Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recommended reads from adult summer reading program

The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini
Find it in the catalog!
"One of the Elm Creek Quilter books (number 13 in a series of 20). Has lots of recipes. In fact ordered this book from book store to keep recipes forever. Good way to pick a book to buy."

-- Pat

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
by Michael Chabon
Find it in the catalog!
"It is a gripping page-turner, immersive and very well-written. One of my favorite novels ever!"

-- Katie

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
Find it in the catalog!
"As a period piece it is a fascinating read, as an examination of the west's disdain for 'alien' cultures it is a challenge. The prose is eerie and unsettling, in the best possible way!"

-- Todd

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Galbadon
Find it in the catalog!
"The second installement of the Outlander series continues to thread more storylines that crop up around the main characters Jamie and Claire. A very long book and very long series -- like 10 books. Great author!"

-- Cinde

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Find it in the catalog!
"Genova writes a clever book about the development of character through struggles and obstacles. The main character, a wife and mom, deals with a brain injury resulting in a book I couldn't stop reading. I felt as though I was learning about the inner workings of the human brain as well as heart."

-- Patty

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Find it in the catalog!
"It was very engaging from the beginning to the end. You read this story from three strangers perspectives and watch how their lives become connected. Author did a good job of keeping the story plot a mystery throughout book!"

-- Tanya

Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee
Find it in the catalog!
"As I read, I sat and smiled like a loon in some parts. Met my husband vis internet, so 'email moments' did remind me of our courtship. A romance for today's modern age."

-- Ronda

Every Day by David Levithan
Find it in the catalog!
"Even though it is a teen book, it addresses stereotypes, the idea of love and how we define who we are as humans. It was a quick read with a surprising ending."

-- Marissa

The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber
Find it in the catalog!
"It gives great financial advice that we should be teaching our children. Very useful. Great tips."

-- Karen

Sweetgrass by Mary Alice Monroe
Find it in the catalog!
"A book based in South Carolina about the struggle and love rooted in a Southern family and the love of their home. It is a wonderful story of hope, acceptance, love and forgiveness."

-- Abigail

Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb
Find it in the catalog!
"I am a fan of Eve Dallas, Roarke and supporting cast. Reading these books is like putting on a robe and slippers. The characters are familiar and the bad guy always loses."

-- Maureen

The Grantchester Mysteries: Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins by James Runcie
Find it in the catalog!
"It reminds me of the Father Brown series on PBS. As with any mystery series, one wonders why the community members continue to live in such a mystery-ridden town! But the characters are amusing and nothing is too far-fetched-- perfect summer read."

-- Sue

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
Find it in the catalog!
"It is very relatable for most people. As teenagers, we have dreams and aspirations. Sometimes we forget what is important to us as adults."

-- Ofelia

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Find it in the catalog!
"It is a great book. It tells of the Amish life, love, and forgiveness."

-- Stacy

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Staff recommended reads for summer reading


Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations
by Peter Evans and Ava Garder
Find it in the catalog!

"It's  a very candid side of Ava. It's beautifully written and the flow is fast paced and jam-packed. You can hear Ava's voice throughout as though you are listening in on the conversations."

-- Samantha, Randall Oaks Library

When Books Went to War
by Molly Guptill Manning
Find it in the catalog!

"A little bit of history during WWII -- facts everyone will find to be interesting. A must read."

-- Carrie, Account Services


Where They Found Her 
by Kimberly McCreight
Find it in the catalog!

"You never see the ending coming. I didn't want to put this book down. I also recommend this author's other book too-- Reconstructing Amelia."

-- Katie, Children's Services

by Diana Gabaldon
Find it in the catalog!

"Daring sword, fights, magic stones, a Highlander in a kilt! Historical fiction + romance + political intrigue = a dramatic adventure through 1700s Scotland with one of the most exciting female leads I know."

-- Samantha, Children's Services

The Blood Red Indian Summer
by David Handler
Find it in the catalog!

