Dawn just finished Wally Lamb’s new book We Are Water and loved it!! Even though it is a hefty 500+ pages, it read quick! If you enjoyed his past titles She’s Come Undone or I Know This Much is True then you’ll want to read this one.
Bootstrapper by Mardi Link is a memoir telling of a recently divorced woman’s fight to save her farm and support her three children. I found it funny at times and a satisfying read.
Starting with a “Hello Kitty” lunchbox found on the coast of British Columbiam, A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a metaphysical exploration that spans continents and time. The lunchbox contains a diary written by a troubled young woman in Japan and propels the novel into many intriguing layers.
Solidly written suspense novel Anonymous Sources by Mary Louise Kelly is more than meets the eye. A suicide investigation by journalist Alexander James turns out to be more than she thought. Twists abound!
Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron is the fourth in a series that takes place Downeast Maine and is based very loosely on Maine newspaper headlines. The main character, Mike Bowditch, seems to have a bit more common sense than in the previous three books.
I consider A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra to be one of the best books of 2013 that I have read. This heartbreaking and beautiful novel takes place in war torn Chechnya and is about what it means to survive and be alive.
Kingdom Of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris is a well written mystery set in Saudi Arabia. This series always takes me to a totally different place, especially in regards to the way women are treated. This title is available on the Library’s Kindles.
Sheila’s nonfictions reading choices this month were all memoirs of sorts that expanded her understanding of complexities of human behavior. All three books have stuck with her for various reasons.
In The Spark: a mother’s story if nurturing genius Kristine Barnett, shares the amazing and inspiring story of her son Jacob Barnett. Kristine was a day care provider whose teaching philosophy spurred on the breakthrough for her son Jacob who had been diagnosed with severe autism. Jacob eventually attended college at age 9 and became a doctoral research assistant at 14.
My Dyslexia by Philip Schultz provides an adult perspective on learning at age 64 that he has dyslexia. This would be a supportive read for adults who are coming to grips with the same issues.
Where the Peacocks sing: a palace, a prince and the search for home, by Alison Singh Gee is an enjoyable read of her personal trek from being a Chinese American living in city life in Hong Kong to meeting and marrying an Indian prince whose’s family legacy demands a whole new set of skills.
So what is a “beach read”? What is it that makes it different from a book that you read any other time of the year? Does it have to be a book where the story takes place in the summer? Is it light reading? Fluff books?? Dawn just read “A Hundred Summers” by Beatriz Williams and the cover screams ‘beach read’ so she brought it home and read it in two days. Was it the best book she ever read? NO NO NO Not by a long shot, but the story moved along quickly and even though it was predictable and sappy it was great for a beautiful summer weekend in August at the lake.
Elizabeth Strout has written another great novel that Dawn loved! Call the library to reserve your copy.
Marie’s Staff Picks June 2013
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
An inventive story with great characters.
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
This is the 2013 Pulitzer Winner for fiction and is a strange, haunting and transporting work that takes place in North Korea.
Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift
The author included her sketches along with her observations in this fun book about traveling in France.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
In this historical novel set in Belle Epoque Paris, three sisters try to make a living on their own.
Nine Mile Bridge by Helen Hamlin
Published in 1945, this is a biographical work of a woman’s time spent living in the Allagash during the 1930s.
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
This is my favorite book of the last six months. It has great characters, a grounding story and beautiful writing.
The Good House by Ann Leary
I listened to this on audio and loved the reader’s take on the main character.
The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro
I learned a lot about forging works of art and liked the underlying mystery that involved the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum in Boston.
After reading the very popular Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in July of 2012, Dawn decided to read as many ‘read-a-likes’ as she could.:
He’s Gone by Deb Caletti
Drowned by Therese Bohman
The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black
Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman
The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Heartbroken by Lisa Unger
Most of these titles were hits but a few were total misses. Favorites were The Dinner and He’s Gone. These would be great discussion books and quick reads for the summer. Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton and Defending Jacob by William Landay remain on Dawn’s favorite books list of 2012 and also are slated as Gone Girl read-a-likes.
