Here are your staff reads as you gear up for Independence Day Weekend!
- He Named Me Malala; Directed by Davis Guggenheim; Staring Malala Yousafzai.
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pan can change the world.” ~Malala Yousafzai
This documentary gives an intimate glimpse into the life of Malala Yousafzai. I’ve long admired Malala for being so well spoken, compassionate and composed as she advocates for girls’ and women’s education. Despite being shot by members of the Taliban, she has remained a devout Muslim and firm believer in the empowerment of young women and girls when she could have renounced her religion and deserted her cause. I love this about her. After watching it I felt even more of a connection and love for her. She is not only the superwoman we have heard about, she is also a daughter, sister, friend and student.
Please, Baby, Please; Written by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee; Illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Ohhh Baby! The writing is sweet, simple and true. The illustrations… extraordinary. Kadir Nelson brings this story to life with his beautiful images depicting a day in the life of a very busy toddler. A great bedtime story to read to kids, and repetitive enough for new readers to have a go.
What Do You Do With An Idea?; Written by Kobi Yamada; Illustrated by Mae Besom.
One of the best books I’ve ever read. What an inspiring read to encourage creativity and individuality. I’m sure many young readers (and adults) will be encouraged to change the world with their own ideas after reading this book.
Janice: I read All the Presidents’ Gardens by Marta McDowell. This is full of fascinating tales which any lover of American history, gardens, or landscape architecture will enjoy. It gives us the Lincoln sons, Willie and Tad, whose pet goats ravaged the carefully kept flowers. We learn about Helen Taft’s famous 3,020 cherry trees planted along the newly designed Tidal Basin in Potomac Park, formerly open water. We even have a Waltham connection: President James Monroe’s goodwill country tour of 1817 found him in July enjoying a feast of strawberries with his old friend Christopher Gore, ex- Massachusetts governor, at his elegantly designed Gore Place, still a favorite tourist site in this city.
Tory: I recently listened to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and it was so good! The narrator was very entertaining and fitting. I must admit I judged this book by its cover but I was rewarded. I also read The Raven Boys, which is the first of the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, which I couldn’t put down all weekend! Can’t wait to start the next one. Lastly I’m finally reading the Mary Russell book that came out last year, since the newest one just came out and I was behind. Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King is quite intriguing as usual! Looking forward to the latest Murder of Mary Russell as well.
- Currently reading Wilde Lake : a novel / Laura Lippman.
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Lu is taking on a murder case that involves a mentally unstable homeless man and a local woman. As she deals with the case she is forced to confront her family’s past and some inconsistencies that have her questioning her memories.
Just finished reading:
- Twisted River / Siobhan MacDonald: A clever thriller that exposes the dangers of secrecy. What could go wrong when two couples swap houses? A couple from Limerick, Ireland and their two children swap their house for a lovely Manhattan apartment owned by Hazel and Oscar Harvey and their two children. Hazel is originally from Limerick so she is anxious to show her family around where she grew up. It doesn’t take long for both families to realize that each host family has secrets that should not be revealed.
- I Let You Go / Clare Mackintosh: I can honestly say this is one of the best psychological thriller I’ve read, completely addictive. After a tragic accident,Jenna has retreated to a remote Welsh village where there is the possibility of moving forward. However things from her past keep pulling her back. There a major twist in the story that you never see coming. I want to read more like this story, very clever and excellent character development. Hard to put down.
- Thursday’s Children : a Frieda Klein Mystery / Nicci French: Thursday’s children is the story of the past, the present, and how the secrets come back to haunt us.Frieda left her home in Braxton twenty-three years ago and hasn’t been back since. Now a young teenage girl, the daughter of an old school acquaintance from Braxton,confides a horrific secret. Something that arouses all of Frieda’s worst memories. Frieda is drawn back to Braxton to see if she can make sense of what has happened.
It’s a well developed story, this is the fourth in the series so I think I’ll go back and start with the first.
