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LibraryReads November 2017: top ten books librarians love!

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November 2017  LibraryReads List

Artemis: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Published:11/14/2017 by Crown
ISBN: 9780553448122

“Weir’s second book does not disappoint! The setting is Artemis, a city on the moon where a young woman named Jazz is a smuggler and a courier trying to eke out a living. Adventure unfolds as Jazz is asked to do a different sort of job by her millionaire employer. He asks her to sabotage the mining operation that provides the city’s entire oxygen requirements. She works out a plan, but several calamities befall and all is not what it seems. Jazz must risk her life to save the city that is her home. A fast paced adventure from start to nail-biting finish!”

Cynde Suite, Bartow County Library, Cartersville, GA


The City of Brass: A Novel

by S. A. Chakraborty

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper Voyager
ISBN: 9780062678102

“A wonderful fantasy debut set in an 18th century Cairo and featuring a young woman, Nahri, who has no relatives and who lives by her wits as a con artist. Her odd supernatural healing talents and ability to understand and speak languages come in handy as she struggles to survive day by day while trying to save up money for medical training. Unfortunately, during one job, she accidentally calls up inimical ifrits and a wily, handsome djinn that turn her life upside down. Action packed, with interesting folklore and an evocative setting.”

Ann-Marie Anderson, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR


The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel

by Elizabeth Berg

Published: 11/21/2017 by Random House
ISBN: 9781400069903

“Arthur meets Maddy when he’s visiting his dead wife in the cemetery; he eats lunch there every day. Maddy is a high school senior who’s got a hopeless crush on a jerk. Warm-hearted Arthur reaches out to Maddy in a totally open way, as Maddy’s parents seem uninvolved at best. The Story of Arthur Truluv is one of those rare coming-of-age novels that is just as much about the end of life as it is about growing up.”

Michelle Beckes, Tulsa City County Library, Tulsa, OK


The Library at the Edge of the World:
A Novel

by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper Perennial
ISBN: 9780062663726

“Much like a cup of tea and a cozy afghan, The Library at The Edge of the World is the perfect book to hunker down with. Prepare to be transported to coastal Ireland with Hannah Casey as she moves back to her hometown after a wrenching divorce and becomes the local librarian. Hannah’s daily challenges include dealing with an abrasive mother, an infuriating building contractor, and noise in the library. A series of events leads Hannah to help rally the community to come together, changing the town, the library, and Hannah. Hayes-McCoy does a fine job capturing the characters and the setting. I look forward to reading more in this series.”

Elizabeth Angelastro, Manilus Library, Manilus, NY


Someone to Wed

by Mary Balogh

Published: 11/7/2017 by Berkley/Jove
ISBN: 9780399586064

Someone to Wed is the third in Balogh’s Regency era Wescott series. Wren has lived her life hiding from society due to a prominent birthmark. Alexander inherits a title and a pile of debts. Wren and Alexander decide to embark on a marriage of convenience as a way to resolve their issues. This is a charming story of two people falling in love and finding their happily ever after, while resolving emotional issues along the way.  A well written story with glimpses of characters from previous books in the series.”

Shayera Tangri, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA


The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel

by Lee Child

Published: 11/7/2017 by Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780399593482

“Jack Reacher is an honorably discharged U.S. Army major who has a strong sense of justice.  After the end of a romance, Reacher’s response is to get on a bus and ride it to wherever it is going.  At a rest stop along the way, he spots a small West Point class ring in the window of a pawnshop.  His gut tells him the soldier who worked hard to achieve it wouldn’t give it up easily. In search of answers, he discovers a drug ring, a disfigured woman, and a couple of murders in a desolate area of Wyoming.  Like the other installments in the Reacher series, this is another page turner!”

Valerie Osborne, Bangor Public Library, Bangor, ME


Future Home of the Living God: A Novel

by Louise Erdrich

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper
ISBN: 9780062694058

Future Home of the Living God explores the possibility of evolution reversing and is told from the perspective of a pregnant woman who is writing a journal to her unborn child. Along the way we meet her adoptive parents, her birth mother, and she reports on society unraveling and detaining pregnant women. Erdrich provides compelling characters and a strong storyline about a near future in this piece of innovative dystopian fiction.”