"This caught my attention because it was a mystery about athletes who behave badly and the fools who admire them anyway."

-- Gemma, Security Monitor

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero
Find it in the catalog! 

"You can related so much to this teenage girl. I love the fact that she's your typical Hispanic teenage girl, she loves to write, especially poetry, finds love and loves to eat. The cover stood out to me, it looked weird and I fell in love with the character Gabi!"

-- Elizabeth, Children's Services
I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
Find it in the catalog!

"It was a sad but interesting read. The subject is more appropriate with teens (older) and adults."

-- Mary, Children's Services

by Marie Lu
Find it in the catalog!

"It is the second book in a great trilogy and the end has an interesting twist!"

-- Rosana, Children's Services

by Norihiro Yagi
Find it in the catalog!

"It's a graphic novel with great cinematic qualities. I have to applaud the artist! I found the secret identities compelling and became suspicious of every character in the best possible way."

-- Kristen, Information Services

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Book Bite: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.”
-- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Some of Us Have Rhythm, and Maybe Some of Us Don't...

Books and Music, and What We're Going to Do This Summer! (click to view)

Some of us have rhythm, and maybe some of us don't, but we all have lots of books and lots of fun planned for Summer Reading!
Come on in to one of our locations, and sign up everybody in your family!!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Recommended Read: The 12 Bottle Bar

 The 12 Bottle Bar: A Dozen Bottles, Hundreds of Cocktails, A New Way To Drink by David and Lesley Solmonson.
Find it in the catalog!

This book is great resource for anyone just getting into cocktails or wondering what to stock their bar with for optimal usage.  However, even hardcore cocktail geeks like myself can find some unique and creative recipes in this title.  The 12 Bottle Bar, as the title implies, highlights 12 different types of liquor for you to stock in your home bar, and then provides a plethora of recipes using each or a combination of those liquors.  The authors also supply recommendations of what brands of alcohol to buy for each of the bottles, suggesting both low and medium priced options.  The 12 bottles highlighted include:
  • Brandy
  • Genever
  • Gin
  • Amber Rum
  • White Rum
  • Vodka
  • Whiskey
  • Orange Liqueur
  • Bitters
  • Vermouth
Thankfully, I already had all of these bottles (and several others) in my home bar, so I could pat myself on the back and dive into the recipes!  However, I had to get some specialty ingredients like Orgeat syrup and Grenadine to make a few of the cocktails (mostly of the tropical variety).  To the authors' credit, they provide recipes for all their "mixers."  I'm just lazy and would rather buy than make my own.  Overall, I was really impressed with the quality and creativity of the recipes in this book.

One of my favorite sections of the book was the vodka section.  I'm a little bit of a snob when it comes to vodka.  Which is to say, I think it tastes like nothing, and there are no cocktails that you can make with it that I wouldn't rather have gin or tequila in.  However, this book makes a compelling case for the lesser spirit.  The Lemon Drop is one of my dark, guilty pleasures as a pretend liquor snob, and their recipe for a Limoncello Drop is amazing!  I add a pinch of basil or mint to garnish.  I also was a fan of their straight forward recipe for a Kamikaze shot as well.  Both good entertaining options for my less well drunk friends.

Additionally, I appreciated their chapter on Genever, though I strongly disagree that it is a bottle cocktail newbies should buy.  Genever is an acquired taste; it tastes like vodka mixed with cigarette smoke, and this is coming from a gin lover.  However, I have an ancient bottle of Bols in my freezer that I regret buying, and I appreciated the suggestions to make it slighter more palatable!  But for an actual home bar, I highly recommend buying some reposado tequila instead. 

