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Celebrating Pride Month with Local Resources June 5, 2018

Posted by gregoryhatch in Uncategorized.
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In celebration of LGBT Pride Month we will be highlighting some local resources available here in Northeast Ohio. First up with have the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

Founded in 1975, the LGBT Community Center is a non-profit that offers a wide range of services including:

Construction has been started on their new facility and updates are posted on their website.

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10 Great Quotes To Keep you Reading May 28, 2018

Posted by Mary in Uncategorized.
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“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” —Rene Descartes

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” —Dr. Seuss

“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.” —Malorie Blackman

“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” —Neil Gaiman

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” J.D Salinger

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.” — Nora Ephron

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” — James Baldwin

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” — Maya Angelou

“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl

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

Reading With My Boys May 21, 2018

Posted by Mary in Adventure, Biographies, Book Awards, Book Discussion, Fantasy, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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One of my favorite things to do with my boys is read together.  We are well beyond the picture books, but my boys & I enjoyed reading together until they hit their teens.  Summer vacation is right around the corner, and me & my 12 year old son have been discussing what books we would like to read together this summer.  The older they get, the more difficult it is to find time to read together during the school year due to homework and extra- curricular activities, but we try to carve out at least 15 minutes in the evening of reading a book together.  Depending on the book, sometimes this 15 minutes can turn into an hour.  During summer break it’s much easier to find time to read together.  Most times we find ourselves on the glider on the back patio, catching up on our most current favorite story.  Summer usually involves a road trip or two, and reading together in the car has been a hit as well.

Now let me be clear, by reading together, I do mean I read the story out loud.  I know, it may seem somewhat juvenile for a middle schooler, but trust me they love it.  I ham it up with accents and lots of emotion in my voice.  With my oldest & youngest, they sat right next me and read along.  My middle guy played nerf basketball while I read away, nonetheless, he was equally engaged in the story.

When my oldest two boys were in high school I would stare at their required summer reading splayed on the coffee table, pretty much untouched. Finally, I picked it up & started reading.  The required summer reading can be great picks, although your high schooler may not agree.  If you read it too,  you can discuss the book with them.  Discussion wasn’t lengthy about a book they couldn’t choose, but it was something to share with your teenager & how often does that happen?

The library Community Read events are fantastic book pics to share with any member in your family.   So much of our family time together has been swallowed up by devices. Even though we all may be sitting in the same room, individually we have our head down, scrolling through our devices.  Put those devices down, pick up a book, read it out loud or share what you’ve read for just 15 minutes each night.  Trust me, you will cherish these moments & remember them forever.

These are some of my favorite books I read with my boys:

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Here are my favorite high school summer reading pics I read along with my boys:

Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family

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Thinking About Thinking May 18, 2018

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.
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One of the joys of reading is that it gives you new templates for thinking.  (I realize this might sound strange, but rather than explain it up front, let me try to define it in a more indirect way.  That way when we do define it, we will have a more robust explanation.)  I think reading can provide us with new templates for thinking in both fiction and non-fiction.  In fiction, we might be confronted with a character who has to make an important ethical decision, and the decision might be something that we strongly agree with or intensely disagree with.  We are thrown back upon ourselves and our own ideas and experiences about what is right and/or wrong, and this forces us to use our own moral reasoning to come to a conclusion about the character.  Or we might meet a character that defies our expectations, that goes against the grain – and then we are surprised, our eyes widen, we are in disbelief, and we think about this character in a new way.

I bring this up because recently my thinking has changed from reading (appropriately) a book about thinking, a wonderful book, called Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.  I’m not finished yet, but I have already noticed that the book has made me think differently, or more deeply, or even more realistically, about how our minds actually work.  In that sense, it has given me a new template for thinking about how we think and experience the world.  Kanheman, an Israeli-American psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, argues that there are two kinds of thinking – fast thinking (which he attributes to what he calls, metaphorically, System 1), and slow thinking (which he attributes to System 2).  But when I say Kahneman “argues,” I mean that he uses a lot of fascinating and important evidence from strong psychological studies to make his argument, so it’s not an opinion-piece.  Anyhow, System 1, fast thinking, is that part of our mind that is intuitive, automatic, and impressionable.  For example, if we see a photograph of a man with his eyes narrowed and his mouth turned up into a frown, we know immediately, automatically that this man is unhappy or even angry.  This conclusion on our part, if we can call it a conclusion, is involuntary.  We do not slowly reason it out over time – we simply know, instantaneously, from the photograph, that the man is angry.  That’s System 1.  System 1 also picks up subliminal messages that we are not even aware of consciously (it’s pretty amazing in this way).  For example, if people are looking at a computer screen, engaged in an activity on the screen, and a word flashes instantaneously and so quickly on the screen that they don’t notice it at all consciously, that word is still somehow seen by System 1, and it changes their thought and behavior.  (This process is called “priming,” and if it interests you, I”d really suggest you read the book!)  If this process sounds crazy, scary, wild and/or outrageous, I felt that way, too.  But Kahneman makes a sound argument with good evidence that we are often primed and we’re not even aware of it – for example, voters who are undecided before they vote are more likely to vote for school levees if the voting happens in a school.  He has so many examples like this that are kind of shocking, because it suggests the power of context, contexts that we don’t even think about.