Ian Stade, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, MN


Heather, the Totality

by Matthew Weiner
Published: 11/7/2017 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 9780316435314

“Mark and Karen start a seemingly charmed life that becomes even more so with the birth of their gifted daughter Heather.Things take an alarming turn when renovations begin in their building. They have always known how special their daughter is, but will Heather see that there is danger lurking outside the world they have created for her when others become captivated by her gifts? Weiner has an insight into human nature that most of us would rather not admit exists and he takes you down a dark road that you don’t want to travel, but somehow can’t turn back.”

Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, Lake, MS


Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

by Caroline Fraser

Published: 11/21/2017 by Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9781627792769

“This book, written by the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House books, is a thoroughly researched biography of not only Laura Ingalls Wilder, but of her daughter, Rose. Using unpublished manuscripts, letters, financial records, and more, Fraser gives fresh insight into the life of a woman beloved to many. Intensively researched, this is definitely a fascinating read, and one that I plan on reading again — maybe the next time I re-read the Little House series.”

Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO


The Shadow District: A Thriller

by Arnaldur Indridason

Published: 11/7/2017 by Minotaur Books
ISBN: 9781250124029

“Indridason introduces a new crime series featuring a retired detective. The Shadow District skillfully weaves two mysteries together. In present time, an elderly man’s death, first thought to be due to natural causes, is later revealed as a murder. While unofficially investigating, Konrad discovers a link to a cold case involving the strangulation of a young woman and a surprising connection to Konrad’s own childhood. With nicely tense pacing and a vivid portrayal of life in modern and wartime Iceland, fans of atmospheric investigations will undoubtedly welcome Indridason’s latest offering.”

Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY

 

 Courtesy of LibraryReads.org

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Believe me

Halloween just passed, but for those of you who aren’t ready to cede their horror reading for cozy holiday books, Anna has some more chilling tales for you…

Tired of the same witches, zombies, and werewolves? Dude, you and me both. Remember when Halloween was about Odin chasing you to Hell with his pack of demon dogs? Or, or, or, wait – what about when Halloween was about malicious water fiends waiting hungrily to drown you in your own toilet? Or what about when Halloween was about a long-limbed Internet horror that inspires children to kill each other?

At some point in history, sometimes quite recently, each of these terrors were considered real by some human living on Earth. They were taken 100% seriously and people were legitimately afraid of them and driven to weird extremes because of them.

The horror isn’t that the king of the gods is angry, or hungry, or insane, or whatever. Slenderman is just a bunch of doctored pixels. What’s scary is that people believe in him.

Belief can’t be stopped or killed. Belief will come for you until it wins. It will wait in the darkness at night and deprive you of sleep until your blurry eyes see what it wants you to, until your exhausted heart hammers itself out of your chest, until the rabbit in your mind runs in panic until it collapses, chest heaving in a rapid tempo of gasps for the last remaining air in the world.

Let’s see how scary belief can be.

The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guin

Jim Jones was a charismatic man. His followers thought he’d been touched by God, so jeffguinn-theroadtojonestownmuch so that they abandoned their lives and followed him to another continent to establish a new world. But what do you do when your prophet goes insane…and orders everyone to die?

This true story, a new take on the horrifying tragedy of the Jonestown mass suicide, will keep you reading well into the night. As Guin delves through FBI files in search of the truth, he plumbs the depths of Jim Jones’s madness, eventually retracing the steps of the man himself to visit the place where the massacre actually happened.

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

834421Sometimes people do things because they’ve always done them. Some people cut the end off the turkey because great-grandma taught them to do that, never mind the fact that great-grandma’s pan, long melted to scrap, was simply an inch too short to accommodate the whole bird.

Other people stone each other to death. Nobody even remembers why they do that.

Still chilling years after its publication, this masterwork of psychological horror stands with Jackson’s repertoire of quietly heart-stopping psychological horror stories collected in this gripping volume.

It by Stephen King

There is a clown in the sewer. He lives on your fear of him. It doesn’t matter if you find 41acskyedwl-_sy445_ql70_that implausible. He’ll show you. He’ll convince you beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s real. And he’ll do it by eating your friends first…

There’s no way to defeat the fiend of Derry, Maine except by mastering your own fear first. Yet fear is what it knows, what it’s good at…and what it demands. A group of children face It and barely survive…only to confront the true horror as adults.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

 

bird_box_2014_book_coverSeeing isn’t always believing. Sometimes, if your belief is strong enough, you know not to even look. But then, there’s also the possibility that you’re wrong. That’s what Malorie must face – or not face – when she must evacuate her children away from a monster that causes rational people to go violently insane with a single glance. As she guides their rowboat – blindfolded – Malorie knows that she’s being followed, knows she’s being watched…but is knowledge alone enough to save her family?


