Friday, August 30, 2013

Read This!

Library Reads is a new website that highlights top books selected by librarians across the country.  Here are a few of their selections:  How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny - the newest Chief Inspector Armand Gamache story.  One book that is on my to be read list (I actually have it checked out right now) is The Returned by Jason Mott.  It's the story of people coming back from the dead and being 'returned' to their loved ones and how it is handled by families, communities and the government.  It is supposed to be a perfect book group selection which is why it's on my must read list.  Another book that is on Library Reads list is Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink.  A story of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.  This book comes out September 10th.  Library Reads will come out with a new list each month.  If you would like to see more reading ideas be sure to check out the Library's Reading Ideas webpage!  SG

Keep on Walkin'

The Mid-life crisis is a funny thing. For Brits David and Rob it begins as an idea about undertaking something out of their comfort zones. They are struck with the urge to hike the GR10, a trail that runs along the Pyrenees from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. This was no light undertaking. The trail is about 850km (530miles) and would take about 7 weeks. They would be stopping in hiker’s camps or gites along the way. Armed with guides and maps (somewhat useless) walking boots, sleeping bags and backpacks our duo sets out. They decide to shave only after their journey is done. David Le Vay’s journal, The Hairy Hikers: A Coast-to-Coast Trek Along the French Pyrenees is funny, realistic, introspective and informative. DB

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dinner Time!

The Dinner by Herman Koch is a story that sneaks up on you.  The book seems to be about two couples having dinner together with perhaps an issue or two lurking underneath the surface.  As the dinner (and the story) progresses you discover that the couples’ sons are involved in a darker secret that grabs your interest and leaves you wondering just how far these couples are willing to go for their children.  SG


How well do you really know someone—even if it’s your spouse? Nick and Amy met in New York, both writers for different magazines. They married, lived in a great townhouse and then they lost their jobs. Meanwhile, Nick’s sister needed help with their sick parents in Missouri. So off they go—to a home on the banks of the Mississippi. Stress and change are starting to a toll on the marriage—but things get really crazy when Amy turns up missing on their fifth anniversary. The law and then the media get involved and Nick becomes the prime suspect. Is he really involved in her disappearance? Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is the book to read if you’re looking for a dark mysterious murder mystery. DB    

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Change is the only constant.

In Jincy Willett's latest book, Amy Falls Down, a random accident puts into motion all sorts of changes in the life of the title character. Amy is a writer, a semi-famous writer who peaked early and now in middle age lives a life of no connection. Although she ekes out a living writing, (her blog is titled Go Away!) editing, and also teaching writing classes, Amy mostly stays at home with her unaffectionate beagle. She is mildly agoraphobic and has many neurosis that probably all of us could recognize. In spite of all this, as we read Amy's thoughts she is smart and very funny.  She wickedly observes popular culture and literary celebrity. In this very funny and touching book we come to care about Amy and delight in her metamorphosis. ML

Weighty Issues

In 703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life by Nancy Makin you read about Nancy's weight gain to 703 pounds and her descent into isolation and self-destruction.  The effects on herself, her family and her friends are handled with startling honesty and a touch of Nancy's offbeat humor.  Her story continues with a gift of a laptop which allowed her to develop the friendships and support she needed to lose over a quarter-ton of weight.  She didn’t diet but the emotional connections she developed help transform her life into one where she recovered her feelings of self-worth and dignity – something that wasn’t afforded to her by others when she was at her heaviest.   

In Jennifer Joyner’s Designated Fat Girl we read about a woman who had it all – marriage, children and friendships but who used food as an emotional crutch until her weight was out of control.  She relied on gastric bypass surgery to lose the weight and you will find it interesting to read about her medical journey and her physical and emotional recovery.  Both books have relevant messages for showing us that when you need help you can get it from outside, or find it within.  SG

Monday, August 12, 2013

Only Mostly Dead

Seventeen year-old Li Lan is saddled with an impossible decision; marry the recently deceased son of her father's creditor, or helplessly watch her family sink deep into poverty.  But before she can choose, she finds herself lost and alone in the afterlife, neither living nor dead, where she must uncover the secrets of her would-be bridegroom.  In The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo masterfully recreates 1890s Malaysia and takes the reader on a spectacular ride through mythology and fantasy as we accompany Li Lan into the spirit realm.  Truly enchanting.  HM

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mamma Mia!

Bob McLean wasn’t Italian. He didn’t grow up with large, noisy family gatherings or lots of relatives, but his wife did. Maria was used to all these things and embraced them and so did Bob. Summers in Supino: Becoming Italian by Maria Coletta McLean describes their yearly summer travels to Supino, Italy. Readers get to partake in the everyday summer lives of the author, whether it is going for a daily latte, dealing with helpful neighbors, or celebrating one of the many festas common to Supino. Maria is really surprised when the Italian way of life becomes interwoven with Bob's plans. Molto bene! DB

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A tragic and happy story...

A woman, Agnes Morel, appears twenty years ago in the cloisters of the ancient cathedral of Notre-Dame, in the medieval town of Chartres, France. To the townspeople, nothing is known about this young woman, past or present, and she works unobserved. Gradually, we learn more about the tragic events that brought her to Notre-Dame. When one woman she cleans for, Madame Beck, is provoked into an accusation that Agnes stole from her, events are put into motion that force Agnes to confront her past. The Cleaner of Chartres is a sometimes tragic, but lovely story with a happy ending! ML

What's that sound?

Alex Bledsoe has written another book about the Tufa, a mysterious ancient race of people that live in isolated ridges and hollows of the Smoky Mountains. Wisp of a Thing is set in the same sometimes sinister landscape of Appalachia as was The Hum and the Shiver. The story starts out as a grieving musician finds his way to Cloud County, Tennessee in pursuit of a song that will ease his broken heart. His girlfriend has died tragically in a plane crash and a mysterious figure appeared to him and told him the story about the song. Rob finds both music and mystery in the mountains. Close-lipped locals guard their secrets, even as Rob gets caught up in a subtle power struggle he can't begin to comprehend. A vacationing wife goes missing, raising suspicions of foul play, and a strange feral girl runs wild in the woods, howling in the night like a lost spirit.Change is coming to Cloud County, and only the night wind knows what part Rob will play when the last leaf falls from the Widow's Tree. For readers who like a little magic with their stories! ML