April 2014 Library Reads List

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel
by Gabrielle Zevin

“A middle-aged bookseller mourning his lost wife, a feisty publisher’s rep, and a charmingly precocious abandoned child come together on a small island off the New England coast in this utterly delightful novel of love and second chances.”

- Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

 

Frog Music: A Novel
by Emma Donoghue

“Donoghue returns to historical fiction in this latest offering, based on the unsolved murder of Jenny Bonnet, a cross-dressing frog catcher with a mysterious past. Set in 1870s San Francisco, this brilliant book includes impeccable historical details, from a smallpox epidemic to period songs.”

- Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, IL

 

And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel
by Julia Glass

“Four stars to Julia Glass for this, her best work since Three Junes. We become reacquainted with old characters Malachy, Fenno, and Walter and learn more about their life stories. The individuals are imperfectly human, and perfectly drawn. A wonderful, highly recommended novel.”

- Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

 

Silence for the Dead: A Novel
by Simone St. James

“A young nurse working in an isolated hospital for WWI veterans finds herself in over her head. Are the patients in the mysterious estate haunted by their wartime experiences, or something more malevolent? St. James is an up-and-coming author with a flair for combining horror and romance. A great choice for readers of either genre.”

- Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

 

By its Cover: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery
by Donna Leon

“In the 23rd book in this delightful series, Commissario Guido Brunetti is brought in to investigate the theft of pages and maps from rare books. Brunetti is a great character with warmth, style and elegance. Leon’s book enlightens us about Venetian customs and delivers a solid mystery.”

- Joanne Genovese, Smithtown Special Library District, Smithtown, NY

 

The Intern’s Handbook: A Thriller
by Shane Kuhn

“How did Shane Kuhn pull this off? He’s written an action-packed, twisting thriller about professional assassins, and–guess what?–it’s funny and romantic, too! In a totally quirky way, of course. You have to read it to believe it.”

- Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

 

Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home
by Nina Stibbe

“With a unique voice, Stibbe brings 1980s literary Camden back to life in this delightful epistolary memoir. The letters that Stibbe writes to her sister are a hoot, featuring unexpected cooking advice from the great Alan Bennett, and droll commentary on just about everything from Mary-Kay Wilmers.”

- Jennifer Estepp, Queens Library, Jamaica, NY

 

The Axe Factor: A Jimm Juree Mystery
by Colin Cotterill

“I love this sharply-written and quirky cozy mystery. Jimm Juree is a wonderful character, slyly funny and insightful, with an oddball cast of family and friends to back her up. Set in coastal Thailand, this is a laugh-out-loud funny mystery with plenty of great twists and turns that will keep readers guessing.”

- Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

 

Family Life: A Novel
by Akhil Sharma
“The Mishras move from India to New York City in the 1980s in order to give their two sons better educational opportunities. When tragedy strikes, the family tries to recover the optimism and hope that propelled them to America. Beautiful, clear-eyed and compelling, this book packs a powerful punch.”

- Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

 

On the Rocks: A Novel
by Erin Duffy

“After her fiance dumps her on Facebook, Abby retreats to her apartment until her best friend invites her to spend the summer in Newport. This book is for every woman who’s been determined to put things back together after finding herself on the wrong side of social media, in the aftermath of a bad breakup, or elbow deep in Ben & Jerry’s when things fall apart.”

- Sara Grochowski, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library, Alpena, MI

April Book Discussions @ the Library

 

Book Clubbers Book Club
Meets the first Thursday of each month.
Thursday, April 3rd @ 7pm (Harnish)

The Double Bind
by Chris Bohjalian

Laura Estabrook attempts to unravel the mystery of a homeless man’s true identity while battling her own demons from the past.

 

 

 

Spine-Crackers Book Club
Meets the first Friday of each month.
Friday, April 4th @ 10am (Harnish)

Palace of Desire
by Maḥfūẓ, Najīb

Palace of Desire is the second in the Palace Trilogy, an epic family saga of colonial Egypt that is considered his masterwork.

