Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Celia recommends "The Island of Sea Women"


Have you checked out our March Book of the Month, The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See?


Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village's all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook's mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.


Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook's differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother's position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.


This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story--one of women's friendships and the larger forces that shape them--The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.


“Superbly written, this fast-paced read not only encourages readers to reflect on the notion of friendship and family, it also educates on the complex history of the region.” – Library Journal


“ Exposing the depths of human cruelty and resilience, See’s lush tale is a wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women.” – Publisher’s Weekly


“A stupendous multigenerational family saga, See’s latest also provides an enthralling cultural anthropology highlighting the soon-to-be-lost, matriarchal haenyeo phenomenon and an engrossing history of violently tumultuous twentieth-century Korea. A mesmerizing achievement. See’s accomplishment, acclaim, and readership continue to rise with each book, and interest in this stellar novel will be well stoked.” – Booklist



Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Sarah recommends "The Music Shop"

The Books on Tap book club’s March pick was “The Music Shop” by Rachel Joyce. All of our members enjoyed this novel about music, love, loss, and second chances.

Set in 1988 in Great Britain, “The Music Shop” is the story of a man named Frank, who runs a small music shop that sells only vinyl, and who has an uncanny ability to connect his customers to the exact song they need but didn’t know they wanted. One day, a beautiful young woman, Ilse, arrives at Frank’s store, and asks him to teach her about music. Even as he is drawn to her, Frank is terrified of real intimacy; Ilse is hiding a mysterious agenda, and Frank has unhealed wounds from his past. How can a man so in tune with other people's needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him?

This book is ultimately about the power of music: to heal, to comfort, to bring joy. The reading experience is especially enhanced if you can simultaneously listen to the songs Frank recommends, and discover them along with the characters. The publisher has created a playlist on Spotify (the free music steaming service); just search for “The Music Shop” and choose the playlist created by “penguinbooks”.

If you’re interested in joining a casual book club for adults that discusses new and popular fiction, please join us at our next Books on Tap meeting on April 8, 2019, at Bar Louie Partridge Creek. We’ll be discussing “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Meghan Recommends "The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up"

“The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo was published in Japan way back in 2011, and was published in the U.S. in 2014. While it certainly moment back then, the recently released Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has brought KonMari tidying back into pop culture.

Like everyone, I had heard “spark joy” but I figured there had to be more. Enter “The Life Changing MANGA of Tidying Up” – a 187-page illustrated story about Chiaki, and how her life is transformed through tidying! Chiaki is in pretty bad shape when we meet her, with an apartment full of stuff and garbage piled up on her balcony – a couple weeks’ worth. It’s so stinky that her cute neighbor comes over to ask her to take care of it. That’s the wake-up call Chiaki needs to take care of her messy apartment. She calls KonMari! Over the ensuing chapters, Chiaki tackles the daunting task of tidying her apartment, and by extension, her life.

At this point I feel like I should reiterate that this is a comic-book style story, and Chiaki is a made up character. Nevertheless, as Chiaki tackles her lessons each week, readers learn about different aspects of the KonMari method, and yes, there is more than just “Spark joy.” The book can easily be read in an afternoon, but it gave me a much better sense of the complete underlying philosophy of Kondo’s methods. I learned about tidying by category (not room) and that you should “wake up” your things when you pull them out of closets where they’ve been stored for years. 

So if you want to know a little more about tidying, but you don’t want to commit to 213 pages of nonfiction, this is a good start!

As an aside, “The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up” was one of the Graphic Adaptations up for consideration in our CMPL Madness Graphic Novel Tournament! It didn't make it out of Round 1, but you can vote for your favorites in Round 2 now!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Natalie recommends "Game of Thrones"

While I may not be the first to recommend this series (be it the books and/or television series), I have finally managed to start it and can now safely recommend it.  I have been wanting to read this series for a while now, but time and motivation slipped.  But now that I have, I can say that I really enjoy the series.  As someone who enjoys Fantasy series like the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings (and all of Tolkien's Middle Earth related works for that matter), this was a series that I knew could peak my interests.

As a fantasy series, I really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the detail that went into each character and their story, but still manages to tie back to them in one way or another.  Each chapter shuffled between a handful of characters which include Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and even Daenerys Targaryen and will focus on them and their surroundings.  It also has characters that you'd probably recognize if you've seen the show but haven't read the books (i.e. the Stark Family, Daenerys' brother, and Joffrey).