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LibraryReads October 2017: top ten books librarians love!

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October 2017  LibraryReads List

Seven Days of Us: A Novel

by Francesca Hornak

Published:10/17/2017 by Berkley
ISBN: 9780451488756

“The Birch family will be spending the Christmas holiday in quarantine, thanks to eldest daughter Olivia’s recent relief work in a disease-infested Liberia. She has returned to England but must be in quarantine for seven days. This family has not ever spent that much time in each other’s company. Each person has secrets that are slowly revealed over the course of the seven days. It is particularly interesting to watch them become the family that they should have been all along: supportive and loving. An enjoyable read.”

Cheryl Braud, Iberia Public Library, New Iberia, LA


The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel

by Liv Constantine

Published: 10/17/2017 by Harper
ISBN: 9780062667571

“Daphne seems to have hit the jackpot by marrying Jackson Parrish. They live in a lovely Connecticut mansion and travel around the world, all the while raising two beautiful daughters. When Mrs. Parrish meets Amber, a kindred spirit, Daphne instantly feels a connection, perhaps someone to fill the endless void of sorrow that has plagued her since her sister’s death. We learn that nothing is what it appears to be. The author sets an atmospheric pace for this story, leading up to its dramatic conclusion.”

KC Davis, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Fairfield, CT


The Last Ballad: A Novel

by Wiley Cash

Published: 10/3/2017 by William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062313119

“The story of little-known union hero Ella May Wiggins is central to this look at unionization during the late 1920s. Once she sings her first song at a union rally, she becomes a beacon for others. As her story becomes intertwined with the violence and fear of the clash between owners and workers, we are swept up in a powerful novel that exposes the prejudice and hatred among races, genders, and economic classes. The stories of Ella, her children, and friends woven throughout cement Cash’s place among our great living writers. This one will be a huge book discussion hit!”

Ron Block Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, Ohio


From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

by Caitlin Doughty

Published: 10/3/2017 by W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393249897

“America’s favorite mortician takes you on a tour of death cultures around the world in her latest book. Sharing what she’s learned, Doughty presents everything from composting bodies to ma’nene’, a ritual of periodically exhuming corpses to clean and redress them as a sign of respect. She encourages us to consider our options and become less distant from physically caring for the deceased and ultimately our own mortality. We’ve all got it coming. Honest, yet gentle and with the appropriate amount of humor, Doughty makes the morbid very readable.”

PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC


The Rules of Magic: A Novel

by Alice Hoffman

Published: 10/10/2017 by Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781501137471

The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Hoffman’s Practical Magic. Here we learn the background of sisters Franny, Jet, and their brother Vincent. The story begins with all three as teens, ostracized for being witches. Their mother sets up rules designed to suppress their natural ability. When the siblings are sent to visit their aunt they learn family secrets and find out who they truly are. I was enraptured by this fabulous book, which is filled with magic and charm.”

Terri Smith, Cornelia Habersham County Library, Cornelia, GA


The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

by Diane Chamberlain

Published: 10/3/2017 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250087270

“Interracial marriage, money fraud, and adultery are just a few elements of this historical fiction. Set during WWII, sweet Tess has dreamed of marrying Vincent Russo since she was a teenager. Plans have been made and a date has been set, but several decisions made in the course of the engagement will cause a detour in both Vincent’s and Tess’s lives. Will they be able to find their way back to one another?”

Debbie Frizzell, Johnson County Library, Overland Park, KS


Uncommon Type: Some Stories

by Tom Hanks

Published: 10/17/2017 by Knopf
ISBN: 9781101946152

“Hanks writes about characters that he would love to play in the movies, had they been written. This collection of stories holds a myriad of emotions, settings, and time periods with two common threads: the typewriter and uncommonly normal men and women. You love the characters because you have something in common with all of them – some win, some lose, some are heroic and some timid, but they are all borne of the human existence and go largely unnoticed. Hank’s charm and wit come through.”

Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX


We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True

by Gabrielle Union
Published: 10/17/2017 by Dey Street Books
ISBN: 9780062693983

“Union writes with such heart and energy that it really does feel like she’s talking to you while you share one (or several) bottles of wine. She touches on so many topics, including infidelity, women’s sexual health, and teaching young black men to protect themselves in a world that fears them. She also manages to talk about multiple famous people without sounding fawning, with the exception of Prince, which makes sense because…it’s Prince. I thoroughly enjoyed this title and can’t wait to put it in the hands of others.”

Lisa Hoffman, Bloomfield Public Library, Bloomfield, NJ


Strange Weather: Four Short Novels

by Joe Hill

Published: 10/24/2017 by William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062663115

“Hill’s four short novels expose the individual and societal pressures that motivate our sometimes fateful decisions. The first story is a coming-of-age tale with an added bit of horror. The second story is an unflinching look at what has become a common tragedy: mass shooting. The third story is an unrequited-love-meets-the-Twilight-Zone story that touches on loneliness. The final story is poignant and introspective. All four tales often gave me pause and made me think. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of character-driven works of horror and/or drama.”

Jennifer Wilson, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN


Manhattan Beach: A Novel

by Jennifer Egan

Published: 10/3/2017 by Scribner
ISBN: 9781476716732

“Anna and her father Eddie arrive at the home of Dexter Styles on Manhattan Beach searching for a job during the Depression. After Eddie goes missing five years later, Anna supports her mother and sister by working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. One night, Anna approaches Styles for information about her father. They become involved, but he is still marked by his past relationship with Eddie. Egan’s description of New York in the 30s and 40s is so immersive that you feel like you’re waking up when you have to put the book down.”

Barbara Birenbaum, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA

 

 Courtesy of LibraryReads.org


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Review: “Perdido Street Station” by China Mieville

The back of Perdido Street Station dismally fails to capture it in summary. Oddly, it succeeds for exactly this reason, drawing people into the book through what are essentially false premises. By the time the hapless reader understands that they have been duped, it is too late. They are too far into the snare and there is no escape from the land of Bas-Lag.

Here’s the blurb:

Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies the city of New Crobuzon, where the unsavory deal is stranger to no one–not even to Isaac, a gifted and eccentric scientist who has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before encountered. Though the Garuda’s request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger. Soon an eerie metamorphosis will occur that will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon–and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it evokes.

The blurb gets a few things right, namely that Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, a brilliant but unfocused dabbler in several scientific pursuits, is the primary focus of the book. However, the rest sucks. So I’m going to write a few better descriptions that the good people of Del Rey are free to borrow in exchange for a slice of royalties.

A visit from a mutilated foreign stranger sends scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin

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Artist unknown. Saved from Pinterest

careening down a dangerous path that leads through the twisted streets and various dens of criminal activity that is the city of New Crobuzon. Along the way, he’ll hatch a deadly public health threat from its pupa, disrupt the drug trade and its maniacal mobster kingpin, and confront the most fearsome menace of all: his own closest friend. As the hum of New Crobuzon is replaced by nightmare screams and its many alleys grow dark with fear, Isaac must risk everything to save the city that he loves.

See, THIS description pulls in the city of New Crobuzon itself, which represents a vivid backdrop to the tale, while implying a decent threat level that does not rope in the *entirely incidental* Ambassador of Hell.

However, there are some issues with this description, too. After all, the cast of characters in Perdido Street Station is expansive. Let’s see if we can’t introduce a couple other people.

 

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Artist unknown. Saved from Pinterest

A chilling misstep by a hapless scientist unleashes a fate worse than death on the city of New Crobuzon. Now Isaac  Dan der Grimnebuilin must bear the burden of his mistake and repair the damage before more of his friends die. Meanwhile, Isaac’s girlfriend, half-insect artist Lin, struggles with a commission that may have everything to do with the accident, while the mysterious wingless bird-man, Yagharek, wanders the city in search of his lost power of flight. Together, they will join forces with criminals and drug addicts, inter-dimensional demigods and monsters made of gears and wheels, only to face the difficult truth: it may already be too late…

This isn’t bad at all! See? Already better than that first blurb! But what it *doesn’t* capture is the Steampunk aesthetic of New Crobuzon and the roiling wave of political tension upon which the story bucks and sways for the duration of the book.