- Just finished listening to Splinter the Silence [electronic resource] : a Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Novel / Val McDermid. ALWAYS AVAILABLE ON Hoopla!
Val McDermid’s Carol Jordan/Tony Hill series is back and tremendously enjoyable. In this police procedural, Hill and Jordan join up once again to investigate mysterious deaths that involve vicious cyber-bullying. Carol recognizes that she has an alcohol problem and Tony steps up to give Carol some much needed sound advice and moral support. Can’t go wrong with Val McDermid!
Celeste: I recently read The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister by Charlotte Agell.
- Untwine by Edwidge Danticat: Identical twins, Giselle and Isabelle, are devoted to each other. On the way to flutist Isabelle’s concert, the entire family is in a car accident and Giselle lies in a hospital not knowing the fates of her parents or sister. She looks forward, holding on to the upcoming birthday trip to Haiti to be with family, and backward, as she and Isabelle forge their own identities. This emotional, thoughtful, and, at times, sad young adult novel is a beautiful entry into Danticat’s canon. Giselle is a fully realized character and narrator.
- Me before You by Jojo Moyes: In a small town in England, unemployed Louisa (“Lou”) becomes the caretaker/companion to Will, a quadriplegic. While working together, Will learns to become less bitter, and Lou learns to have more faith in herself, that is, until hearing of Will’s plans. This plot driven fast paced book presents an interesting discussion regarding the treatment of those with physical disabilities as well as the ethics regarding assisted suicide. The characters, however, including the narrator, are not fully realized. Will’s ex-girlfriend and Lou’s current boyfriend are, especially, stock characters. The only secondary character who came alive for me was Treena, Lou’s sister.
- I’m currently reading In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford. Guerrero, who currently has supporting roles on two of my favorite shows, Jane the Virgin and Orange is the New Black, was born in the United States to Colombian parents. When she was fourteen years old, and living in nearby Roxbury, Diane came home to discover that her parents were deported. The book explores her life as a child of illegal immigrants, how she was treated here, and how she later became an advocate for other children in her situation. This book is compelling and gives a voice to so many who don’t have one. I’m really enjoying it.
- One of my favorite punk bands from the 90s, Plow United, has a new album out so I downloaded the first few songs of their new album, Three, from the library’s subscription to Freegal.
- I just finished Hap and Leonard by Joe R. Lansdale. It was a fun read of some new short stories from characters who have been around for over 5 years. I have yet to watch the TV show that premiered a few months ago. This book was much different than the splatterpunk books that he is well known for.
Luke: I’ve been reading 2666 by Roberto Bolaño.
- Circling the Sun by Paula McLain: If you liked The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, you will also enjoy Circling the Sun. This historical auto-biographical fiction novel is based on the adventurous life of Beryl Markham. In 1936 Beryl became the first woman to fly solo East to West across the Atlantic Ocean. This story takes place in early 1900’s, East-Africa. In the novel, Beryl Clutterbuck and her family settle in colonial-Kenya after leaving England in 1904. Her father owns and trains racehorse. Beryl’s mother abandons them after two years of the harsh land and lifestyle. Beryl’s is raised by her father. He teaches her all about the farm and horse training. Young Beryl is a tomboy and is more comfortable with the Kipsigis people than finishing school. The majority of the story takes place during the 1920s. Beryl is forced to marry at 16 in order to stay in her beloved Kenya, after her father has to give up his struggling horse farm. As determined and independent spirit, Beryl decides to become an apprentice to become the first licensed woman horse trainer. Because of her love of horses, she thrives. As a horse trainer she has successes and failures. She meets and falls in love with rugged Denys Finch Hatton, who inspired Beryl to fly.
