Engaging Methuen Readers

2016 Chinese New Year: Year of the Monkey

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Today, February 8th,  marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the first day in the Chinese lunar calendar.  2016 is the Year of the Monkey (the fire monkey to be specific) according to the Chinese Zodiac.

red paper cut out image of a monkey

Image from

Are you quick-witted, charming, versatile and curious?  Maybe you were born in the Year of the Monkey (1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004).   Monkeys are known for being awfully smart and curious but sometimes that leads to mischief and their reputation as being a “trickster” in Chinese mythology.  Even though Curious George is a good monkey and means well, look at all the trouble this famous childhood character gets into!  (If you’re a word geek, like me, look at the definitions of the word “monkey” and how we use the variations of it in our speech)

Of course, because we’re a readers’ advisory library blog, I’m going to relate this to books…books with monkey in the title or content.  You’ll see more monkey-like traits explored in the following titles:

One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Kenneth Blanchard, William Oncken, Jr., and Hal Burrows (Non-Fiction)
Teaches managers how to become effective supervisors of time, energy, and talent by getting the “monkeys” off your back.

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff (Fiction)
Jane Charlotte has been arrested for murder. She tells police that she is a member of a secret organization devoted to fighting evil; her division is called the Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons – “Bad Monkeys” for short. This confession earns Jane a trip to the jail’s psychiatric wing, where a doctor attempts to determine whether she is lying, crazy – or playing a different game altogether.

Not to be confused with Carl Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey… (Fiction)
Anticipating his retirement from the Key West Police, Andrew Yancy tackles a murder case involving a human arm in his freezer, an investigation that pits him against a twitchy widow, a clueless real estate developer and a voodoo witch with a string of hapless lovers.

The Girl With No Name:  the incredible story of a child raised by monkeys (Memoir)
by Marina Chapman
The author tells the story of how she was kidnapped at the age of four and abandoned deep in the Colombian rain forest, where she survived for five years by mimicking a troop of monkeys until she was rescued by hunters who sold her to a brothel.

The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais (Fiction)
When Ellen Lang’s husband Mort disappears with their son, she hires Elvis Cole to track him down. At the same time as police find Mort in his parked car with four gunshots in his chest–and no kid in sight–Ellen disappears. It’s up to Elvis Cole and Joe Pike to find the connection between sleazy Hollywood players and an ex-Matador.   The first in the hugely popular and entertaining Elvis Cole series.

Monkey Mind: a memoir of anxiety by Daniel B. Smith (Non-Fiction)
Daniel Smith brilliantly articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, evocatively expressing both its painful internal coherence and its absurdities.

Monkey Portraits photographs by Jill Greenberg (Non-Fiction)
A fascinating, funny, and all-too-human collection of monkey and ape portraits.

Here’s to a prosperous and lucky new year!




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