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What we’re reading in March.. March 13, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Genre Book Discussion, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time by Gary Saul Morson

INarrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time…‘ve been reading two books by a literary critic that I like a lot named Gary Saul Morson.  He wrote a great book about Anna Karenina called Anna Karenina in Our Time: Seeing More Wisely, so I was curious to learn about his other work.  One book, Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time, is about how certain novelists, like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, create stories that convey a sense of time as open, even if the novelist knows what is going to happen.  It also talks about how novelists represent free will in their characters, and fight against an interpretation of the world as deterministic.  The second book, Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics, co-authored with Caryl Emerson, is about the work of a Russian literary critic and philosopher named Mikhail Bakhtin, who came up with some very innovative and exciting ways of thinking about the novel as a genre.  Morson is a wonderful, lucid, and deep thinker, and I’m enjoying these books very much.   Andrew

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchison

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun…Sixteen-year-old Elena is the product of a virgin birth (it’s a real thing with a scientific explanation).  She also hears voices and can perform miracles (there is no scientific explanation for this).  Elena is just trying to navigate normal high school crushes and family drama, and she really doesn’t have time to save the world.  Also, she’s not really sure she should be saving it. This is a truly bizarre and thought-provoking novel for fans of A.S. Kind and Libba Bray’s Going Bovine. Megan

The Feminist’s Guide to Raising a Little Princess: How to Raise a Girl Who’s Authentic, Joyful, and Fearless – Even If She Refuses to Wear Anything But a Pink Tutu  by Devorah Blachor

The Feminist's Guide to Raising a…This book is really all about the importance of being a good role model as a parent and letting your child be who she wants to be.   The book dives into the history of the Disney princess culture and how it has evolved over the years and has affected our culture, specifically our young daughters. I found the book to be somewhat lacking in concrete insight for navigating the logistics of fostering my child’s authentic self while she is very drawn to the imagery and excitement of princess culture.  Beth

I Hate Fairyland by  Scottie Young

I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After…Do you love/hate fairy tales? Hero journeys? Landscapes made of candy? Have you ever wondered what would happen if Dorothy hadn’t found her way back to Kansas? Then you will enjoy this graphic novel. I hate Fairyland (Volume 1) follows the story of Gert, a green haired, ax wielding, foul mouthed, middle aged 6 year old (In Fairyland, time goes by but you don’t age). Gert hasn’t really taken the conventional path to finding her way back home and after a few decades of failed riddles and violent vendettas she may have worn out her welcome. A hilarious, graphic-graphic novel.  Greg

 

March. Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

March: Book One by John LewisThis autobiographical graphic novel relates the early life of Senator John Lewis from his rural upbringing on an Alabama farm through his early involvement in the Nashville Civil Rights Movement.  March does a very nice job of providing the larger context of the movement and what is happening outside of Nashville and Lewis’s immediate world.  However, the authors manage to keep the story from losing focus of Lewis personal experience and the impact that creates.  This is done in part by having the story told from Senator Lewis’ own voice as he provides an impromptu tour of his office on Inauguration Day, just before President Obama is about to be sworn into office for the first time.  A fascinating and powerful read. Trent

 The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen When Johanna Langley’s father Sir Hugo suddenly dies, Johanna wants to understand what happened to him during WWII. He was a British bomber pilot who was shot down over German-occupied Tuscany near the town of San Salvatore. Local resident Sofia Bartoli tended to his needs at severe risk to herself, family and village. When Johanna visits San Salvatore 30 years later, no one remembers her father or wants to talk about Sophia. A treat for fans of historical fiction. Emma

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American…This book has been on my radar for several years, and being the chosen book  for One Community Reads, I  finally dove into it, and I am so very happy I did.  This is a grim read but a necessary read.  Author, Matthew Desmond does an excellent job of engaging the reader in a piece of non fiction.  He introduces the reader to eight families in Milwaukee living in poverty and struggling with eviction.  Readers learn about the business and culture of evictions, while getting a glimpse of what it’s like to live in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee.  Many residents are spending more than half of their meager income on housing.  For most, what money is left after paying rent simply isn’t enough to get by, hence, starts a downward spiral leading to evictions.  The fates of the eight families in this book are in the hands of two landlords.  I couldn’t help but feel that there is blood on the hands of everyone.  Desmond spent years living in these neighborhoods, painstakingly taking notes and recording events.  I highly recommend this book to everyone. Mary

Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel…Having several friends and family members who suffer from anxiety, I wanted to read a book to help me understand and empathize with them. Monkey Mind, so far, has done the trick. It is an extremely eye-opening memoir about the onset and treatment of Daniel Smith’s anxiety disorder. He intersperses stories about his own life with research and writings about anxiety from scientists and philosophers like Kirkegaard and Freud. When the audiobook starts to feel overwhelming (because Daniel Smith’s rehearsals of his absurd, painful, and self-destructive thought patterns can be just that), I remind myself that this is how it is to live with anxiety, and that I am one of the lucky ones who can turn off the audiobook and walk away. The book is not 100% heavy and dramatic, though — Daniel Smith’s dry humor about the situations he finds himself in is one of the strengths of the book. Trigger warning: the author does not shy away from sharing a story about how he was raped at 16, and while he documents what happened (in my opinion) tactfully, it is still distressing. Lindsey

Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood

Where I Lost Her by T. GreenwoodEight years after many failed fertility treatments and a tragic adoption, Tess is still grieving and bitter as she visits her childhood friend in her hometown in rural Vermont. Torn between her great love for her best friend’s two daughters and her jealousy of the life they lead, as well as the growing rift in her marriage, Tess’ visit is fraught with emotion.  While driving home from a late night liquor store run, Tess sees a small, wounded half-naked little girl in her headlights on the dark country road.  When she stops to help, the girls disappears into the woods.  As Tess calls together the community to search for her, she finally finds a sense of purpose until those around her begin to suspect she was drunk,  broken-hearted and imagined the whole thing.  This book is a great look into grief, relationships, healing and what matters in life.  Sara

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Spoonbenders: A novel by Daryl GregoryIn the 1970s, the Amazing Telemachus family toured the U.S. as psychic performers, led by patriarch/con-man Teddy and the genuinely talented Maureen. Debunked on national television, they lost their notoriety. Twenty years later, they’re all struggling with real world problems, albeit with a psychic dimension. Irene, a human lie detector test, can’t maintain a relationship and has brought her son Matty home to live with her father. Raconteur Frankie, who practices telekinesis, can’t get his business off the ground and is in hock to a local mobster. Buddy, the youngest, sees the future, and is steadily working to prevent it, even if it means building holes in the backyard. Told in alternating chapters from each character’s point of view, this quirky tale of family, mobsters, the CIA and first love, is a hoot – funny, crazy and tender. I listened to it on audiobook and it was a treat! Dori

 

 

 

 

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Unmasking Egyptian Religion February 15, 2018

Posted by Luke in Book Review, Non-Fiction, Outside the Lines, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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The Kemetic Tree of Life

My fascination with ancient Egypt goes back as far as I can remember.  Sculpture, temple ruins, pyramids, animal headed gods, and walls filled with hieroglyphs have always remained a fascination.  But it’s been my experience that most books on ancient Egypt scratch only a little below the surface of its cultural remains or long-held conventional conclusions.

The Kemetic Tree of Life is for the serious seeker after the symbolism and mysticism of ancient Egypt.  It is an exploration of the oldest of the several major religious systems to come out of ancient Egyptian culture.  These several systems were in no way opposed to each other.  Rather, each one focused on a different aspect of the Egyptians’ concept of Immanent Reality.  The Kemetic Tree discusses the tradition that arose in the city of Anu, or the “Anunian Theurgy.”

“Kemetic” is an anglicized form of the ancient Egyptians’ term for their own country, the land of Khem.

Popular nonfiction works on ancient Egypt tend to be academically guarded and unwilling to offer conclusive specifics concerning Egypt’s spiritual systems, or they talk about Egyptian spirituality with constant reminders – subtle or otherwise – about its superstitious and primitive nature.  The latter is simply modern arrogance.  Dr. Ashby’s depth is refreshingly different.  He doesn’t approach the remnants of ancient Egypt as an academic, but as a practitioner of its spiritual science.  He appears to have a command of hieroglyphic symbol and the ancient Egyptian language.  His text incorporates approximations of the Egyptian vocabulary – key words and phrases relevant to an understanding of the Anunian Theurgy specifically and Egyptian spirituality generally.  I had to start a file to keep them straight.  In this way, his book parallels many Western works on Eastern philosophy and religion, e.g. Hinduism, where ancient Sanskrit terms are incorporated throughout.  He also does not use the classic Hellenized names for Egypt’s gods – Osiris, Isis, Horus, Anubis, etc., but instead retains the Egyptian approximations – Asar, Aset, Heru, Anpu, etc.  The Kemetic Tree also includes many figures of hieroglyphic images and mythological scenes.  Essentially, the book is intended to initiate the reader into living this spiritual science.  Its chapters include lectures, questions and answers, and sections to promote meditative journaling.