This is a book series for adults given some of the language used, violence, and some of the themes/topics brought up.  We have all five main series books and two spin off/prequel books.  If you have seen the series but haven't read the books, or are looking for a good read, I would recommend it.  And while I personally still have to read through the other books, I think it's really good so far.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Celia recommends "The Last of Sheila"

A year after Sheila is killed in a hit-and-run, her multi-millionaire husband invites a group of friends to spend a week on his yacht playing a scavenger hunt-style mystery game. The game turns out to be all too real and all too deadly.

A twisted, psychological thriller/who-done-it that, for the most part, holds up over time. Originally released in 1973, The Last of Sheila is well acted, well written, and uses it’s sets to full advantage. For fans of today’s horror/thriller movies, this one will probably seem too slow paced and dialogue heavy. For those who like to solve puzzles, though, the film will keep you on your toes right to the end. It reminded me of movies by Alfred Hitchcock, which isn’t surprising since Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame co-wrote it. It also reminded me of a creepier, less campy version of the movie Clue. Highly entertaining and enjoyable to watch.

Recommended for Adult.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Lisa recommends "The Animal Pokey"

This is a brand new board book that just came through and we immediately thought it would be a story time hit!  If you have a young child that loves either singing or animals, you will have a great time reading (or singing!) this book aloud as the animals take part in the Hokey Pokey.  The staff here have loved it so much that babies and toddlers who attend story time will soon see it in the regular rotation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Connie recommends "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

Great story with a surprise twist.  I especially enjoyed listening to the audio version of this book as the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, does an excellent job representing the characters as Delia Owens portrays them.


For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Staff recommends President's Day Reads

Celebrate President’s Day by finding out about the people who have held the Office of the President of the United States. From beginning readers to adult books, we have something for everyone! Check out our biography sections for books on your favorite president or treat yourself to some fun facts and anecdotes by checking out one of these titles:


Friday, February 1, 2019

Natalie recommends "The Guardians: Jack Frost The End Becomes the Beginning"

As you may notice by the cover, the image of Jack Frost is similar to his appearance in the DeamWorks animated movie Rise of the Guardians.  Which would make sinjce since he was one of the people who worked this movie (as well as several short films and cartoons), as well as being the one that wrote the children books predeceasing it.  This is the fifth book in a series about the guardians of childhood, the first four centering around Nicholas St. North (Santa Claus), E. Aster Bunnymund (the Easter Bunny), Queen Toothiana (the Tooth Fairy), and Sandman (also known as Sanderson Mansnoozie) in that order.  Along with their friend Kathrine and a few other familiar characters.

This book centers around, as you probably guessed, Jack Frost.  It picks up years after the Guardians battle against Pitch, the king of nightmares, and looks into how Jack Frost became Jack Frost and the life he's been living.  Without giving too much away from the previous four books, he was  a being called Nightlight, who helped the Guardians and was a good friend of Kathrine.  This book highlights his life, memories as Jack Frost, and the plan to stop Pitch for good.

As I previously stated, this is the fifth and final book, so you will want to read those first.  We have books one through three as well as this book.  However, we do not have a copy of book four, Sandman and the War of Dreams, but can be found on MeL.

This is a book that is directed towards kids, but all ages can enjoy this series about these fairy/folktale figures.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

CMPL recommends Best Books of 2018: Reader Favorites



At the Main Library for the month of January, we put up a display of books that made various “Best of 2018” lists. Here are some of the titles that appeared on those lists:


Bad Blood by John Carreyrou - 338.76817 C

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – 364.1532 M

Educated by Tara Westover – BIO WESTOVER

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday – FIC HALLIDAY

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – FIC JONES

Circe by Madeline Miller – FIC MILLER

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – FIC MOSHFEGH

There There by Tommy Orange – FIC ORANGE

The Witch Elm by Tana French – MYS FRENCH

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah – SS FIC KWAME


Then, we decided to ask YOU what YOUR favorite book of 2018 was. (This could be books published in 2018, or anything you read in 2018!) Here are the responses we received:


Educated by Tara Westover – BIO WESTOVER

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman – FIC ACKERMAN

This Scorched Earth: a novel of the Civil War by William Gear – FIC GEAR

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones – FIC JONES

Perfume: the story of a murderer by Patrick Suskind – FIC SUSKIND

Dietland by Sarai Walker – FIC WALKER

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy – GN MCELROY

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – SF NOVIK

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – YA ALBERTALLI

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer – YA MEYER

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss – ER 3 SEUSS

Gravity Falls: Journal 3 by Alex Hirsch – JFIC GRAVITY

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – JFIC ROWLING

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey – JGN PILKEY


Thanks to everyone who shared their favorites with us!