- The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom: Wonderful historical fiction novel. Takes place in pre-civil war era, 1791. Story follows the lives of slaves of the Kitchen House and the tobacco plantation master and family in the Big House. Novel told in multiple viewpoints of Lavinia and Belle. Lavinia, an orphaned Irish girl, is taken in by “The Captain” after her family perishes aboard his ship. She is forced to work and live in the Kitchen House. The Kitchen House slaves accept Lavinia, treating her as their own in the kitchen house. Lavinia becomes torn between the Kitchen House family she has grown to love and her slow acceptance into the Big House family. Lavinia looks to Belle like a surrogate mother. Belle is the illegitimate daughter of the Captain. Belle is angry, and struggles with the reality that she will never be considered his blood relative. Belle worries that he might send her away. Despite the fact that she is treated as a slave, the Captain refuses to allow Belle to marry the field hand she is in love with.
Rich characters, intriguing story about indentured servitude, slavery and the horrors that go along with it; starvation abuse and disease and control.
Marie: I’m reading Louisa: the Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas; The Rainbow Comes & Goes: a Mother & Son Talk about Life, Love & Loss by Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt; The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue de Martryrs by Elaine Sciolino. I’m listening to the audiobook, The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley.
Pat A.: I just finished The Assistants by Camille Perri. It features lots of young women who come out of college with $$$$$ in college loans and take jobs as personal assistants to high powered men. One of the girls does something that changes her life and the life of many others. (Illegal – sure). Written with humor. A nice beach read.
Camila: Last month I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Me before You by Jojo Moyes, and Diario de Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank in Portuguese). I watched the movies, The Big Short and Concussion.
- Children’s Books: Small as an Elephant [sound recording] / Jennifer Richard Jacobson: Abandoned by his mother in an Acadia National Park campground, Jack tries to make his way back to Boston before anyone figures out what is going on, with only a small toy elephant for company.
The Night Gardener / by Terry Fan and Eric Fan: This book caught my eye when I was checking it in. What a delightful, gentle story – great illustrations too.
The Lions of Little Rock [sound recording] / Kristin Levine: Somewhat based on real situations when school integration came to Little Rock, Arkansas in the 50’s. Told as a shy 12 year old experienced it. This is the summer reading selection for the Waltham Middle Schools.
- DVDs: Midsomer Murders, Set 14: Still working our way thru this series – nice fallback when we need something ti watch!
New Tricks. Season 12: Seems like this may be the last Season – I hope not!
- “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” and “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” / by Richard P. Feynman. Physicist Richard Feynman recounts episodes from his life and career and shares his views on modern science. I love Richard Feynman – wish I could write him in on the ballot for president! Unfortunately he passed away in the late 80’s.
- Audiobooks: The Rumor [sound recording] : a novel / by Elin Hilderbrand: Rumors can cause a lot of problems especially in a small community like an island. An interesting story where all the problems caused are pretty much ironed out.
Night Watch [sound recording] / Linda Fairstein: Always enjoy Linda Fairstein’s “adventures” with Alexandra Cooper and her crew in New York City – this story is kind of ripped from the headlines – similar to a rape case involving a French dignitary and the hotel maid who was cleaning his room.
The Black Ice [sound recording] / Michael Connelly: Second in Harry Bosch Series (I’m Reading them out of order) – Harry finds out the murder of a fellow cop he’s trying to solve is more than it seems.
Fear Nothing [sound recording] / Dean Koontz: Looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. I enjoy books that have animals interacting with humans, in some cases to save the world!
Seize the Night [sound recording] / Dean Koontz: Sequel to Fear Nothing I was a bit confused as parts were similar to the first part of the story and I thought I had already read the book – led to a satisfying finish…wondering if the series will continue.
Quinn [sound recording] : a novel / Iris Johansen: Didn’t realize this was a series – got to the end left me at the edge of a cliff went looking for another disc and there wasn’t one. Interesting enough for me to start at the beginning. (Waiting for “Chasing the night” to start)
Bucky F*cking Dent [sound recording] / David Duchovny
I should have realized from the title that this book would be filled with expletives…Seemed like a good story but why so much swearing…too much for me to listen to maybe if I read it – don’t think I will though.
