Imagine Your Story – Sympathetic Serial Killers

I admit it, I love a good serial killer story. And, no, the quarantine didn’t drive me to it; I just like the way that authors let us readers live inside of the mind of fictional characters, and some of those characters happen to be serial killers.

If we want to trace the beginnings, though, while I’m sure I was influenced by all the baddies that Stephen King had to offer back in the day, I first, truly fell for a serial killing character in The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I admit to reading this one after seeing the flick starring Matt Damon and Jude Law. Reading it really made me fall for Ripley, though. So misunderstood, so handsome, so deadly.

Next up was when I met Dexter in the novels by Jeff Lindsay-and my friend tells me the series is great too. But here, too, I encountered an utterly handsome and charming guy, who is almost perfect– minuses for working as a blood spatter analyst (yuck!) and for regularly murdering people (but he only murders bad people!)? So, who wouldn’t fall for that kind of guy…am I right?

Oh, and then there is Patrick Bateman from Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, who was, to be honest, fun reading about, but I wouldn’t want to run into personally. Ew, actually, he was pretty demented, Let’s just skip him.

Which brings me to today’s obsession–Villanelle. My latest serial killer obsession is the star of Killing Eve, a BBC show that just concluded its third season. This British black comedy-drama spy thriller television series follows Eve Polastri (the amazing Sandra Oh), as a British intelligence investigator who has been tasked with capturing the psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). As the chase progresses, the two develop a mutual obsession. I’m with you, Eve. I can’t wait for season four either!

I get it if these murderous types aren’t your cup of tea, though. Just wait a week and I’ll likely be back to birds and kittens.

 

 

 

 

Imagine Your Story This Summer @RRPL

We have something for everyone this summer! Our theme is IMAGINE YOUR STORY and includes events and summer reading for all ages. From creating costumes for RiverCon to Smartphone Video and Writing classes inspired by Rocky River to weekly giveaways to inspire your outdoor activities, we’ve been planning for you.

Summer reading begins June 6 with our RiverCon Kit, Teen Book Kit, Children’s Summer Reading Kit, and Adult Summer Reading slips/postcard pickup. See our online calendar to register for the RiverCon and Teen Book Kits. For the Chidren’s kit, see the calendar for open times to pick up your kits. Adults can attend on Saturday the 6th to pick up Summer Reading slips and to get a lovely Rocky River postcard to mail to a friend. They can also call the Reference Desk and we’ll get slips to you through curbside pickup.

All ages will be using our new online reading log, Beanstack. Beanstack’s user friendly interface and convenient mobile app allow you to participate in our summer reading program from wherever you are. Create an account for yourself or one for your whole family.  

Once you have created your account, click “add a reader” and then enter the information for yourself and each family member.  Based on age, different readers will have access to their age appropriate reading program. Register each reader for the appropriate reading challenge and start logging books today!

TEENS – GRADES 6-12 

Sign up to receive a Summer Reading starter kit that includes a new book, candy, library swag, and a summer reading board.  Choose from: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, or Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page. Starter kits will be distributed beginning Saturday, June 6 once you register for your kit online. Quantities are limited to the first 100 requests. 

Summer reading will take place using Beanstack. Teens will get tickets for earning badges and automatically earn a ticket for signing up and another for completion. They will also earn a badge for every book read, up to 10 books, and for every activity completed. Tickets can be entered into the raffle of their choice: $25 gift cards to Mitchells, Starbucks, Panera, Danny Boys, Dollar Tree, Books-a-Million, Immortals, Inc., and Gamestop. 

ADULTS 

Adults have options when it comes to Summer Reading this year! For every book read, participants can ‘log a book’ on Beanstack, call the Reference Desk so staff can fill out a paper slip, or drop off a paper slip at the library in our Summer Reading mailbox. You can pick up paper slips using our curbside service. Every entry is eligible to receive one ‘virtual’ ticket, and each ticket can be submitted to earn one of seven raffle prize packs. This year’s prize packs feature $50 gift cards to Joe’s Deli, Bomba, Danny Boys, Herb’s Tavern, King Wah, Rocky River Brewing Company, and Wine Bar. Participants can also visit the library’s curbside service to request a free Rocky River postcard while supplies last.  

