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Greg’s Top 10 for 2017 December 14, 2017

Posted by gregoryhatch in Book Awards, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Horror, New Books, Non-Fiction, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2017, Uncategorized.
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First off is a book I previously reviewed, Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three. As the title describes this is a three books of short stories in one not so compact volume. This had to make my list for the sheer variety it offered fans of horror. Much like Barker’s films there is a balance of psychological and visceral horror. Recommended for the horror fan who needs an introduction to Barker’s writing.
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I know I am cheating a bit with these picks but these two volumes are distinct enough in their tone and their personal achievement to deserve their own spot on this list. A retelling/reworking of the Hercules myth, David Rubin’s graphic novel The Hero breaks new ground in the telling of this millennial old story. An odd combination of ancient and contemporary motifs (there are ancient Greek news casts) Hero keeps the reader on their toes. Book One focuses on the labors and the development of Hercules as hero. Book Two takes a darker tone and starts asking what happens when the campaign is won and yet life, and its tragedies, continue on. A humanizing take on a hero who’s story is told again and again.
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Possibly a very bold claim, but for me, this collection was the work that got me interested in poetry again. I am a working visual artist who has had a desire to investigate poetry but just didn’t seem to be my medium or speak my own creative language. Smith’s work shares many of the research veins that I am interested in and gave me a gateway to the work and the art form of poetry. A Finalist for the National Book Award, these poems are both challenging and enjoyable.
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What can I say, I am sucker for short story collections that explore magical realism. Russell gives us everything from lemon sucking vampires to a silk factory who raw material comes from silkworm/human hybrids. More so than any of the other short story collections on this list Vampires offers the readers stories are truly a mixed bag of setting and tone. I haven’t had a chance to read Russell’s novel Swamplandia! but from how much I enjoyed this work its on my reading list.
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If you are familiar with Sedaris’ work you know that you are in for more of the same awkward, funny, cringe-worthy, and relatable stories. Told in his signature style, Sedaris focuses on the minor (and so minor) faux pas, social foibles, and daily disasters that everyone else will forget about but will mar you for life. Like all his work, I recommend reading before large family gatherings, for perspective.
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If I had to give Gaiman’s work a subtitle it would have to be “Translated for Clarity and Entertainment.” Master storyteller, Gaiman makes traditional Norse and Northern European mythology digestible for a wider audience. If you ever attempted to read traditional translations of Norse sagas you know that they can be a bit dense and at times confusing. This is a great introduction to the Norse religion and for fans of Neil Gaiman’s wider body of work.
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Maybe too dry (pun intended) for some, I found The Drunken Botanist an informative and intriguing romp into the history of alcohol and the cultures that made them. I enjoyed this book as an audio book while on a long drive to a conference and think it may be its best in that scenario. Filled with moments of “huh didn’t know that” and the science to back it up, Stewart’s work is great material for parties or possible future games of trivia.
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A subversive and unconventional take on the idea of a romantic comedy. We follow Oaf Jadwiga (former professional wrestler, owner of a cat sanctuary and maker of stuffed animals) as he tried to catch the eye of black metal front-man Eiffel. Now what would be romantic comedy without a few mishaps? Oaf has to deal rival bands, exes (his and Eiffel’s), and cats with emotional problems. With moments of tenderness, gross out humor, and an in your face attitude this book was always surprising.
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If you enjoyed the Alan Moore’s Watchmen’s take on the world of cape crusaders there is a good chance you will enjoy Black Hammer : Secret Origins. Lemire’s take on a super hero team takes a decidedly dark psychological tone. Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien are the a superhero team who have been trapped in a reality that they cannot escape. Rather than Superman’s Phantom Zone, their prison takes the form of a small rural town. This first volume gives us a look into the hero’s previous lives, the baggage they hold, and how they cope in a world where they have little to do but reflect.

