Monday, January 30, 2017

The Refugee Experience

Reading is an important way to view the world from a different perspective, a way to connect with those in circumstances you may never face. Many refugees have encountered terrible hardship as they struggle to find a new life. The novels below, not without some moments of hope, give a sample of what they have endured.  

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi
When her happy middle-class life in Afghanistan is shattered by the rise of the Taliban and her husband's murder by fundamentalists, former schoolteacher Fereiba embarks on a high-risk effort to escape to England with her three children.

What Is the What by Dave Eggers
In a heartrending and astonishing novel, Eggers illuminates the history of the civil war in Sudan through the eyes of refugee Valentino Achak Deng, one of the estimated 17,000 "lost boys of Sudan," now living in the United States. 

Hot at the Box Office, Hot at the Library!

Did you head to the theater for any of these box office hits over the weekend? Swing by the library and grab some similar titles!

Split - Kevin's (James McAvoy) 24 personalities compel him to kidnap three teenage girls. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

  • Sybil (1976) - The true story of a young woman named Sybil (Sally Field), who developed at least 13 personalities. 
  • Identity (2003) - A group of strangers stranded at a remote motel find themselves the target of a murderer - who is likely one of their group. 
  • Don't Breathe (2016) - A group of teenagers break into a blind man's home, but the job is far from as easy as they thought. 

Hidden Figures - The true story of three African-American women working at NASA during the Space Race. Try the book by Margot Lee Shetterly!

  • Selma (2014) - A dramatization of the Selma to Montgomery marches that led to "Bloody Sunday" and ultimately the signing of the Civil Rights Act. 
  • The Right Stuff (1983) - A chronicle of the original Mercury astronauts and the formation of NASA. 
  • The Help (2011) - Three intertwined stories of segregated life in 1960's Mississippi. Based on the book by Kathryn Stockett. 

xXx: Return of Xander Cage - Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander (Vin Diesel) returns after he was thought to be dead. He assembles a team to recover an unstoppable weapon.

  • The Fast and the Furious (2001) - The first entry in the popular street racing and heist franchise. 
  • The Expendables (2010) - Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) leads a team of highly skilled mercenaries on a mission to assassinate a dictator. 
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) - A secretive spy organization recruits Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to fight against a twisted tech genius (Samuel L. Jackson). 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Girl Power!

Coming off the heels of the Women's March a couple weeks back, check out these strong female
characters and be inspired by what they stand for. Fiction and non-fiction titles.

For more options, check out the display in the Teen Scene and add in your own favorite female-driven titles to the mix!

I Am Malala: the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
By Malala Yousafzai
Describes the life of a young Pakistani student who advocated for women's rights and education in the Taliban-controlled Swat Valley who survived an assassination attempt and became the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hard Choices: A Memoir
By Hillary Rodham Clinton
The former secretary of state, senator, and first lady shares candid reflections about the key moments of her service in the Obama Administration as well as her thoughts about how to navigate the challenges of the 21st century.

Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World: A Memoir
By Paige Rawl
A teenager's memoir of the experiences of bullying, being HIV positive and surviving the experiences to become a force for positive change in this world.
By Ruta Sepetys
Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful–a must read.

By Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

By Sarah J. Maas
The human world is in peril. Feyre, a semi-literate girl, hunts for her family’s survival. After she kills an enormous wolf, a fierce fey shows up at her doorstep seeking retribution. Feyre is led to beautiful eternal springs, but the journey is not without danger. Maas masterfully pulls the reader into this new dark fantasy series which feels like a mix of fairy tales, from Beauty and the Beast to Tam Lin

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Make 2017 A Year of Reading

Happy New Year! Make 2017 a "Year of Reading" with monthly book picks and related works selected by our librarians. You can stop in the library to pick up a pocket sized guide or visit our website at

In January, DISCOVER. We kick this off with The Books that Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians and Other Remarkable People edited by Bethanne Patrick. 

Collects one hundred reflections by prominent authors, politicians, actors, musicians, and celebrities on a book that changed their lives and made them who they are today, and why they love them.

Contributors include Al Roker, Carl Hiaasen, Dave Eggers, Emma Straub, Eric Idle, Fay Weldon, Fran Lebowitz, Gillian Flynn, Gregory Maguire, Jeff Kinney, Jim Shepard, Laura Lippmann, Lev Grossman, Liev Schreiber, Margaret Atwood, Mayim Bialik, Nelson DeMille, Rosanne Cash, Susan Orlean, Tim Gunn, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Every Book Its Reader by Nicholas A. Basbanes
In celebration of five eventful centuries of the printed word, Basbanes considers of writings that have "made things happen" in the world, works that have both nudged the course of history and fired the imagination of influential people. Basbanes asks what we can know about such figures as Milton, Gibbon, Locke, Newton, Coleridge, John Adams, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Henry James, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller--even the Marquis de Sade and Hitler--by knowing what they read. He shows how books that these people have consulted, in some cases annotated with their marginal notes, can offer clues to the development of their thought. He then profiles some of the most articulate readers of our time, who discuss such concepts as literary canons, classic works in translation, the timelessness of poetry, the formation of sacred texts, and the power of literature to train physicians, nurture children, and rehabilitate criminal offenders.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Sara arrives in the small town of Broken Wheel to visit her pen pal Amy, only to discover Amy has just died. The tale of how she brings the love of books and reading that she shared with Amy to the residents of Broken Wheel is just a lovely read. Any book lover will enjoy Sara’s story and that of the friends she makes in Broken Wheel. If ever a town needed a bookstore, it is Broken Wheel; the healing power of books and reading is made evident by this heartwarming book.
Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
‘Every book changes your life. So I like to ask: How is this book changing mine?’ Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, focuses on a personal collection of books that changed his life. Each book he selects provides a lesson, a reminder as to how to live his life. Readers will remember favorite books, find new books to try, and lessons to think about. Schwalbe’s book is warm, charming, and very personal. It’s a book for all avid readers.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

