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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fresh Finds: New Books Published in September

Staff Review of New Releases

 

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart (publication date: September 5)

 

Goodreads Summary:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

 

Kelcey's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars) I received an ARC of this book when I met E. Lockhart at the ALA Annual Conference this year. I was super excited to get my hands on it because I loved her previous book "We Were Liars" and it had been 2 years since I'd read anything by her. I started reading right away and was sucked right in. When the book starts you are thrown into the heat of the book at chapter 24. You have no idea who the characters are or what happened, you just know that she is on the run. The book then begins to tell the story backwards, ticking down the chapters until you reach chapter 1, in order to find out what madness happened to get the main character where she is when the story starts. I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness of this book, it was a form of storytelling that I had never explored before. It has love, disguises, and murder, a perfect combination to make you want to keep reading. So if you're looking for an exciting read with less than 300 pages - this is the book for you! 


The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones (publication date: September 5)


Goodreads Summary:

In an unspecified future, the United States' borders have receded behind a salt line--a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what's left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks--and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line. 
 

Katherine's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars) This book started out very strong and immediately captured my attention. I think the momentum of the story slowed when the major plot twist happened and for me, it never picked back up. I found the narration jumping between different characters to be jarring at times - maybe if each chapter had the narrator's name at the beginning that would have helped. Great world building and I won't be able to forget those ticks for a very long time.


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (publication date: September 12)


Goodreads Summary:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

 

Jill's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars) Celeste Ng has a special talent for making me feel connected to her characters & emotionally invested in her stories. I appreciated that we were able to see the story unfold from the different perspectives, but the stereotypes coming to life became a bit much for me after a while. It felt predictable rather than fresh and was also lacking the beautiful prose which can make up for so much. I liked it, and I will still look forward to her books for a light quick read. 


The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co #5) by Jonathan Stroud (publication date: September 12)

 

Goodreads Summary:

After the dramatic events of The Creeping Shadow, the Lockwood team (plus Quill Kipps) deserve some well-earned rest. So naturally they break into the Fittes Mausoleum, on a perilous mission to discover the truth about London's top ghost-hunting agency, and its sinister leader. What they discover will change everything.

But there's little time to ponder. A near-miss at a haunted fairground is only the start - as the Fittes agency closes in on the team, an epic struggle commences. With the help of some unexpected, and rather ghostly, allies, Lockwood & Co must battle their greatest enemy yet, as they move ever closer to the moment when the earth-shattering secret of 'the problem' will finally be revealed.

Jonathan Stroud once again delivers a rousing adventure full of danger, laughs, twists, and frights. The revelations will send readers back to Book 1 to start the series all over again.

 

Tirzah's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars) All of the elements that make the other Lockwood & Co. books such fun, engrossing reads are also present in The Empty Grave - humor, creepiness, teamwork, and romance. I would say this has been one of the most satisfying conclusions to a series I have read if it were not for one detail (won't say as that would be a spoiler!). Besides that, Jonathan Stroud did a very good job wrapping things up. I feel Stroud purposefully left some things open for reader interpretation or as an opening for a possible spin-off series. Either way, I have enjoyed my time with Lockwood, George, Lucy, and the Skull and I add them to my list of literary friends I will miss. I recommend this series to approximately ages 14+ who enjoy witty, adventurous, ghostly reads.


Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore (publication date: September 19)


Goodreads Summary:

Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is directionless. Then an old acquaintance, the glamorous and capricious Kiran Thrash, blows back into Jane’s life and invites her to a gala at the Thrashes’ extravagant island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.”

What Jane doesn’t know is that at Tu Reviens her story will change; the house will offer her five choices that could ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But every choice comes with a price. She might fall in love, she might lose her life, she might come face-to-face with herself. At Tu Reviens, anything is possible.

 

Katherine's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars) Kudos to Kristin Cashore for creativity and for doing something that I've never seen done before. The format of this book, having a main storyline that branches into many different variations at one point during the book, I found intriguing but ultimately frustrating. I really wanted some cohesive ending, or at the very least a hint of it, that would tie all the knowledge gained in the different storylines together. I found the book to be well-written, but I fear that many will be discouraged by the slow pace and confused by the different storylines.

 

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry (publication date: September 19)

 

Goodreads Summary:

In the course of his tenure with the Thames River Police, Commander Monk has yet to see a more gruesome crime scene: a Hungarian warehouse owner lies in the middle of his blood-sodden office, pierced through the chest with a bayonet and eerily surrounded by seventeen candles, their wicks dipped in blood. Suspecting the murder may be rooted in ethnic prejudice, Monk turns to London's Hungarian community in search of clues but finds his inquiries stymied by its wary citizens and a language he doesn't speak. Only with the help of a local pharmacist acting as translator can Monk hope to penetrate this tightly knit enclave, even as more of its members fall victim to identical brutal murders. But whoever the killer, or killers, may be--a secret society practicing ritual sacrifice, a madman on a spree, a British native targeting foreigners--they are well hidden among the city's ever-growing populace.

