Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Not only is Sloane Crosley witty, but she's insightful. In her bestselling book of essays I Was Told There'd Be Cake, she details volunteering gone awry, childhood friends coming out of the woodwork, disturbed neighbors, and crazy bosses. Things often don't go her way and that's makes for a good read (who locks themselves out of their apartment twice in one day or accidentally takes a butterfly from a museum exhibit?). I knew I liked her after reading a particular essay entitled "Bastard Out of Westchester," on wishing to be unique when you come from suburbia (the place that squashes uniqueness at every turn-- my words, not hers). She so eloquently disses the suburban childhood:
". . . suburban kids are uniquely mean. They don't have the dangers of drive-by shootings or shark attacks to put things into perspective. The poor aren't considered genuinely impoverished and the wealthy aren't rich rich. Everything is muted. Other side effects include but are not limited to: inadverdent house arrest until the age of eighteen, the mall as ecosphere, jingling car keys as status symbol, an intimate knowledge of golf courses but a lack of global awareness."
I must admit that not every essay is a home run for me, but there are quite a few spot-on ones to make up for this. My favorites include the aforementioned "Bastard Out of Westchester," "You On a Stick," and "Smell This." All funny and oh, so, relate-able. So relate-able, in fact, that she's currently developing this book for HBO.

Find it in the catalog!

(Also see her recently released sophomore essay effort How Did You Get This Number)

Fairies, fantasy, vamps, and more

Many of the participants in the Adult Summer Reading program have gravitated toward selections featuring fantastical and mythological beings such as fairies and vampires. Here are some reader recommendations and reviews compiled from reading logs and Reader Reviews:

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever Series #1)
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“It is definitely out of the ordinary and full of awe. I can’t wait to finish the whole fever series and find out what is the total outcome of this fascinating story.”
– Stephanie A.

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever Series #2)
Find it in the catalog!
"This book has done it all. It has combined the vampire, ghostly, magical, and paranormal world with ours. Bloodfever, for me, pulled me into the pages to keep reading to find out what the main character will face next and what she will do to survive and cope with her new life all together with a possible new lover. Totally LOVED it!"
-- Stephanie A.

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever Series #3)
Find it in the catalog!
"Very fascinating and full of 'what's coming next' character. It has the style to suck you in the story if you are interested in 'fairies,' monsters, and mysteries, nothing like the 'Twilight series'. You will enjoy it!"
-- Stephanie A.

Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever Series #4)
Find it in the catalog!

Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta
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Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse novels #10)
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"I really liked the book. The end wasn't as suspenseful as usual. But it was still very good."
-- Leslie D.
"I love this series. I can't help but keep reading. Very intense in every book. Can't wait for the next book to come out."
--Jennifer H.

A Touch of Dead: Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories by Charlaine Harris
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"I did enjoy the stories. I haven't read the Sookie Stackhouse books yet. They were a little hard to follow. The stories were still easy to read and fun."
-- Sandra L.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse novels #3)
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Club Dead was a great read. Harris introduces new and exciting characters to keep the reader wanting more. I hope to see more of the new characters in books to come.”
– Sandra L.

Also continuing to be popular with adults is the Twilight series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Linda Castillo and Pray for Silence

An Amish family is found murdered on their farm. The police chief, Kate Burkholder has no motives or very few clues to these gruesome murders. Chief Kate Burkholder grew up Amish, until she left at 18. Kate calls in State Agent John Tomasseti to assist. After f inding one of the daughters diaries she sees that she was leading a double life. Could the estranged son who was shunned by his family and the Amish community come back for revenge. This is a fast-paced thriller which will keep you reading until the surprise ending. This is the second in the series. Check out the first book Sworn to Silence.

Monday, July 26, 2010

James Patterson: Popular summer reading author

Private by James Patterson
NEW FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!
“James Patterson really knows how to get you involved in his stories so you don’t want to stop until you’ve finished the book. That’s exactly what he did with this one. Very good.”
-- Donna R.

The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
NEW FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!
NEW CD FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!
"The 9th Judgment kept you wanting to read more. I loved how the two plots intertwined. Can't wait to read the next one." -- Sandra L.

Cross Country by James Patterson
FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!
"I thought this was a very action packed mystery novel. I was just amazed at all of the violence the main character had to endure and still survives. It was so sad to hear how much the government knew about what was going on in their country." -- Anna K.