 

 

 

Bookalicious Book Club
For adults who enjoy reading YA Literature. Meets the second Monday of each month.
Monday, March 14th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school.

 

 

 

Nite Readers Book Club
Meets the third Thursday of each month.
Thursday, April 17th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots
by Jessica Soffer

Lorca signs up for cooking lessons in a desperate attempt to earn the love of her chef mother. As a result, wounded families of three generations come together.

 

 

 

Classics Book Club
Meets the third Wednesday of each month.
Wednesday, April 16th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Billy Budd
by Herman Melville

A young sailor is sentenced to be hanged for inadvertently striking and killing an officer.  He faces death with a blessing for the benevolent captain who is forced to carry out his execution.

March 2014 Library Reads List Announced

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

The Weight of Blood
by Laura McHugh

“The Dane family has been keeping secrets in the Ozark town of Henbane for years. An outsider steals the heart of one of the Dane brothers, and the secrets threaten to unravel. When sixteen-year-old Lucy’s friend is found murdered after being missing for a year, Lucy begins to ask questions–the answers to which may destroy her family. Atmospheric and visceral, McHugh’s story is vividly and effectively told.”

- Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

The Accident: A Novel
by Chris Pavone

“Kudos to Pavone for coming through with another captivating international suspense novel. How ironic that I couldn’t put down a book about Isabel, a literary agent who stays up all night to finish an unsolicited manuscript that’s so explosive, some will kill to keep it from being published. During the 24 hours that Isabel is on the run, readers will be on the edge of their seats. Be prepared to lose some sleep!”

- Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

The Divorce Papers: A Novel
by Susan Rieger

“When Sophie, a lovable 29-year-old lawyer, gets roped into working on a divorce case, her life takes an unexpected turn. Though this gives her a new perspective on life, it also forces her to confront some unresolved childhood issues. Except for a few tearful, poignant moments, I had a smile on my face for the entire book. Engaging and humorous, this debut epistolary novel has become a favorite read.”

 - Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL

The Outcast Dead
by Elly Griffiths

“After the bones of the notorious Mother Hook are possibly uncovered in Norfolk, forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway finds herself on TV. Was Mother Hook truly guilty of child murder? This is just one strand in a mystery that revolves around children and the people who care for them. One of the most addictive mystery series being written today.”
- Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

Panic
by Lauren Oliver

“A deadly high-stakes game of Panic takes place in modern-day small town America, and Oliver does a wonderful job making all of it seem real. I loved that the book didn’t take place in a post-apocalyptic future like so many titles do nowadays. Oliver is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!”
- Carol Brumfield, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA

A Circle of Wives
by Alice LaPlante

“When prominent plastic surgeon Dr. John Taylor is found dead, the police investigation uncovers his secret polygamous life. As the narration alternates between Taylor’s three wives and a young female detective, the story explores the characters’ motivations and relationships. Part psychological thriller and part literary mystery, the end result is wholly captivating reading.”

-  Melissa DeWild, Kent District Library, Comstock Park, MI

Gemini: A Novel
by Carol Cassella

“After an unidentified hit-and-run victim is received in ICU, Dr. Charlotte Reese struggles to keep her alive, questioning how far medical technology should go to do so. Meanwhile, in an alternate story, teens Bo and Raney explore their budding friendship and attraction. Book groups will devour this compulsively readable novel with thought-provoking themes. Perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult and Chris Bohjalian.”

- Robin Beerbower, Salem Public Library, Salem, OR

Precious Thing: A Novel
by Colette McBeth

“Clara and Rachel have been friends since high school. Life has intervened and they’ve grown apart, so when Clara invites Rachel for drinks to catch up, it’s a chance to reconnect. But before that can happen, Rachel is called to cover a missing girl story, and the missing girl is Clara. Was she abducted, murdered or did she simply leave on her own? In the vein of Gone Girl and The Husband’s Secret, this is a fast read that is sure to entertain.”

 - Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

Kill Fee: A Stevens and Windermere Novel
by Owen Laukkanen

“In the third book in this series, Carla Windermere and Kirk Stevens find themselves reunited when people around the country seem to be dying from contract hits. Young war veterans, under the influence of a mysterious man, are turning into emotionless killers. Stevens and Windermere try piecing together who’s behind the crimes, but keep falling one step behind. Reminiscent of Thomas Perry’s novels, and fast-paced.”

- Lora Bruggeman, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
by Austin Kleon

“Show Your Work! is a wonderful follow-up to Austin Kleon’s first book, Steal Like an Artist. Utilizing the same fun, graphic novel-ish type of format, Kleon gives practical recommendations about using the Internet and social media to create a community. I particularly appreciate his advice to concentrate on process, not on product, and the rest will follow. A must-read for anyone involved in the creative process.”

- Rebekka Hanson, Madison Library District, Rexburg, ID

 

Academy Award Winning Books

Watching the Oscars on Sunday night, I was struck once again by how many of the year’s best films were adapted from books.  Here are just a few of the nominations I spotted that have their roots in the printed word.

Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-year Search
by Martin Sixsmith

Also published as The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, BBC reporter Sixsmith tells the story of a young unmarried Catholic girl sent to an Irish convent to deliver her child.  Forced by the nuns to surrender her child, she is determined later in life to discover what happened to him.  The movie was nominated for Best Picture.

 

A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea
by Richard Phillips

Also nominated for Best Picture was the film Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks.  This unbelievable true story of his capture by Somali pirates and subsequent rescue by Navy Seals is told here in heart-stopping prose by the Captain himself.

 

The Wolf of Wall Street
by Jordan Belfort

Leonardo DiCaprio won a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of the fast-talking Wall Street con artist who authored this book. Belfort’s life of excess is on full display in this tell-all memoir.  Although, perhaps he didn’t tell all, because it turns out he wrote a sequel called Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese, was also nominated for Best Picture and comes out on DVD later this month.

August: Osage County
by Tracy Letts

Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts both earned Oscar nominations for their performances in this award winning play by Tracy Letts.  The play debuted at Chicago’ Steppenwolf Theatre where Letts is an ensemble member, and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as a Tony Award for Best Play.  His portrait of a dysfunctional American family has earned him comparisons to Eugene O’Neill.

 

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This stylish retelling of Fitzgerald’s Great American Novel garnered no Best Picture or Performance nominations, but it did  earn kudos from the Academy for looking good.  Winning Design awards in Production and Costume, I think Zelda would have approved.

 

The Hobbit Or, There and Back Again
by J.R.R. Tolkien

The second installment in a three part film adaptation of this classic fantasy novel by Tolkein did not go unnoticed by the Academy.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was nominated for sound and visual effects.  The film does take a few departures from the book,  but you’ll be there and back again before you know it.

 

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10
by Marcus Luttrell

As the title suggests, this book is a first hand account of a Navy SEAL who was the lone survivor of an ill-fated mission to kill or capture a high-ranking Taliban leader.  The film earned no best picture or performance nominations, but was recognized for sound mixing and sound editing.  Don’t ask me the difference between the two.

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

While the movie was passed over for the major nominations, aside from Best Music Score by John Williams,  the book is still a winner in my book.  The “book thief” is none other than 10 year-old Liesel Meminger, who comes to live with the Hubermanns when her parents disappear under suspicious circumstances in Nazi Germany.  She can barely read when she arrives, but under the patient tutelage of her new papa, she develops a passion for books and a talent for stealing them .

March Book Discussions @ the Library

Book clubs meet regularly each month and you don’t need to sign up ahead of time.  Just stop by the Adult Services Desk at the Main Library to pick up copies of the books being discussed.

Night Readers Book Club:
Meets the third Thursday of each month.
Thursday, March 20th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Love, Water, Memory
by Jennifer Shortridge

After finding herself knee-deep in San Francisco Bay wondering who she is and how she got there, Lucie Walker embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

 

 

SpineCrackers Book Group:
Meets the first Friday of each month.
Friday, March 7th @ 10am (Harnish)

Turn Right at Machu Picchu:
Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
by Mark Adams

Turn right at Machu Picchu is Adams’ fascinating and funny account of his journey through some of the most majestic, historic, and remote landscapes guided only by a hard-as-nails Australian survivalist.

