Upcoming Book Discussions in August

Stop by the Adult Services Desk at the Main Library (Harnish) to pick up your copy today!

Spine-crackers
Meets the first Friday of each month
Friday, August 1st @ 10am (Harnish)

The Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown

When their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, the Andreas sisters find themselves once again living together under the same roof. How will they ever survive?!  See a more in depth review.

 


Book Clubbers

Meets the first Thursday of each month.
Thursday, August 7th @ 7pm (Harnish)

The Ghost Bride
by Yangsze Choo

A Malaysian woman with few prospects is approached by a wealthy family to marry their dead son. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. She will be well provided for, but at what cost? 

 


Bookalicious
 - Now meeting at the Village Vintner Winery, Brewery and Restaurant!
For adults who enjoy reading YA Literature.  Meets the second Monday of each month.  Monday, August 11th @ 7pm at the Village Vintner

Carter Finally Gets It
by Brent Crawford

Awkward freshman Will Carter endures many painful moments during his first year of high school before realizing that nothing good comes easily, focus is everything, and the payoff is usually incredible.

 


Classics Book Club

Meets the third Wednesday of each month.
Wednesday, August 20th @ 7pm (Harnish)
My Antonia
by Willa Cather

Following the death of his parents, Jim Burden goes to live with his grandparents in rural Nebraska where he develops a strong attachment to Ántonia Shimerdas, the eldest daughter of an immigrant family from Bohemia.

July 2014 Library Reads List

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

Landline
by Rainbow Rowell

“Landline explores the delicate balance women make between work and family, considering the tradeoffs and pain. Rowell has a special gift for offering incredible insights into ordinary life. Never heavy-handed, Rowell’s writing is delivered with humor and grace. I finish all of her books wanting to laugh and cry at the same time–they are that moving. Landline captured my heart.”

- Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL

One Plus One: A Novel
by Jojo Moyes

“A single mom, her math genius daughter, her eye-shadow-wearing stepson, a wealthy computer geek and a smelly dog all get into a car…it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s actually another charming novel from Jojo Moyes. It’s more of a traditional romance than Me Before You, but will also appeal to fans of quirky, hard-working characters. A quick read and perfect for summer.”

- Emily Wichman, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH

The Black Hour
by Lori Rader-Day

“This first novel about two broken people is a psychological thriller like the best of Alfred Hitchcock. Amelia Emmet is a professor desperately trying to recover from a gunshot wound, and Nathaniel Barber is a student struggling to come to grips with his mother’s death and a lost love. Their journey, told in alternating chapters, is riveting and full of surprising discoveries. Highly recommended.”

- Mattie Gustafson, Newport Public Library, Newport, RI

The Queen of the Tearling: A Novel
by Erika Johansen

“The first of a trilogy, this book is so much more than just another fantasy. Yes, there is magic, a princess and a really bad queen, but there is also an apocalyptic twist that makes readers hungry for the next installment. This book caught me from the first page and kept me guessing till the last. A great read!”

- Cindy Stevens, Pioneer Library System, Norman, OK

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands: A Novel
by Chris Bohjalian

“Thousands of lives are irrevocably changed by a nuclear disaster in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. When her parents are blamed, Emily becomes homeless and her situation, desperate. Told retrospectively, Emily’s story is devastating to read, but her passionate interest in Emily Dickinson comes with flashes of brilliance and a growing acceptance of her past.”

- Kim Storbeck, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III
by Ben H. Winters

“Still the last policeman, Detective Hank Palace tirelessly pulls together clues from crime scenes and interrogates witnesses to find his missing sister. Winters paints a believable picture of a world awaiting its end thanks to an asteroid on a collision course. A great series for mystery and science fiction lovers, as well as anyone looking for a pre-apocalyptic tale without a single zombie.”

- Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

California: A Novel
by Edan Lepucki

“Driven away from the violence of cities and a crumbling society, Cal and Frida live an isolated existence, struggling to survive on what they grow and forage. When an unplanned pregnancy pushes the couple to search for other people, they discover an unexpected community. This well-written debut is great for apocalyptic fiction fans and fans of realistic, character-driven fiction.”

- Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH

Dollbaby: A Novel
by Laura Lane McNeal

“In this coming-of-age story set in the Civil Rights era, Ibby is dropped off at the home of her eccentric grandmother in New Orleans after the death of her beloved father. Filled with colorful characters, family secrets and lots of New Orleans tidbits, this book will appeal to fans of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt.”

