Fall into a Good Book

Three Sisters

In 1942, Cibi and Livi Mueller are rounded up with other young Jewish people and taken to Auschwitz. (Their sister Magda is in the hospital, safe for a while.) For two years Cibi and Livi face near starvation, abuse and manual labor. Eventually they spend time sorting through the belongings of those killed in the gas chambers. They also spend time at the camp’s post office going through packages meant for the deceased. Anything of value including food is taken by the Nazis.

In 1944, Magda along with the girls’ mother and grandfather are brought to Auschwitz. Miraculously, Magda is reunited with her sisters but the others are marched to their deaths.

As little girls the sisters promised their father to always take care of each other. The girls stand firm with that promise even after they emigrate to Israel. There each creates a new life but stands steadfast in the promise made to their father.

The final book in the “Tattooist of Auschwitz” trilogy is a difficult read about a real family. You won’t want to miss it. The series includes:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Cilka’s Journey

Three Sisters.


Fall into an Otherworldly Read

Sixteen years after the publication of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, her 2004 award-winning, magical and mysterious alternative history debut novel, Susanna Clarke is back with another dazzling tale.

Piranesi, Clarke’s second novel, is a slim tome compared to her first, but similarly, it is another literary page-turner set an alternate reality. This time, her protagonist is not an 19th-century magician, but just a man, with a strange name, who lives in a strange place that seems unlike any reality humans have encountered before. This man, Piranesi, lives in a grand labyrinth he calls the “House,” which is filled with statues he speaks to. Though he can remember living nowhere else, Piranesi obsessively keeps track of the House, including its many halls and rooms, the human remains that he finds within them, and the tidewaters that flood the House and threaten to drown him.

Piranesi’s only human interactions are with a man he refers to as “The Other.” The Other is often away, but when he regularly meets with Piranesi, he asks for assistance in his constant search for “A Great and Secret Knowledge” that he believes is hidden within the House.

As Piranesi records his daily life and activities in his detailed journal entries, he begins to notice inconsistencies in The Other’s behavior, as well as inconsistencies in his own journals, prompting Piranesi to question what he really knows about his world and the possible existence of living other people.

If you love to solve puzzles, love literary fiction, or if you are just looking for something off the beaten path, pick up Piranesi, suspend your disbelief for a short while, and be prepared to be a-mazed!

Fall into a Great Series

I have mixed emotions after finishing Richard Osman’s second book in his “Thursday Murder Club” series. Yes, I loved every minute I spent turning the pages in The Man Who Died Twice, but now I am dismayed and left waiting for the next installment. It was that good!

Set in a quaint English town, this sequel to The Thursday Murder Club follows the adventures of octogenarians Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim, and it picks up where that book left off. The foursome, who lost some people dear to them and made some new friends (in the form of two local detectives), have grown even closer and still live in the same retirement community. Most importantly, however, they are all still obsessed with solving crimes and meet weekly to try and solve them.

In The Man Who Died Twice, readers learn all about Elizabeth’s past life as a spy with MI5 and all about her ex-husband Douglas. Elizabeth thought Douglas was gone forever, but now he has re-materialized. Douglas has stolen some diamonds from a dangerous bad guy, he asks the smartest woman he knows, Elizabeth, to help keep him alive.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim has been badly beaten in a mugging and now just wants to hide in his apartment from the world. The Thursday Murder Club set out to find whoever hurt their friend and when they do, be certain that the mugger will never underestimate a senior citizen again.

But will Ibrahim’s crisis distract Elizabeth from keeping both of her eyes on Douglas? She’ll have to ask her friends for help. As ever, they are up for the task.

You’ll want to read The Man Who Died Twice to the very end to find out if the club saves their man. Be prepared for laughs, red herrings, murders, and more in this truly entertaining read that is even better than its predecessor. Come for the crime solving and stay for the highly entertaining hi-jinx of a lovable slew of characters. And then just try to wait patiently for the series’ third book.


Five Days for Democracy: How Can I Do More?

All of us want to protect and support our democracy, but what can each one of us do? Here are a few ideas:

1. Know who your local legislators and politicians are

Here’s where to find your House Representative.

