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Monday, August 15, 2016

Love It, Like It, Leave it

Staff Reviews of New Releases

Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (publication date: July 27)

Goodreads Description:

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

Katherine's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars) The Summer that Melted Everything was a fascinating book to read. It was written in a way that made it hard to put down and though it was dark, it wasn't oppressively so. I grew up in the 1980's so I thought I'd feel right at home (given that this story takes place in 1984), but this story's setting did not feel familiar. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't set in a much earlier time. I loved Tiffany McDaniel's writing style and I'll definitely keep at eye out for any future books.

The Trees by Ali Shaw (publication date: August 2)

Goodreads Description:

There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins…

There is no warning. No chance to prepare.

They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed. Broken bodies, still wrapped in tattered bed linen, hang among the twitching leaves.


Katherine's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars) I've read quite a few apocalyptic stories, but this one is truly unique. No, the end of the world as we know it is not caused by a comet, a global pandemic, or a nuclear's caused by trees! What an amazing idea. Overall I enjoyed reading this book but the descriptions of violence were a bit too much at times and the ending didn't quite work for me.

The Hike by Drew Magary (publication date: August 2)

Goodreads Description:

When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.

Katherine's Review:

(2 out of 5 stars) This book did not work for me. It's very possible that it would work for other readers, but it was too strange for me to enjoy it. Other reviewers have said that the ending was worth it all, but it just left me frustrated. Perhaps I missed some hidden meaning in the book or symbolism and that's why I am feeling so confused about it.

Altogether Unexpected Appearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez (publication date: August 9)

Goodreads Description:

A fiendishly fun and charming novel echoing the quirky works of brilliant director Pedro Almodóvar, The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman follows an uptight Englishman who is sent to Madrid to close a literary magazine and the five fiery, close-knit Spanish women who must devise a plan in order to keep the jobs they love.

Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey, an electric kettle, and a teacup—so he makes sure he has packed all three after his father, distinguished publisher of Craftsman & Co., sends him to Madrid to shut down a failing literary magazine, Librarte. But when nobody has heard from him in three months, his father knows something must be very wrong.

Katherine's Review:

(3 out of 5 stars) For a light, humorous read this book works well. Overall I enjoyed reading it. I found myself very amused during parts of it but I also think some of the characters were too forced.

I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows (publication date: August 9)

Goodreads Review:

Annie Bell can't escape the dust. It's in her hair, covering the windowsills, coating the animals in the barn, in the corners of her children's dry, cracked lips. It's 1934 and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma is struggling as the earliest storms of The Dust Bowl descend. All around them the wheat harvests are drying out and people are packing up their belongings as storms lay waste to the Great Plains. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions. Annie's fragile young son, Fred, suffers from dust pneumonia; her headstrong daughter, Birdie, flush with first love, is choosing a dangerous path out of Mulehead; and Samuel, her husband, is plagued by disturbing dreams of rain.

Katherine's Review:

(4 out of 5 stars) This book surprised me in wonderful way. Although set in the 1930's during the Dust Bowl, the characters are the driving force of the book not the setting. I was very grateful for this as I didn't think I could handle another "Grapes of Wrath" type story right now. Granted, this book is not devoid of emotionally wrenching moments, but the book didn't leave me wrung out and reeling. I loved Rae Meadows' writing and I was quickly sucked into these character's lives. 

Jill's Review:
(4 out of 5 stars) I have to admit that I picked up this ARC, because I really liked the cover and the title. (sometimes it is a very scientific selection process - ha!) But I am so glad I did! I really felt immersed in this family's life in Dust Bowl Oklahoma in the 1930s. The story was well written and managed to be piercing & touching without being too heavy. I also thought the author managed to show you different sides of the characters which makes them more realistic and memorable.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Meet the Staff: Kathleen M.

Posted by Kathleen M.
How long have you worked at the library?  6 months (I was hired in mid-February)

How many items do you have checked out right now? 1

How many items are on your hold list? 1

What aspects of the library do you think are underutilized?

I think that the online/digital resources are underutilized. I did not know about Hoopla and 3M Cloud Library until I was hired. Now I use both resources all of the time. Also, I have been using the online databases for school research papers for years, and I think they are great, but I do not think people always understand the difference between online sources and database sources.

