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What exactly is the New York Times Bestseller List? July 27, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Book Awards, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction, Summer Reading, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
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The first New York Times Bestseller List was published on October 12, 1931.  It only contained five fiction and four non-fiction books for New York City only.  Over time it was expanded and lists for multiple cities were included. A national list was finally compiled in 1942 and published in the New York Times Book Review supplement as it is today. This list is compiled from “reports from leading booksellers in 22 cities,” although the exact data compilation process is a trade secret.

There is much controversy among authors, publishers, and others as to whether the list really represents best-seller status.  Some believe the list can be manipulated by authors, sellers, retailers and wholesalers.  The New York Times has been sued for excluding books from the list, accused of allowing authors to buy their way onto the list, and been criticized for favoring liberal authors over conservative ones (a claim the New York Times denies.) Whether it is fair or not, this list remains prestigious and well known, and according to a  Stanford Business School analysis, the “majority of book buyers seem to use the Times list as a signal of what’s worth reading”.  Here are a few books from NYT Bestseller List for the week of July 29th.  Click, call or stop in today to put a hold on one!

FICTION

1 THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. (Little, Brown and Knopf.) President Jonathan Duncan takes on adversaries at home and abroad.

2 THE GOOD FIGHT, by Danielle Steel. (Delacorte.) Meredith McKenzie embraces and eschews the values of her family of lawyers during the tumultuous 1960s.

3 CLOCK DANCE, by Anne Tyler. (Knopf.) A window into Willa Drake’s life over 50 years and how she adjusts to some of life’s surprises.

4 THE OUTSIDER, by Stephen King. (Scribner.) A detective investigates aseemingly wholesome member of the community when an 11-year-old boy’s body is found.

5 ALL WE EVER WANTED, by Emily Giffin. (Ballantine.) A scandal sends members of two Nashville families into chaos.

NON-FICTION

1 CALYPSO, by David Sedaris. (Little, Brown.) A collection of comedic stories on mortality, middle age and a beach house dubbed the Sea Section.

2 EDUCATED, by Tara Westover. (Random House.) The daughter of survivalists leaves home for university.

3 THE SOUL OF AMERICA, by Jon Meacham. (Random House.) The present political climate is contextualized through the lens of difficult moments in American history.

4 HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND, by Michael Pollan. (Penguin Press.) A personal account of how psychedelics might help the mentally ill and people dealing with everyday challenges.

5 INDIANAPOLIS, by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic. (Simon & Schuster.) A newly researched look into the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the story of the survivors and the fight to exonerate the court-martialed skipper.

 

 

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What we’ve been reading in May… May 23, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Beach Reads, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction, Summer Reading, Suspense, Thrillers, Uncategorized.
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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

Cover image for This is the story of Christopher Knight known as “The North Pond Hermit”, a man who walked into the woods of Maine at age 20 and did not leave until arrested 27 years later. He was arrested for burglarizing nearby cabins to obtain food and various essentials for his survival.  Once arrested, he immediately confessed to what added up to nearly 1000 burglaries and showed remorse for his crimes. He never hurt anyone, nor did he ever damage anything. Mr. Knight simply wanted to live alone in the woods. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, the author, Michael Finkel, is able to give a detailed account of Knight’s secluded life.  In addition to Knight’s story, Finkel discusses famous hermits in the past, and mental illness topics which help the reader to better understand Mr. Knight, however, the author leaves the reader feeling that one will never have a complete understanding of Knight’s mindset & choices. I found the story of Christopher Knight to be fascinating. He survived by his high level wits, common sense and courage. He could “MacGyver” anything, and bring himself to a peaceful mental state of embracing the quiet and solitude of the forest.  He clearly wrestled with fundamental communication & social skills (a common thread in his family), and believed his escape to the woods was his only choice for survival. This is an excellent choice for book clubs, having so many different discussion points to pursue.  You will also find that readers will have very different viewpoints about Mr. Knight, as did the residents of North Pond, which will add to the talking points about this book. I personally see all sides to this story, and have a weak spot for Christopher Knight.  The big question I ask myself is can we unconditionally accept each other for who we truly are? Mary