The Final Warning (Maximum Ride #4) by James Patterson
YOUNG ADULT PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!
"It was easy to read or listen to. I really liked Max, the heroine, and all of the struggles she has to endure as a teenager and then to save all mankind."
-- Anna K.

1st to Die (Women's Murder Club series #1) by James Patterson
LARGE TYPE FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!
"Good suspenseful novel. I always enjoy his novels. Short chapters and they hold your interest from beginning to end. You are right there with Lt. Lindsay and her friends as they solve the bride and groom killings."
-- Anna K.

More James Patterson recommendations from other summer reading participants:

2nd Chance 

Find it in the catalog!

Beach House
FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!

FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!

FICTION PATTERSON: Find it in the catalog!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer recommendations: Fiction, sci-fi, and romance

Big Girl by Danielle Steel
NEW FICTION STEEL: Find it in the catalog!
NEW AUDIOBOOK CD FICTION STEEL: Find it in the catalog!
"Surprised me... This book was different in a good way -- Steel finally didn't write book that sounded like she took pieces of other books and wrote a new one."
--Mary Beth B.

Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
FICTION KRENTZ: Find it in the catalog!
AUDIOBOOK CD FICTION KRENTZ: Find it in the catalog!
"The book is the first book of a trilogy. The character development is quite in depth so far. I look forward to the next two books. It is interesting to me to learn about psychic and paranormal abilities. That is an area I am not familiar with and I am learning a great deal through this book."
-- Marty S.

In the Garden trilogy by Nora Roberts
Blue Dahlia
PB ROMANCE ROBERTS: Find it in the catalog!
"Pretty good... romance, action, and mystery and actually pretty funny." --Jennifer H.

Black Rose
eAudiobook: Find it in the catalog!

Red Lily
PB ROMANCE ROBERTS: Find it in the catalog!
AUDIOBOOK CD FICTION ROBERTS: Find it in the catalog!
"Better than Book #1 and Book #2." --Jennifer H.

Star Trek The Next Generation: Imzadi by Peter David
SCIENCE FICTION DAVID: Find it in the catalog!
"A fun summer read. For those who enjoy Star Trek and especially the romance between Deanna Troi and Will Riker. I have wanted to read this book since it was first published but could never find it until now. It met my expectations and more. I finished in 2-3 days. Some may find the layout a little difficult: it starts with the end, goes to the end of the beginning, then the epilogue, eventually the middle and ends with the beginning of the end. But it is clearly labeled at each time difference and the really draws one into the story! I give it a 5 out of 5."
--Lydia Q.

Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard
FICTION MITCHARD: Find it in the catalog!
"Still Summer is a good summer read. It gets dark pretty quickly, so you have to stick it out to the end. It explores relationships-- mother/daughter, friends, spouses, siblings, etc. Relationships are painful, but the stuff of life, and Mitchard doesn't disappoint."
--Amy R.

Wedding Season by Katie Fforde
NEW FICTION FFORDE: Find it in the catalog!
“This was my favorite books of hers so far. The story was entertaining and the characters were very enjoyable. I liked that there were three main characters with their own storylines and they all wove together. A little corny that everything comes together for a happy ending for all—but it’s what you expect.”
–Emily K.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Name is Memory

"Please try to believe me," I said. "This didn't happen by accident. You have been with me from the very first life. You are my first memory every time, the single thread in all of my lives. It's you who makes me a person."

-- Daniel to Constance, England 1918 
I enjoyed Ann Brashares' previous book, The Last Summer (of You and Me) and was excited to read her latest release, My Name is Memory, which has a very unique storyline. The main character, Daniel, is able to remember all his past lives and also has the ability to recognize souls from one life to another. In each life he searches for Sophia, the woman he loves, sometimes going for hundreds of years without running into her. Sometimes Sophia is reborn as a young girl; sometimes she is an old woman at the time that Daniel is a little boy; in one life Sophia was a nurse (Constance) who cared for Daniel, a soldier. No matter what her name, age, or appearance, Daniel recognizes her soul and continues to refer to her as Sophia. In all his different lives Daniel eventually requests to be called Daniel, the name he had in his first life in 520 A.D. The book is arranged so that the chapters alternate between Daniel's past lives and present-day (2006 onward).