Keep an eye on our calendar, our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages and right here on our blog for info about upcoming events and programs at RRPL for Adults and Teens.

June 1-6:

MIDDLE SCHOOL BOOK CLUB 
Wednesday, June 3, 3:30 p.m.  
Due to popular demand we’ve added another virtual book club session! Join us in Google Hangouts for a discussion of the book Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. This title is available in Hoopla as an audiobook and ebook. We will send an invitation to the event via email closer to the day of the event. 

RRPL TRIVIA WITH ZOOM LIVE +
Thursday, June 4, 6:30 p.m. 
Join us for a fun night of trivia! Hosted by Cleveland Trivia, you will need to create a Zoom account on your computer or download the app on your phone. Feel free to form teams in advance with your friends or the host will assign teams. Register and you will be emailed an invitation to join this virtual event. Registration required. 

BOOK TALKS AT RRPL 
Friday, June 5 
It’s the first Friday of the month and let’s review some books. In June we’ll be reviewing Dads in fiction. Register for this event and you will be emailed a list of titles so that you can jump into that next great read. 

RIVERCON! @ HOME 
Saturday, June 6- Monday, June 29 
Celebrate comics and fandom with RRPL’s RiverCon @ Home throughout the month of June! Register to reserve your RiverCon @ Home kit that will include materials to make your own recycled comic craft, graphic novel book discussion guides for three select titles (adult, children, and teen), a RiverCon magnet, information on our cosplay contest, and more! Safe and secure pick-up details will be emailed to registrants before the pick-up date of Saturday, June 6th. While supplies last. 

Check out the Rivercon page on our website throughout the month of June for more virtual programming you can enjoy from home including interviews with local comic illustrators and authors, a superhero themed storytime, a community cosplay contest, and downloadable graphic novel discussion guides. 

GRAPHIC NOVELISTS OF CLEVELAND – Adults & Teens 
Saturday, June 6, 2-3 pm 
Gotham may get all the attention, but the heart of comics is really in Cleveland. Join Jeff Karem, a professor of literature at Cleveland State University, for an engaging discussion of the rich history of comics and graphic novelists from Cleveland. Presented as part of our RiverCon schedule. Register and you will be emailed an invitation to join this virtual event. Registration required. 

Everyone has a story to tell ~

~ Dori

Your Library Staff at Home- RiverCon! 2020 Excitement

As much as I have enjoyed spending time at home with my cats, husband, and favorite yoga pants, I am so stoked about spending some time back in the library beginning next week! Library staff is slowly returning to the library to bring our amazing community some great programming, materials, and more to enjoy this summer! In particular, I am brimming with excitement for RiverCon! That is why there are so many exclamation points already in this post.

If you are into pop culture, comics books, graphic novels, and manga you don’t want to miss this celebration of nerdom. You can take a look at the goodness coming your way on our RiverCon webpage!

We’ve got something for everyone and it all kicks off Saturday, June 6th. What might that day look like for you if you were to participate in this at home mini-con? Let me paint the picture for you!

  • 9 am- 1 pm: Patrons who pre-registered for a RiverCon@Home activity kit (if you didn’t claim your kit yet click here!) can pick-up their kits by stopping at the front entrance of the library to grab your kit from one of the librarians. You can also sign-up early for one of our super fun summer reading programs! Pre-registration for kits will end June 5th, but fear not- we will have unclaimed RiverCon@Home kits on hand to pass out to anyone who stops by on a while supplies last basis!
  • What will my RiverCon@Home kit include? A RiverCon magnet, materials to make your own upcycled comic book bookmark, blank panel pages to draw your own comics, a librarian curated graphic novel reading list with discussion questions to explore at home, superhero stickers, and more!
  • 2-3 pm: Teens and adults can learn all about the interesting history of comics and graphic novels in Cleveland from CSU literature professor Jeff Karem at our Graphic Novelists in Cleveland webinar.
  • 2-3:30 pm: Kids ages 8-12 can sign up to participate in our online Nintendo Gaming Tournament.