With the able assistance of his wife--former battlefield nurse Hester, who herself is dealing with a traumatized war veteran who may be tangled up in the murders--Monk must combat distrust, hostility, and threats from the very people he seeks to protect. But as the body count grows, stirring ever greater fear and anger among the Hungarian emigres, resistance to the police also increases. Racing time and the rising tide of terror all around him, Monk must be even more relentless than the mysterious killer, or the echoes of malice and murder will resound through London's streets like a clarion of doom.

 

Joyce's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars) Anne Perry continues her series of London River Police Commander William Monk with everything one would expect from her – attention to period detail, a riveting plot and characters that continue to evolve throughout the series.


The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott (publication date: September 24)


Goodreads Summary:

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove—to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife—“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.

We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades—testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.

 

Jill's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars) On one level, The Ninth Hour is a story about a young widow, Annie, and her daughter. We meet Annie at the lowest point of her life which also happens to be when she meets Sister St. Savior, a spirited nun who will take Annie and her infant daughter under her wing. Annie works in the laundry at the nunnery and Sally grows up knowing the sisters as her family. On a broader level, this is a story full of strong women fighting to live the lives they felt born to live.

While there may be many stories about the Irish arriving in Brooklyn to start a new life, this feels fresh both in the story and the storytelling. The perspectives shift letting us get to know and understand what drives both Annie and Sally in their search for meaning and joy in their lives. The line between the secular and the holy is crossed over and back again many times as we see that life is not black and white but shades of grey. As the story progresses many links between the characters are revealed that only we are privy to.

I found the writing to be beautiful. I loved how the concept of time belonging to ourselves was described as being the greatest luxury. I also appreciated how the nuns were portrayed as holy yet susceptible to human foibles of jealousy and fear without that affecting their relationship with God. They cared for the sick and the needy but the different sisters are described as: having a small, tight knot of fury at the center of her chest, having a mad heart – mad for mercy perhaps, but mad nonetheless, etc. Beautiful descriptions of women on fire for their cause.

This was my first book by Alice McDermott and won’t be my last! Loved it!


Saturday, October 7, 2017

On Our Nightstands - What We're Reading Now

Posted by Staff


Cary - How to be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life by Massimo Pigliucci

Sam - Damals war es Friedrich by Hans Peter Richter


Emily - For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

Allie - I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde (it's for a class--it's a fictional account from the POV of the first 'witch' accused at the Salem Witch trials; she was a slave, yet is one of the very few women in Salem who were accused that actually survived...). I am also reading Sailor V, a manga book, based off the Sailor Moon series

Amanda -  The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
(listening on Hoopla)

Mason - The Unknown Craftsman by Soetsu Yanagi
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen (pre pub)

Jake - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Megan J. - There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncè by Morgan Parker

Jill - Katalin Street by Magda Szabo

Joyce - House of Spies by Daniel Silva

Gerry - Astrophysics for People In A Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson & Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes To Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God

Kristen - Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Cassandra - Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

Dawn - The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Tirzah -
A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul E. Miller

(listening on Hoopla)

Devin - Afar by Leila del Duca



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

You CAN Handle the Truth: August and September Nonfiction Book Picks

Posted by the Information Services Department (Gwen B., Lisa E., Joyce D., & Zach H.)
Here's the latest list of our new nonfiction book picks! Listed below, along with their Dewey Decimal classification, are our top picks of the nonfiction books that looked most interesting, ultra-informative, or just plain fun. You can request them now by clicking on the titles and placing a hold.

305.3250973 TWE iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us by Jean M. Twenge

A highly readable and entertaining first look at how today’s members of iGen—the children, teens, and young adults born in the mid-1990s and later—are vastly different from their Millennial predecessors, and from any other generation, from the renowned psychologist and author of Generation Me.

With generational divides wider than ever, parents, educators, and employers have an urgent need to understand today’s rising generation of teens and young adults. Born in the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s and later, iGen is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence in the age of the smartphone. With social media and texting replacing other activities, iGen spends less time with their friends in person—perhaps why they are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.


364.3 POL Policing the Black Man edited by Angela Davis
Policing the Black Man explores and critiques the many ways the criminal justice system impacts the lives of African American boys and men at every stage of the criminal process from arrest through sentencing. Essays range from an explication of the historical roots of racism in the criminal justice system to an examination of modern-day police killings of unarmed black men. The co-authors discuss and explain racial profiling, the power and discretion of police and prosecutors, the role of implicit bias, the racial impact of police and prosecutorial decisions, the disproportionate imprisonment of black men, the collateral consequences of mass incarceration, and the Supreme Court's failure to provide meaningful remedies for the injustices in the criminal justice system. Policing the Black Man is an enlightening must-read for anyone interested in the critical issues of race and justice in America.