 

Book Clubbers Book Club:
Meets the first Thursday of each month.
Thursday, March 6th @ 7pm (Harnish)

I’ll Be Seeing You
by Loretta Nyhan and Suzanne Hayes

During World War II, Gloria and Rita, two very different women, develop a magnificent friendship which sustains them throughout their lives.

 

 

Bookalicious Book Club:
For adults who enjoy reading YA Literature. Meets the second Monday of each month.
Monday, March 10th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Ship Breaker
by Paolo Bacigalupi

In a dystopian future, Nailer survives by scavenging copper wiring from shipwrecks. When he finds a girl trapped among the wreckage, he must choose between the girl and his livelihood.

 

 

Classics Book Club:
Meets the third Wednesday of each month.
Wednesday, March 19th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Handful of Dust
by Evelyn Waugh

Bored with her husband and life in the country, Lady Brenda amuses herself by having a fling with a shallow young social climber. Her thoughtless affair causes ripple effects with lasting consequences.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

Our Book Clubbers group here at the Library just finished reading The Weird Sisters for our discussion this month, and it was a real crowd pleaser!  It can be tricky picking a title for a group to read together. We all have different tastes, different life experiences, and different ideas about what makes a book “good.”  This month, we all agree.  This debut novel by Eleanor Brown was a winner!

Written in the unusual first person plural, The Weird Sisters is the story of Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia Andreas.  Each named for a Shakespearean heroine by their professor father, the girls struggle to live up to their namesakes, as well as to escape the roles they are cast within the family.

Rose, the eldest, is the intelligent, responsible sister.  She wants nothing more than to teach mathematics at her beloved Barnwell, where her father is a professor of literature.  Bianca, a.k.a. Bean, is the beautiful and restless middle sister.  She wants more than anything to be somebody, even if it means breaking a few rules along the way. And finally, Cordelia, is the fun-loving, laid back younger sister.  She never takes anything or anyone too seriously.  When their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, the Andreas sisters find themselves once again living together under the same roof.   Each sister is running away from something; using their mother’s diagnosis as an excuse to return home.  The sisters will need to learn how to break out of these molds if they can ever hope to change their destinies.

Readers who recognize the Shakespearean reference in the title will be delighted with the many quotes from the Bard sprinkled throughout the novel.  Shakespeare is the first language spoken in the Andreas home.  It is the default means of communication used by their father, often to humorous effect:

Marry, sir, ‘tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers: therefore he that cannot lick his fingers goes not with me,” he said finally.

“Um, what?” Bean asked.

“I think what your father means is that since breast cancer may be hereditary it’s important that you do self-exam, “ our mother said, patting his hand as he nodded uncomfortably.

Oh.  Right.  We’re sure that’s exactly what Shakespeare was trying to say.

Reading is the number one pastime of the Andreas family.  “How can we explain what books and reading mean to our family, the gift of libraries, or pages?”  Bean even breaks up with her boyfriend over reading.  “Because despite his money and his looks and all the good-on-paper attributes he possessed, he was not a reader, and, well, let’s just say that is the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put.”

The Weird Sisters is a delight from beginning to end.  Give it a try for your next book club meeting and you will not be disappointed.   We have several copies available in our library’s book club collection.  It’s also available on CD, or may be downloaded in audio or ebook format from Overdrive.

Next month, our group will be reading I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes.  You’re welcome to join us!  Books for this and other library sponsored book clubs are available at the Adult Services Desk at the Main Library.  Hope to see you at one of them!

 

50th Anniversary of the Beatles Invasion

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ iconic performance on the Ed Sullivan show, and the birth of a musical and cultural revolution in America. Whether you were around for Beatlesmania, or not, the Beatles remain an enduring part of our popular culture.  Here are some great titles from our collection that will have you shouting for
more!