- Brooklyn (DVD/Blu-Ray): An Irish immigrant comes to Brooklyn in the early ’50’s where she quickly falls into a romance with a local guy. However when her past catches up with her, she must choose between two countries and her life in two places. Saoirse Ronan beautifully portrays this young Irish woman. Really enjoyed this movie.
- Fool Me Once (audiobook): Harlan Coben’s newest thriller. I love the twists and turns
Coben puts in each of his stand alone stories. The endings always amaze and this book is no exception!! Don’t miss it!
- Foreign Affairs(audiobook): Stuart Woods – didn’t finish this. I think I am finally done reading/listening to Stuart Wood’s Stone Barrington books.
- The Fall series 2 on DVD. All I can say is bring on Series 3!!!
- The Intern (DVD): Robert DeNiro plays a 70 year old widower who discovers
Retirement isn’t as great as he thought it would be. Then an opportunity comes along for him to get back in the work force as a senior intern at an online fashion site run by Ann Hathaway. This was an enjoyable movie.
- The Obsession (audiobook): Nora Roberts newest novel is about Naomi Carson who as a child her family was torn apart when they discovers her father isn’t the man he portrayed to others in the town or the church. Years later she moves far away to finally put down roots. She buys a beautiful old house, makes new friends including the attractive, Xander Keaton. But as she plans her future, her past is catching up with her.
I hadn’t read Roberts in a long time and I am so glad I took a patron’s suggestion and listen/read this book.
- A LowCountry Wedding: Mary Alice Monroe – I didn’t realize this book was the newest in Monroe’s LowCountry Summer series. The story finds the Muir sisters planning their weddings when a stranger arrives and a long held family secret could stop the festivities. I loved the characters in this story. A great beach read!!
- Bridge of Spies (DVD): Story about the tense negotiations over the recovery of U-2 Pilot Gary Powers in Berlin. Intense storyline with a wonderful cast.
- Spotlight (DVD): Story about the Boston Globe Spotlight team and their reporting of the Catholic Church’s cover up of the molestation of children. This movie won the Oscar this year for Best Movie.
- Shaken (audiobook): This J.A. Konrath book was too gory and gruesome for me. Didn’t get past the first disc.
Here are your staff reads as you gear up for Memorial Day Weekend!
Ashley: Forgive Me if I’ve Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters; The Boys who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose
- The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows are Built by Jack Viertel. This is my favorite non-fiction book I have read, this year. Heck, this is probably my favorite book I have read, this year! My (not so) secret desire is to be a character actress or a lead in a Broadway musical. There’s just that one little problem of not having an ounce of talent when it comes to singing, dancing, or acting, so I imagine an audition would be a painful process for all involved. I may or may not have imagined myself winning Tony awards for my roles as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and as Marian the Librarian in The Music Man. But, hey, I couldn’t play Marian on stage, so at least I get to be her in real life. I love to read books about the history of Broadway, but I felt like this book was written for me. Okay, so I’m not that delusional, but producer, former critic, and instructor at New York University Jack Viertel seems to have gotten into my brain as he not only makes the case for the importance and significance of all musicals, he appreciates many of the same aspects of them that I do. Dividing the book into different segments of the show, he takes the reader through the opening number, the number by the secondary couple, and even the show stoppers, showing how they’ve evolved over time, and how different numbers may play different roles in individual shows. His book demonstrates how older musicals led the way for the modern era (Hair begat Rent which begat Hamilton, The King and I begat The Book of Mormon, and Little Shop of Horrors begat Hairspray, for examples. He and I even have the same taste. The epilogue consists of a list of cast recordings from a variety of musicals that he recommends. In most cases, Viertel maintains that the original cast recording is the best, something with which I’m in complete agreement. In one example, however, he says that it’s hard to choose, so it’s important to own two cast recordings of Guys and Dolls: the 1950 original cast starring Sam Levene and Vivian Blaine as Nathan Detroit and Miss Adelaide and the 1992 revival cast recording starring Faith Prince and Nathan Lane in the same roles. Guess which is the only show I own the original cast and the revival cast on Itunes? In my head, I’m telling you!