 

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Cover image for Boy Erased has been on my radar since it was released in 2016, and recently came to my attention again since it is being made into a movie. In this memoir, Conley recounts his experience growing up as the only child of a Baptist pastor in Arkansas. After being outed as gay to his parents, he agreed to enroll in conversion therapy. The memoir moves between his experience in the program and memories from his childhood and teenage years. As expected, the trauma Conley experienced in the conversion therapy program is upsetting and heartbreaking, but it is also beautifully observed and eloquently written, on par with Dani Shapiro or Mary Karr in terms his ability to powerfully self-excavate. This is a must-read for members of the LGBTQ community who grew up in religious households, all clergy, and for those looking to increase their capacity for empathy.  Lyndsey

 

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

Cover image for I’ve been reading The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt, who is a social psychologist and professor at New York University.  I really enjoyed his more recent book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, so I thought I’d give this a try.  I’m not finding it as challenging as The Righteous Mind, but there are interesting chapters about the difference between romantic love  (passionate, fleeing) and companionate love (longer lasting, deeper attachment), as well as a great chapter about whether or not modern psychological studies can back up the idea that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  Haidt thinks that we can learn from adversity under the right circumstances, especially if we can construct a life-narrative that makes sense out of our suffering.  He argues that positive relationships, meaningful work, and a connection to something larger can work together to make us happier.  Andrew

 

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Cover image for In Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, attorney Avery Stafford leaves her job in South Carolina to assist in the care of her cancer-stricken father. At a meet and greet event at a local nursing home Avery meets May Crandal. Seeing an old photo in May’s room makes Avery think there might be a link between May and her Grandma Judy. May’s real name was Rill Foss until she and her siblings became part of black-market adoptions practiced by the Tennessee Children’s Home. The mystery begins. This is a difficult tale to imagine. The novel was inspired by firsthand accounts of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society that existed into the 1950’s. Emma

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Cover image for I’ve just finished listening to Ready Player One during my commutes, which was a great adventure. I’m still gradually working on the ebook A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women 1930-1960. Following Free Comic Book Day I read a handful of various comics. Next I’m looking forward to a book on CD of Amy Bloom’s White Houses. It is not often that I pick up a brand new best seller, but I’ve read many good things about this work of historical fiction. Since recently watching a Ken Burns documentary series about the Roosevelt family (with extra attention paid to Teddy, FD, and Eleanor) I’m primed for this intimate story about perhaps the most intriguing first lady in history.  Byron

 

The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

Cover image for This past month I had the great pleasure of reading The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg. A retelling and mash-up of stories (fairy tales, biblical, and folklore), this collection of stories feels familiar and yet very alien.  Though there is a sinister tone that seems to saturate the book that is often reinforced by the ambiguous endings of each tale. Ortberg plays with gender and archetypes and it’s often this play on the structure and tradition of these stories that brought me the most  joy as a reader. It is a quick read but never feels rushed. Recommended for readers who love sinister tales that jump from magical realism to all out fantasy. Greg

 

The Day She Disappeared by Christobel Kent

Cover image for When Beth, a small time bar maid, disappears, everyone thinks she has just moved on to a new adventure.  But her best friend Natalie does not believe it for a minute.  She is sure something sinister has happened.  Nat tries to piece together Beth’s past and her relationships, realizing her friend kept a lot of secrets.  And as strange things begin to happen in Natalie’s house and to an elderly bar patron with a foggy memory, it becomes obvious that someone wants these secrets to remain hidden.  Another fantastic suspense story from Christobel Kent, beautifully written, with characters you would want to meet and images of an English countryside you would love to visit.  Sara