All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release
by Guesdon, Jean-Michel

Get the scoop on every song the Beatles ever released, including the covers.  Organized chronologically by album, this book includes technical stats on all recordings from 1963-1970, and the stories behind them.  I gave this to my brother-in-law for Christmas and he was in heaven.

 

 

Days That I’ll Remember:
Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
by Jonathan Cott

Based on several interviews that originally appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine over the years, Cott presents an intimate portrait of John and his muse.

 

 

John Lennon: The Life
by Philip Norman

“Warts and all” treatment of the legendary songwriter by the author of Shout: The Beatles in Their Generation.  A fascinating profile of a complex man.

 

 

 

Memories of John Lennon
Edited by Yoko Ono

Famous musicians, journalists, poets, and photographers all share their fond memories of John Lennon.  Highlights include reminiscences of  Elliot Mintz, Bob Gruen, Mick Jagger, Joan Baez and Pete Townshend.

 

 


The John Lennon Letters
by John Lennon

Letters, postcards and telegrams to family, friends, strangers, and lovers from every point in his life.  Original letters are reproduced in full color, with transcriptions, and organized by year.

 

 

The Beatles
by Bob Spitz

A great overview of the Beatles, telling the story of how four ordinary Brits became rock and roll legends. Spitz, who also wrote a biography of Dylan, chronicles their early years (pre-Ed Sullivan), through the height of Beatlemania and their eventual break-up.  Also available as an audiobook!

 

The Beatles Anthology
by The Beatles

If you had to choose one book to read about the Beatles, this should be the one.  The story of four lads from Liverpool who rocked the world is told in each band member’s own words and illustrated with rare photographs from their personal collections.  Includes full transcripts from the celebrated television documentary of the same name.

 

Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney
by Sounes, Howard

Fans looking for an up to date, complete biography of Paul need look no further than this in-depth treatment by Sounes. Capturing his life as a child up to the present day (2010), Sounes tells the story of a complicated man in simple prose. See also Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now by Miles.

 

Behind the Sad Eyes: The Life of George Harrison
by Marc Shapiro

Surprisingly, Shapiro’s book is one of only a few biographies written about the lead guitarist of the world’s most famous rock band.  Published shortly after his death of brain cancer in 2001, the book explores his life before, during and after the Beatles. Fans of the “quiet Beatle” should also check out his wife’s more recent tribute, George Harrison: Living in the Material World.

 

When They Were Boys:
The True Story of the Beatles’ Rise to the Top
by Larry Kane

Who better to tell the story of the Beatles’ early years than the veteran journalist who covered their first U.S.tour in 1964. Interviews with family, friends, and musicians, give us a rare look at who these boys were before they became the Beatles.

 

And Now For Something Completely Different …..

The Beatles inspired not only biographies and social commentary, but fictional and creative works as well.  Check out some of these titles.

Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion
by Alan Goldsher

Ummm. So, apparently John Lennon and Paul McCartney are zombies. So is George Harrison.  Ringo is a ninja and Mick Jagger is a zombie hunter.  It’s all here in this tell-all book.  Told through a series of interviews, fans will likely find themselves enjoying the tongue and cheekiness of this alternative history.

 

 

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story
by Vivek J. Tiwary

Tells the story of Brian Epstein, the manager who discovered and lead the Beatles to international stardom.  What makes this book unique is the style used to convey the story.  Told in graphic novel format instead of prose, the book focuses on Epstein’s status as an outsider looking in.  Tiwary is currently working on a film version, as well.

 

What did I miss?  What’s your favorite book about or inspired by the Beatles? 

 

 

 

 

February Library Reads List Announced

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

Red Rising
by Pierce Brown

“The next great read for those who loved The Hunger Games. This story has so much action, intrigue, social commentary and character development that the reader who never reads science fiction will happily overlook the fact that the story takes place on Mars far in the future. The characters are perfectly flawed, causing the reader to feel compassion and revulsion for both sides. Can’t wait for the next installment!”