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

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee
by Marja Mills

“A warm and engaging telling of the life story of Harper Lee. Like no other biography, this book offers insights directly from Lee’s point of view as shared with the journalist she and her sister embraced in friendship late in their lives. Informative and delightful!”

- Jan Fisher, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

Dry Bones in the Valley: A Novel
by Tom Bouman

“A body has been found in an elderly recluse’s field, neighbors are fighting over fracking, and meth labs and heroin dealers have settled deep in the woods of Officer Henry Farrell’s Wild Thyme Township. Bouman’s prose reveals not only the beauty of northeastern Pennsylvania, but also abject poverty and despair. A startling debut rich in setting and character with an intricate plot that will stay with readers after the last page.”

- Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Win is away at boarding school. He doesn’t see his family anymore and in chapters that alternate between the present and the past, Win, with the help of new girl Jordan and former friend Lex, works to come to terms with the curse within his bloodline.

Kuehn does brilliant things here with voice and plotting. As the reader moves deeper into the story it becomes apparent that Win is quite the unreliable narrator. With the chapters alternating between present and past, why Win is unreliable becomes a mystery to be solved with Kuehn giving clues that draw the reader further and further into Win’s story. Kuehn does some very fine work with theme as well, drawing from both physics and paranormal tropes to highlight the horror of Win’s past and his rocky road to recovery.

I loved, loved, loved this book although it was brutal to read. The focus on how Win had to choose to not just survive, but to live was beautifully done. I’m also a sucker for this kind of puzzle mystery. Charm & Strange is a great choice for fans of darker realistic fiction and I’m looking forward to Kuehn’s sophomore effort, Complicit, just published this June!

- Reviewed by Jennifer Jazwinski, YA Librarian at AAPLD

July Book Discussions @ the Library

Stop by the Adult Services Desk at the Main Library (Harnish) to pick up your copy today!

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

Norwegian Wood
by Haruki Murakami

Looking back on his college days in Tokyo, Toru recalls his relationships with two very different women against a backgrop of 1960′s student protests and coming of age angst and tragedy.

 

 

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

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson

A fearful sixteen-year-old princess discovers her heroic destiny after being married off to the king of a neighboring country in turmoil and pursued by enemies seething with dark magic.

 

 

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

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark, who has lived her entire life within the confines of the small English village where she grew up, takes a job as a companion for Will Trainer, a wealthy quadriplegic who has traveled the world. As their friendship grows, they each try to help the other see and live beyond their own limitations.

 

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

Lord Jim
by Joseph Conrad

Lord Jim seeks redemption in a remote Malay settlement after his cowardly actions while serving aboard a merchant ship leave him a disgraced officer.

 

 

 


*
Indicates books clubs that are lead by librarians.

 

 

June 2014 Library Reads List

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

Elizabeth is Missing: A Novel
by Emma Healey

“Maude sinks into a confusing world in this gripping psychological mystery written in the voice of an aging woman with Alzheimer’s. She can’t remember what she’s doing or where she is, but she is obsessed with one thought–her good friend Elizabeth is missing. Book groups will enjoy this satisfying and entertaining read!”

- Mary Campanelli, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus,  OH

China Dolls: A Novel
by Lisa See

“Set in 1938 San Francisco, this book follows the lives of three young women up through WWII. Grace travels to California seeking stardom, where she meets Helen, a young woman from Chinatown, and the two find jobs as nightclub dancers. While auditioning, they cross paths with Ruby, and the book alternates between all three viewpoints. Lisa See is one of my favorite authors, and her newest title doesn’t disappoint.”

- Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel
by Susan Jane Gilman

“In the tenements of old New York, a young Russian Jewish immigrant woman is taken in by an Italian family who sells ice. Through sheer persistence and strong will, she manages to build an ice cream empire. Lillian Dunkle is a complex character who will both make you cheer even as you are dismayed. Have ice cream on hand when you read this book!”

- Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Twp, MI

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You: A Novel
by Courtney Maum

“Set mainly in Paris, this love story for grown-ups tells the story of a decent man who almost ruins his life and then goes to great lengths to restore his marriage. If your path to a happy marriage has been straight-forward, you may not appreciate this book – but it’s perfect for the rest of us!”

