one in this story is perfect, and that’s what makes it such a fun book to read!

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
Time travel is a key feature, but it’s really about family and finding a place you belong.

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
A magical, emotional, thoroughly engaging story!

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
You don’t have to love Jane Austen to love this book.

The Swallows by Lisa Lutz
A mystery set in a boarding school with plenty of surprises.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
Like The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin -for adults.

Normal People by Salley Rooney
Teens growing into young adults -set in Ireland.

Save Me From Dangerous Men by Eli Saslow
Gritty and graphic, and all kinds of grrl power.

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine
If you’re a word nerd -this one’s for you!

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Ah -all the feels.

Nonfiction
Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson
We should all rethink how we think about aging.

Catch and Kill by Rowan Farrow
Fascinating and well-researched look at decades of misconduct by men in power.

Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones
Theodore Geissel was more than the creator of children’s books, and this book will tell you that story.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
While telling the story of one woman’s disappearance (and likely murder), readers will also get a clear background on The Troubles in Ireland.

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
A beautifully written look at the natural world and how it’s changed, and continues to change.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Not just a book about libraries, but also a great “true crime” mystery!

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
Ladies, be ready to be annoyed and then -let’s change the world!

An Elegant Defense by Matt Ritchel
Do you know how your immune system works (or doesn’t work)? You will after you read this!

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
How do we not talk more about some of the topics in this book?!

I hope you find something you enjoy -and- that you have a happy, wonderful Holiday Season!

-Stacey

Megan’s Favorites of 2019

It’s that time of year, again-the time when we reflect on our year of reading (mostly murder) and make a favorites list (so much murder). I have given up all pretense of creating a Top Ten List and have abandoned descriptions (follow the links for book details), which has helped ease some of my anxiety around this task. If you like mysteries, suspense, and thrillers there are quite a few here!

YA Fiction

Adult Fiction

Nonfiction

Middle Grade

Happy Reading!

~Megan