A drawback to the text is that it’s poorly proofread, if at all.  The author writes in a very conversational style which often sets an enjoyable pace for reading.  But it lends itself to run-on sentences, strange phrasings, and numerous grammatical errors that can grind that enjoyable pace to a halt.  Since Dr. Ashby is in something of a class by himself in presenting such profound and sophisticated teachings in an easily readable and digestible way, I wish the text’s final grammatical form were in pristine condition.  It would make The Kemetic Tree even more enjoyable.

Even though the style of writing is non-academic, as a seeker I enjoy seeing sources for the information presented, especially when an author makes claims and presents information very few others have offered.  The information Ashby presents is in no way outlandish, although it may certainly seem so to someone reading him without the proper background in ancient religious systems and symbols – the very different mentality of antiquity relative to the present day.  But nonetheless, the boldness and intricacy of Ashby’s statements seems to demand numerous and varied sources for credibility.  Unfortunately, he does not offer many sources outside his own writings.  He’s written prolifically; and The Kemetic Tree is not the first book he’s written.  Perhaps sources outside his own research and intuitive recognition are given in some of his other works.

Lauren’s Top Ten of 2017 December 13, 2017

Posted by Lauren in Book List, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
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Last year I read my first ever book by Neil Gaiman (I KNOW.) (American Gods).  So 2017, for me, was sort of The Year of Gaiman and I spent it getting my hands on as much of his work as I could.  I picked out a few of my top Gaiman reads for the year and gave them one spot on my list (the rules are pretty liberal around here).  I did the same for another author I happened to discover this year, Jason Reynolds.  Again, as soon as I read my first book by Reynolds I immediately went after more.  Playing catch-up is SUPER fun when you don’t have to wait around for an author to put out more stuff for you to read.  The rest is, as per me, a little bit of everything.  Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

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1.) Favorites by Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Graveyard BookNeverwhere)

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2.) Favorites by Jason Reynolds (Ghost- Track Series #1When I Was the GreatestAll American Boys)

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3.) A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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4.) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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5.) The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost

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6.) The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

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7.) Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

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8.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

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9.) The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (The Magicians Series)

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10.) The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (The Neapolitan Novels)

Carol’s Top Ten Books of 2017! December 13, 2017

Posted by carol in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
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What a year it has been! While I’m personally happy to welcome in 2018, I’m also grateful for oh, so much–including reading some fabulous books that were published this year!booktreeThe Wonderling by Mira Bartok – This Children’s fiction debut has a Dickensian setting  and follows Arthur, a fox groundling, who sets out on a quest to escape from a cruelly-run orphanage.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich – This dystopian novel is set in a not-so-distant future where evolution seems to be reversing. It’s a fascinating and scary read that is perfect for fans of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – Long comfortable in her solitude, Eleanor Oliphant inadvertently begins to emerge from a life of isolation and the results are both heart-breaking and hilarious. Read this novel and be inspired to be an even kinder version of yourself.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles – I’ve read this one twice already! 71-year-old Captain Jefferson Kidd is hired to return to her family a 10-year-old girl who was raised by Native Americans. This historical/literary/western will pull on your heartstrings and stay in your mind long after you’ve closed its cover.

IQ by Joe Ide — Irresistible reading with slick dialog and morally ambiguous protagonists, this book is the start of a new series starring an inner-city version of “Sherlock” and his “Watson” who has done hard time.

The Midnight Cool by Lydia Peelle — This novel introduces two less-than-ethical horse traders who are travelling together in the early 1920s, as America’s involvement in WWII looms. Forced to make decisions based on circumstances, their friendship will never be the same in this moving and poignant novel, rich in detail and history.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney — Based on the real life of Margaret Fishback, the highest paid female advertising copywriter of the 1930s, this story is wise, funny, and moving, and is like a love letter to New York City.  This book makes me want to be Lillian when I grow up!