Latest Editions! July 5, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Summer Reading.
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Here are the newest additions to The Reading Room. Use the links to see reviews and  book descriptions.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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In Farleigh Field: A Novel by Rhys Bowen

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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New Boy: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier

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News of the World by Paulette Jiles

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Rebel Queen: A Novel

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The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

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The Finishing School: A Novel by Joanna Goodman

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The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

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The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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Hurry! Summer Reading is almost over! August 1, 2016

Posted by Beth in Summer Reading.
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It’s true, our Adult Summer Reading program is coming to a close this week, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still sign up or enter your book submissions!  We will be accepting new sign ups and book entries through the week.  You can submit your entries at the reference desk of RRPL or online at http://www.rrpl.org.

 

Every entry this week will get you a chance to win this gift basket:

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And every entry that was submitted throughout the entire program this summer will be submitted into our drawing for our grand prize basket!  Check out all the goodies we have for a lucky someone!

 

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We will be doing the drawing for our grand prize winner at our End of Summer Reading Celebration on Wednesday, August 10, 7-8 p.m. in the Community Room!  Joins us to discuss your favorite reads and light refreshments.

 

Happy reading!

Beth

Adult Summer Reading Raffle Basket July 25, 2016

Posted by Beth in Summer Reading.
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This week our Adult Summer Reading Raffle Basket has some fun for the whole family!  We have indoor and outdoor games, Cavs gear, and a DQ gift card.

Click here for information on how to participate.

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Adult Summer Reading – Week 6 Prize Basket July 19, 2016

Posted by Beth in Summer Reading.
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This week we are going to stick to some of the best things in life: books, chocolate, and coffee!

 

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Click here  for information on how YOU could win this gift basket!

Latest Additions July 11, 2016

Posted by Beth in Fiction, New Books, Summer Reading.
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Having grown up here in Ohio, I can’t help but feel obligated to spend as much time outside during the beautiful summer days as possible.  When it’s really hot I try to make a mental note of how nice it feels to have the sun on my skin and the sweat dripping down my face, because I know that in January I’m going to be longing for that heat very badly. I love taking my book outside to enjoy, and there are just so many wonderful places outside to read. You can read on the porch.  You can read by the pool, on a beach, in a park, in the grass.  Did I miss somewhere?  Probably.  If you’re looking for a book to take outside, check out some of the titles we have recently added to our Reading Room.

 

as waters gone by

at the edge of the orchard

before the fall

britt-marie

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Happy reading!

 

Beth

Family Fun! Week 4 of Adult Summer Reading July 7, 2016

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We are already into our fourth week of summer reading! This week our raffle basket features goodies for some outdoor family fun.  We have a handheld bubble machine, water paddle ball set, books, a Dairy Queen gift card, and a Cleveland Cavaliers Moondog hand puppet, all included in a stylish beach bag.  Be sure to get your reading entries in before we draw the name for this basket!IMG_4743

 

For participation information, click here!

Happy reading!

Beth

Week 3 of Summer Reading: Windians! June 27, 2016

Posted by Beth in Summer Reading.
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Last week Cleveland was all about our Cavs champs, but this week it’s Tribe time.  This week’s Adult Summer Reading  gift basket raffle prize features a Cleveland Indians towel, drink cozy, awesome books, and ballpark snack favorites.IMG_4809

 

There’s still plenty of time to get your entry submissions in either at the reference desk or through our website.  For more information about how to participate in our summer reading program, click here.

 

Roll Tribe!

Beth

 

We Are the Champions! June 20, 2016

Posted by Beth in Summer Reading.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA Champions!  We here in Cleveland are celebrating our first national championship in 52 years.   It’s a very exciting and emotional time for all Cleveland sports fans.  If you need some Cavs gear to support your National Champions,  this week’s Adult Summer Reading gift basket has you covered.

 

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For more information on how to participate in our Adult Summer Reading Program, click here. 

 

Happy reading!

GO CAVS!!!

Beth