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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Patron Book Reviews: November 2016

Book reviews provided by EPL patrons

Be Frank With Me by Julia Clairborne Johnson
Great Book! Loved it. Wonderful characters - unique plot. A fun ride.


The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
Great for anyone who like adventure stories, especially those set in medieval Europe. A must for Cornwell fans, it is the tenth installment of this Saxon series.

Marrow by Elizabeth Lesser
Read by me and a friend. Excellent memoir - very heartfelt and contemporary.

Mister Monkey by Francine Prose
Very enjoyable and has more meat (and heart) than I expected initially. I'm looking forward to reading the author's other novels. This would make a good book club selection - plenty of characters/motivations to play with.

She Came From Beyond by Nadine Darling
Ambitious themes and goals, but the author only touches superficially on them. The heroine is shallow and unlikeable, the villain is a sad sack and the love interest is useless.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Terrific narrative that very deftly captures a sense of someone sliding into senile dementia. Fluidly moved between memory and the present, echoing between similar experiences then and now. The past "creates" the present and the present perhaps re-frames the past.

Forbidden Love in St. Petersburg by Mishka Ben-David
A long, but good book. An odd type of book....a romantic spy story.

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani
Very Good! Old Hollywood glamour and secrets. Really enjoyed it!

Five and Twenty Fives by Michael Pitre
Opened my eyes to a troops life in the Middle East. Great Book! I now have a better understanding of PTSD.

Seoul Man by Frank Ahrens
Great look at living in the business world of Korea. Americans need to read more of these kinds of books.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Love It, Like it, or Leave It! October and November New Releases

Staff Reviews of New Releases 


small great things by Jodi Picoult (publication date: October 11)

Goodreads Description:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?


Susan's Review:

Jodi Picoult's soon to be released heart wrenching book "small great things" looks at how white supremacy affects the life of an African American, who is falsely accused of a wrong doing. Even in this day and age, racism permeates its tentacles into our society worldwide. This book should be required reading for anyone and everyone who lives in our multicultural society of today. The story stands out for its insight into different cultures and how characters evolve and grow, while questioning their upbringing and beliefs.

Terranauts by T.C. Boyle (publication date: October 25)

Goodreads Description:

It is 1994, and in the desert near Tillman, Arizona, forty miles from Tucson, a grand experiment involving the future of humanity is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. Their sealed, three-acre compound comprises five biomes—rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean and marsh—and enough wildlife, water, and vegetation to sustain them.

Closely monitored by an all-seeing Mission Control, this New Eden is the brainchild of eco-visionary Jeremiah Reed, aka G.C.—“God the Creator”—for whom the project is both an adventure in scientific discovery and a momentous publicity stunt. In addition to their roles as medics, farmers, biologists, and survivalists, his young, strapping Terranauts must impress watchful visitors and a skeptical media curious to see if E2’s environment will somehow be compromised, forcing the Ecosphere’s seal to be broken—and ending the mission in failure. As the Terranauts face increased scrutiny and a host of disasters, both natural and of their own making, their mantra: “Nothing in, nothing out,” becomes a dangerously ferocious rallying cry.

Katherine's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars) When I picked up this book, I thought about all the ways that 8 people being locked up together on 3 acres for two years could go horribly wrong. It was very interesting to find out what happens to these terranauts over the course of the book. Because two of the narrators of the story are so unlikeable, I did find it hard to be fully engaged. I wish I could have gotten the perspectives of some of the other main characters

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman (publication date: November 1)

Goodreads Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here offers an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him—even as they must find a way to let go.

Katherine's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars)  A moving, beautiful, heart-wrenching novella - I am in awe of Fredrik Backman! In this book, he masterfully portrays the love between family members as a beloved grandfather loses his memory. Although difficult to discuss and even more difficult to go through or see someone else go through, memory loss in old age is so common that it will touch us all. Such an important book for our time!

Jill's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars) Backman does it again. This is a beautifully written novella which deals with loss and the aging of loved ones, but is filled with love rather than sadness. "You were never ordinary to me my love. You were electric shocks and fire." sigh..... I loved it.