In a city that runs on both steam and thaumatergical magic, where the political elite soar in blimps and the polity ride in taxis pulled by machines that may yet become sentient, the punishment for transgression is worse than death. But that threat can’t equal the rewards: the scientist who discovers how to make a mutilated bird-man fly could generate unlimited energy and finally correct the many social ills of New Crobuzon. But when Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin goes too far, the consequences of his research reverberate through the twisted streets of brick and stone, even as far as the great copper thinking machine that hides in the city’s expansive dump and into dimensions where enormous forces communicate in transcendent poetry. All centers on the city’s hub and center of government: Perdido Street Station, from whence all trains travel and where all dangerous things end up sooner or later.

Et voila: you now have a decent idea of what Perdido Street Station is about. Therefore, you also have no excuse to not go and borrow it from the library today.

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Immigration Stories

Immigration StoriesWhether you or your family came to the United States a year ago or a century ago, this is a country of immigrants, so it’s no wonder that stories about the immigrant experience resonate so strongly with readers. Even if our knowledge of our family’s immigration story is hazy and passed down through many generations, literature that illustrates the challenges, triumphs, and emotions of resettling in a new homeland compels us to view life through a lens very different from our own.

From the story of an escape from a shantytown in Zimbabwe depicted in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names to the harsh landscape that faces a young Norwegian immigrant in Peter Geye’s The Lighthouse Road, these stories shed light on the immigrant experience. Many people come to this country without knowing much if any English, and one of their first priorities upon coming to the country is to learn the language.

In our own community, there are newcomers who need help learning English and adjusting to their new country and culture. There is a long waiting list at many of the programs in the area, and Literacy Volunteers of Methuen is no exception; we are nearing 70 prospective students waiting for a tutor.

Through Literacy Volunteers, tutors are paired with a student and they work with this student for two hours a week, to give them dedicated attention and specialized teaching suited to the student’s unique needs. If you would like to help someone, please consider attending an orientation for the Literacy Volunteers of Methuen fall training. There are three orientations to choose from:

Saturday September 23, 10-11 a.m.
Wednesday September 27, 7-8 p.m.
Thursday September 28, 10-11 a.m.

After that, the six-week training program will begin on October 11 at 6:30 p.m. If you have any questions about the program or training, please contact Kathleen Kenny at 978-686-4080, ext. 32 or LitVolMeth@gmail.com.

Other fiction titles you may enjoy include: These stories portray the experiences of immigrants from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, China, and many countries in between.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Song of the Water Saints by Nelly Rosario

The Lightning Keeper by Starling Lawrence

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Free Life by Ha Jin

The Mortifications by Derek Palacio

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

Towelhead by Alicia Erian

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez


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We can’t wait to read these this Fall…

These are just some of the books the Nevins Library staff are excited to read this Fall:

How to Read Water:  clues and patterns from puddles to the sea by Tristan Gooley

It sounds fascinating.  I’ve always been a nut for weather and water.  ∼Pat, Readers’ Services

The Red Coat:  a novel of Boston by Dolley Carlson

I saw this come in for someone.  It’s set in Boston with a Downton Abbey feel!   ∼Gladys, Readers’ Services

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

It’s a classic I haven’t gotten around to reading yet and the Fall seems like the perfect time to pick it up.  ∼Tatjana, Reference Services

The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder

This one intrigued me because of the title!  ∼ Cynthia, Readers’ Services

No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

When I checked the catalog and read the opening of the Summary stating that it is, “The Great Gatsby brilliantly recast in the contemporary south…”,  I knew I had to read it. I  enjoy reading debut novels and anything relating to The Great Gatsby! ∼ Barbara, Administrative Assistant

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

I saw him speak about this book and I was instantly intrigued by the premise.  I couldn’t not read it after that!  ∼ Sarah, Readers’ Services

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

I chose this book for a couple reasons.  First, it is written by the author of Wolf Hollow, I book I truly enjoyed.  Second, the setting of the story is a chain of islands off the coast of Massachusetts; Elizabeth Islands.  I enjoy stories not only with a bit of history but those that share information about the area in which I live.  ∼ Sue, Reference Services

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This book was a gift from my daughter.  She loves the musical and knows I love biographies. ∼ Anne, Children’s Services

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve always been a DC Comics fan, and the resurgence of Wonder Woman, especially as written by Bardugo who is such an amazing author, fills me with joy. And I can’t wait to see what the rest of this DC Icons series of books is like as well.  ∼Danielle, Reference Services

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

It fills a need for a higher-level middle grade reader dealing with this difficult subject.  It sounds like it’s going to be a powerful book. ∼ Amy D, Children’s Services

What are YOU looking forward to reading this Fall?