The fun continues all month with our first ever Community Cosplay Contest running from June 6th- June 29th! Find all the necessary information for participation here. We want to see your creativity! All ages are invited to bring to life your favorite characters for a chance to win a sweet prize bag. Two lucky winners will win a selection of graphic novels and gift cards to Carol & John’s Comic Shop, Immortals Inc., and Mitchell’s Ice Cream!

Keep checking back here every Thursday, June 11- July 2 to read interviews with talented local comic artists and writers! We will be talking to Karly West, creator of The Scholarly Banana, comics designer and artist Clare Kolat, and Tony Isabella, creator of Black Lightning, to name a few.

I’ll be posting some sneak peeks of our RiverCon@Home kits next Thursday, highlighting some more of the great comic book content we have curated for you, and reminding you all of the awesomeness ahead one more time before the big kick-off day! It’s so nice to have something to look forward to these days, don’t you think?

Stay safe and well until next time!

What we’re reading now…..

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

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Whitehead’s harrowing story about a reform school in Florida during the Jim Crow-era is fictional, though based on real life accounts.  The story does not dramatize the violence and horrors of the reality, rather lets the circumstances speak for themselves.  It is a powerful story regarding the very real racial inequality of our country in the not so distant past.  Beth

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell

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This is the second short story collection I have read by author Karen Russell. Just like her other anthology Vampires in the Lemon Grove : Stories, Orange World offers the reader a variety of stories where everything seems similar and yet uncanny. In a USA Today interview Russell has said that her work isn’t so much magical realism as it is “magical thinking” writing. Highly recommend for fans of Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, and Victor Lavelle. Greg

Russell’s third collection gives readers eight amazing stories that span a variety of subjects and experiences, all beautifully written, insightful, and often wonderfully weird. Each work is wildly creative, whether you are transported to a future Florida ravaged by rising ocean water and climate change, joining two young women as they attempt to survive an evening trapped in a haunted ski-lodge, or following a widowed farmer as he recklessly returns to a life of raising tornadoes on the Nebraska prairie. Russell skillfully weaves tales that combine both the supernatural and mundane, crafting subtly creepy and emotionally resonant stories. A highly recommended volume for fans of her prior collections, as well as those who enjoy darkly humorous literary fiction. Nicole

The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

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I recently read the stage play The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by writing partners Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. It was first published in 1970 during the Vietnam War era, a time when many young people were protesting the American involvement in that conflict. In the play Henry David Thoreau, as a young man, engages in Civil Disobedience by not paying his taxes to show his disapproval of the Mexican-American War. The parallel is clear. The play also shows Thoreau’s relationship with Ralph Waldo Emerson and allows the character to express several themes that he would write about in his middle age before he died at the age of 44. The script is often dream-like with multiple flashbacks from the jail cell used to highlight moments from Thoreau’s development as a thinker who would not just “go along” with the status quo. Byron

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

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This is the story of Edith and her sister Helen who have been estranged for decades when Helen convinces their father to leave the family farm to her. Helen uses the money to rebuild the Blotz beer brand with her husband Orval Blotz. When granddaughter Diana’s parents are killed, Edith raises her. Together they barely scrape by. Diana has a talent for making beer and eventually buys a small brewery. With Diana’s talent, perseverance, and the help of her grandmother and Edith’s elderly friends, the brewery is successful. This is a hopeful and heartwarming story of take-charge women when the going gets tough. Emma

 