- Bucky &***** Dent by David Duchovny. (That second word of the title is actually a familiar word with one letter missing. I’m sure you can figure out the word!) My second fantasy job after being the queen of the Broadway stage is to play right field for the Boston Red Sox, in which I would have hit the game winning home run in a decisive game 7 of the World Series. (This was pre-2004, when my chances of playing for the Red Sox were about as likely as them winning a World Series in my lifetime). Since, however, my baseball abilities are about on par with my acting and singing abilities, this wasn’t happening. I do, however, love to devour books about baseball, and when I heard that Agent Mulder, er, David Duchovny, from one of my favorite shows was writing a novel about the 1978 Red Sox and Yankees, I was intrigued. I’m always a bit wary about actors who write novels, and therefore had fairly low expectations, which helped. Wannabe writer, Ted Fullilove, is a peanut vendor at Yankee Stadium in 1978, when he receives news that his estranged Red Sox fan father, is dying. The two slowly come to a reconciliation amidst the backdrop of the 1978 playoff battle between the Red Sox and Yankees. (Fans of either team, regardless if they were born yet, know what happened in that one game playoff when the Red Sox hearts were broken again.) This short book will be fun for fans of either team, but there are a lot of cliches, the characters are a bit one note and the scenes are similar to a Hallmark Channel movie (plus some extreme profanity which doesn’t bother me but may bother some readers). I was not surprised to read in multiple reviews that this was originally intended as a screenplay as the book is full of television and movie tropes. Duchovny clearly loves baseball (See his X-Files directed episode, “The Unnatural”) and that comes through (mostly) in a lovely way, here, but, unless you’re also a baseball fan, or have fond or painful memories of the 1978 season, this book probably won’t do anything for you.
Janice: In honor of the passing of the esteemed George Martin on March 8, I read his memoir All You Need is Ears. It’s an oldie from 1979, but gives a lot of dirt on the famous record producer’s star performers- Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Peter Sellers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, America, and of course, the Beatles. The amazing career of “the Fifth Beatle” spanned everything from the old 78’s to the onset of the digital era. Much like reading Orwell’s 1984 with today’s eyes, some of Martin’s statements are amusing in their naivete, such as: quadrophonic recording was too complicated to catch on, or the Beatles’ early songwriting ability did not appear saleable. On the other hand, with Sergeant Pepper he correctly predicted that highly produced recorded music would not be reproducible in an arena or auditorium, which became a major reason the Beatles, among others groups, stopped touring.
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood published in 1996: This book was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and England’s Booker Prize and won the Giller Prize for Fiction.
Alias Grace is based on the case of sixteen year old Grace Marks, who, in 1843 was imprisoned for a double murder. She was released with a pardon in 1872 from the Provincial Penitentiary in Ontario to New York State to a “home provided” and may or may not have gotten married. It is not clear if Ms. Marks was actually a murderess or if the evidence was circumstantial. This is a great read for anyone who likes psychological fiction, historical fiction or an exploration of the lives of domestics in the 1840s.
Readalikes, Viewalikes: Upstairs, Downstairs, Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Story that Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by Margaret Powell, My Thirty Years Backstairs At the Whitehouse by Lilian Rogers Parks, Backstairs at the Whitehouse, The Alienist by Caleb Carr
- Eileen by Ottessa Mossfegh: This is one of these wonderful, dark, dysfunctional tales told by an unreliable narrator that is just not to be missed. If you enjoyed The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, get ready for another wild ride. Eileen lives with her alcoholic retired policeman father in a squalor filled house in the 1950s. The fictional working class Massachusetts town by the sea boasts a juvenile prison for boys. Eileen works there by day and returns to her crazy father at night. When a new employee named Rebecca begins working at the prison and seems to take a shine to Eileen, things begin to change. Gillian Flynn fans, take note. You won’t want to miss this novel. I am waiting for more by Ottessa Mossfegh.