System 2 is our slow thinking.  When we meet with something like

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and we have to reason it out, slowly and deliberately, then we are using System 2.  It is the part of our mind that is slow and rational and logical, as well as able to be skeptical and not believe everything that is said.

But the most interesting thing about this model of the mind is the way the two systems interact.  For example, if we are presented with an image frequently over time, System 1 is likely to like that image, because it is familiar, and because it doesn’t cause cognitive strain.  This might explain how people can be happy with authoritarian leaders, because they are exposed to images of these leaders frequently over time.  But it takes System 2 to come in and question the legitimacy of the image, to be skeptical about it, and therefore to kind of reroute System 1 into a more logical frame of mind.  (But often, as Kahneman points out, System 2 is lazy, and it takes effort to think slowly and deliberately.)  We often make important decisions using System 1, and often they are correct, though sometimes we could benefit from using System 2.

I’m not quite done with the book, but it has been such a fascinating read so far.  Kahneman is a really good and lucid writer, and he’s able to make difficult concepts understandable – he’s a great communicator.  He also says, at the beginning of the book, that System 1 is the hero of the book, so I hope I haven’t made it sound that System 1 is only gullible and likely to be duped.  System 1 also is the part of the mind that sees coherence and causality in things (even if the coherence or causality is not really there!).  So for anyone looking for a really great book on psychology, that provides new ways of thinking about thought, and therefore new ways of thinking about how our minds work, I heartily recommend Thinking, Fast and Slow.  It has the power to give us new templates for thinking because it gives us a strong and evidence-based framework for conceptualizing the mind.

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Daniel Kahneman

 

 

Mothers are Complicated May 15, 2018

Posted by Dori in Book List, Fiction, Movies, Mystery, Science Fiction.
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We just celebrated Mother’s Day, a day rightly set aside to celebrate such a fundamental figure, but, well, maybe I’m biased, but shouldn’t we get at least a month? Regardless, it’s important to turn the spotlight on mothers. Check out these books and movies that give a glimpse into the broad spectrum of ‘Mom’.

roomsoulmermaidsjoymommyalicemildredcarrie

belovedlittleamong-others-200x30041kqzQIBlZL._SX330_BO1204203200_-200x300Here-Comes-the-Sun-by-Nicole-Dennis-Benn-198x300The-Mothers-by-Brit-Bennett-198x300we-love-you-charlie-freeman-200x300postcards

Cheers!

~ Dori

 

How Do You Listen to Audio Books May 14, 2018

Posted by Mary in Audio, Biographies, Book Awards, Book Discussion, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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Are you seeing a pattern here? My third post about audio books. I will admit that this year I am committing myself to more books, and audio books have helped me inch toward my goal.

Did you know that the library offers audiobooks in numerous formats?  I have listened to all my audiobooks through Overdrive – it’s so easy.  I go to my overdrive app, go to Clevenet digital library, peruse their awesome collection, once I’ve chosen a book, I tap borrow, tap on go to loans, go to my bookshelf, tap on title so that download will begin, and listen.

You can also visit Hoopla, another digital media service offered to our  patrons.  You can download the Hoopla site through the main page of the Rocky River library website.  Once you have created an account, you have even more awesome titles to choose from for your next audio pick.

We also offer Play-aways.  Play-away comes pre-loaded and ready use with one audiobook per device, making them super simple for your use. All you need is a set of headphones and a triple A battery.

Last, but not least, lets not forget about the CD’s.  If you have a CD player at home, this is the route to go.  Our CD collection has fiction, nonfiction, biography, new titles, classics – you name it!

Some of my favorite audiobooks I’ve listened to this year are:

 

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How To Host Your Own Audiobook Gathering May 7, 2018

Posted by Mary in Uncategorized.
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Book clubs are very popular, but have you ever considered changing it up with an audiobook?  Imagine a small gathering in your living room or back porch or patio, seated around your fireplace or firepit, with a refreshing beverage, listening to a narrator broadcast one of your favorite titles.  Read on for some suggested tips on how to host your first audiobook club.