The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker (publication date: November 13)

Goodreads Description:

Vincent Appleton smiles at his daughters, raises a gun, and blows off his head. For the Appleton sisters, life had unravelled many times before. This time it explodes.
Eight-year-old Hariet, known to all as Ari, is dispatched to Cape Breton and her Aunt Mary, who is purported to eat little girls . . . With Ari on the journey is her steadfast companion, Jasper, an imaginary seahorse. But when they arrive in Pleasant Cove, they instead find refuge with Mary and her partner Nia.
As the tumultuous ’60s ramp up in Toronto, Ari is torn from her aunts and forced back to her twisted mother and fractured sisters. Her new stepfather Len and his family offer hope, but as Ari grows to adore them, she’s severed violently from them too, when her mother moves in with the brutal Dick Irwin.

Katherine's Review:

(5 out of 5 stars) Amazing! I am in awe of Heather Tucker's writing and storytelling. The Clay Girl is one of the best books I've read and definitely in my top five for the year. This book is powerful, beautifully written, and nearly impossible to put down. Difficult and horrifying subjects flow through the narrative, but this story transcends those topics and ultimately leaves the reader feeling hopeful and so happy for the good people that come into Ari's, the main character's, life.  
One bit of advice, do not give up reading this book until you've read at least 50 pages. It takes a while to understand who the characters are and even longer to understand what has happened to Ari, the main character, when she was a young child. Part of the beauty of this book is getting Ari's perspective on life and what is happening in her family as she gets older. There is a beautifully rendered family tree in the front of the book which does help you keep track of the characters. I eagerly await future books written by Heather Tucker!

Moonglow by Michael Chabon (publication date: November 22)

Goodreads Descripton:

Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history in which Chabon attempts to reconstruct the mysterious origins and fate of Chabon Scientific, Co., an authentic mail-order novelty company whose ads for scale models of human skeletons, combustion engines and space rockets were once a fixture in the back pages of Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and Boy’s Life. Along the way Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.


Jill's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars) Inspired to write this book by the stories his grandfather told him in the weeks before his death, Chabon's book spans oceans and decades and introduces us to many vibrant characters.
The historical background of the family, whether fact or fiction, was very interesting & moving, and I often found myself wondering what part of the story of his grandmother's life was the truth. I don't want to include any spoilers, but he could have written a novel on her life alone!
For me this was a 3.5 star book. Some of the transitions between time periods and characters were a bit disjointed making it a bit challenging to re-orient myself, and I also thought it may have been a bit over ambitious at times with too many digressions. I think this description from the publisher is brilliant "A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as memoir". At the end of it, it didn't matter what was fact vs. fiction. I just know that it touched me and was a moving story.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Meet the Staff: Jake S.

Posted by Katherine R.
How long have you worked at the library?  About a month

How many items do you have checked out right now?  6

How many items are on your hold list? 1 

What book can you read again and again without losing interest? Why do you still read it? 
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is my favorite novel. It is so powerful and moving. The story has such depth and emotion that I cannot be helped but moved by it. 

If you were a literary character, who would you be and why? 
I always identified with characters like the Fairy Godmother & Blue Fairie. I have always wanted to help people & help make their dreams come true.  

What aspects of the library do you think are underutilized? 
The genealogy department does not get as much attention as it deserves.
What is your favorite book format (book, audio, mp3, e-reader, etc.)?  
I prefer having a physical book in my hands. 

What is your favorite aspect of working at the library?  
Working with my wonderful co-workers. 

What is your guilty reading (or listening) pleasure? 
The Twilight series. I know they are not great novels but they are still very enjoyable reads.

What books do you feel guilty for not having read?  Lord of the Rings. I have started it several times but never made it past halfway into Fellowship. It’s wonderfully well written but is somewhat arduous to get through. It is so detailed that it almost reads like a history textbook. 

What is your perfect reading environment? 
A large grand library while sitting in a huge leather armchair in front of a roaring fire. 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what single genre of books would you want with you? 
Fantasy Novels
What was your favorite children’s book when you were a child? What is your favorite children’s book now? 
While there were many that I loved Harry Potter was and is still my favorite children’s series. 

Before you worked here, what was your worst library transgression?
Returning books late.