Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
Ted Talks by Chris Anderson
Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon
On this official FIRST day of summer 2016, I thought I’d post some books that I have recently read that would be great to pick up for the summer!
First pick is “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by new author Iain Reid. WOW. WOW. WOW. This small, 244 page book kept me reading late into the night and when I finished it I wanted (needed) to start all over again! I immediately came into work the next day and told Sam that ‘she had to read it’ and when she did she said the same thing. What the heck was going on in this book?? I’d love to discuss it with anyone. Great read and an author that I will be watching for in the future.
Other titles that I feel are worthy of picking up are:
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
If I Forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene (Author of “The Headmaster’s Wife” which was a favorite of mine last year)
The Children by Ann Leary
The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Call us to put one of these titles on hold for your summer list!
Hostage Taker-Stefanie Pintoff
This thriller’s backdrop is St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. It’s Christmas time in the city that never sleeps when a deranged man takes the city’s most iconic building and its inhabitants hostage. Eve Rossi and her team of ex-cons are thrust into the job at a time when their own lives are beginning to unravel. The story was fast paced and easy to follow. It kept you on the edge of your seat from first page to last. Fans of Lisa Gardner and Tami Hoag will enjoy this book.
The Things We Keep- Sally Hepworth
I really liked Sally’s last title-The Secrets of Midwives and was anticipating another fantastic story. I was not disappointed! This book is a heart wrenching journey of a young woman facing early onset Alzheimer’s. Her story is one of love, loss and compassion.
When Breath Becomes Air- Paul Kalanithi
This book had me thinking about it days after I finished the final chapter. In searching for the meaning of life the author finds he must face his own death after learning he has stage 4 terminal cancer. The brilliant doctor becomes the struggling patient in this moving and unforgettable memoir. Warning: After reading you may find that you have been forever changed.
Wow…. so sorry that we haven’t been keeping up with our staff picks! We promise to be better…. but keep in mind you can always visit us and go to our ‘staff picks’ wall which is ALWAYS loaded with great picks!
Chip has a list of intriguing reads to share:
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard Nisbett
The Monopolists by Mary Pilon
It’s a Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson
As a New Year’s resolution I am trying to read more things I feel are out of my “comfort zone”. It has been a pretty interesting journey! My non-fiction picks are WE ARE MARKET BASKET by Daniel Korschun and Grant Welker, Good Mourning by Elizabeth Meyer, and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I enjoyed Furiously Happy so much I can’t wait until the library gets it in in Audio book, it should be a hoot to listen to!
My fiction picks are Day Four by Sarah Lotz, The Martian by Andy Weir, and Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield. Right now I am reading The Dirt on the Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones. She is one of my favorite authors and while I am only 100 pages in, I find myself cursing the alarm clock in the morning, having found it impossible to put the darn book down the night before! If anyone is ever looking for a quirky, fun, light read-with a dark side you should give the this series a go! The bumper sticker and t-shirt sayings alone are laugh out loud.
In trying to go out of my little “comfort zone” I am one disc away from finishing Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. These guys are well known for a podcast they have, so I figured why not? It’s weird but in such a funny way that I am finding myself leaving to go to work a few minutes early just to get to listen to the story. You would not believe what they say about librarians-it’s not true I tell you! LOL! Not the kind of book that I normally go for but it’s been a pretty fun ride. It’s my first time trying to listen to audiobooks, not a bad way to get a book in!
Laugh out loud funny is how I describe The Martian by Andy Weir. I have to say I was very reluctant to pick this book up but after a astounding “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK” by a good friend, I started the first page and then couldn’t put it down. For me it is another, ‘the book is better than the movie’ but I must admit that I did enjoy Matt Damon as the lead character! Another great fiction read for me was Fates and Furious by Lauren Groff. Wow… this book was all over the place and made for some great discussions!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield
Best Boy by Eli Gottlied
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Did you Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
We welcome Karen Howell, our new part time staff member here at Springvale. Stop in to meet her! Here are her reading suggestions.