 

  1. Pick a Book – Check out my previous post on  our Read and Weep Blog for suggestions.  Things you will find in a best narrated book are British people, comedians, fantasy series and author reading their own book.
  2. Broadcast your Book – Once you have chosen your title, you can play the CD on your portable CD player.  You can also download an audiobook from the Overdrive app and play it on numerous devices such as your Kindle, Nook, Ipad or any mobile device.  You can also plug in your media into an external speaker system via an auxiliary cable, to make for easier listening for a group.
  3. Organize and Schedule – Now gather your friends!  Keep in mind the length of your book.  Many titles are between 8- 12 hours of listening.  If there  is no reading in between dates, this could be a 8-12 week event.  However, you may want to suggest to your participants to read or listen to some chapters in between, and spend a little time in the beginning of your next audiobook club date getting everyone up to speed.  Also, consider rotating meetings between houses of club members.  Set a consistent schedule, complete with start and end times, so members have a day they can look forward to and an allotment of time they can commit to.
  4. Set the Spread – Need I say more!  Just make sure beverages and snacks are easily accessible for people to graze as necessary.
  5. Tune-in and Manage – I suggest listening for 1 hour before stopping the audiobook for the night( make note of your stopping point). You also may want to practice using the device of choice before playing, to avoid guests waiting while you fiddle around with play & volume.  After this, the listening portion will be over, but the party is just beginning.
  6. Have a Conversation – Over your spread of  goodies, talk about your favorite parts of the book thus far, what shocked or surprised you, or even what you think may happen next. Great books make for great conversation.

Storytime isn’t just for the kiddos. I think this can be a fun social gathering everyone can enjoy.

Audio Books Galore May 1, 2018

Posted by Mary in Adventure, Audio, Biographies, Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Suspense, Thoughtful Ramblings, Thrillers, Uncategorized, Women's Fiction.
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If you are looking for ways to fit more books into your life, audio books is a great way to do it.  You can listen anywhere.  Many prefer to listen while driving or exercising.  I prefer to listen while knitting or doing housework.  Others have shared with me that they listen while working on a puzzle.  I would like to invite you to join us at the library to listen to The Essential Agatha Christie Stories on Monday mornings in May at 11AM.  It’s a small gathering in our Community room, seated around a puzzle, fresh cup of coffee in hand & tasty cookie, while a central speaker broadcasts some good mysteries as if it were long ago. Sounds pretty relaxing, eh?  Not available to join us, keep in mind, Spring is in the air. Maybe you are finding yourself outdoors more often, possibly gardening or walking. Why not catch up on your reading while enjoying the outdoors with an audio book.  Below are some recommended titles.  Give it a try!

 

AUDIO BOOKS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by [Duhigg, Charles]

The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by [Winfrey, Oprah]

AUDIO BOOKS THAT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD

BEST NARRATED AUDIO BOOKS

THE LATEST AND GREATEST AUDIO PICKS

(GET YOURSELF ON THE HOLD LIST ASAP)

 

 

What we’re reading in April… April 23, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Adventure, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thrillers.
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I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillian

Cover image for I have not read any Terry McMillian (the author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back), so I thought it was about dang time I did. This novel is about Georgia Young, a successful optometrist in her 50s who has “made it” in life – her successful career enabled her to buy a home in a wealthy neighborhood and live comfortably. But she is divorced, bored, and lonely. When news comes that a former lover passed away a few years earlier, it sets off a mid-life crisis that pushes Georgia to reevaluate her life and make some changes: quit her job to do something she loves, find a new home, and meet with former lovers to tell them what she never go to say to them. Terry McMillian knows how to tell a story and does a great job reading the audiobook, giving Georgia the sassy, wise-sounding voice she deserves. This is a great book for those who enjoy stories about relationships and how they define who we are. Lyndsey

 

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Cover image for Dread Nation is an alternate history Civil War story. With zombies. The War Between the States was derailed when the dead on the battlefield walked again. Now, the North and South are united against a common enemy. To fight the undead the Native and Negro Reeducation Act became law, forcing Negro children to attend combat schools. Jane McKeene is one such student at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore. She is training to become an lady’s Attendant. Jane dreams of returning to her plantation home in Kentucky, but instead she finds herself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy. As a new undead threat rears it’s head, Jane learns that these poor souls aren’t her biggest worry. Full of action and suspense, this isn’t just another zombie book. Jane is a badass, biracial woman killing zombies and taking on issues like institutionalized racism, sexual identity, and notions of femininity. She is clever, sassy, and a force to be reckoned with.  Megan

 

The Stand by Stephen King (adapted by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa)

