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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Meet the Staff - Allie B.


Posted by Allie B. 
How long have you worked at the library?
For about 3 months now!

How many items do you have checked out right now?
Umm….about 15. I have a lot of books out for school. I, Tituba by Maryse Conde, Emily Dickinson books…I also have a book checked out about the spirituality of the Yazidis.

How many items are on your hold list?
I think I have 3 items on my hold list—2 fiction (a Dr. Who book (Forever Autumn) and In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell.

What book can you read again and again without losing interest? Why do you still read it? Oh, that’s a hard question and I could pick plenty of books, but I would have to pick The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It’s a mash-up telling of the fictional and historical Dracula, with two interweaving stories in its narrative. It’s well-written, intense, but long (it’s 500 pages, at least) novel, but definitely worth the read.
If you were a literary character, who would you be and why?
Hands down, Jane Eyre from Charlotte Bronte’s novel of the same name, Jane Eyre. Jane is awesome because of how brave she is, because she sticks to her principles despite whatever hardships life throws at her.

What aspects of the library do you think are underutilized?

I think the digital components of the library are definitely underutilized. The app Hoopla is an amazing product – they have current comic issues in digital format, audiobooks, movies – all for free, and can check out 6 per month. Right now I am listening to Old Souls, a non-fiction book about reincarnation, by Tom Schroder and a lecture by American Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman.

What is your favorite book format (book, audio, mp3, e-reader, etc.)?
I am a huge fan of audiobooks, particularly radio dramas. One of my favorite audiobooks is actually in our catalog – John le Carre’s The Looking Glass War. It’s about the British home and foreign intelligence service during the Cold War, and what human aspects impact and mold the war.

What is your favorite aspect of working at the library?
The atmosphere. The staff here is pretty helpful and nice, and accommodating in the sense that they will take the time and have the patience to show or help you with anything you need instruction in.

What is your guilty reading (or listening) pleasure?
Oh, probably still reading children’s books.

What books do you feel guilty for not having read?
War and Peace

Have your reading habits changed since working at the library? If so, how?
Yes. I read more thoroughly now, as well as in larger chunks of time.

What is your perfect reading environment? Dead quiet, lying down, with my cat near me.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what single genre of books would you want with you?
I would want to bring either some sort of folklore/ghost story/or mythology book with me.

What was your favorite children’s book when you were a child? What is your favorite children’s book now?

I have a lot…I loved the Animal Ark series, particularly the Animal Ark: Hauntings series. The series follows a young girl, her friend, and the girl’s parents (who are veterinarians) as they deal with the struggles, surprises, and joys that come with being animal doctors in England. I also loved the Goosebumps series, especially the “Choose Your Own Fate” books. My two favorite children’s books now are Bunnicula and D'Aulaire’s illustrated Greek Mythology book.

Before you worked here, what was your worst library transgression?
I did not pick my library books at one time...they had been on “hold” for me for a while.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Celebrating Roald Dahl Day!

Posted by Staff

Roald Dahl, author of 17 children's novels and many additional books and screenplays, was born on September 13, 1916. Children love his books and many adults count his books as some of their all-time favorites. Even if you have never read one of his books, you have probably heard of them or seen movies that have been made based on them.

For his birthday, we're sharing with you the results of a fun, completely unscientific quiz, that told us which Roald Dahl book character we were. If you'd like to take the quiz, here's the link:



We've also shared our favorite Roald Dahl book/movie in a chart at the bottom. 

The BFG


Sophie
You always seem to fall into adventure. Fun follows you wherever you go. What's more is that you tend to make new buddies no matter where you end up.

Katherine, Sam 


The BFG (Big Friendly Giant)
You regularly beat the norm and break the mold when it comes to your actions. Sometimes the results are clumsy, but you hold your positive attitude and are a joy to those around you.

Jake

   

 

Fantastic Mr. Fox 


Fantastic Mr. Fox
You are cunning, smart, and highly fashionable. Haters try to keep you down but you're not having that. You know what you want and you go for it with style and finesse.

Jill



 



 

 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Charlie
Some may mistake your calm, quiet nature for weakness, but you have them all fooled. One day you'll be running the show and they will all wonder what hit them. Even if you fall on hard times your heart of gold will get your through.