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
The Lake House by Kate Morton
The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child
Dark Rooms by Lilli Anolik
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
The Mourning Hours by Paula Treiol DeBoard
Have a safe winter everyone!
Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
Disclaimer – Renee Knight
Nora Webster – Colm Toibin
The Children’s Crusade – Ann Packer
The Water Knife – Paolo Bacigalupi
The Jesus Cow – Matthew Perry
Black River – S. M Huise
So many books…..so little time. There are SO many books in my ‘to read’ pile but below is a list of great titles that Marie and I have read in the past few months.
Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel
Euphoria by Lily King
A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
The Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
We wish you all a very HAPPY AND MERRY HOLIDAY SEASON. Happy reading!
So many good books…..
Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer is a book that made me cry. It is a heart-wrenching debut novel following the lives of two characters and their decisions over a five day period. It alternates between two, very different people, but they have connecting stories about life, love, sacrifice and death. It is an unforgettable story that I think would be great for book group discussions. If you love Kristen Hannah or Jodi Picoult, read this!
Two books that creeped me out a little were One Kick by Chelsea Cain and The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. One Kick is the first book that I’ve read by Chelsea Cain but I may go back and read more. She is freaky…. And One Kick is the beginning of another series for her. I thought that The Good Girl may be similar to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn but it was totally different. I was NOT disappointed by this dark mystery and will be reading Mary Kubica’s next book for sure.
Ann Hood has done it again with another satisfying and engaging read. The Italian Wife begins at the turn of the 20th century in Italy with the arranged marriage of a young girl. It then spans 100 years as different family members tell their story. I do love her books!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has got to be my favorite book of 2014 thus far. What a beautiful, haunting novel. This is set in Europe during World War II but I found it more about the characters than the war. When you find yourself rereading passages because they bring tears to your eyes, you know it’s good. What an amazing writer.
A few other titles that I enjoyed:
The Map Thief by Michael Blanding
Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
The Bone Orchard is the latest installment in Paul Doiron’s Mike Bowditch series. This fast-paced crime novel centers on the Maine Game Warden Service and is a quick and entertaining read. I really liked the sense of pace and the characters.
Loosely based on the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria by Lily King takes the reader to 1930s New Guinea. I liked this book because the writing totally transported me into a different world.
Rebecca Makkai’s The Hundred-Year House is a history of a house that is told from the present and works its way back. Each era builds the past and adds another layer to the mysteries pervading the book.
If you are looking for real-life scandal and crime with a bit of map history thrown in, then The Map Thief by Michael Blanding is for you! This is a fascinating narrative nonfiction work that tells the story of E. Forbes Smiley III, a rare-map dealer and past summer resident of Sebec, Maine.
Currently, I am enjoying A Hundred Pieces by Lucy Dillon. I am finding this novel to be a strong detail-oriented chronicle of the rebuilding of the main character’s life after a divorce. Flashbacks to the past are relevant and elegantly tied into the present narrative flow by objects that the narrator is weeding through.
For some modern history, Sheila recommends The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin. Although it is published for the teen reader, even older readers will get a glimpse into the pain and struggles that Americans who wanted to serve their country but were challenged due to their race. During World War II on the Navy base Port Chicago, Negro seamen were only allowed to load the explosives. Only white seamen became officers or received any training. There is an accident where a bomb explodes, sinking two ships and killing hundreds. The Navy sends the Port Chicago guys back into the fray. Those who are afraid to load bombs again are placed in a group of 50 and accused of mutiny. Sheinkin explains the various nuances of the trial, how the NAACP became involved and how, to this day, those individuals are still considered criminal, although the Navy conceded that the segregation of the men during that time was discriminatory.
Readers who enjoyed Rachel Simon’s Riding the bus with my sister (2002) will want to read the new young adult title Girls like us by Gail Giles. Biddy and Quincy have just graduated from high school and have become roommates. They each have their struggles because they are “Speddies”, in the special ed class and as they learn to understand each other and Miss Lizzie, the older woman requiring their help a new family is knitted together. Narrated through Biddy & Quincy’s voices, stark truths about stereotypical perceptions are challenged. Giles presents tension, unflinching realism through clear character voices that are sometimes humorous, sometimes painful. The characters will challenge your stereotypes and stay with you long after the slim book is finished.