Put your address in here to find a full list of your elected officials.

2. Know how to get in touch with them (and actually make them listen.)

Here are some general guidelines on how to contact them.

3. Identify an issue you care about and pursue it

4. Attend town hall meetings

A town hall is where you, in person, can make your actual voice heard, in front of local politicians who can actually do something about it.

5. Attend City Council meetings

Alternately, attend a City Council meeting to get an up-close view of what’s important to your city’s legislators.

6. Get to know your local School Board

Whether or not you have kids in school, it’s a good idea to know about your school board and the direction they are leading your schools.

7. Join your local PTA

Not only can you have a direct communication with your school, you can also volunteer and participate in other ways that directly impact your community. 

8. Join a voting league or political organization

A non-partisan group like the League of Women Voters is a good way to get informed, or you can choose a political group that aligns with your values.

9. Register to act on behalf of a political party

Here’s a starting place for RepublicansHere’s one for Democrats. Keep in mind your party has a state chapter, too.

10. Join a campaign

If you find a local politician who represents the change you want to see in your community, contact their office to figure out how you can get involved in the campaign! Maybe they’ll have you stuff mailers or put up signs or some other boring task, but the boring tasks is what actually gets stuff done.

(adapted from “25 ways to be politically active whether you lean left or right” by AJ Willingham, CNN)

What We’re Reading Now–September edition

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith

This challenging and haunting debut novel straddles the line between horror and literary fiction, following three women in Vietnam in three different time periods: 1986, 2009, and 2011. In the 2011 narrative, young American ex-pat Winnie goes missing without a trace. The book is an unpredictable mash-up of Vietnamese folklore, colonial history, revenge, violence, and ghosts- all of which have something to do with Winnie’s disappearance. I have yet to finish the book, but the puzzle of these intersecting characters and timelines is intriguing and I’m looking forward to how this all comes together in the end. Nicole

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen 

The Vietnam War is coming to an end, and as Saigon is about to fall, a Captain begins to plan his General’s escape from the county.  Together, with a select few, they flee Saigon on one of the last army transports over-crowded with other refugees.  The Captain, half-French half-Vietnamese, a man of two minds, is a communist agent whose role is to observe and report back on the military cadre as they establish themselves in America.  As suspicion of a mole rises, the Captain must deflect attention away from himself at terrible costs.  This was an especially interesting and relevant contemplation of war, refugees, politics, and film considering the parallels of current events.  Trent

The Guncle by Stephen Rowley

Patrick loves his niece and nephew, but he is not prepared to be their caregiver when their mother dies and their father checks himself into rehab. A six and nine-year-old don’t really fit into his solitary actor’s life, but he’s resigned to making the best of it. He has Guncle Rules (Gay Uncle Rules) and treats for dinner. The trio stumbles through the summer not realizing how much they are all helping each other. I loved this one so much. It gave me the same feelings as The House in the Cerulean Sea-charming, delightful, and the perfect book for right now. This book was so funny I could almost forget it was, at its heart, a book about grief and loneliness. A must-read, feel-good story. Megan

Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah, Duchess of York

In 1865 London, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is supposed to be delighted with the man her father chooses to be her husband. She is not! The night her engagement is to be announced, she runs off. Margaret’s family is embarrassed in front of 200 aristocratic guests. Her father refuses to have anything to do with her. Margaret is banished from the family and soon devotes her time and energy into helping the poor.  She heads to Ireland, America and then back to England. This is a fun gossipy tale. Emma

Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel M. Lavery

Lavery’s collection of personal essays struck me with a range of emotions but mostly it had me laughing. This insightful and clever memoir switches from genres and formats with each chapter (and interludes) showcasing the author’s skill as a writer. I highly recommend the audiobook version which is read by the author. Greg

The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond

On-leave FBI agent, Lina, and her son Rory head to Silicon Valley to clear out her recently deceased father’s house (which is in an extremely snobby and upscale neighborhood) as they are also recovering from her husband’s death. As Rory tries to adjust to life at his exclusive new school, he discovers all academics revolve around something called “The Wonder Test”, a national exam in which his school continuously places first. Students who do poorly on practice tests are required to see tutors in the evenings and on weekends, encouraged to “be sick” on exam days, and there have been some strange teen disappearances. Lina can’t help but to investigate as she attempts to make sense of this strange town and keep her son safe. Sara


