Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sarah recommends "Tomboy" by Liz Prince

Tomboy / A Graphic Memoir
This graphic memoir about growing up a tomboy is a great inside view of what it’s like to not conform to what society thinks you ought to be.  Liz is charming, and provides a refreshingly honest view of her adolescence.  The book is entertaining and thought provoking and will be enjoyed by both teens and adults.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jamie recommends "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

Big little lies

Part murder mystery, part study in domestic life in 2014, Big Little Lies, is intriguing and enjoyable as a mystery as well as a work of fiction.  The story revolves around three women raising Kindergartners in Australia. Their lives overlap through the school when one child is accused of bullying, triggering a chain of events that results in the death of a parent, but who died?  The story follows the lives of Madeline, the Queen Bee of the school moms, Celeste, the beautiful, wealthy mother who harbors a secret and Jane, the young new mom on the block who harbors her own secrets about her child's father.  This book was enjoyable and the central mystery, told through flashbacks, will keep you turning the pages until you reach the end.

This book is recommended for Adults.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Colette recommends "The Children Act" by Ian McEwan

Fiona Maye is a British High Court Judge in the Family Division and, as such, her life’s work is ‘bringing reasonableness to hopeless situations.” She is deeply cultured and believes that  kindness is the essential human ingredient -yet kindness IS complicated.  Fiona brings  rational  and compassionate clarity to life altering and murky court cases, showing how fragile we all are and how cautious we should be about disrupting another’s well-ordered life.  All the while, the equilibrium of her own life is being rocked by betrayal and an eventual recalibration of her long-term marriage.

Excellent small novel by Ian McEwan, recommended for the adult reader (also available on audiobook).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Colette recommends "The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters

A very long novel with two story arcs set in a post WWI London suburb:  British society is changing and Frances Wray & her mother are forced to take a young married couple into their home, euphemistically known as ‘paying guests,’ because lodgers would be too common to live in a  home on Champion Hill. The Wrays live in genteel poverty with Frances duty-bound to her (helpless) mother, living  a life of constant drudgery, all dreams set aside.  Enter the young couple. There is a semi-slow build which is wonderfully seductively drawn out, “forget Fifty Shades of Grey, this novel is one of the most sensual you will ever read and all without sacrificing either good taste or a “G” rating” [NPR].  With a lesbian relationship center stage, a love story and crime drama develop.  So well written, this IS literary fiction at its best and it will keep you reading and guessing until the very end.

Highly recommend for the mature and discriminating reader.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Beth recommends: "The Innovators" by Walter Isaacson

I have not even finished this book yet and want to recommend it – highly!  This is the story of the people and personalities behind the creation of the computer and the internet, told in a way that renders it very accessible to the layperson.  The history starts with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who with her mathematics interest and expertise was a pioneer in computer programming – before there were computers.  I am currently halfway through the book and up to the stories of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  So many interesting people – and successes and failures - preceded them.  I have no engineering or programming background, but still am finding this story fascinating – especially the focus on personalities, and the way in which collaboration and teamwork was so fundamental to the success of the many entrepreneurs and the world in which we live today. 

Recommended for Adult, Young Adult

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sarah recommends "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?"

Roz Chasts’ graphic memoir was recently nominated for the National Book Award.  The book uses text, comics, and photos to tell the story of the author’s struggle with taking care of her parents at the ends of their lives.  It’s a beautiful and honest glimpse into a time that we don’t talk about much.  Recommended for adults.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jamie recommends "Sara Ivanhoe's Taste 10 Short Yoga Sequences"

Sara Ivanhoe's taste 10 short yoga sequences

If you're new to yoga, want to give it a try, or simply don't have a ton of time to work out, Taste is a great workout option.  Comprised of 10 different 3-to-4-minute yoga sequences, Taste is perfect for those who are on the go or simply want to get a good stretch.  Some of the sequences are designed for strength, some for slimming and others for just relaxation.  After sitting all day, it was great to come home and combine a few of these short stretches to unwind.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kathy recommends "The Home Place"