- Laurel Best, Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, Huntsville, AL

The Matchmaker: A Novel
by Elin Hilderbrand

“Set in romantic Nantucket, Hilderbrand’s newest novel is a heartwarming and moving story about the power of love. Dabney Kimball Beech, long denied her own true love, is determined to match up those closest to her before it is too late. This captivating book had me weeping through the last few chapters. A beautifully written and heartbreaking story!”

- Jill Kaufman, Desloge Public Library, Desloge, MO

Summer House with Swimming Pool: A Novel
by Herman Koch

“A deliciously nasty study in sociopathy, veiled in the alluring sheen of European upper class lifestyles and sensibilities. Summer House with Swimming Pool will grip you with an uneasy dread and won’t let you stop turning the pages until the riveting end. Fair warning: you will never look at your family doctor the same way again.”

- Kristin Cole, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA

The Lobster Kings: A Novel
by Alexi Zentner

“This well-crafted story truly captures the beauty and brutality of living by the sea. The characters show what it’s like to have saltwater in your veins and commitment to family and community. Zentner depicts a way of life that is fast disappearing. Perfect for summer reading.”

- Lisa Marie Joyce, Portland Public Library & South Portland Public Library, Portland, ME

The Hurricane Sisters: A Novel
by Dorothea Benton Frank

“Having just completed my annual trek to the Carolina Lowcountry, compliments of Dorothea Benton Frank, I’m happy to report that a good time was had by all. It was, as ever, a pleasure to meet her new characters, travel down Highway 17 (llama optional), sit back with a glass of wine and take in the beautiful sunsets and ocean breeze, all without leaving the comfort of my easy chair.”

- Yvonne Jefferson, Pittsylvania County Public Library, Dry Fork, VA

The Quick: A Novel
by Lauren Owen

“This book starts out slowly, with an unconventional Victorian-era romance and builds to an unexpected development by the end of part one. Owen continues the slow boil of suspense with a curiously-enticing plot, centering on members of an exclusive London gentleman’s club who are testing the boundaries of their own organization. For those who enjoy historical fiction with a twist.”

- Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library, St. Peters, MO

Rogues
edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

“This anthology is worth reading for the Rothfuss’s story alone! ‘The Lightning Tree’ follows Bast spending a day outside the tavern, which left me anxious for Kingkiller Book 3 to come out. Other stand-outs are stories by Garth Nix, Cherie Priest and Connie Willis. Rogues should enjoy a large audience of Martin fans and is a good entry point to the other contributing authors’ works.”

- Keith Hayes, West Regional Library, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

Staff Picks from Adult Services

After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story
by Michael Hainey
Genre: Memoir

Michael Hainey has always been haunted by his father’s death. A seasoned journalist like his father before him, he knows intuitively that the facts just don’t add up with the story he was told as a kid. An obituary he discovers as a teenager reveals that his father died in the 3900 block of North Pine Grove after “visiting friends.” Who were these friends, he wonders? And why has he never met them? When he turns 35, the same age as his father when he died, he realizes he will never have peace in his life until he solves the mystery surrounding his father’s death.

Appeal: This book has wide appeal, but will be especially enjoyed by people who grew up in or near Chicago. The language and presentation should also appeal to people who enjoy short stories and poetry. It also happens to be a satisfying mystery. First and foremost, though, this is a book about how our families – even the absent ones – shape who we are.

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction

Hazel Grace Lancaster is a three year survivor of stage 4 thyroid cancer and her long term prognosis is not very good. Convinced, as she puts it, that she is a human “grenade” she avoids new relationships for fear of the pain and suffering she will leave in her wake when she dies. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Her life consists of reading, watching America’s Next Top Model, and attending a weekly cancer support group. There she meets Augustus Waters, the young man who challenges her to live and to love with all her heart.

Appeal: It’s a tearjerker, but also inspirational, philosophical, and life affirming.  For adults and teens. Movie comes out June 6th.

Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Diana Bishop has been running from her magical heritage almost her entire life. She has always blamed magic for the death of her parents, and has done everything in her power to live a strictly non-magical life ever since. A well-respected history professor, she spends her days at Oxford’s Bodleian Library reading rare alchemical manuscripts. Despite coming from a long line of powerful witches, she’s gone mostly unnoticed by the wiccan community. Until the day she unknowingly breaks the spell on an elusive and enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782, attracting the attention of powerful and dangerous creatures who will stop at nothing to uncover (or suppress) the book’s secrets. As the creatures close in around her, she finds an unexpected ally in the brilliant scientist Matthew Clairmont, who also just happens to be a vampire.