Tender is the Bite

by Spencer Quinn

Chet is the star in the 11th entry in the Chet and Bernie mystery series. Every smell, every sound, every event, and every person are described from Chet’s perspective. This is a tale of missing persons, murder and organized crime linked to a political candidate. For comic relief a ferret, named Griffie, makes an appearance that is not appreciated by Chet. Griffie adores Bernie which Chet cannot tolerate.

I have included a list of the books in the “Chet and Bernie” mystery series. This is a fun series for dog lovers. Chet has so much personality and so much respect for his owner Bernie. I recommend reading the books in order of publication.

Chet and Bernie Mystery series

  1. Dog on It – 2009
  2. Thereby Hangs a Tail – 2009
  3. To Fetch a Thief – 2010
  4. The Dog who knew too Much – 2011
  5. A Fistful of Collars – 2012
  6. The Sound and the Furry – 2013
  7. Paw and Order – 2014
  8. Scents and Sensibility – 2015
  9. Heart of Barkness – 2019
  10. Of Mutts and Men – 2020
  11. Tender is the Bite – 2021

Still to come in 2021 –

 12. It’s a Wonderful Woof


New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

These are the books we are adding to our collection this week. Click on the green text to go to our catalog and place a hold today!

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye – After his Broadway theater baron father dies mysteriously, Ben Dane, his best friend Horatio and his artist ex-fiancé Lia, on one explosive night, are drawn into otherworldly events where the only outcome is death.

Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce – A young wartime advice columnist, Emmeline Lake must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends when the Ministry of Information calls on her to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort.

Ice and Stone by Marcia Muller – Hired by Crimes Against Indigenous Sisters, private investigator Sharon McCone goes undercover in Eiwok county on the Oregon border to determine who killed two women in the latest addition to the New York Times best-selling series.

Cul-de-sac by Joy Fielding – Five families on a quiet, suburban cul-de-sac deal with the shooting of one of their own and the secrets they each harbor, including newlyweds whose marriage is already on the rocks and a family who fled to Florida from California.

Vortex by Catherine Coulter – While FBI agent Sherlock helps an investigative journalist piece together the past to bring a killer to justice in the present, FBI agent Savich becomes a target as he protects a CIA operative who was betrayed on a compromised mission in Iran.

Mrs. March by Virginia Feito – When someone suggests that the protagonist in her husband’s latest book is based on her, Mrs. March questions everything she believes about her husband as she embarks on a harrowing journey that builds to near psychosis – one that may uncover a killer and the long-buried secrets of her past.

In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani – After marrying a handsome Moroccan soldier during World War II, a young Frenchwoman is torn as tensions mount between the locals and the French colonists in the new novel by the internationally best-selling author of The Perfect Nanny.

Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen – Chicago Detective Annalisa Vega investigates when a new tally is added to the body count of the Lovelorn Killer, a notorious, local serial killer who has evaded the police and been dormant for 20 years.

Ramadan Ramsey by Louise Edwards – When Ramadan Ramsey, the son of a ninth generation New Orleans African American and a Syrian refugee, turns 17, he sets off to find the father he has never known – an adventure-filled journey filled that takes him from NOLA to Egypt, Istanbul and finally Syria.

This Will All Be over Soon: A Memoir by Cecily Strong – In this raw, unflinching memoir about loss, love, laughter and hope, a Saturday Night Live cast member tries to make sense of her beloved cousin’s death and embrace the life-affirming lessons he taught her in an upended world struck by the coronavirus pandemic.

Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage by Eleanor Henderson – A bestselling author looks back on her twenty-year marriage to a man who unraveled in front of her due to a mysterious chronic illness that led to his decreasing descent into mental illness.

The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey – Once obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings along with her four friends, which led to tragedy, Ruth returns home where her childhood friend Stuart quietly insinuates himself into their lives and gives Ruth’s 16-year-old daughter the attention she longs for.