Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring is in the air

Once Spring arrives, the mood in the air changes. You see more smiling faces and hear more laughter. The library offers multiple kinds of books to keep you in good spirits. Whether you are looking for true stories, fictional adventures, or just plain, old romance, then the library is the place to be-either in person or digitally.

Some great reads for true story lovers are:
Oogy: the Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin--a tale about a puppy that endured so much and the family who loved him unconditionally.
The Secret History of Jane Eyre by John Pfordresher--follows how the author Charlotte Bronte wrote her classic novel and concealed that fact from her closest friends so as not to reveal her own personal struggles.
We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson--inspires women to use practical, spiritual, and psychological tools to create a more fulfilling life.

For you fiction lovers:
We were the lucky ones by Georgia Hunter--a novel based on a true story of a Jewish family in Poland that were scattered throughout the world by WWII and their quest to find each other.
All Grown Up by Jamie Attenberg--is about an alcoholic designer that hides her unhappiness and anxiety from her family and friends until a newborn's illness forces them to re-evaluate their lives.
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova--follows an American tourist in Bulgaria and her efforts to return a mysterious package to the family she shared a cab with.

And finally, for those of you who feel romance in the air:
The Undateable by Sarah Title--is a fun tale about an "undateable" librarian who agrees to let a reporter find her "perfect match".
Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shavis--follows a guy unwilling to commit to his girl but who sabotages her dates with others.
Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh--is about a woman who leaves London to teach at an orphanage and the artist who awakens something new in her.

So open your mind and try a different genre this Spring. You never know, you might like it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Best Light Reads

I enjoy reading thrillers, but every now and then you need a light read that does not involve murder, mayhem, torture or massive amounts of intrigue. Sometimes a nice fun story is just what the doctor ordered. In this blog I'm going to list some of my favorite light reads and maybe a few of the high octane thrill rides that allow me to appreciate a fun story.

Eight Hundred Grapes: A Novel by Laura Dave
Georgia Ford learned important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of win: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother's lasagna: chocolate and the secret behind ending a fight: hold hands. This is a heartbreaking, funny and deeply evocative novel about love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain where they intersect.

Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay
I was going to write a brief synopsis...but then I read the authors summary and I decided to leave this summary to the Thurber Prize winning author who says it best (aka Jason Gay the author). 
"The book you hold in your hand is a rule book. There have been rule books before--stacks upon stacks of them--but this book is unlike any other rule book you have ever read. It will not make you rich in twenty-four hours, or even seventy-two hours. It will not cause you to lose eighty pounds in a week. This book has no abdominal exercises. I have been doing abdominal exercises for most of my adult life life and my abdomen looks like it's always looked. It looks like flan. Syrupy flan. So we can just limit those expectations..." What this book is, is hilarious. If you need a relaxing look at life...this is it. You will laugh and maybe even find a little truth about yourself. 

The World's Largest Man: A Memoir by Harrison Scott Key
A sly, witty and heartfelt tribute to a father who was much like Paul Bunyan and how his son came to appreciate the man, he could never be. Winner of the Thurber Prize.

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
Comma, comma, comma chameleon is just the beginning of this fantastic and hilarious account of The New Yorker Magazine page 'Ok-er' and her 35 years of checking for punctuation pitfalls. If you are a comma killer, like me, you will truly enjoy this hilarious story.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
A wonderfully charming story of a widow, Arthur Pepper who finds a charm bracelet that his wife would never have owned, yet she did. This lovely homebody decides to venture forth and find out what he never knew about his wife of many years. A truly beautiful story that should not be missed.

Out of Warranty by Haywood Smith
This is a fantastic story about a widow who has no additional health coverage besides medicare. It's the story of how she searches for a husband for better coverage. A funny laugh-out-loud story that will make you smile. It also has heartfelt moments that make it truly irresistible. 

Thrillers filled with death, mayhem and intrigue. Note some of these are books in a series. I strongly advise reading the first book in the series (which is in parenthesis) before reading the book on my list. Many of these stories have strong character development so you may lose something if you haven't read the series in order. 

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs (Moon Called is the first in the series.) 
The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham (Flawless)
The Whistler by John Grisham
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands)
Wait for Dark by Kay Hooper (Haven)
Orphan X by Greg Hurwitz
You Don't Want to Know by Lisa Jackson
Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb (Naked in Death)
Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

2017 Book To Movie Adaptations

2017 has already had a few book-to-movie adaptations such as: "Logan", "The Shack", and "Beauty and the Beast".  The following highlights the others coming out later this year.  The library has all the books so you can compare and find out for yourself whether or not the book is better than the movie.