Appeal: Fantasy readers who don’t mind a little romance. Romance readers who don’t mind a little fantasy. Twilight/Harry Potter/50 Shades of Grey (without the kink) mash-up. Should also appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), wine aficionados, and yoga practitioners.

June Book Discussions @ the Library

Book Clubbers
Meets the first Thursday of each month.
Thursday, June 5th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Girl in Translation
Kwok, Jean

When young Kimberly Chang emigrates from Hong Kong with her mother, she uses her “talent for school” to escape the confines of a freezing Brooklyn apartment and the harsh working conditions of a Chinatown sweatshop.

 

 

Spine-crackers 
Meets the first Friday of each month.
Friday, June 6th @ 10am (Harnish)

Stones for Ibarra
Doerr, Harriet

When Richard and Sara Everton move to the small remote village Ibarra, Mexico to revive his grandfather’s abandoned copper mine, the discover the true meaning of community.

 

 

Bookalicious
For adults who enjoy reading YA Literature. Meets the second Monday of each month.
Monday, June 9th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Nation
Pratchett, Terry

After a devastating tsunami destroys all that they have ever known, Mau, an island boy, and Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, together with a small band of refugees, set about rebuilding their community and all the things that are important in their lives.

 

Nite Readers
Meets the third Thursday of each month.
Thursday, June 19th @ 7pm (Harnish)

Saturday
McEwan, Ian

On one fateful Saturday morning in February, a minor car accident brings surgeon Henry Perowne into contact with a dangerous young man who threatens his charmed life. A brillant page-tuning thriller.

 

 

Classics Book Club
Meets the third Wednesday of each month.
WednesdayJune 18th @ 7pm (Harnish)

The Sun Also Rises
Hemingway, Ernest

Americans and English travel from Paris to Paloma during the 1920′s. Conveys brutally realistic descriptions of bullfighting in Spain.

May 2014 Library Reads List

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

We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

“This brilliant and heartbreaking novel tells the story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Full of love, lies, secrets, no shortage of family dysfunction, and a shocking twist that you won’t see coming. Though this book is written for teens, it shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking for a fantastic read.”

- Susan Balla, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
by Anthony Doerr

“Set during World War II Europe, this novel is sobering without being sentimental. The tension builds as the alternating, parallel stories of Werner and Marie-Laure unfold, and their paths cross. I highly recommend this beautiful and compelling story.”

- Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

 

The Bees: A Novel
by Laline Paull

“This book is set entirely in a beehive, but the novel and its characters are so beautifully rendered that it could have been set anywhere. Societal codes and social mores combine with the ancient behavior rituals of bees, bringing forth a remarkable story that is sure to be a book club favorite.”

- Ilene Lefkowitz, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

Delicious!: A Novel
by Ruth Reichl

“Billie leaves college to take a job with a soon-to-be disbanded food magazine. What follows is an intriguing story involving dusty archives, long-forgotten letters written during World War II to the illustrious James Beard, and a young woman in New York City who learns to trust her culinary talents. This novel is a delectable feast.”

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

The Forgotten Seamstress
by Liz Trenow

“Two women’s stories, separated by close to 100 years, connect through a patchwork quilt. Carolyn finds a quilt in her mother’s attic and is intrigued by its origin, and quiltmaker Maria’s story is told through transcripts. Trenow carefully stitches together a novel about family secrets, using many interesting details about fabrics, needlework, and textile conservation. A strong sense of place and well-told story make this book superior women’s fiction.”

- Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY

Bird Box: A Novel
by Josh Malerman

“Close your eyes! Don’t look! Something is out there that will drive you mad if you see it. Is it an alien invasion? An environmental toxin? Two sisters, Malorie and Shannon, embark on a journey seeking safety and other survivors. I was unable to put this book down. Horror at its best, not graphic, but truly creepy and scary. Highly recommended for fans of psychological suspense.”

- Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX

Bittersweet: A Novel
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

“As unlikely a pair of roommates as you’re ever likely to meet: plain, working class Mabel Dagmar and beautiful, privileged Genevra Winslow. Mabel spends the summer in the Winslows’ idyllic lakefront property in Vermont, dreaming of being one of them–only to discover that being a Winslow is not all sunshine, yachts, and ease. Being a Winslow means keeping very disturbing family secrets.”

- Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
by Molly Wizenberg

“As Wizenberg tells the story of how she and her husband opened the successful pizza restaurant Delancey, I felt like I was hanging out with a close friend. She also shares delicious sounding recipes for the everyday food they made at home during the hectic days of launching the restaurant. Wizenberg’s writing is so sincere and relatable.”

- Michelle Marx, Eagle Valley Library District, Avon, CO

Sixth Grave on the Edge: A Novel
by Darynda Jones

“The continuing adventures of P.I. Charley Davidson and Grim Reaper (not as mutually exclusive as one would think) are just as delightful as in previous books, with new characters including a wonderfully snarky new demon. Jones expands on Charley’s existing relationships and supernatural powers. It’s the perfect paranormal-romance-mystery blend that you never knew you always wanted.”

- Donna Matturri, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington, OH

The Blessings
by Elise Juska

“This finely-crafted story is told through a series of Blessing family members’ points of view over a two-decade span of time. A deceptively small book with very big themes, this novel is gentle and wise. It made me look at my own close and extended family with new eyes; now I see the ways in which we are alike, not the ways in which we are different. A transformative reading experience. Highly recommended.”

- Janet Schneider, Great Neck Library, Great Neck, NY

Staff Picks from Adult Services

Me Before You
by JoJo Moyes
Realistic Fiction

After the restaurant where she works as a waitress closes down, Louisa Clark is left with few job prospects. Desperate for work, Louisa takes a job as a kind of caregiver/companion for Will Trainer, a wealthy quadriplegic has lost the will to live. His bitterness and anger about his condition is often misdirected towards Louisa, making him almost unbearable to work for. If her entire family wasn’t dependent on her income, she would have quit almost immediately. When she finally expresses her frustration to Will, the two reach an uneasy truce, and settle in to a comfortable routine with each other. As they get to know one another better, they grow to respect and genuinely care for each other. But when Louisa learns of Will’s intention to put a permanent end to his physical pain and misery, she is horrified. She has six months to convince Will that life is worth living. She’s planned everything. Outings, adventures, vacations. But will it be enough to change his mind? Will she be enough?

Appeal: Book clubs groups, fans of Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, adults and teens, people who can’t resist a good tearjerker. BookPage top 50 Books of the Year 2013.

The Girl You Left Behind
by JoJo Moyes
Realistic Fiction/Historical Fiction

Sophie Lefevre will do anything to see her husband again. It’s been three years since her husband left the small French town of St. Perone to fight on the Front, and the town has since fallen into German hands. Life is hard under German occupation. People are starving, yet Sophie and her sister, proprietors of Le Coque Rouge, are forced to feed the enemy. Sophie takes comfort from a painting that hangs on the wall of Le Coque Rouge. A reminder of her husband’s artistry, and the girl she used to be. Before the war took everything she loved. She draws strength from this vision of herself, but she is not the only one who appreciates the painting. The new German commander has taken an interest as well, but is he an admirer of the painting or its subject? When Sophie receives word that her husband has been sent to one of the worst POW camps, she hopes to use her influence with the commander to guarantee his safety. But how much is Sophie willing to sacrifice? Years later, in present day London, the painting becomes the subject of a legal battle when Edouard Lefevre’s descendants claim the painting was looted during World War I. Olivia Halston, the current owner of the painting, feels a special connection with the girl in the painting. It was a honeymoon gift from her deceased husband, and she can’t bear to let it go. But fighting it may lead not only to financial ruin, but it may cost her a real chance at happiness with the first man she’s truly cared about since her husband died. How much is she willing to lose over a piece of artwork? Is it really worth the sacrifice?

Appeal: Book club groups, fans Nicholas Sparks, historical fiction and romance.

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart
by Peter Swanson
Fast-paced Thriller

One day is pretty much like the next for George Foss. He has a steady job, an open relationship with his on again/off again girlfriend, and a cat named Nora. Life is predictable. Until a blast from his past walks in to his favorite bar and draws him into a dangerous world of drama and intrigue. Though he hasn’t seen her in years, and has every reason not to trust her, he can’t resist her pull when she asks for his help. She’s stolen money from her former employer/lover, and she’s been on the run from his goons ever since. All she wants now is to return the money, but she’s afraid for her life. If George, a neutral party, were to return the money all her problems would be solved. He quickly agrees, and the drop seems to go as planned. But when her former employer ends up dead he finds himself the prime suspect in a murder investigation and the woman is nowhere to be found. Is she a femme fatale or a damsel in distress? Time will tell, but the clock is ticking for the girl with a clock for a heart.