At the beginning of the book Daniel approaches Lucy (Sophia) at a high school graduation party and attempts to tell her how much she, Sophia, means to him. Lucy is very confused about why he calls her Sophia and runs away; Daniel feels that he's messed up his chance to have Sophia in his life. Throughout high school Lucy felt drawn to Daniel but barely exchanged any words with him until the party. Even though Daniel disappears and Lucy has no contact with him during college she cannot get Daniel out of her mind and eventually starts to piece together her own memories.

Daniel is a very interesting character. Because of his ability to remember, he has knowledge of countless languages, authors, and subjects. Brashares also characterizes Daniel as quite a lonely character. In descriptions of his past lives he is often alienated from his family because he knows it is only a matter of time before he will come back again to start all over somewhere else. Plus, he is in the minority of people who remember.

My Name is Memory is the kind of book I never wanted to end, and because of that once I finished I still wanted to know what would become of the characters. But going beyond thinking about the characters in the book, Brashares makes you think about ideas like a soul being reborn in different bodies and lifetimes. At one point Daniel talks about a dog in Venice who remembered Daniel when he returned several years later in a different life. I thought that was a very nice detail in the book; a small group of people are able to recognize souls and yet dogs are able to see a person's soul. I guess as a dog-lover I thought that particular observant detail was very true to how I see dogs interact with humans.

I definitely recommend this book for fans of Ann Brashares' previous books and also to people who want an absorbing, creative story to captivate them this summer.

My Name is Memory Audiobook CD: Find it in the catalog!

Monday, July 12, 2010

RIP Harvy Pekar, 1939-2010

"The humor of everyday life is way funnier than what the comedians do on TV. It's the stuff that happens right in front of your face when there's no routine and everything is unexpected."- Harvey Pekar.

Legendary comic book author, Clevelander, and curmudgeon Harvey Pekar passed away at the age of 70.  Pekar was best known for his long-running autobiographical comic strip American Splendor.  The strip was later turned into a critically acclaimed movie of the same name starring Paul Giamatti.  Pekar collaborated with some of the most famous underground cartoonists including R. Crumb, Alison Bechdel, and Gilbert Herndandez. In the late 1980s, Pekar appeared several times on Late Night with David Letterman and was famously banned after a heated appearance where he repeatedly criticized General Electric (NBC's parent company). 

In addition to American Splendor, Pekar wrote several biographies and non-fiction graphic novels, including last year's The Beats, a history of the Beat Generation including Kerouac, Ginsburg, Burroughs and more.  Pekar was also a devout jazz fan and prolific music critic; in 2008, he even released a jazz opera called Leave Me Alone.

Read more about Harvey Pekar.

American Splendor (2003).
Comic Book Confidential (1988).

Selected Books:
Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation (2009).
The Beats: A Graphic History (2009).
American Splendor: Another Dollar (2009).
Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History (2008).
American Splendor. Another Day (2007).
Macedonia (2007).
Ego and Hubris: the Michael Malice Story (2006).
The Quitter (2005).
Best of American Splendor (2005).
American Splendor Presents: Bob and Harv's Comics (1996).
Our Cancer Year (1994).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Great books recommended by adult summer readers

If you're looking for a must-read, look through the following rave reviews for well-written page-turners.

The Best of Good by Sara Lewis
Find it in the catalog!

"The Best of Good explores human nature following tragedy. It allows people their crutches, but also allows them to turn over a new leaf. This book is a lovely reminder that you can change the direction of your life at any time. It also encourages readers to do what they love. Allow yourself plenty of time to read this book because once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down."
--Amy R.

"Take a family tragedy equal to Guest's Ordinary People and add unlikely characters brought together similar to Hornby's About a Boy and you get a glimpse of the wonder that is The Best of Good. Rarely has a novel been so satisfying."
--David R.
The Biographer by Virginia Duigan
Find it in the catalog!

"What a great book! The author wrote the book so that the reader felt as if they were in Italy -- you could see artwork, see the facial expressions of people in book. Author left it as you didn't really see the child's expression upon meeting mother but were left feeling that it was all good in the end. Look forward to reading more from this author."
--Mary Beth B.

Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond
Find it in the catalog!

"Very interesting! Touching! Who would have thought that a fictional book about an elephant would have been such a page turner."
--Patricia P.