Already Released

"Before I Fall" based on the young adult novel by Lauren Oliver.

"The Sense of an Ending" based on the book by Julian Barnes.

3/31--"The Zookeeper's Wife" based on the book by Diane Ackerman about the true story of zoo owners who saved hundreds of Warsaw Jews during WWII.

4/7--"Wonder" based on the kid's book by R. J. Palacio about a young boy with a facial deformity and his struggle for acceptance.

Upcoming Releases

4/21--"The Lost City of Z" based on the book by David Grann--about a British explorer who disappeared in 1925 while searching for an Amazon civilization.

4/28--"The Circle" based on the book by Dave Eggers about young woman who works for a giant tech company and the scary things that happen.

5/5--"The Dinner" based on the book by Herman Koch about two sets of parents struggling with the horrible crime their teen sons have committed.

5/19--"Diary of a Wimpy Kid Long Haul" based on the kid's book by Jeff Kinney.

5/19--"Everything, Everything" based on the young adult novel by Nicola Yoon about a quarantined girl, allergic to everything, who falls for her neighbor.

6/2--"Captain Underpants" based on the kid's book by Dav Pilkey.

6/2--The Wonder Woman movie based on DC Comics series The New 52.

7/14--"My Cousin Rachel" based on the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier about an Englishman and his mysterious cousin who may be a murderess.

7/21--"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" based on the French comic series Valerian and Laureline.

7/28--"Atomic Blonde" based on the book The Coldest City by Antony Johnston.

7/28--"The Dark Tower-The Gunslinger" based on the fantasy epic by Stephen King about Roland Deschain's struggle to preserve his dying world.

9/8--"It" based on the horror novel by Stephen King about seven adults who return home to confront an evil from their childhoods.

10/13--"The Snowman" based on the Norwegian detective thriller by Jo Nesbo.

10/20--"The Mountain Between Us" based on the novel by Charles Martin about two plane crash victims who must survive the wilderness together.

10/20--"Same Kind of Different as Me" based on the book by Ron Hall.

10/27--"Thank You For Your Service" based on the book by David Finkel about how soldiers adjust to living back home after serving overseas.

11/22--"Murder On the Orient Express" based on the mystery by Agatha Christie.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April's In the Queue

If you love reading you definitely want to look at April's In the Queue. It  is filled with fantastic stories you will love to read!

Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
A powerful and insightful story that explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people's dreams on our shoulders.

Marlena: A Novel by Julie Buntin
An electric debut novel about love, addiction and loss; the story of two girls and the feral year that costs one girl her life and impacts the other for decades.

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child
Traveling to an isolated writer's retreat, Jeremy Logan, an investigator who specializes in unexplained phenomena, discovers a dead hiker whose wounds suggest an unnatural attack. 

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman
A deadly bombing is discovered to be part of a terrorist plot to disrupt peaceful negotiations between the Hopi and Dine tribes. Retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn discovers a link between the bombing and one of his cold cases that has haunted him for years.

The Shadow Land: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova
An engrossing novel that spans the past and the present and unearths the dark secrets of Bulgaria.

Earthly Remains by Donna Leon
Inspector Brunettis' endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation of an arrogant suspect, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will come to regret. In the fallout he realizes he needs a break. When he is granted leave he escapes to a villa owned by a wealthy relative. Once there  he becomes embroiled in the disappearance of his host in the aftermath of a sudden storm.

The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
This suspenseful novel about a courageous woman tested by a catastrophic event and its devastating aftermath is based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine. 

My Italian Bulldozer: A Novel by Alexander McCall Smith
A hilarious stand alone novel about Paul Stewart's misadventures in travel and romance in the Italian countryside.

New Books by Best Selling Authors

Robert B. Parker's Little White Lies by Ace Atkins
No Middle Name by Lee Child
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
Nighthawk by Clive Cussler
The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans
Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
The Thirst by Jo Nesbo
Fallout by Sara Paretsky
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
Against All Odds: A Novel by Danielle Steel
Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Nevertheless: A Memoir by Alec Baldwin
In a candid memoir, a noted, o utspoken actor chronicles the highs and lows of his life and career.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
A true account of the early 20th century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered a chilling conspiracy.

Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott
An impassioned exploration of mercy, its elusive presence and why people ignore or embrace it.

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith
A revealing portrait of the crown royal that offers new insights into his lonely childhood, intellectual quests, entrepreneurial pursuits and marriages.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Audiobook Plays: The Gods of Carnage & Art

Despite this being Audiobook promo month at the Library, I have a confession to make: I don't listen to audiobooks much at all.