Appeal: Fans of Gone Girl, Hitchcock and the Femme Fatale. Should appeal to both men and women. Fast, quick read by a debut author.

The Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown
Realistic/Domestic Fiction

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, of 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.” Weird Sisters is a delight from beginning to end.

Appeal: Fans of domestic fiction and books small town life. Especially for women with sisters or daughters and anyone nostalgic about books and reading.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Memoir/Travel

This engaging memoir chronicles the author’s brave and some might say reckless decision to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to the state of Washington by herself. With no real long-distance hiking experience, Strayed embarks upon a life changing journey along one of the most scenic and challenging trails in the United States. Weighed down by an enormous pack of supplies (she even has a foldable saw!), nothing could prepare her for the actual reality of hiking the PCT. Strayed encounters wildlife, extreme weather, intense hunger and dangerous thirst, as well as a cast of vividly depicted characters she meets along the way.

Much more than a travel memoir, Wild is the story of a young woman whose life is spiraling out of control following the tragic and unexpected death of her mother from lung cancer. Seemingly determined to ruin her life and her marriage, she engages in high risk behaviors including a string of one-night stands with strangers and a dangerous flirtation with heroin. Following her inevitable divorce from Paul, who by all accounts appears to be the most patient and understanding man in the world, Strayed is determined to get her life back. Hiking the PCT is the first step of a long journey back to her true self.

“I had to change was the thought that drove me in those months of planning. Not into a different person, but back to the person I used to be – strong and responsible, clear-eyed and driven, ethical and good. And the PCT would make me that way. There, I’d walk and think about my entire life. I’d find my strength again, far from everything that had made my life ridiculous.”

Strayed writes with breathtaking honesty about her own mistakes, her sense of guilt, and the unquenchable grief she feels at the loss of her mother. Wild is inspiring, funny, sad, cathartic, and well written. Readers will enjoy taking this journey with Strayed; perhaps even being inspired themselves to invest in a good pair of hiking boots and a bottle of Snapple lemonade.

Appeal: Fans of travel writings such as Into the Wild, and memoirs like Eat, Pray Love. Should appeal to readers who enjoy stories about overcoming obstacles, dealing with loss, and the journey to self-discovery.

Staff Picks from Youth Services

Timmy Faliure #1: Mistakes Were Made
by Stephan Pastis

Move over Greg Heffley, there’s a new…um…hero in town. Timmy Failure, and his polar bear Total, are the CEO and the assistant of the self-described “best detective agency in town, probably the nation.” But can they solve crimes? This unreliable, self-serving narrator is clueless and funny without trying. Recommended for upper elementary and middle school boys who’ve devoured Wimpy Kid, Big Nate and other graphic/hybrid crossovers.

Keeping the Castle
by Patricia Kindl

Seventeen –year-old Althea must find away to save her beloved family home, Crawley Castle, from falling into the sea. Lacking any finances after the death of her father, Althea must do what it takes for a woman to gain financial stability in 19th century England: marry well. Recommended for junior high girls, fans of Jane Austen and Downtown Abbey, and anyone looking for a “safe” YA read.

Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Twelve-year-old Willow Chance is a prodigy with all of the problems that come with it. Socially awkward and interested mainly in solitary pursuits, Willow doesn’t mind leading a quiet life with her mom and dad. But when her parents are killed in an accident, Willow is forced to endure change and face fear far outside of her comfort zone. Recommended for younger students who only want to read YA and anyone who liked Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Zombie Baseball Beatdown
by Paolo Bacigalupi

The apocalypse is now, at least for Rabi, Miguel and Joe. After practice one day they notice a stench of “pure evil” and soon after discover that their baseball coach is a zombie. Determined to find out what is going on, the boys head off in search of answers. This read is gross, funny and fast-paced. Recommended for older elementary and middle school boys with iron stomachs.

Under the Egg
by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

While Theodora Tenpenny’s grandfather lies dying in a New York street he whispers a cryptic message to her about “treasure under the egg.” In desperate need of money, Theo commits herself to finding out what he meant. What she finds is an old painting of the Madonna and child…which may or may not be stolen but is certainly worth a lot of money. Recommended for mystery fans, art lovers, and younger students who only want to read YA.