Kristen, Kelcey, Tirzah, Megan P.
 
 
Grandma Joe
You've somehow mastered the combination of maturity and youthfulness. People want to be around you because you're fun, and value your company because of your brilliant insights."

Susan, Zach, Gwen, Devin, Mary, Evan

 

 

James and the Giant Peach


James
There is something bigger for you out there, and it's your mission to find it. You enjoy striking up discussions with the most interesting people and learning from their stories. People love it when you join them on a journey and miss you terribly when you're gone.

Amanda, Vani, Gerry

 




 

Matilda

Miss Honey
You are as sweet as can be, and beautiful to boot. There may be few things in your past you don't like to discuss, but you never let these events stand in the way of your success

Megan J, Emily, Lisa


 





 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fresh Finds for August

Staff Review of New Releases


Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley (Publication date: August 1)

 

Goodreads Summary:

In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.

When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.

Katherine's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars)
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I agree with other reviewers that this book starts very slowly and while I was much more interested in the storyline as the book went on I wouldn't say the pace ever speeds up. There are some really interesting, unique plot lines in this book, but I never felt the full impact of them because of the way they were presented in the story. I love the cover and I really wanted to love this story but I was never swept into it.

Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson (Publication date: August 1)

 

Goodreads Summary:

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past...

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar's loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.
 


The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson's novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology--and riveting action.

Katherine's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars)
Fun, intriguing and nearly impossible to put down! I loved reading this book. It's creative, well written and something new. I'm always on the look-out for fresh ideas in books and this definitely fits the bill.


Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose (Publication date: August 1)


Goodreads Summary:

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run. Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, she finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle, but the fa├žade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. They believe Lee holds the key to it all.

Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city—empty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families, but the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she’s trying to elude. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her—and why.

 

Katherine's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars)
I was unaware while reading this that the artwork that is such an important part of this book is from a real-life artist, Michael Duchamp. I liked the book even more once I looked a pictures of pieces that are mentioned in the story. I enjoyed reading this book because the writing kept me turning pages and guessing what was happening. However when I finished, I felt that perhaps the concept was a bit too ambitious. I got a bogged down in the details of how the art was connected to theoretical physics and what exactly the secret society was doing. This wasn't the book I was expecting when I picked it up but I think many readers will enjoy this art mystery/thriller.

The Locals by Jonathan Dee (Publication date: August 8)


Goodreads Summary:

Mark Firth is a contractor and home restorer in Howland, Massachusetts, who feels opportunity passing his family by. After being swindled by a financial advisor, what future can Mark promise his wife, Karen, and their young daughter, Haley? He finds himself envying the wealthy weekenders in his community whose houses sit empty all winter.

Philip Hadi used to be one of these people. But in the nervous days after 9/11 he flees New York and hires Mark to turn his Howland home into a year-round “secure location” from which he can manage billions of dollars of other people’s money. The collision of these two men’s very different worlds—rural vs. urban, middle class vs. wealthy—is the engine of Jonathan Dee’s powerful new novel.


Jill's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars)
When I read that George Saunders calls The Locals a "bold, vital and view-expanding novel that thrills technically and emotionally", I had to read it.

I can see how the novel is relevant for this moment in history, because this small town is really representative of our country in this political climate. How do we work together for the greater good when we cannot agree on how to move forward? Why is there such a gap between the haves and the have nots? Why do people believe you more readily or are more ready to follow you when you are wealthy? This would be a very good book club selection, because there is a lot to discuss.

I thought the characters were interesting & well written, but I was frustrated by getting to know characters only to have them vanish for no particular reason. I understand that this story was about the town as a whole, so that may have been the author's intention but so many loose ends is something that bothers me as a reader.

I liked the book, but I don't think it is one I will especially remember.


Wild things: the joy of reading children’s literature as an adult by Bruce Handy (publication date: August 15)

 

Goodreads Summary:

An irresistible, nostalgic, and insightful and totally original ramble through classic children s literature from Vanity Fair contributing editor (and father) Bruce Handy.

In 1690, the dour New England Primer, thought to be the first American children's book, was published in Boston. Offering children gems of advice such as Strive to learn and Be not a dunce, it was no fun at all. So how did we get from there to Let the wild rumpus start ? And now that we're living in a golden age of children's literature, what can adults get out of reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte's Web and Little House on the Prairie?

