Monday, June 27, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Need Help with that Square? Try Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror

If you are a Summer Reading Program Bingo game player and are approaching that Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror square with some trepidation, maybe we can help.

Let’s focus on science fiction.

You do not have to venture down those unfamiliar Science Fiction/Fantasy aisles of the library to find an appropriate title. There are many books in the library’s collection where the stories are grounded in our familiar world yet have just an element of science fiction. Many of these books could be considered thrillers or mysteries--still these titles would satisfy that Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror bingo square.

Here are a few titles "science fiction" titles to consider:

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey
"Starting in 1980, about 1% of all children born in the U.S. were gifted with unusual abilities. Thirty-three years later, these "brilliants" (also called "abnormals" or "abs") are leaders in various fields--including terrorism. Nick Cooper's one of them, though he works for a government agency charged with stopping ab terrorists. To stop them, Nick will have to demolish most of his beliefs about the world he lives in--and maybe most of that world itself. The too-close-for-comfort possibilities of this near-future thriller will linger long after the last page." --from Novelist. (Book 1 in the Brilliance Saga)

Lexicon by Max Barry
Recruited into an exclusive, secretive government school of "poets" where students are taught that words have the power to control and coerce, orphaned street hustler, Emily Ruff, becomes the school's most talented prodigy. Does she know that the fate of humanity could be at stake if the right words get into the wrong hands?

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
When the Earth is doomed by an imminent and unavoidable asteroid collision, New Hampshire homicide detective, Hank Palace, considers the worth of his job in a world destined to end in 6 months and investigates a suspicious suicide that nobody else cares about. (Book 1 in The Last Policeman trilogy) 

Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
A novel that imagines the coming-of-age of young Julia, whose world is thrown into upheaval when it is discovered that the Earth's rotation has suddenly begun to slow, posing a catastrophic threat to all life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tony Awards - 2016

 Hamilton is about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.  The show was inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Won: Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Leslie Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr); Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson; Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler Church); Best Book of a Musical - Lin-Manuel Miranda; Best Original Score - Lin-Manuel Miranda; Best Costume Design of a Musical - Paul Tazewell; Best Direction of a Musical - Thomas Kail; Best Orchestrations - Alex Lacamoire; Best Choreography - Andy Blankenbuehler; Best Lighting Design - Howell Binkley.
The Color Purple is based on the novel The Color Purple by AliceWalker, which focuses on the life of African-American women in the southern United States in the 1930s. Music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray; Book by Marsha Norman.
Won: Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Cynthia Erivo as Celie Harris Johnson); Best Revival of a Musical.

She Loves Me is the third adaptation of the play Miklos Laszio about two Budapest shop employees, who are at odds with each other at work, but are unaware that they are each other's secret pen pal. Music - Jerry Bock; Lyrics - Sheldon Harnick; Book - Joe Masteroff.
Won: Best Scenic Design of a Musical - David Rockwell.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Need Help With That Square? LibraryReads Favorites: 2015 - Favorites of the Favorites for your Square!

Need another square to shout BINGO? Read an Award Winner for the Summer Reading Program 2016 Read for the Win!

I love the various award winner lists and have my traditional favorites such as the Man Booker, the National Book Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Recently though I became aware of a new one entitled Library Reads Favorites which was launched in September 2013. It is a monthly list of ten favorite new titles for that particular year selected by library staff from around the country. Titles can be fiction or nonfiction. Anyone employed in a U.S. public library may participate. You can check out the LibraryReads website for more info:

Knowing that librarians and library staff are notorious for being voracious readers, this list really piques my interest and may just become another one of my favorite go to resources for award winning titles.

So, try one of these Favorites of the Favorites for 2015 to complete another square:

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rachel is a washed-up thirty-something who creates a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple she sees during her daily train ride into London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel manages to insert herself into the investigation of the woman’s disappearance. In the vein of Gone Girl, this dark psychological thriller is fast-paced and features some very unreliable narrators.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson
In cinematic terms, this dramatic page-turner is Das Boot meets Titanic. Larson has a wonderful way of creating a very readable, accessible story of a time, place, and event. We get three sides of the global story--the U-boat commander, British Admiralty and President Wilson--but what really elevates this book are the affecting stories of individual crew and passengers.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman and Rosie are back again, and they’ve relocated to New York. Rosie is continuing her studies, while Don is teaching and even adding to his small circle of friends. But when Rosie announces that she is pregnant, Don is once again out of his depth. What follows are crazy situations that could only happen when Don is involved. Funny and heartwarming.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
In this book, we come to know three generations of Whitshanks--a family with secrets and memories that are sometimes different than what others observe. The book’s timeline moves back and forth with overlapping stories, just like thread on a spool. Most readers will find themselves in the story. Once again, Tyler has written an enchanting tale.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
I couldn’t stop reading this fascinating portrayal of Beryl Markham, a complex and strong-willed woman who fought to make her way in the world on her terms. McLain paints a captivating portrait of Africa in the 1920s and the life of expats making their home there. Highly, highly recommended.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Quirky and delightful, Nina George’s book focuses on Jean Perdu, owner of the Literary Apothecary, a floating bookshop. When a new tenant in his apartment building sets in motion events that force Jean to re-evaluate his past, he finds himself floating off down the rivers of France in search of lost love, new love, and friends he didn’t know he needed.

Did I hear BINGO?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Movie Dads

Father's Day movies to watch with Dad.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Drama, Starring Gregory Peck
Atticus Finch, a Depression-era Southern lawyer, defends a black man against a rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.