What is your favorite book format (book, audio, mp3, e-reader, etc.)?

I like hardback books and digital audiobooks through Hoopla and 3M Cloud Library.

What is your favorite aspect of working at the library?

My coworkers are knowledgeable and entertaining.

What is your guilty reading (or listening) pleasure?

I love listening to non-fiction humorous memoirs. I especially love when authors read their own books for audiobooks. Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris are two of my favorites.

What books do you feel guilty for not having read?

I feel a little guilty for not having read all of the Harry Potter books or any of the Hunger Games books. I only feel a little guilty because fantasy is not the genre I get a lot of enjoyment out of.

Have your reading habits changed since working at the library? If so, how?

Yes, my reading habits have definitely changed since working at the library. I am reading more, and utilizing digital resources a lot more.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what single genre of books would you want with you?

I would like books about surviving in the desert.

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

When I was younger my favorite children’s book was The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood. That is still my favorite children’s book.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

You CAN Handle the Truth: Nonfiction Book Picks for August

Posted by the Information Services Department (Gwen B., Amanda E., 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. Many of these are so new that we're still working on getting them out on the shelf, but you can request them now by clicking on the titles and placing a hold.

305.5 ISE White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.

323.440973 MET If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Eric Metaxas
If You Can Keep It is at once a thrilling review of America's uniqueness, and a sobering reminder that America's greatness cannot continue unless we truly understand what our founding fathers meant for us to be. The book includes a stirring call-to-action for every American to understand the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is America. It also paints a vivid picture of the tremendous fragility of that experiment and explains why that fragility has been dangerously forgotten—and in doing so it lays out our own responsibility to live those ideals and carry on those freedoms. Metaxas believes America is not a nation bounded by ethnic identity or geography, but rather by a radical and unprecedented idea, based upon liberty and freedom. It's time to reconnect to that idea before America loses the very foundation for what made it exceptional in the first place.

 591.5 FOS Being a Beast by Charles Foster
How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds.

A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.

O782.14 MIR Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Offers a behind-the-scenes view of Hamilton the musical, detailing the many dramatic episodes in Alexander Hamilton's life.Includes libretto and photographs from the musical, as well as an account of the creation of the musical, from the composition of the first song of the show in 2009 to the opening night in 2015.

808 HUR The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by double Hugo Award-winning essayist and science fiction and fantasy novelist Kameron Hurley. The book collects dozens of Hurley’s essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including “We Have Always Fought,” which won the 2014 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume. Unapologetically outspoken, Hurley has contributed essays to The Atlantic, Locus,, and elsewhere on the rise of women in genre, her passion for SF/F, and the diversification of publishing.


B Jackson Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days by Tavis Smiley

Michael Jackson's final months were like the rest of his short and legendary life: filled with deep lows and soaring highs, a constant hunt for privacy, and the pressure and fame that made him socially fragile and almost--ultimately--unable to live.
With the insight and compassion that he brought to his bestselling telling of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s final year, Tavis Smiley provides a glimpse into the superstar's life in this emotional, honest, yet celebratory book. Readers will witness Jackson's campaign to recharge his career--hiring and firing managers and advisors, turning to and away from family members, fighting depression and drug dependency--while his one goal remained: to mount the most spectacular series of shows the world had ever seen. BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME is a humanizing look at Jackson's last days.

B Kubrick Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side by Emilio D'Alessandro
Stanley Kubrick, the director of a string of timeless movies from Lolita and Dr. Strangelove to A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket, and others, has always been depicted by the media as the Howard Hughes of filmmakers, a weird artist obsessed with his work and privacy to the point of madness. But who was he really? Emilio D'Alessandro lets us see. A former Formula Ford driver who was a minicab chauffeur in London during the Swinging Sixties, he took a job driving a giant phallus through the city that became his introduction to the director. Honest, reliable, and ready to take on any task, Emilio found his way into Kubrick's neurotic, obsessive heart. He became his personal assistant, his right-hand man and confidant, working for him from A Clockwork Orange until Kubrick's death in 1999.