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








Emma’s Top Ten in 2017 December 12, 2017

Posted by Emma in Uncategorized.
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top ten books


Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa Wingate



In Farleigh Field: A Novel by Rhys Bowen

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The It Girls by Karen Harper

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The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

last tudor

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel by Kathleen Rooney


Loving Luther: A Novel by Allison Pittman


Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart

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Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff


A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline


Stars Over Clear Lake: A Novel by Loretta Ellsworth



Enjoy! Emma

Trent’s Top 10 of 2017 December 11, 2017

Posted by trentross in Book Discussion, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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Top Ten of 2017

2017 was another excellent year in publishing.  Unfortunately, I missed large swathes of this year’s best; Celeste Ng’s Little Fire’s Everywhere, Roxanne Gay’s Hunger, and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and Nightingale are all glaring omissions from my list as I was too busy catching up on previous year’s best.  However, here are the ten best that I read in 2017.  Ordered by earliest read.


leviathanLeviathan Wakes by James S.A. Correy

As an idealist XO finds himself and his crew at the center of political tensions between Earth, Mars, and the Belt threatening to devolve into war, his path crosses with a jaded detective in search for a missing woman.  Leviathan Wakes kicks of the epic space opera series The Expanse – seven of an anticipated nine novels have been published – that gets better with each book.


between the world and meBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates writes in the form of a letter to his son about the construct of race in America.  Powerfully written, this will inevitably trigger an emotional reaction to the reader.




norse mythNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman provides with this slim volume a simple yet elegant retelling of a selection of Norse myths that form a vague narrative arc.




index cardThe Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated by Helaine Olen & Harold Pollack

Personal finance is very often a confusing and stressful topic.  Olen and Pollack attempt to circumvent complexity and anxiety by outlining 10 simple rules that can fit on a single index card.



Kingdom ConsKingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera

Herrera is like no one else I have read.  Cons is a parable crossed with noir, where extravagance is juxtaposed to humble.  Separate worlds are made permeable by corruption, ambition, and desire.




BitchPlanet_05-1Bitch Planet, Vol 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick

DeConnick credits the creation of B Planet partly as a reaction to fan criticism of a perceived feminist agenda she imparted during her tenure writing for Marvel Comic’s Captain Marvel.  In this over-the-top graphic novel any woman deemed “noncompliant” is shipped to an off-world women’s prison referred to as B Planet.  Suggested for mature audiences.



Elements of EloquenceThe Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by Mark Forsyth

This accessible dive into rhetorical devices is easily the most fun I had with a book this year.  Why are some phrases memorable and others forgettable? Rhetoric.  How does that make for a truly enjoyable read? No clue.




Dear FahrenheitDear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence

Snarky librarian Spence shares letters she wrote to books that she had “relationships” with.  Dear Fahrenheit is the literary equivalent of having a conversation with a librarian over a few drinks – very entertaining and will undoubtedly add books to your to-read list.



MonstressMonstress Vol 2 by author Marjorie Liu and artist Sana Takeda

Takeda’s gorgeous illustrations bring to life a steampunk inspired world where a young woman seeks answers about her mother and while staving off the dangerous and otherworldly power within her.  Begin with Volume 1.




in the woodsIn the Woods by Tana French

A masterful psychological thriller masquerading as an Irish police procedural this is the best of both worlds.  You might recognize Tana French as her eighth novel in her Dublin Murder Squad series, The Trespasser graced multiple best of 2016 lists. Start anywhere in the series, but find time to return to In the Woods.


Honorable Mention: The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed our Minds by Michael Lewis; Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel; Kristan Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset; several books in Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder series.

Sara’s Top 10 of 2017 December 11, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Debut Author, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, Mystery, Thrillers, Uncategorized.
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I’m a little behind on my reading so these aren’t all new books.  It was hard to choose but was a lot of fun remembering how much I enjoyed each of these as I went through them.  Hope you find something you’ll enjoy too!

Cover image for The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

This thriller  kept me on the edge of my seat.  The unusual main character, the outdoor setting in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the drama of wondering who will catch the Marsh King made this a great, compelling read.



Cover image for Glass Houses by Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Gamache, and all the eccentric characters of Three Pines do not disappoint in this creepy, dark mystery that has many more layers than at first it seems.




Cover image for The Dry by Jane Harper

A stunning debut novel, with tension and bridled energy at every turn. Looks like small Australian towns come with big secrets.




Cover image for The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I guess this book is considered fantasy, but it seemed real to me as I was reading it! An extraordinary tale of superstition, tradition, family and magic that takes place in the long-lasting winter of the Russian wilderness.  I can hardly wait to read the next book, The Girl in the Tower, just recently released.