- Cindy Stevens, Pioneer Library System, Norman, OK

The Good Luck of Right Now: A Novel
by Matthew Quick

“Socially-awkward 40-year-old Bartholomew has lived with his mother all his life and has never held a job. When she succumbs to cancer, he channels her favorite actor, Richard Gere, to make her happy during her last days. Funny and sad, with moving, unsentimental prose and a quick, satisfying pace. Highly recommended.”


- Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel
by Wiley Cash

“Cash’s second novel is as good as his first. In this story, we meet Easter and her sister Ruby, who have been shuffled around the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina. Then their ne’er-do-well father whisks them away in the middle of the night. I was on the edge of my seat as I followed the girls’ tale and hoping for a safe outcome. Fans of A Land More Kind Than Home will enjoy this book as well.”

 - Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

The Martian: A Novel
by Andy Weir

“An edge-of-your seat debut thriller with laugh-out-loud dialogue mixed in. After a bad storm cuts his team’s Mars mission short, injured astronaut Mark Watley is stranded. Now he’s got to figure out how to survive without air, shelter, food, or water on the harsh Martian landscape until the next manned mission in four years. It’s Science Fiction with a capital S, but Weir does a fabulous job of making it accessible to non-science geeks (like me).”

- Dan Brooks, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

After I’m Gone: A Novel
by Laura Lippman

“So much fun to read. In Lippman’s newest book, bookie Felix Brewer goes missing just before his indictment because he can’t stand the thought of spending years in prison. He leaves behind a wife, three young daughters, a mistress, and Burt, his best friend and attorney. Enter retired police detective Sandy Bayard who works as a consultant on cold cases. A delicious bon bon!”

- Anne Lee, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Ripper: A Novel
by Isabel Allende

“Allende does an amazing job of developing characters in this taut, suspenseful literary thriller. The story has a lightning-fast denouement, and the mystery is artfully styled to keep the reader guessing.”

 


- Amanda Viana, Norton Public Library, Norton, MA

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste: A Novel
by Valerie Martin

“A cargo ship sailing from New York to Italy is discovered empty and drifting near Gibraltar in the 1870s. The mystery brings grief to two Massachusetts seafaring families and ignites the public’s imagination, including one Arthur Conan Doyle, who authors a fantastical magazine piece that purports to be an account by the ship’s doctor. Crossing time and space, this wide-ranging story proves Martin once again to be a master of the historical novel.”

- Margaret Donovan, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress
by Ariel Lawhon

“A captivating mystery, based on the real-life disappearance of New York Supreme Court Judge Joseph Crater. Told through the voices of the three women closest to Judge Crater–his trophy wife, his beautiful maid, and his Broadway starlet mistress– this is excellent historical fiction, about the era of Prohibition and the culture of 1930s New York City. Riveting characters make for a quick and entertaining read.”

- Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX

The Winter People: A Novel
by Jennifer McMahon

“The small Vermont town of West Hall has been the scene of mysterious deaths, disappearances, and ghost sightings. The scattered pages of a turn-of-the-century diary relate the events that lead to a murder and the apparent beginning of all the trouble. Odd and intriguing clues emerge, and the final conclusion is thrilling.”

 

- Nancy Russell,Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus,OH

E.E. Cummings: A Life
by Susan Cheever

“Cummings is a pivotal figure in the creation of modern verse, and Cheever conveys his journey with color, warmth, and understanding, especially his imprisonment in France during the First World War, his father’s death and his final reunion with his daughter. She leaves the reader with only one wish: to be a fly on the wall while the poet held forth to his friends.”

- Linda Jeffries-Summers, Howard Co. Library, Columbia, MD

Should You Read the Book or See the Movie First?

Buzzfeed recently posted a list of Sixteen Books To Read Before They Hit the Theaters this Year.  As readers, we accept this as the natural order of things.  To do otherwise would be as unfathomable as eating one’s desert before dinner.  And yet, I still find myself wondering, is reading a book before seeing the movie really a good idea?  Or, are we just setting ourselves up for disappointment by reading these books in advance?  Ask yourself, when is the last time you were satisfied with a movie adaptation?