I read almost entirely fiction, and there has always been something a little intrusive about having someone else narrating a novel for me. I feel like it gives characters voices that I would never give them, and gives me an internal narrator that I would never use. Regardless of whether it is a single narrator or a full-ensemble cast replete with sound effects, I still prefer physical books for the novels I read.

But...I have found an instance where audiobooks have made me appreciate the material in a way that I wouldn't by reading it myself: Plays (or Drama, if you do a subject search on Hoopla or Overdrive).

I can’t say I know many people who read plays. There are ongoing discussions over whether plays should be read as literature at all, and I'm sure we've all heard some variant of "plays are meant to be seen, not read." But what can you do if a play isn't available for viewing but it is difficult to read as well? Audiobooks are an accessible alternative to text or performance. 

Two plays that I listened to recently were Yasmina Reza's Gods of Carnage and Art. Gods of Carnage is a black comedy of manners about two sets of parents who meet to discuss a fight between their two children and what ends up happening when their civility starts to slip. In the same vein as Herman Koch's The Dinner and Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap , but much snarkier than both, Gods of Carnage is a short listen and an entertaining jump into contemporary drama. 

Art is a discussion of what "art" really is when three friends get into a sparring match after one of them buys a white-on-white canvas for a hefty sum. 

Neither of these plays would have been on my radar without our audiobook selection - so I recommend you check out the dramas yourself: from the ancient Greek plays to Shakespeare to Chekhov and Ibsen to modern works, you might find something new to enjoy. Or a new way to enjoy it. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black

Ninth City Burning takes place around 500 years into the future where humanity is embroiled in a centuries long war with an alien race. When the aliens, or Romeos as they are called in the story, first came, they brought an unstoppable, reality altering power called thelemity. It seemed all was lost until humanity realized that some of their own could also wield this same power. Ever since their first onslaught was beat back, much of the technology has been related around thelemety and fighting the Romeos. However, after centuries of attrition, the Romeos have changed tactics and it could mean the end of Earth. 

The story is told from the point of view of 7 characters and each of these is narrated by a different actor in the audio version. We follow each of these seven, all from different background and vastly different perspectives on the conflict as they start to come together and try to save humanity. 

Overall, the story can be a bit formulaic and there are segments where you know exactly what is going to happen next. But the the multiple narrators and characters do keep it interesting. I hope that in the next book, Black manages to keep plot points better concealed and less trope-ish. A good listen overall and recommended for fans of coming-of-age sf/f such as Ender's Game and Hunger Games. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Great Audiobooks for the Whole Family

This month the library is highlighting its audiobook collection! Try a book on CD, Playaway, eaudiobook, and now MP3!  MP3 audiobooks are easier to handle and keep track of because the whole book is on just one or two discs.
I listen to audiobooks in my car--it's how I get an extra book in a week.  I really like a lot of different genres including mysteries, fantasy, history, and especially young adult titles.  The teen collection has tons of great choices including some of my favorites.
The following are some really fantastic choices that I would suggest for audio lovers:

Nevada Barr--Anna Pigeon Series--Track of the Cat--Mystery
Terry Brooks--Shannara Series--Sword of Shannara--Fantasy
Terry Brooks--Genesis of Shannara Series--Armageddon's Children--Fantasy
Daniel James Brown--The Boys in the Boat--Non-Fiction
*Jim Butcher--Cinder Spires Series--The Aeronaut's Windlass--Fantasy
Jim Butcher--Dresden Files--Storm Front--Mystery
Bill Bryson--A Walk In The Woods--Non-Fiction
Suzanne Collins--Hunger Games Trilogy--Hunger Games--Young Adult
*Diana Gabaldon--Outlander Series--Outlander--Historical, Fantasy
Laura Hillenbrand--Unbroken: WWII Story of Survival...--Non-Fiction
Sara Paretsky--V. I. Warshawski Series--Indemnity Only--Mystery
*Richard Peck--Grandma Dowdel Series--A Long Way from Chicago--Yng Adult
Kathy Reichs--Temperance Brennan Series--Deja Dead--Mystery
*J. K. Rowling--Harry Potter Series--H Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone--Juve
Rebecca Skloot--The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks--Non-Fiction
Jonathan Stroud--Bartimaeus Series--The Amulet of Samarkand--Juvenile
***Elizabeth Wein--Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire--Young Adult
*Westerfeld, Scott--Leviathan Series--Leviathan--Young Adult
Moira Young--Dustlands Series--Blood, Red Road--Young Adult

These are all wonderful but my absolute favorites are marked with a *.