The Home Place, is an emotionally evocative literary mystery in which a corporate lawyer is reluctantly pulled back into her troubled family life in rural Montana.
The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its bleak winters and stifling ways. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she’d left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. Alma is told that a very drunk Vicky had wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. But when Alma returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident.
“La Seur makes a very assured debut. Her characters are rich and believable; the plot is perfectly paced with mystery and romance enough to keep the reader hooked. And it’s all played against a beautifully drawn Montana backdrop.” (Booklist)
“La Seur entices readers with impeccable prose imbued with a blend of romance, nostalgia and suspense.” (Kirkus Reviews)
The Home Place” is one of the year’s strongest debuts. (Associated Press)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Juliane recommends "Nantucket Sisters"

Reading this is like listening to the Beach Boys music on a beautiful summer day – it’s light and fun but has harmonious layers to enjoy as well.  The author, Nancy Thayer is well-known for her Nantucket-themed books, she displays a love for the topography of the island but interjects just enough glitz and glamour into each of her novels.  This story follows the coming of age of two girlfriends on the island, but from different worlds.  Emily Porter lives a rich, privileged life and Maggie McIntrye has more of a scrappy, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps attitude, but they are best friends.  Tensions ebb and flow as the girls mature and their stations in life pull them in different directions, but the island serves as a touch point for both of them.  Midway through, there is a (nearly) implausible turn of events that happen to both young women at almost exactly the same time, which I didn’t love, but I was able to look past.  This is a great read for someone who enjoys contemporary female stories, fairly light in tone, with the right amount of romance and dreamy landscape setting the scene.

Karen recommends "Judicial Deceit: tyranny & unnecessary secrecy at the Michigan Supreme Court"

Retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice, Elizabeth Weaver, and co-author David Schock reveal the inner workings of the Michigan Supreme Court based on their far-reaching study of public and not-so public documents.  Justice Weaver’s experiences, internal documents, e-mails, recorded conversations, court records, interviews, and media reports are the sources for this well-researched revelation.  She exposes bullying schemes, “dark money” and gifts.

The “dark money” of the judicial election process contributes to the secrecy and politics of the Michigan Supreme Court with its tyranny, and deceit affecting all Michigan residents whether they are litigants or not.

Perjury, a gun-carrying justice, a pot smoking judge, as well as concealments by the Attorney Grievance and Judicial Tenure Commissions are just some of the under the radar issues exposed.

Justice Weaver refused the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society’s gift of gold rings to the justices, noting that the Society is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) entity, whose board is composed primarily of attorneys.

This tome includes 2 well-reasoned appendices. The first is Justice Weaver’s 7-point plan for reform of the judicial selection process; and the second is Justice Weaver’s “Ten Principles for Living – Fundamental Tenets of Responsible Behavior” which includes her motto:  Do right and fear not.

This is an eye-opener about what should be the most well-defined branch of government.  In Justice Weaver’s words, “We offer this chronicle of corruption at Michigan’s high court, an especially sad chapter in this state’s history.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jamie recommends "Midnight Crossroad"

Midnight crossroad

The latest from Charlaine Harris blends her love of vampires, witches and the bizarre in a fun, summer read.  If you enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Mysteries series, this is in the same vein.  It follows the story of sometimes psychic Manfred as he moves to the tiny town of Midnight, Texas.  A murder occurs and the cast of characters must figure out who did it before the local pawn shop owner is arrested for the death of his girlfriend.  If you're looking for a good beach-read that combines some paranormal elements, this is a solid choice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Jeannie Recommends "Girls and their Horses"

A great American Girl book. Age 8 and older.

Jeannie Recommends "Brothers Forever"

True story of two men who laid down their lives for America; their friendship, courage and families. A new Adult biography.

Jeannie recommends "Fearless"

This biography is the best I’ve read! I feel lucky to have gotten to know Adam Brown through this book. An Adult recommendation.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Beth recommends "Bellweather Rhapsody"

Part mystery, part coming-of-age, part horror – and absolutely wonderful story-telling – Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia is hard to categorize and this reader found it impossible to put down.  The characters lingered in my mind long after I finished reading.  Statewide - an annual music convention featuring the top high school talent in New York - occurs one weekend each year at the Bellweather, a hotel in the Catskills which has seen better days.  Definitely not one of those better days occurred 15 years ago, when it was the scene of a grisly murder-suicide.  The action  takes place during one weekend and features some very engaging  characters, each harboring his or her own secrets – twins Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker, their chaperone Natalie, their conducter Fisher, the evil head of the conference, Viola, the missing prodigy Jill, and a sad, elderly  concierge who has seen it all.   Into this mix add Minnie who, as a child, witnessed the tragedy in Room 712 years ago.  The atmosphere of the creepy, worn hotel and the imminent snowstorm add just the perfect touch of shiver. 