Natalie recommends "Cry Wolf"

I recently gave this book series a try earlier in 2018.  We had recently gotten the newest book in the series, known as the Alpha and Omega ser, Burn Bright.  I had to use the MeL system since we didn't have the copy of this particular title up until recently and I read it alongside Patricia Briggs' other series, the Mercy Thompson series, which ties into and coincides with this series.  Both series are really good, but I do like this one a little more.

It has to do with the main character, Anna, who up until recently didn't know that werewolves, vampires, and the like existed.  That is, until she is bitten by a werewolf and becomes one herself.  She was in a pack that wasn't all too kind until she meets Charles Cornick, the enforcer and son to the alpha of the Native American pack.  She joins this pack and is the mate of Charles.  Anna also discovers that she is considered a rare and valuable Omega.  This first installment sees her coming into her own in her new surroundings and aids in finding a rouge werewolf that could really shake things up for this pack if not dealt with.

This is an urban fantasy and is an Adult Fiction.  It's also worth mentioning that there is a short story that sets up this series titled "Alpha and Omega" which can be found in Shifting Shadows, a collection of Patrica Briggs' short stories in this universe, and is at South and can be held.

I recommend this since it is a unique series and I found it while looking for a book based around werewolf.  I am also current reading through the Alpha and Omega series for a second time.   And if you'd like, feel free to give the Mercy Thompson series a try.  They both can be read separately and as their own story, but they do reference each other just a little bit, especially since the love interest in the Mercy Thompson series is a member of Charles pack.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Erica recommends "Moon of the Crusted Snow"

When satellite TV and cell service go down in a small Anishinaabe community in northern Ontario, no one is too concerned. The First Nations reserve has only been on the grid for a few years anyway, and this has happened before. Then all power goes out, and there is no word from the utilities and government in the South. As winter comes on, with some members of the tribe better prepared than others, anxiety and conflict creep up. Soon, an unexpected visitor arrives from the South...
Be sure to have plenty of warm blankets as you read! Rice's new take on an Ojibwa legend is a slow, atmospheric descent. Recommended for adults and older teens.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Celia recommends "My Sister, the Serial Killer"


December 2018 Book of the Month


The inside cover of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite summarizes this book as “a darkly comic, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.” It is indeed a hand grenade of a novel. This book is surprising, funny, intense, creepy, and addictive. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop and I’ve been thinking about this book ever since.


The concept is simple – Korede’s sister, Ayoola, keeps murdering her boyfriends and leaving Korede to clean up the mess. Literally. Korede has developed methods for cleaning blood stains out of just about anything. However, the relationships - those between the siblings, between Ayoola and her boyfriends, between both sisters and their mother and dead father, between Korede and the coworker she has a crush on - are deep, complex, and twisted. Although you start the book knowing who the serial killer is, how she did it, and where she dumps the bodies, there is nothing predictable about this book. As the review in Publisher’s Weekly puts it “the reveal at the end isn’t so much a ‘gotcha’ moment as the dawning of an inevitable, creeping feeling that Braithwaite expertly crafts over the course of the novel.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Meghan Recommends "Eighth Grade"


If you are a fellow grown-up, can we just agree that middle school was the worst? Yeah? Great.


Well against all reason, I encourage you to step back into those loud, sweaty halls to experience the last week of eighth grade with Kayla Day in the film Eighth Grade. Kayla is shy, has a hard time making friends, and is on her phone ALL THE TIME. Kayla films advice videos for YouTube, telling her nonexistent audience to “be yourself” and “put yourself out there” and “be confident” even while she struggles to follow her own advice. She gets anxious in social situations. When her dad cajoles her into going to a classmate’s pool party, she nearly has a panic attack in the bathroom changing into her bathing suit.