 

Joyce's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars)
A fascinating look at children’s books I loved and books that were new to me. I enjoyed learning more about how and why the author and/or illustrator created the books. 


Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Publication date: August 15)

Goodreads Summary:

Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she’s accepted an invitation from a mentor in America that allows her to resume a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When he resurfaces half a globe away, Isma’s worst fears are confirmed.

Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Son of a powerful political figure, he has his own birthright to live up to—or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Suddenly, two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined, in this searing novel that asks: What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?


Jill's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars)
This book was a big surprise for me. It begins rather awkwardly and I don't recall any beautiful sentences to highlight or re-read, but I still loved the book. Interesting and thought provoking. I'd give it 5 stars, but I need that beautiful prose. Now I need to read Antigone!

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne (Publication date: August 22)

 

Goodreads Summary:

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery -- or at least, that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from and over his many years will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.

 

Jill's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars)
Overall, I found Cyril Avery to be a great character written into a good story.

Some very serious subjects are addressed in the book, and the author uses humor to lighten the weight of these issues. This was both a positive and a negative for me. While parts of the book are very funny, there are certain subjects I have trouble laughing at even when humor is used as a coping mechanism. And, if the same line is repeated over & over, it loses its power.

The beginning is very strong and hard to put down, but the story unraveled a bit for me as it went on. There were too many coincidences and some foreshadowing which had me guessing several of the major plot lines before they occurred. Without any spoilers, I would just say that I love a good redemption story, but it still needs to be convincing in order to appreciate that redemption. I had trouble with some of the resolution in this book, even though it felt good.
3.5 stars



Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (Publication date: August 22)

 

Goodreads Summary:

What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

Katherine's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars)
What a unique, fun, and witty book! I'm always excited to read something new and this one has unique pouring from it. Death is a woman named Suzie and everyone gets 10,000 lives to get "it right" and achieve perfection. The little pieces of wisdom sprinkled throughout the book were wonderful and I loved the humor. I'll definitely be reading more of Michael Poore books!

Jill's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars)
I was certainly intrigued when I saw a starred review in Kirkus for a book about reincarnation where Death, one of the main characters, is also known as Suzie. This set the tone for the entire wild ride for me.

Milo has 5 lives left out of his limit of 10,000 to reach perfection, and he is in love with Death, a.k.a Suzie who he only meets in-between lives. There is never a dull moment, and while both Milo and Suzie are guilty at times of conversations more likely attributable to teenagers than the wisest souls in existence, I really had fun with the book. This is not literary fiction, my usual genre, but I enjoyed the creativity of this book. There are beautiful moments:

"Living in the ocean was half-dreamlike, an act of worship without the complication of gods."

"The universe twisted around and flipped her out of there, reminding her, in its way, that she was Death, not Rain or Mercy."

There are both very touching moments (oh - the whale!) and times where I laughed out loud, and I look forward to reading more from Michael Poore.


Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas (Publication date: August 29)

 

Goodreads Summary:

When Joan finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is stunned by Martin’s delight, his instant betrayal of their pact. She makes a fateful, selfless decision then, to embrace her unintentional family.

Challenged by raising two precocious sons, it is decades before she finally completes her masterpiece novel. Poised to reclaim the spotlight, to resume the intended life she gave up for love, a betrayal of Shakespearean proportion forces her to question every choice she has made.

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas’s gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.


Jill's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars)
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby combined two things which I really enjoy in a book. The theme is important & relevant (to me), and it has some very interesting & darkly beautiful writing in the stories within the story.

Most women struggle with their career and/or identity after becoming a mother, and Wolas writes about this with intensity and clarity. Joan Ashby is both "attracted and repelled" by the daily experiences of marriage and raising children as she struggles to maintain her identity as a writer.

"She was consumed by domesticity: the normality of her flesh-and-blood family juxtaposed against her manifested world, which was mystical, numinous, sometimes supernaturally odd." (I had to look up numinous - it means having a mysterious, holy, or spiritual quality. )

I am rounding my 3.5 up to 4 stars for the close-to-perfect first half. The second half was too Eat, Pray, Love -ish for my taste, but I loved her writing and look forward to reading more by Wolas.