"The Trespasser" by Tana French—A 2016 Favorite

I recently finished reading (and listening to) The Trespasser by Tana French. The novel was among my favorites of 2016.

The Trespasser, the 6th book in the author’s outstanding Dublin Murder Squad series, is narrated by Detective Antoinette Conway. Conway has attained her dream job as a detective in the elite murder squad of the Dublin police force, but lately the job has been eating away at her. As the only woman currently on the squad, Conway finds herself the frequent target of harassment by some of her fellow officers. She has a great partner in Detective Stephen Moran, but their boss seems to be throwing too many routine domestic murder cases their way to suit her. Conway is itching for a case with more substance. When yet another domestic lands on Conway’s desk, she is well beyond exasperated. This new case, however, takes some surprising turns and Conway and Moran suddenly find themselves in very complicated, uncharted territory.

The audio version of The Trespasser is wonderfully read by Hilda Fay. Her interpretation, complete with an array of Irish accents, enhances this already fine novel.

Each of Tana French’s novels has an intricate, suspenseful plot, a strong sense of place--contemporary Ireland--and wonderful language. But character trumps all with this author. The reader gains deep insights into the personalities and psychology of the victims and suspects, of course, but French’s attention is focused just as much, if not more, on her detectives--what makes them tick, how they interact with one another, and how the crime they are solving impacts them.

If you have not yet read a Tana French novel, consider giving one a try. Because each novel in the series is narrated by a different detective of the squad, there is no need to read them in a particular order. Just pick one and read it. My strong hunch is that you will soon be back for another.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

George Michael ♥

As my family and I were celebrating Christmas sitting around the tree laughing and enjoying each other's company, my 19 year old daughter blurts out that someone named George Michael died. She of course only being 19 didn't know who he was, but the rest of us close to the age of George Michael, knew exactly why her announcement was so shocking. Some of us were even ruing the cell phone invention, had she not had one, we would have found out the next morning while reading the paper instead of on Christmas. I remember being a young girl hearing WHAM! for the first time, fun and carefree. Here is some of the best work by the beloved artist. I think my favorite song is Wake Me Up Before you Go-Go. The whole world will miss him dearly, lucky for us he left us something AMAZING. Thank you Mr. Michael.

Make It Big

Songs From the Last Century

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael

Also, check out the duets with Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Audiobooks: Great Listens From 2016

2016 was a great year for audiobooks here's a couple of great ones you may have missed. Happy Listening.

A Little Life
By Hanya Yangihara
Read by Oliver Wyman, 33 hours
After graduation four college classmates move to New York to pursue their creative ambitions, Jude a lawyer, actor Willem, Malcom an architect, and JB an artist. In the coming decades the four friends  share love, loss, addiction as their friendships and careers falter and strengthen. Narrator Wyman delivers an astonishing performance of Yangihara's new heartbreaking novel.

Truly Madly Guilty
By Liane Moriarty
Read by Caroline Lee, 17.5 hours
A typical afternoon barbecue among friends becomes something much bigger when one vital moment of inattention leads to repercussions for all in attendance. The story flashes back and forth between the day of the barbecue and two months later, slowly revealing the events of the day and its consequences. Moriarty has another hit with this look at the intricacies of friendship, marriage, and familial relationships. Lee's performance is emotionally astute and entertaining.

The Underground Railroad
By Colson Whitehead
Read by Bahni Turpin, 10.75 hours
Magical realism meets historical fiction in this tragic story of Cora's escape from the horrors of enslavement on a Georgia cotton plantation and her dream of freedom in the North. Bahni Turpin's telling is near perfection as she captures the emotional heart of the audiobook. Turpin's strong performance combined with Whitehead's affecting writing makes this one audiobook you cannot miss.

By Stephanie Danler
Read by Alex McKenna, 12.5 hours
Narrator McKenna's husky voice is the perfect match for this coming-of-age story about a 22-year-old Midwestern woman who moves to New York City to begin her adult life. At her new job at one of the city's best restaurants, Tess falls for a mysterious bartender and negotiates the politics of the service industry while building a social life.