A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova
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"Gorokhova weaves her true-to-life story into Russian history in such a way that you can feel the cold Russian air on your face. Americans learn a lot about capitalism from a communist perspective and quickly pause to wonder,what if? Gorokhova is a master story teller, so much so, that you are startled by the photos in the center of this non-fiction book. A must-read!"
--Amy R.
Promises to Keep by Jane Green
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"This was a truly enjoyable book. I actually liked all of the main characters. A very good story about love in all its forms. I didn't want to put it down."
--Emily K.

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
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"What a great book. There were two stories in one book -- the mom and then the son. Mystery, humor, and lots of action. I will read more of her books as this is a series, all about the Middle East (Egypt). Author described region in such detail you could almost feel yourself being there."
--Mary Beth B.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Magazine-aholic: Real Simple

Hi, my name is Linda and I'm a magazine-aholic. One rag that fuels my addiction is Real Simple.

Real Simple (RS) is one of the most aesthetically pleasing magazines around. The covers are not crowded with headlines in crazy fonts and the articles are laid out skillfully while the photography is not overly fussy or pretentious.

But, enough about it's looks-- it's also got brains too: RS has extremely useful and relevant content. It consistently covers wide-ranging topics, besides the requisite features on beauty products and fashion. The product reviews are varied (from vacuums to sports bras) and well thought-out, they don't shy away from covering money issues, and the recipes have an attainable ingredient list.

The "Life Lessons" segement icludes a manners advice column and a guest essay each month on varying topics that, coincidently, relate to life lessons. "The Guide" covers fashion, beauty, health, home, and money. A popular featurette they've had for years is "New Uses for Old Things" where they suggest uses for common products that aren't, maybe, obvious. For example: use an empty and cleaned ketchup bottle to pour pancake batter on the griddle, use a toothbrush to remove the silk from corn cobs, or snap a photo with your digital camera of the map you need to navigate in a strange city-- you won't let on that you're a tourist by taking out your atlas and it's less cumbersome.

What is refreshing about this women's magazine is that it's not condescending. Let's just say that there has never been an article about how to get, keep, or satisfy your man. The editors and writers accomplished what they set out to do 10 years ago: create a simple (but not simplistic) magazine that deals with real everyday issues.

The library subscribes to this magazine. The current issue may not be checked out, however we have plenty of comfortable seating. Older issues may be checked out for 2 weeks.
Find it in the catalog!
Checkout the Real Simple website

Reviews of non-fiction reads from Adult Summer Reading

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned by Michael J. Fox: "For a book being marketed to graduates, I was not impressed at all. The book did have a few enjoyable stories but there was no advice, wisdom, or guidance. Fans of Fox might enjoy hearing/reading the stories of his life, but not good for graduates."
--Andrew F.

Find it in the catalog!

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda: "I had listened to Alan Alda's first book and really enjoyed it. So, I thought I would enjoy this second one also. at first, I almost got too tired of hearing "advise" but eventually I got into it and by the end found it refreshingly enjoyable. This is not an autobiography, like his first. This book offers Mr. Alda's thoughts on life, interpsersed with anecdotes from his life. All-in-all, I give this book five out of five."
--Lydia Q.

Find it in the catalog!

Find it in the catalog! 

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir: "I could not get through this book. It is a topic that really interests me: British monarchy, especially the women. I have previously delved into books about Henry VIII and his women, so I was excited to read this book. Unfortunately, it reads like a research paper rather than historical prose. Ms. Weir is consistently comparing historical accounts of the time and of Anne Boleyn rather than taking the story as she has understood it. While the content is interesting, the way it is put together is a difficult read. I give this a one out of five."
--Lydia Q.

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Here's the Deal... Don't Touch Me! by Howie Mandel: "A hilarious collection of memoirs and stories by someone who I did not feel was very funny going into the book. He completely changed my perspective. I thought that there would be more information on him coping/ strategies for coping with adult ADHD and OCD. The was little in this area. Overall funny stories about his life and his experience. Recommended for a humorous read."
--Andrew F.

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Planet Google: One Company's Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know by Randall Stross: "An interesting read with positives/negatives. Positive: Gives a picture into the beginnings of Google , an incredible company. Negative: Portions are very poorly written. Only goes through 2007, so all included not current."
--Andrew F.

Find it in the catalog!