Recommended for Adults and Young Adults

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kate recommends "The Thing with Feathers"

In his nonfiction book The Thing with Feathers, author Noah Strycker explores a variety of fascinating bird behaviors and compares them to human thoughts, emotions, and actions.  Believe it or not, it’s a real page-turner!  From Bowerbirds that spend months decorating their nests to impress the females to apparent altruism expressed by wrens, the author makes bird watching seem like an incredibly stimulating and rewarding hobby.  Though the book has no pictures, the author references several YouTube videos that show exactly the birds and actions he is describing.  This book can make a person view the birds they see around them every day in a startling new light.

Recommended for adults and young adults.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Beth recommends: "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History"

There have been five major extinctions in the history of our planet, eliminating large percentages of species each time.  Natural history writer and reporter Elizabeth Kolbert traveled around the world to observe and document a sixth extinction in the making.  The cause this time?  Us.  Human beings.  With our existence, mobility, creativity, appetites - as well as greed and careless use of resources -  we are changing the environment faster than evolution can keep pace.  It is fascinating being out in the field with Kolbert, whether it is searching for golden frogs in Panama, climbing a mountain in the Amazon, marveling at a coral reef, or visiting a bat cave – but the scientific observations of the researchers she spends time with are sobering and disturbing.  I highly recommend this book for its wealth of interesting information and its insight into the losses we can expect in the future if we don’t make significant changes now.

Recommended for adults, young adults

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kathy recommends "Elizabeth the First Wife"

Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family. Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  As she did so skillfully with her first novel, Helen of Pasadena, which spent more than a year on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List, Lian Dolan spins a lively, smart, and very funny tale of a woman reinventing her life in unexpected ways.

For other recommendations, please join our librarians at the Main Library on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 from 7-8 pm for Chapter One.  Chapter One is our re-designed semi-annual book talk program.  Formerly known as Once Upon a Crime, we have broadened the scope to include all genres of fiction, and possibly some nonfiction.  Four librarians will give you the inside scoop on books – new and not-so-new – that you might enjoy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kara recommends "Calling Me Home"

A debut novel by Julie Kibler, Calling Me Home interweaves the story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship.  This book is a great read for adults and works especially well for a book club discussion.

Kara recommends "The Watermelon Seed"

This is a cute picture book for kids about a crocodile who loves watermelon.  One day he accidentally swallows a seed and he starts to imagine a watermelon growing inside of him!  This book would be a great story for parents to read to their young children.  The Watermelon Seed was also the winner of the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jamie recommends "The Invention of Wings"

The invention of wings

This novel by Sue Monk Kidd tells the story of Sarah Grimk√© and her slave Handful who lived in early 1800's Charleston, South Carolina.  Sarah was born into a world of Southern privilege where slavery was as common as it was expected. On Sarah's eleventh birthday her mother presents her with a gift--Handful, her very own slave. Sarah was the outcast of her family and held very progressive ideas, including the thought that slavery was wrong and slaves should be equal to whites.  The novel switches between Sarah and Handful's point of view over the years and tells their intertwining stories where each woman attempts to find her place in the world.  If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a book that will grab hold of you from the start.

I was interested to learn that this story was somewhat based in reality. Sarah Grimk√© was a real woman who was far ahead of her time in thoughts on slavery and women's rights.  It was a very good read that I found hard to put down.  Recommended for adults and young adults.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kara recommends "Me Before You"

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.  What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of color. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

This book is suitable for adults.

Kara recommends "The Story of Beautiful Girl"

It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone-Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

This novel is suitable for high school aged students and adults.

Kate recommends "In a World..."

In A World… tells the comical story of an aspiring yet underachieving voiceover artist as she competes for a much sought-after movie trailer contract.  She’s one of few women in a male-dominated field, and must prove herself by going up against the industry’s greatest legend – her own father.  Audiences will really be rooting for her to beat the odds and finally get her life off the ground.  This quirky and fun comedy stars Lake Bell and features lots of laughs from rising comedians such as Nick Offerman, Demetri Martin, and Tig Notaro.  Rated R.