Father of the Bride (1991) Comedy, Starring Steve Martin
A father muddle's through his only daughter's lavish wedding.

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) Drama, Starring Dustin Hoffman
When his wife walks out, Ted Kramer and his six-year-old son have a chance to really get to know each other. Then Ted's wife returns and she wants her son back. An intense custody battle ensues intensifying the wounds left by the separation.

Finding Nemo (2003) Animated Film, Starring Ellen DeGeneres as the voice of Dory
After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a shy clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Drama, Starring Will Smith
A struggling salesman falls on hard times, living in homeless shelters and eating in soup kitchens. His young son stands by his side with strength and courage as his dad struggles in his new career.

Three Men and a Baby (2002), Comedy, Starring Tom Selleck
Three unmarried men- architect Peter, artist Michael, and actor Jack are sharing an apartment in Manhattan. After Jack goes filming in Turkey his two roommates find his baby daughter- which Jack doesn't know about- abandoned outside their door. The two are left to look after the baby, and realize how difficult this can be.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1999), Comedy, Starring Robin Williams
A comedy about the tremendous lengths some dads would go to in order to spend time with their children. A dad desperate to spend more time with his kids after a bitter divorce disguises himself as a nanny.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Need Help with That Square? Read a Young Adult Book

Summer Reading Program 2016 Read for the Win! 

Need help with your adult bingo card for summer reading? Try these titles for the square "Read a Young Adult Book".

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson
An account of the Siege of Leningrad reveals the role played by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony in rallying and commemorating their fellow citizens.

We Were Liars by E Lockhart
This modern, sophisticated suspense tale follows the revolutionary activities of four friends who turn against each other in the wake of trauma, differing political views and a devastating secret.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina , her mother and her brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to a work camp in Siberia. Unsure of her father's whereabouts and her own fate, Lina vows to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Great War

Need help with that square? Historical Fiction
Summer Reading Program 2016 Read for the Win! 

Now over 100 years ago, the struggle and loss of World War I still seems modern and provides a haunting backdrop for stories both tragic and hopeful.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks 
The intertwining of two stories, that of British soldier Stephen Wraysford, remembering his liaison with a French woman before the war, and that of his granddaughter sixty years later. Strong and poetic.

Regeneration by Pat Barker
Set in a psychiatric hospital in Scotland, Dr. William Rivers treats soldiers devastated by the war, including poet, Siegfried Sassoon. Their discussions examine the costs of war. Is it moral to “cure” men only to return them to the horrors of trench warfare?

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd
British army nurse, Bess Crawford keeps her promise to a dying soldier and delivers a message to his family. When she stays on to help provide nursing care to his ailing brother, she finds herself enmeshed in family secrets. First mystery in a series.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Get Ready to Read for the Win 2016 - Stories Set in a Different Culture - Need Help With That Square?

Get ready for this year's summer reading program Read for the Win, which will be kicking off Sunday, June 12 and will run through Sunday, July 31.

This year you'll be selecting different categories from our summer reading BINGO card.

To help you get started, here's a few suggestions for some good reads for one of the squares' categories - Set in a Different Culture.

Have fun and read for the win!
Set in 19th c. China when women's feet were bound and they often lived a life of seclusion for the rest of the world. The women in one remote Hunan province create their own secret code which they painted on fans or embroidered on their handkerchiefs to communicate their thoughts and dreams to each other. Two girls to be paired and communicate are Snow Flower and Lily. As the years pass, thorough famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies for motherhood.

The Secret River
This the story of Grenville's ancestry, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people. London, 1806. William Thornhill, a Thames bargeman, is deported to the New South Wales colony that would become Australia.

The Poisonwood Bible
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it--from garden seeds to Scripture--is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

Eva Luna
A woman makes love to an India dying of a snakebite, miraculously restoring him to life and engendering a daughter named Eva "so she will love life." Set in Latin America, it relates Eva's picaresque adventures.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Watched Game of Thrones? Read and Watch These!

The currently airing season of Game of Thrones has been all over social media for some of its unexpected plot twists and big reveals - some of which haven't even been seen in the source novels yet! If you love reading or watching Game of Thrones, you might just love these as well!

Cover image for House of cards. The complete first seasonHouse of Cards 
If you love the politicking, the backstabbing, and social outmaneuvering in Game of Thrones, try this critically acclaimed American political drama series starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.

Cover image for Vikings. The complete first seasonVikings
If you're more into the swordplay, or even the set design and look of Game of Thrones, try Vikings! This historical drama focuses on one of the best known Vikings from the Viking Age - Ragnar Lothbrak. It's loosely based on history, so it doesn't feature any magical elements, but is still well worth watching.

Cover image for Name of the wind :The Name of the Wind
For many, one of the most appealing things about Game of Thrones is its "low" fantasy setting - there's magic, and dragons, but it's subtle (compared to the orcs and wizards of more Tolkein-like worlds). If you too love that about Game of Thrones, try this first novel in Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle. 

Cover image for DuneDune 
Do you side with the Lannisters, the Starks, or the Targaryens on Game of Thrones? Perhaps even one of the lesser houses has caught your loyalty. If you love the scale and political intrigue of the feuding families of Westeros, try the epic science fiction series that begins in the novel Dune.

Cover image for Kingdom of HeavenKingdom of Heaven
If you constantly marvel at the world the Game of Thrones series has created, or get a thrill from its large scale battles, try this historical epic film directed by Ridley Scott. Its sweeping story - loosely based on historical events -  begins in France and ranges all the way to Jerusalem.