My nonfiction pick this time is just in time for Halloween! I really enjoyed Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. Caitlin witnessed a terrible accident at the young age of 8 and has suffered with the fear of death ever since. As a young adult she decides to look death in the eyes so to speak and finds work in a crematory. I found the book fascinating and witty, it answers all the questions you had no idea you even wanted to know about the death industry.
Red Rising written by Pierce Brown was the adult version of Divergent meets The Hunger Games. I stayed up late two nights in a row because I just could not get enough of this fast paced story. If you like sci-fi or dystopian reads then this one is for you!
As the niece of Plum series author Janet Evanovich , Stephanie has some big shoes to fill! Her second book titled The sweet spot was an absolute delight. If a nice romantic book is what you are after then you should give this one a try.
Chelsea Cain is one of my favorite authors. When asked for a good thriller she is always my first suggestion. While I was kind of bummed out about her newest arrival not being one of her Gretchen Lowell books, this new one called One Kick almost made me say “Gretchen who?” A high octane read about child abduction had me hooked before I even made it to the first chapter. This is a must read!
M. D. Waters is new to the literary scene and with her first book-Archetype she is making a very big impression. This novel takes place in a time where medical miracles are only for the elite, and there are underground groups that are trying to change it. It mixes romance and suspense in such a way you don’t know who you want to route for. And for those who decide to check this one out it ends in a real cliff hanger…..but breathe easy we have the sequel here already!
Missing Microbes by Martin J Blaser
Zealot by Reza Aslan
On Paper by Nicholas Basbanes
The Invention Of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is my favorite book of 2014 thus far. Inspired by a true story, this historical novel follows the lives of a slave and her mistress, who also happens to become an abolitionist and suffragist, through the 1800s. Bright writing and even pacing make this a great read.
I hesitate to put The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon on this list based on title alone after another bitterly cold and windy spring day in late March. However, I did enjoy the story in this chilling mystery-horror crossover. Linking the present to the early 1900s with a diary that chronicles a way to keep the dead alive, this story follows a teenager’s haunting search for her mother in present-day rural Vermont.
Taking place in turn-of-the-century Manhattan, The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker tells the stories of a Jewish golem and an Arabian jinni separately exploring their new home in New York. Eventually, the stories merge together leading to a suspense-filled ending. I enjoyed following this inventive story that reads like historical fiction with a hint of fantasy.
Robin Oliveira’s I Always Loved You is another work of historical fiction that I enjoyed. Taking place in Belle Epoque Paris, the story follows Mary Cassatt’s life, focusing on her relationship with fellow artist Edgar Degas. Cassatt’s interactions with the other artists of the time period hum in the background and add to the creative atmosphere of this novel.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Chip describes as the best book he’s read since Harry Potter!
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
How does tragedy and time affect a person’s memories? This was the premise in The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene that I loved. When I got to the half way mark in the book, I stopped and said WOW. So far it is my best book of 2014! Can’t wait to see what others think of this book.
Loved, loved, loved the beautifully written novel Benediction by Kent Haruf. Not much happens in this book but it is about life’s everyday rewards and struggles. It takes the ordinary and makes it special and memorable. Another book that I just thought was so beautifully written is Alice McDermott’s Someone. These two books have been passed to many people!
The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh is a well written and suspenseful novel that deals with the mystery of two women, one who was murdered and one who disappeared. This is McHugh’s first novel and I will be sure to be on the lookout for her next one!
Wiley Cash hooked me with A Land More Kind than Home so I couldn’t wait to pick up his latest This Dark Road to Mercy. Great story and an emotional ride. He is an author that is now on my ‘must read’ list.
A few other titles that I’ve read:
The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls
Orange is the new Black by Piper Kerman (I had to read this after being obsessed with the NETFLIX series!)
Golden State by Michelle Richmond
The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna
Let us know what you’ve been reading!!
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.