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

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In the Spring of 1981, the four young Skinner siblings lose their father to a heart attack and soon to follow will lose their mother to severe depression, a time period that the siblings will refer to as The Pause.  Caught between the easy & comfortable life they once had and an uncertain future, the children navigate The Pause with fear and resentment, only to become fiercely loyal to each other.  Two decades later The Skinners find themselves again confronted with a family crisis that will test the strength of these bonds and force them to question the life choices they’ve made and what exactly they will do for love.  This book was much like Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.  If you like family drama, like I do, I recommend this book. Mary

The Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson 

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is convinced that her best friend’s death is not part of a suicide pact that has already claimed the lives of the school’s two most popular mean girls. When she finds a mysterious grimoire with a too good to be true solution to her problem, she sets out to resurrect Riley. Of course things don’t go as expected–instead of bringing back Riley to get answers to her murder, she resurrects her bestie AND their bullies, the newly dead mean girls June and Dayton. To make matters worse, none of them have any memory of their deaths. Mila has one week to figure it all out while keeping her zombies out of sight. Surprisingly deep and insightful, this body-positive witch tale is a fun exploration of bullying, friendships, and redemption. Megan

Follow Her Home by Steph Cha

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Juniper Song has no experience as a detective.  The closest qualification she has when asked by her best friend to investigate whether his father is having an affair is that she is a Raymond Chandler super fan.  However, this lack of practical training does not deter Juniper from taking the role of Phillip Marlowe and agreeing to do some light snooping.  Following the tradition Marlowe long ago set, Juniper is quickly knocked out soon after she begins looking into the matter.  Only, when Juniper wakes up, the stakes have risen when she also finds a dead body in the trunk of her car.  Great noir that, while paying homage to Chandler, looks to update and add to the genre. Trent

Watching You by Lisa Jewel

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I read this quick moving thriller in a few sessions. Told from the points of view of a few “watchers”: a young, restless newlywed living with her brother and his wife has her eye on the handsome older neighbor who is the new school principal; the awkward teenage principal’s son has his eye on most of the neighborhood; the crazy lady next door is sure EVERYONE is watching her, and her daughter has heard terrible rumors about her new principal and is befriending his son to find out if they are true. This voyeuristic neighborhood is thrown into turmoil when someone is brutally murdered. Everyone saw something, but can anyone put it all together? Sara

The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great Traditions by Ken Wilber

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Wilber is a philosopher and transpersonal psychologist, and this is one of a few tomes he has written, all wonderful, about helpful ways of thinking about more out-there topics like mysticism, consciousness, and spirituality.  Wilber is also a Buddhist, but his critiques of religion are applicable to Western and Eastern approaches.  I have been reading him for some time now, and have always found him very insightful.  For anyone interested, a great place to start to understand his framework, which is called “AQAL” – standing for “all quadrant, all level” – is his Integral Psychology from 1994.  Andrew

What we’re reading now….

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

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This is a slightly twisted thriller that takes place in the suburbs of Boston.  Henrietta and her husband Llody move to a new suburb for a change of scenery.  Before they know it they are attending a dinner party at their neighbor’s house, and Hen stumbles on a suspicious clue that potentially links her neighbor to a murder in their old town.  Things quickly escalate as the story unfolds, and nothing is quite like it seems.  Beth

Silent City by Alex Segura

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Due to his drinking, Pete is barely holding on to his dead-end and unfulfilling sports editor job with the Miami Herald, and his social life is a mess.  Pete is half-in-the-bag and skipping on work when he accepts the request from the Herald’s washed-up columnist to search for his missing daughter.  Not really remembering why he agreed to help, Pete figures he will make a few calls to mutual acquaintances and ends up stumbling around and stirring up trouble as he plays detective. Silent City is Segura’s first in the Peter Fernandez series.  The recently published fourth installment, Blackout, is nominated for the Anthony Award to be announced in November. Trent