Mary Coin by Marisa Silver takes an iconic photograph and writes a fictionalized story around it centered on two women and a chance encounter. Very thought provoking and makes you question the legacy of a photograph.
Dawn read a glowing review suggesting that Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight was a MUST read thriller of 2013. Based on this review, and with a book club pick looming, Dawn picked it up and was a little disappointed that it didn’t seem to stand up to the high ratings it received. It was a good read, but just not ‘book club’ worthy! It is a thriller based on a single mother and her grief as she tries to piece together the last few days of her daughter’s life.
Ann Hood has always been an author that Dawn automatically takes home and her new title The Obituary Writer was home and read in two days! She loved it! Hood writes with such emotion in this brief story of two women from different generations.
Other titles that Dawn enjoyed were:
The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Strangers on the Beach by Josh Pahigian
Lost by S.J. Bolton
Five Days by Douglas Kennedy
Try some of these titles and let us know what you think!!
Tell us what you’ve been reading!!
Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson
The new mystery by Peter Robinson features the latest case for detectives Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot. It involves a dead police officer and a missing girl while the whole case is filled with corruption and a migrant labor scam.
Pulled from the headlines, this book proves to be a fun read making readers fiercely turn through the pages. This is an ideal book for lovers of British crime fiction.
As I read the new Simon Garfield book, “On the Map,” an old obsession with maps comes back to life. At home, I have a 4′ x 3′ map of the county where I was born. It was in my grandfather’s office then his home all through my childhood. I also have a small collection of old gazetteers that contain maps I would love to clip and frame, although doing this would prove my wife correct that I am a little unhinged.
Garfield weaves plenty of humor as many collectors and map makers frequently dance with madness, and in the era of the internet and GPS, maps are changing rapidly and can be used to illustrate more than geography. Population maps, a world map that Facebook captured of traffic to their site (with a dark area over China), and Bestiaries documented creatures (often mythological) that were believed to inhabit an area.
“On the Map” does what a good book does. It draws from the history, evolution, and diversity of its subject and pulls the reader in enough to taste the obsession on which collectors thrive. Nicholas Basbanes’, “A Splendor of Letters,” is what ignited my fascination with books and librarianship while working in the library from which I borrowed that book. Oddly enough, both of these books dedicate several pages to the ancient library of Alexandria, a library that the Library of Congress was likely modeled after.
As this book is in our new non-fiction collection awaiting eager readers to come in to the library, a great resource is online to provide us with political, geographic, historical, and cultural data called the CIA World Fact Book: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
This website will appeal to map lovers, and is a great resource for students. When doing a report on a nation and you need the GDP, population, area, or even the lifestyle and political leanings of the citizens, this primary source is excellent. It has plenty of maps!
As many instructors frown upon internet resources, this should be one of the exceptions. Learning to use a library is an important skill to learn, and we strongly encourage research to begin here because our books are carefully selected, but there are a few web sites out there that I will share that are a-okay!
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
This book, with a target audience of 13 and up, appeals to even this thirty-something, and it is the first book in three years that I had to read in less than three sittings. While Young Adult (YA) fiction is often overlooked by adult audiences, it is easy to forget that YA is actually a perfectly satisfactory genre for older readers. “The Catcher in the Rye” and “The Lord of the Flies” are literary classics that technically fall under the YA umbrella.
As for “The False Prince,” the main character is an orphan named “Sage,” he is bought by a tyrannical Lord named “Connor” along with three other orphans. The first part of the book consists of a series of tests and quests designed to see which of these orphans will best execute Connor’s shrewd plan. The second half is the execution of this plan, and surprises are abundant as we near the end.
Well written and excellently paced, this book will appeal to most fantasy fans. Harry Potter fans looking for that next series that will captivate them need to look no further. While the characters take more time than I’d like to develop, the story line and adventure carries readers through as we get acquainted.