Unfortunately, no matter how stellar the cast or celebrated the director, we almost always find fault with the movie.  We complain that the actors look nothing like the characters we imagined (i.e. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher).  We lament the loss of stories and characters that are sacrificed in the interest of time (Tom Bombadil from Lord of the Rings ). Many times, these adaptations are excellent films.  Some even win awards.  And yet, we still feel the intangible absence of something we can’t quite put our finger on.  The truth is, cherished books live in a place in our imagination that is simply impossible to replicate in the real world.

Surprisingly, the reverse does not seem to hold true. Picking up a book after watching the movie version usually leads to enlightenment, not disappointment.  Waiting to read the book allows you to watch and enjoy the movie without the weight of your own expectations (i.e. book baggage).  But, there is a catch.  Your impressions of the characters and settings will not be your own.  They will belong to a movie studio. Who knows what beautiful and terrible images you might have conjured in your mind’s eye.  You will never know.

And so, we readers must make a choice.  Read the book first and spoil the movie, or watch the movie first and spoil the book.  Quite the dilemma.  And yet, ultimately, I find the choice an easy one.  After all, you never get a second chance to experience a book for the first time.  And I want that experience to last for days, not 2.5 hours.  Guess I’m in for a year of disappointment at the movie theater, because these books are just too good to pass up!

Books Coming Soon to a Theater Near You:

  

  

  

  

  

Upcoming Book Discussions @ the Library

Do you ever feel let down after you finish a book because you just had an amazing reading experience that no one else can appreciate?  Do you often wish you could share your thoughts about the characters or the story with people who actually know what you’re talking about?  If so, you should check out one of our many book clubs here at the Library.  Discover new books and authors while meeting others who enjoy reading as much as you do!

Book clubs meet regularly each month and you don’t need to sign up ahead of time.  Just stop by the Adult Services Desk at the Main Library to pick up copies of the books being discussed each month.  Books will be available to check out the month before each discussion.

Book Clubbers:
Meets the first Thursday of each month.

Thursday, February 6th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown

When three sisters gather to care for their mother we are treated to the hilarious and thought provoking complications of sisters who love each other fiercely but don’t like each other much.

 


Spine Crackers:
Meets the first Friday of each month.

Friday, February 7th @ 1:30 pm (Harnish)

The Flight of Gemma Hardy
by Margot Livesey

In this modern retelling of Jan Eyre, Gemma Hardy, a brilliant and determined young woman, accepts a position as an au pair on the remote Orkney Islands, where she faces her biggest challenge yet.

 

 

Nite Readers:
Meets the third Thursday of each month.

Thursday, January 16th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Isaac’s Storm
by Erik Larson

Erik Larson, author of Devil in the White City, tells the fascinating story of another up and coming city – Galvaston, Texas. At the turn of the century, Galvaston was poised to become the New York of the Gulf until the deadliest hurricane in our nation’s history destroys everything.

 

Thursday, February 20th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Beneath a Marble Sky
by John Shors

A novel of the Taj Mahal.  the story of the princess whose tomb became a world of wonder.

 

 


Bookalicious:
A new book club for adults who love to read Young Adult literature.
Meets the second Monday of the the month.

Monday, January 13th @ 7pm (Harnish)

The Future of Us
by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Set in the year 1996, best friends Josh and Emma discover their future selves on a mysterious web site called Facebook. Does knowing the future change it?

 

 

Classics Book Club:
Meets the third Wednesday of the month.

Wednesday, January 15th @ 7pm (Harnish)

The Ambassadors
by Henry James

Lambert Strether has one job. Bring Mrs. Newsome’s wayward son Chad back home to America from Paris. Yet, as Lambert is seduced by the city and the mysterious Madame de Vionnet, he may never want to leave himself.

 


Wednesday, February 19th @ 7 pm (Harnish)

Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer

On a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury, travelers entertain themselves by telling stories ranging in genre from fable, to romance, to bawdy comedy in 13th century England.