Cover image for As usual I’m working through multiple books in different formats at once. For Mystery Week in early April I began listening to the book on CD And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie during my commutes. While the large cast of characters is a bit difficult to keep straight early on in this classic, by the middle the mystery of the strange trap that has caught the characters has grabbed your attention. I am also reading Stephen King’s The Stand in graphic novel form. As adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa the story is split into six volumes. At this writing I’m in volume #4. Another novel with many characters that are quite distinctly drawn. This thrilling story of survival and rebuilding society has a classic good vs. evil dynamic. And on my Kindle by my bedside is A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-1960 by Jeanine Basinger, which I checked out with OverDrive. She takes a look at the genre of “Women’s Films” that featured starring women protagonists, women’s issues, and both subverted and supported the role a woman was supposed to play in society. I’ve heard of some of these film titles, but there are many others about strong women that I’ll have to add to my watch list after reading this. Byron

 

The Grifters by Jim Thompson

Cover image for Roy Dillion appears to be nothing more than a personable, hardworking salesman and has a hundred acquaintences that would swear to that very fact.  However, he is a natural of the short con; a grifter who has eschewed one of the cardinal rules of the trade and successfully worked the same city without notice.  When a sure-fire con misfires, Roy’s past catches up with him and his world begins to spiral out of control.  Trent

 

 

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Cover image for MY ANTONIAMy most current read is My Antonia, yes, an oldie but a goody. I was inspired to read this by a fellow co-worker’s blog about rediscovering the classics, and also because I  love a good coming of age story. This particular book did not disappoint. My Antonia takes place in the late 1880’s.  This is the story of Antonia, an immigrant of Bohemia, told by recently orphaned Jim Burden.  Jim is sent to rural Nebraska to live with his grandparents, also neighbors to the Shimerda family, of which Antonia is the eldest daughter.  Jim and Antonia spend their early years exploring the new landscape of rural Nebraska together and so begins a life long friendship between the two. Antonia is a bold and free spirited woman who endears herself to Jim and readers alike. Willa Cather does a wonderful job of introducing the reader to life in rural Nebraska, and the immigrant experience of adjusting  to a new world.  One can’t help but feel for Antonia’s triumphs and tribulations, and be inspired by such a strong woman. Mary

 

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

Cover image for The Tuscan childThe Tuscan Child is the story of Johanna Langley’s father, Sir Hugo, who dies unexpectedly. She 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. This is a treat for fans of historical fiction. Emma

 

The Star of Redemption by Franz Rosenzweig

Cover image for The star of redemptionI am very interested in the writings of Franz Rosenzweig, a German-Jewish philosopher, theologian, and translator who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century and died in 1929 of Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.  Rosenzweig translated the Hebrew Bible into German with another famous Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber.  Rosenzweig also wrote a very interesting but challenging book called The Star of Redemption, which I am trying to read. The Star of Redemption is a book that helps me to think about the meaning of Judaism, though he also writes about Christianity, which he was close to converting to when he was a young man.  He is into “negative theology,” which means that any attempt to define or describe God fails, because God (according to negative theology) is unsayable and ineffable, totally beyond human concepts and categories, though we can experience God through the fullness or plenitude of the world.  At varying times in my life I have been an atheist, an agnostic, and (when I was young) a somewhat skeptical believer, but this book is making me think about Judaism in a new way.  Andrew

 

I See You by Claire Mackintosh

Cover image for I’m in a “quick read” phase, and I See You  hits the spot.  In this British thriller, Zoe Walker’s boring, suburban life is shaken up when she sees her picture in a classified ad for a service called “findtheone.com”  She digs deeper and discovers that other women who have been in these ads have been victims of violent crimes and wonders if she is next.  Her paranoia develops into full-blown panic as she worries that every stranger on her morning commute is watching her.  The book does a great job of building suspense and letting you get to know Zoe, however I found the ending to be less than plausible and a little unsettling.  Sara

 

Hot Mess by Emily Belden

Cover image for In Hot Mess by Emily Belden, twenty-five year old Allie Simon prides herself on being sensible; she has a good job, friends and a supportive family. Then she becomes consumed by bad boy celeb chef  and recovering drug addict Benji Zane who asks that she invest all her savings in a new restaurant. After he relapses and disappears, Allie is left with having to build a restaurant while recovering from heartbreak and maneuvering the food scene in Chicago. A fun read filled with romance and food starring a strong female character.  Dori

 

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Cover image for This is a timely story about the harsh reality of today’s racial tension.  Starr Carter lives in a poor urban neighborhood riddled with gang violence and racial profiling by police.   When Starr leaves a party after shots are fired, she and her childhood friend, Khalil,  are pulled over for a taillight.  The officer is nervous and misconstrues  Khalil’s words and actions, leaving Starr to witness the fatal unraveling of the police stop.  The book unfolds around this story and how the community and Starr deal with the aftermath.  It’s heartbreaking and painfully relevant.  Beth