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout — Poignant, bittersweet and at times heartbreaking, this is more of a series of connected stories than a novel. Per usual, Strout’s characters are lovingly portrayed with dignity despite their experiences and she can knock me out with a single sentence.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti — This suspenseful coming-of-age novel slowly reveals the criminal past of Loo’s father Samuel, when, for the first time in her twelve years, he finally allows the two of them to settle down.

A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson —  Agatha Christie went missing for several days in December 1926. In this novel, Christie is blackmailed by the doctor of her husband Archie’s lover into murdering the doctor’s own wife! This twisty read, which has a sequel on the way, is a dark and atmospheric, old-fashioned crime story.

Perhaps you’ll read one or two of these while you are waiting for Santa to come? Have a wonderful holiday season!  ~Carol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libraries Are Awareness Creators May 18, 2017

Posted by lgvora in Library Program, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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In observation of mental health awareness month, Rocky River Public Library will welcome author Sakeenah Francis to tell her story of living with paranoid schizophrenia. Ms. Francis will speak on Thursday, May 18 at 7:00 PM.

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The event comes at an opportune time, with mental health appearing often in the headlines. What ramifications, if any, will the change in laws have for those in need of mental health care? Suicide rates are on the rise, while access to mental health care is becoming more limited. The media is buzzing about the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and its glamorized portrayal of suicide.

Our library, like many across the United States, aims to provide informational, educational, recreational, and cultural resources to patrons in the community. To me, community education starts with creating pockets of awareness. Sometimes this means giving patrons an opportunity to learn a skill, like cooking or jewelry making. Sometimes this means preparing patrons to transition well into the next stage of life, such as retirement or college.

Other times, this can mean giving a voice to people at the margins of society, in hopes of humanizing cancer patients or lifting stigmas around mental health. When we give Sakeenah a space to share her story, we are providing patrons an opportunity to become aware of her struggles and empathize with the situation she has found herself in. Same goes for Joanna Connors, a Cleveland writer and survivor of rape and PTSD, who spoke to us in February about her memoir, I Will Find You.

Some have challenged the idea that education can help eliminate stigma. In last week’s Crain’s New York article, How to Eliminate the Stigma Around Mental Illness, researcher and psychology professor Patrick Corrigan said, “Education is grossly overrated for changing the stigma of mental illness, especially for adults. Stigma doesn’t really change much when you go out and tell people what to think.”

While Corrigan didn’t define what, in his opinion, education is or is not, he said that meeting a person with a mental illness is a more effective route to normalizing mental illness and reducing stigma. He encouraged those affected by anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia to “come out everywhere.”

Corrigan seems to separate “formal” education and casual interactions, but I would argue that by providing authors a venue to tell their stories—placing books on our shelves or arranging a visit with an author—we are facilitating a hybrid of formal and casual that makes for deeply personal dialogue.

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Library programs provide just enough structure to form a pocket where awareness can be created and empathy can be extended. I am proud of the library’s role in our community, and my role within the library, where planning programs that encourage community members to listen to one another is all in a day’s work.

Lyndsey

Al Pacino is 77! April 25, 2017

Posted by Steve in Movies, Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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Believe it or not, Al Pacino is 77 today. Why not celebrate his birthday with your very own Pacino movie marathon. We will provide the movies, you provide the popcorn!

-Classics currently available for checkout are:

Godfather

Godfather II

Godfather III

Heat

Scent of a Woman

Serpico

Enjoy the films.

-Steve

Happy Kindergarten Day! April 21, 2017

Posted by Steve in Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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April 21st is Kindergarten Day! According to Chase’s calendar of events, it is “A day to recognize the importance of play, games and “creative self-activity” in children’s education and to note the history of kindergarten.” April 21st commemorates the birth of Friedrich Froebel, born in 1782, who began the first kindergarten in 1837 in Germany. Wondering where the first kindergarten was in the United States?  Answer, St. Louis, MO, in 1873.  Now go amaze your friends with your new knowledge.