While I disagree with the Genever recommendation, overall this is a wonderful book for anyone interested in cocktails or entertaining.  A lot of cocktail books have the same old recipes for pre-Prohibition drinks like the Old Fashioned or Last Word.  This book has a some of those recipes, but they also have lots of lesser known or newly created recipes too.  Best of all, you don't have to worry about blowing the bank on expensive, but lesser used liquors like Absinthe or Chartreuse to make any of the drinks in this book! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

New Non-Fiction

Here's a selection of new non-fiction titles that recently hit our shelves:

A Bone to Pick: The Good and Bad News About Food, With Wisdom and Advice on Diets, Food Safety, GMOs, Farming, and More by Mark Bittman. This is a compilation of Bittman's columns for the New York Times. A bit of everything on the topic of food and how we get it.

I Regret Nothing, A Memoir by Jen Lancaster. Another humorous read from Lancaster, who reflects on middle age and her bucket list.

Goebbels: A Biography by Peter Longerich. For the history buffs (especially WWII), you can delve into this over 900-page book on Hitler's henchman Joseph Goebbels.

John Hughes: A Life in Film by Kirk Honeycutt. The size and shape of the book reminds me of a yearbook, which is fitting for this photo-packed reflection on John Hughes' life and films (Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club, and more).

What Katie Ate On the Weekend... by Katie Quinn Davies. Gorgeously photographed cookbook, with an international bent.

When To Rob a Bank... And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. From the authors of Freakonomics, comes this new book of the best posts from their years of blogging on their website.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. As the title simply states, Pultizer-prize winning author McCullough focuses on the first brothers of flight.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Historical Reads: Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes (2005).
Call #: Fiction Moyes (Adult New Books)
Find it in the catalog! 

I've been a big fan of British author Jojo Moyes's previous books including Me Before You and The Last Letter from Your Lover.  She writes smart, thoughtful and funny women's fiction, often times with a historical component.  One of the nice things about her growing popularity stateside is that several of her older works are now being widely published, including The Ship of Brides!

Set just after World War II and based loosely off of real events, this book follows the journey of 650 war brides from their native Australia to England to be reunited with their British husbands.  The brides travel aboard the HMS Victoria, a war ship, and are accompanied by over a thousand British naval officers.  The book primarily focuses on four women who share a cabin on this voyage. 

Maggie is a heavily pregnant farm girl who was raised by her father and is generally used to being surrounded by men.  Because she is a tomboy, she has no problem making friends with some of the men on the ship (in spite of the strict rules about fraternizing between the soldiers and the brides). She also has a warm personality and brings together the four roommates in spite their very diverse backgrounds.  Out of the roommates, Maggie has had the longest relationship with her husband, Joe. 

Avice is probably the least immediately likeable character.  She's a snooty and spoiled society girl who is unhappy with the conditions of her voyage, hoping to be on a cruise liner instead of a war ship.  She finds the other three girls to below her preferred station of friends, but it still somewhat fond of Maggie.

Jean is a teenage bride.  She is quite immature and always trying to have a good time. She knew Avice before the trip, and much to Avice's dismay, winds up sharing a cabin with her.  Jean comes from a more working class background than Avice and her love of partying sometimes gets her in trouble.

Finally, Francis was a war nurse with a mysterious past.  Francis is incredibly shy and tends to keep to herself, despite encouragement from Maggie and Jean.  She says very little about her past or the man she is married to, but acts as a strong advocate for Jean when she gets in trouble.  Because of her medical skills, she is also of assistance on the war ship.

As one might expect, despite very strict rules and punishments, there is still quite of bit of mischief between the brides and the soldiers, with much higher stakes for the brides.  As some brides begin to receive "Not Wanted, Don't Come" telegrams from their husbands, tensions begin to run high among the women on the ship.  Their is also a very sweet, Austen-esque romance between one of the women and a naval officer. 

I really liked the book, but had one minor quibble.  Avice is a pretty annoying character and it's easy to see where her plot line is going.  That said, she was a good foil for the rest of the girls, in particular Francis, who has the most compelling narrative.  Overall, this was a very enjoyable read about a little known part of history.