But Kayla tries, and she not only jumps into the pool, she starts up a conversation with the “mean girl” host the following week at school. Kayla is thoughtful, and when tested, she sticks up for herself and makes good choices. Eighth Grade made me feel for Kayla, cringing as she tries to impress a boy she likes, and aching for her as she burns a box of her “hopes and dreams” from sixth grade. She just wants to have friends, and hasn’t learned yet that some people aren’t good friend material.


As the parent of an eighth grader, I saw my own kid in her. I rolled my eyes right back at Kayla, and I laughed in sympathy with her dad. This scene, as he drives her to mall, is just perfect:



Kayla: Can you not look like that please?

Dad: What? Like what?

Kayla: Just, like, the way you're looking.

Dad: Looking at the road?

Kayla: You can look at the road, Dad. I obviously didn't mean that. Just, like, don't be weird and quiet while you do it.

Dad: Sorry. Hey, how was the [high school] thing?

Kayla: No, you were being quiet, which is fine. Just, like, don't be weird and quiet 'cause, like, I look over at you, and I think you're about to drive us into a tree or something. And then I get really freaked out, and then I can't text my friend. So just, like, be quiet, and drive, and don't look weird and sad.


Um, ok? “This too shall pass” goes equally for parents and teens, I guess. While I wish I could give every anxious teen a hug and assure them that NO ONE has it all figured out by the end of eighth grade, some lessons kids just have to learn for themselves.



The film is rated R for language and some sexual situations. I did not watch it with my teen, but having seen it, the potentially objectionable content is probably nothing new to her. Seeing the film together might be uncomfortable, but it could also be a good way to start important conversations about self-respect, social media use, and expectations for behavior. That said, you can read more about the film at Common Sense Media, or pre-screen it (and think about what you want to say!) before viewing together.



Recommended for adults and possibly teens.



Meghan Mott

Outreach Librarian

Clinton-Macomb Public Library



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Annie recommends "Something in the Water"

A ‘what if we had’ situation many of us have dreamed of.  During their honeymoon in Bora Bora, Erin & Mark find an amazing treasure in the water.  As they grapple with the decision of what to do with it, their lives change in more ways they could imagine.  They force us all to decide, would we do what they did?   Another surprise – it’s the first novel of Catherine Steadman (Downton Abbey’s Mabel Lane Fox).  Recommended for adults.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Kathy recommends Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This is the epic story of four generations of a Korean-Japanese family beginning at the turn of the 20th century. In the early 1910s Japan occupied Korea. Sunja, the sheltered and beloved daughter of Hoonie and YangJin, is seduced by a wealthy, married older man. Pregnant, Sunja and her parents leave Korea and settle in Japan. The story unfolds as the family suffers from legal and social discrimination which was pervasive against the Koreans in Japan . Tragedies and joys unfold over the next eighty years. The author does a beautiful job of portraying each of the remarkable family members and their struggle to survive and prosper in a land that views them as outsiders. Historically accurate, this is a timely topic and a global view into the plight of immigrants who are born in a land previous generations adopted as their own, but are never fully accepted.

Natalie recommends "An invitation to Celtic wisdom: a little guide to mystery, spirit, and compassion"

As someone who likes Irish history and lore, I found this to be a nice read.  It talks about concepts and gives some wisdom that can be used today, through saints and some other interesting Celtic figures.  It uses figures from "Celtic Christianity" (as it explains that Christianity in Ireland has some unique traits to it) and pieces from Celtic lore.  It does have a section Saint Patrick, since he is one of Ireland's most well known saints, but ​some other figures brought up in this book include, Brigid, Brendan the Navigator, Columcille, and some other lesser known saints.  This book includes a section on some Celtic wisdom, which include a few Gaelic terms, one which revolves around "spiritual" friendships.  This is a short read, only consisting of one hundred and eighty-eight pages, but is a good read.  It can be found in the Adult Nonfiction section.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Uma recommends " The Duchess : Camilla Parker Bowles and the love affair that rocked the crown"

"The Duchess : Camilla Parker Bowles and the love affair that rocked the crown" by Penny Junor is a complete biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.  Junor wonderfully narrates Camilla's personality, hobbies and determinations. She delves deep into the role Camilla ultimately played in the split of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, while revealing many hidden truths about Camilla and Charles' love affair. This gripping biography is a great read for anyone who is fascinated by the British Royal Family.​ Recommended for adults.