Cover image for Home by Harlan Coben

Book #11 in the Myron Bolitar series, released almost six years after its predecessor, brings back the characters we love- Myron, Win, Esperanza and Big Cindy. A decade older and a little wiser (debatable), they take on the task of finding Win’s cousin who has been missing for 10 years.  A satisfying but dark mystery about friends, family and coming home.



Cover image for Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Eleanor Flood’s life is a complete mess, but she has decided today will be different.  And she has no idea how right she is!  A hilarious story with a main character you can’t help but love and an ending that makes it all worthwhile.



Cover image for The Golden Hour by T. Greenwood

I somehow thought T. Greenwood was a new author, but now I am wondering why I haven’t read her other eight books?!  A beautifully written story of a young mother struggling with her marriage, her career, and her future–all because of the lies of her past.



Cover image for The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

A debut novel that thankfully is the beginning of the Gemma Woodstock series, The Dark Lake tells of teenage jealousy, hurt and secrets that will resurface until they are brought to light and put to rest.




Cover image for The Trespasser by Tana French

It seems that every Tana French book is better than the last, and this is no exception. The book solves a murder, but more importantly digs into the deeply-rooted culture of the Dublin Murder Squad, with it’s egos, grudges, deceptions as well as  its loyalty and commitment to protect and serve.



Cover image for Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Spending a year as the captive of a psychopath will definitely change your life. This story looks into the mind of Annie O’Sullivan as she discusses the past with her therapist and struggles to put the pieces of her life back together. A creepy, psychological mystery that’s quick to read.


Like Our Holiday Decorations? November 30, 2017

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Have you had a chance to see the holiday decorations here at the Rocky River Public Library? Would you like to learn how we did it? Wonder no more! Below are links to easy to follow directions on how we made our book page wreaths and twine trees.

Book Page Wreath 

Twine Trees

Looking for other great holiday decorating ideas? Check out some of the books we have here at the library for easy and beautiful holiday decor.

Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts : 225 Inspired Projects For Year-Round CelebrationsCover image for

The Big Book Of Holiday Paper Crafts : [Easy Keepsake Designs For Handmade Projects That Show How Much You Care].
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Homemade Holiday : Craft Your Way Through More Than 40 Festive Projects

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Homemade Holidays : 150 Festive Crafts, Recipes, Gifts & Parties

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Why Short Stories Work for Me November 21, 2017

Posted by gregoryhatch in Adventure, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Gentle Read, Historical Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers, Uncategorized.
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Our schedules are demanding. Our obligations overwhelming. How can can we be expected to find any time to read? Especially when there are all those critically acclaimed Netflix series/Atwood Adaptations/Groundbreaking Cable shows demand to be watched.

I do love to read but sometimes it can be an uphill battle to sit down and get through a book. I feel worse when I begin a novel and loose interest a 100 pages in. So how can I actually get a chance to enjoy what I am reading, finish a story, and fit it into my schedule? For me the answer came in the form of short stories.

Short story collections solve many of the obstacles I had to sitting down and getting through a book. Don’t have a lot of time but want to to be able to get through an entire plot? No problem, the story is only 20 pages long. Want to a bit of variety and get to sample many different literary voices? Anthologies are the perfect solution. Have a favorite author but they haven’t released the next book in their big series? See if they have any short story collections or if they have edited and collected the works of other authors. Unable to get through the whole collection before you have to return the book? That’s fine, each story was a world in itself and you haven’t created any cliffhangers for yourself.

Short stories can keep up with your busy schedule while giving you a bonus sense of satisfaction when you get through the whole collection. 300 pages doesn’t seem as bad when it is broken up into 10 stories, each giving you a natural rest in between to recharge and carrier on.

Here are a few of my favorite short story collections:

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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:





Wishing you and yours a very peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving –

~ Dori



Shop Small Saturday November 16, 2017

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One of the great things about being a librarian is not only providing great customer service and materials but also being a part of the community. November 25 is Shop Small Saturday, an annual event encouraging people to shop small. This year, in an effort to support and promote local small businesses in our community, Rocky River Public Library has signed up to be a Neighborhood Champion and will be holding a raffle. All through November bring in a receipt from a local business and be entered for a chance to win a basket of goodies. One entry per receipt.shopsmallflyer