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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I am reading this for our Classic Book Discussion on Monday, August 12, at 7pm.  I have just finished part one and started part two (there are three parts).  The novel was written in French and published in 1856 (I am reading the more recent translation into English by Lydia Davis); when it was first published, in serialized form, the government brought an action against it for immorality (!) – the charge was acquitted.  The book is absolutely marvelous – the writing is really uncanny and exquisite, almost perfect in a way, and is the first example of what is called “literary realism,” a technique that we are now habituated to experience when reading novels, but was in many ways inaugurated by Flaubert.  Put simply, the book is about a dissatisfied and romantic heroine, Emma Bovary, who seeks to escape the boredom and banality of her life through increasingly desperate acts.  If you are interested, please procure a copy of the book, read it (and hopefully enjoy it), and come on August 12 to discuss.    Andrew

 The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

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This is the story of Martha Storm who volunteers at her local library. She lives in her childhood home surrounded by her dead parents’ possessions along with various projects she plans to finish for others. Martha receives a mysterious book signed and dated by her grandmother, Zelda, who supposedly died years before the date of inscription. Martha is determined to understand what happened and uncover any family secrets. This is a charming story with a happy ending.  Emma

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro

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In 2016 author, Dani Shapiro, on a lark, decided to submit her DNA for analysis at a genealogy website.  Soon after she received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father.   Dani Shapiro urgently begins a quest to unlock the story of her own identity.  She unfolds many secrets kept for a myriad of reasons.  He journey is a compelling story of paternity, identity and belonging.  This story is more a personal journey than a scientific journey.  I did find the author to be self absorbed at times, however, I am empathetic with the tremendous emotional upheaval this discovery caused the author.  A quick and interesting read.  Mary     

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep 

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This the story of the murder of Willie Maxwell, a southern preacher who was accused of murdering five people in order to collect the insurance money, the lawyer who defended the both Reverend Maxwell and the man accused of murdering him, and Harper Lee, the author seeking to write her own In Cold Blood.  This book reads like three separate stories, beginning with Willie Maxwell,  his alleged victims, and rumors of voodoo. Tim Landry, his charismatic lawyer is introduced to readers as the man who won acquittals in five murder trials. It is Harper Lee that ties these stories together. Readers are treated to a detailed biography of Nelle Harper Lee, including tales from her childhood, accounts of her friendship with Truman Capote, and details of her complicated writing career.  This is a real treat for true crime lovers and fans of Harper Lee.  Megan

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

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Andrea Cooper knows her mother Laura–a strong woman who has protected, loved and taken care of her for her whole life. Andrea, after an unsuccessful attempt at making it big in New York City, has come back home to her small childhood town of Belle Isle, GA to take care of her mother who has been diagnosed with breast cancer . She thinks she knows everything about the sleepy town and her never changing mother–until a mall shooter almost kills them both, and Laura takes him down like some sort of NAVY seal operative. It turns out her mother used to be someone else, and if Andrea doesn’t figure out who that person was, why her mother is in hiding or who is after her, they both may not make it. Sara

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

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This is a story about a poor teen who joins a city wide track team. He’s never been part of a team before. His mother is working and putting herself through college. He frequently gets in trouble at school because his classmates make fun of the neighborhood where he lives, his ill-fitting clothes, the fact that his mother cuts his hair, everything associated with being poor. Can he adapt to the rules at track practice with Coach and find a place among the other young runners? Reynolds writes in a way that definitely gets inside the head of this teenager. I became interested in this title when I heard the author speak as part of the PBS Great American Reads series, and it is another part of my effort to read books from more diverse voices. So far it is very relatable even though I never participated on a sports team in school myself. Byron

Adult Summer Reading

Week 3 Prize

How to Participate

We like making participating as simple for you as possible. You can submit an entry for any of the following:

  • Every book you read
  • Every magazine or newspaper you read
  • Attending an event at or sponsored by Rocky River Public Library

Entries can be submitted in person at the Reference desk, or online here.