364.973 RAC Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin

When the final gavel clapped in a rural southern courtroom in the summer of 1988, Willie J. Grimes, a gentle spirit with no record of violence, was shocked and devastated to be convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. Here is the story of this everyman and his extraordinary quarter-century-long journey to freedom, told in breathtaking and sympathetic detail, from the botched evidence and suspect testimony that led to his incarceration to the tireless efforts to prove his innocence and the identity of the true perpetrator. These were spearheaded by his relentless champion, Christine Mumma, a cofounder of North Carolina's Innocence Inquiry Commission. That commission-unprecedented at its inception in 2006-remains a model organization unlike any other in the country, and one now responsible for a growing number of exonerations.
616.89 LEV Mental Health Inc: How Corruption, Lax Oversight and Failed Reforms Endanger Our Most Vulnerable Citizens by Art Levine

The mental health system in America is hardly a front-burner issue, despite lip-service about reform after a tragic mass killing. Yet every American should care deeply about fixing a system a presidential commission reported was in “shambles.” By some measures, about 20 percent of Americans have some sort of mental health condition, including the most vulnerable among us—veterans, children, the elderly, prisoners, the homeless. With Mental Health Inc., award-winning investigative journalist Art Levine delivers a Shock Doctrine-style expose of the failures of our out of control, profits-driven mental health system, with a special emphasis on the failures of the pharmaceuticals industry, including the treatment of children with antipsychotics and disastrous PTSD protocols for veterans.





618.92 NEW To Siri With Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of a Machine by Judith Newman 

Writer Judith Newman never had any illusions that her family was 'normal'. She and her husband keep separate apartments-his filled with twin grand pianos as befits a former opera singer; hers filled with the clutter and chaos of twin adolescent boys conceived late in life. And one of those boys is Gus, her sweet, complicated, autistic 13-year-old.
With refreshing honesty, To Siri With Love chronicles one year in the life of Gus and the family around him -- a family with the same crazy ups and downs as any other. And at the heart of the book lies Gus's passionate friendship with Siri, Apple's 'intelligent personal assistant'. Unlike her human counterparts, Siri always has the right answers to Gus's incessant stream of questions about the intricacies of national rail schedules, or box turtle varieties, and she never runs out of patience. She always makes sure Gus enunciates and even teaches him manners by way of her warm yet polite tone and her programmed insistence on civility.


635.0484 COR 101 Organic Gardening Hacks: Eco-Friendly Solutions to Improve Any Garden by Shawna Coronado

In 101 Organic Garden Hacks you'll find the top tips, tricks, and solutions Shawna has dreamed up in her career as one of America's most creative gardeners. Some are practical timesavers; others offer clever ways to "upcycle" everyday items in your garden. One characteristic every hack shares is that they are completely organic and unfailingly environmentally friendly. Divided into a dozen different categories for easy reference, each hack is accompanied by a clear photo that shows you exactly how to complete it. If you are looking for resourceful ways to improve your garden and promote green living values right at home, you'll love paging through this fascinating, eye-catching book.  


641.8654 PER The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies, and Bars by America's Test Kitchen


America's Test Kitchen aggregates many years of cookie baking knowledge, breaking down key steps and recipe techniques in this comprehensive cookbook that features recipes for any cookie you can dream up--from favorite cookie jar classics to new and unique cookies, brownies, bars, and candies for any occasion.



 





796.068 KOH The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport by Rafi Kohan

The American sports stadium, for all its raucous glory, is an overlooked centerpiece—a veritable temple—of our national culture. A hallowed ground for communal worship, this is where history is made on grass, artificial turf, hardwood, and even ice; where nostalgia flows as freely as ten-dollar beers; where everything thrills, from exploding fireworks to grinning cheerleaders. In The Arena, "an altogether new and riveting sports classic" (Josh Wilker), intrepid sportswriter Rafi Kohan crisscrosses the country, journeying from one beloved monument to the next. As he finagles access to the unexpected corners and hidden corridors of our most frequented fields, he discovers just what makes them tick—and what keeps us coming back time and time again.
 
 


809.89282 HAN Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult

by 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?



 

 

B FRIEDMAN Street Warrior: The True Story of the NYPD’s Most Decorated Detective and the Era That Created Him by Ralph Friedman, Patrick W. Picciarelli

2,000 arrests. 100 off-duty arrests. 6,000 assists. 15 shootings. 8 shot. 4 kills. These are not the performance statistics of an entire NYPD unit. They are the record that makes Detective 2nd Grade Ralph Friedman a legend.

Friedman was arguably the toughest cop ever to wear the shield and was the most decorated detective in the NYPD's 170-year history. Stationed at the South Bronx's notorious 41 Precinct, known by its nickname "Fort Apache," Friedman served during one of the city's most dire times: the 1970s and '80s, when fiscal crisis, political disillusionment, an out-of-control welfare system, and surging crime and drug use were just a few of its problems.

B TARTER Making Contact: Jill Tarter and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Sarah Scoles

Jill Tarter is a pioneer, an innovator, an adventurer, and a controversial force. At a time when women weren’t encouraged to do much outside the home, Tarter ventured as far out as she could—into the three-Kelvin cold of deep space. And she hasn’t stopped investigating a subject that takes and takes without giving much back.

Today, her computer's screensaver is just the text “SO…ARE WE ALONE?” This question keeps her up at night. In some ways, this is the question that keep us all up at night. We have all spent dark hours wondering about our place in it all, pondering our "aloneness," both terrestrial and cosmic. Tarter’s life and her work are not just a quest to understand life in the universe: they are a quest to understand our lives within the universe. No one has told that story, her story, until now.