Steve

Latest Additions! April 20, 2017

Posted by Gina in Fiction, Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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Are you inside because of the thunderstorms that keep rolling through? Come to the library and grab a book to read. Take a look at the latest additions to the Reading Room to find your spring read! Below are a few recently added:

 

 

Enjoy!

 

-Gina

 

Books to movies! February 27, 2017

Posted by Gina in Fiction, Movies, Non-Fiction, Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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One of the types of books I love to read are books that end up getting adapted to movies. I enjoy seeing the differences between my interpretation of a characters physical description and the actors that are casted for roles. What is also an intriguing but can be frustrating is what is left out of movies, changed, or added to make the movie more profitable. Below are a few of the books that I’ve read that have been adapted into movies. I hope you enjoy it and get an idea for your next book to read and movie to watch.

5-people The Five People You Meet in Heaven is written by my favorite author Mitch Albom. This was the first book by Mitch Albom that I was introduced to it. At the time, when I first read the book, I was in grade school. The book was released in 2003, the movie premiered as a TV movie the following year.

mebeforeyouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes is a sweet, warm-hearted story of finding love in unexpected places. Louisa Clark lives a basic life, has a job, close to her family, in a steady relationship. Once she receives notice that the coffee shop she works at is closing, Louisa is in desperate need of a new job, any job. She interviews to be the companion/ care-giver for wheelchair-bound Will Traynor. Louisa tries her best to improve Will’s happiness given the circumstances. Through they’re time together they both find happiness and love but they can’t live happily ever after. A decision Will made even before he met Louisa prevents this. A movie was adapted from the book with Emilia Clarke as Louisa and Sam Claflin as Will, released last February.

how-to-be-singleHow to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo was the perfect book to read at the timing of a recent breakup. This book was not at all what I was expecting, given the title but as a book I complete enjoyed it. The story follows the main character as she travels to various countries to learn what it means to be single in those cultures in contrast to what it means to be a single woman in the USA. The book originally published in 2008 was not adapted to a film until February of last year. I saw the movie right after reading the book and was completely disappointed. This is a perfect example of how different a book and movie adaptation can be.

 

immortallifeThe Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks  by Rebecca Skloot follows two stories. The first is the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman as she undergoes cancer treatment in the 1950s. The second story follows the author as she journeys to Boston to find the full story of Henrietta Lacks. Intrigued by the only information she found in a medical text book, that a woman named Henrietta Lacks had cancer cells that continue to grow even after her death. Rebecca meets with Henrietta’s daughter Deborah Lacks who helps her on her quest to write the book to tell the full story of Henrietta, not just about the HeLa cells. I started reading this book a couple years ago but when I saw in the newspaper that it would be adapted to an HBO TV movie, I had to finish it. The movie is scheduled to air on April 22 with Rose Byrne playing the role of Rebecca Skloot and Oprah Winfrey as Deborah Lacks.

 

theshackIn William Paul Young’s The Shack, Mack returns to the Shack. This old abandoned building was the last location that Mack’s youngest daughter was thought to have been when she was abducted from a nearby camping grounds in Oregon during a family vacation. Mack was intrigued by a note he received in the mail to return to the shack, addressed by God. In this visit, Mack meets all three forms of God, gets understanding of life’s mysteries and finds peace. If you have ever wanted to have a deep meaningful conversation with God, this is the book for you as it was for me. I read this book last year for the department’s monthly book discussion but did not find out it would be adapted to film until last week. I am extremely excited for the release this weekend staring Sam Worthington as Mack and Octavia Spencer as Papa.

I hope you enjoy reading and watching!

-Gina

 

Happy Late-Valentine’s Day! February 15, 2017

Posted by Gina in Romance, Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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I always enjoyed Valentine’s Day when I was a kid, the class party, valentines, and snacks. What could be better? Books! Have you considered giving your special someone a book? While the main focus could be on the Romance genre, it’s the thought of sharing that counts. There are all sorts of books, topics, and themes here at the library. Come snag a book that you can read with your partner. Challenge each other to read something you’re not used to.

Do you need help finding a book? There are multiple Literature Resources available from our website. From the library homepage, on the left column select Reference Resources. The page will open, search by the subject Literature & Fiction. That will take to you that section on the page. Use any of those links to search for your next read,  by author or title. Check out what the staff at RRPL have read by visiting the Reading Room.

Enjoy!

-Gina