- Girl Sleuth : Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her / Melanie Rehak: Recently some of my colleagues and I learned that Carolyn Keene was just a pen name and actually the Nancy Drew series, we grew up reading, was written by a number of different authors since 1930, we were all horrified and heartbroken. To make matters worse the whole idea was the brainchild of a children’s book mogul – A MAN – named Edward Stratemeyer. This book answers the Five “W’s” of Mystery…Why, Who, When, What and Where.
- In the Unlikely Event [sound recording] : a novel / Judy Blume: Good Story but not so good if you don’t like to fly! This is the first book written by JudyBlume that I’ve read.
- A Death in Belmont / by Sebastian Junger: Enjoyed reading this account of murders around the time of The Boston Strangler case. I grew up when this was unfolding. I had forgotten how different things were back in the 60’s from how they are today. Prices, attitudes and how the courts and jury pools were run…Doesn’t seem that long ago but it WAS 50 Years ago! I graduated in 1966 and my 50th high school reunion is this year…
- Message in a Bottle / by Nicholas Sparks: This book really annoyed me – honesty in a relationship is always a good thing to avoid situations like the ones brought about in this tale!
- The Book of Speculation: a Novel / by Erika Swyler: Always fun to read books that involve librarians – this librarian tries to research a journal that has connections to his family.
- Sex on the Moon / Ben Mezrich: I didn’t realize this book was based on a real events…Someone has a plan to break into NASA to steal a moon rock so he can give his girl friend the moon!
- The Weird Sisters / Eleanor Brown: Enjoyable first novel, and an unusual read – A college professor speaks almost entirely in verse from Shakespeare’s writings, he even named his three daughters after characters in his plays..The whole family loves to read, the sisters all return home to take care of their sick mother and manage to get their lives in order.
- Save Me [sound recording] : a novel / Lisa Scottoline: Good story with a timely theme involving problems with bullying in school, a misunderstanding causes a death during a fire and the Mom of one of the students has to find the answer to this mystery.
- Bel-Air Dead / Stuart Woods: Another Stone Barrington romp thru a murder case…
- Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life [sound recording] : A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life / Larry Winget: I have control of my life – leave me alone please!
- Ten Days in the Hills / by Jane Smiley: Too much of a Hollywood gossip storyline for me.
- Dead End Gene Pool [sound recording] : a Memoir / Wendy Burden: Not my cup of tea!
- Ghost Story / Jim Butcher: Started out with an interesting premise – someone who’d been murdered having to go back and solve his death before he could get into heaven – Lost me once back on earth and Science Fiction plot reared it’s head – Guess I’m not really a Sci-Fi reader.
- Out Stealing Horses / Per Petterson: Sixty-seven-year-old Trond Sander lives secluded in a far corner of Norway. Casting his mind back to 1948, he recalls a horse stealing prank with his best friend that turned tragic and changed his life forever. I got thru it but don’t know why!
- A Turn in the Road / Debbie Macomber: 3 Generations solve their romance problems in Debbie Macomber’s usual way gently!
- Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me / by Chelsea’s family, friends, and other victims: I’m too old for this kind of humor if that’s what it’s called..
- Across the Universe / Beth Revis: Don’t know why I requested this one…another Sci-Fi story couldn’t get into it.
- The Pretender, The complete first season: Watched the pilot and one more episode – Kind of dated didn’t like any of the characters – predictable plots.
- The Producers: My husband kept complaining that there was too much singing – I told him that’s what musicals do! Funny movie not exactly politically correct. (editor’s note: For a little less singing, but for an equally (if not more) funny time, get the original 1967 film.)
- Chasing Shadows: Enjoyed everyone in this cast – even the bad guys. Another off beat combination of investigators put together to solve crimes/missing person investigations.
Hoping they change their minds and continue the series.
- Bridge of Spies: Started out slow but got interesting when I realized that it involved the release of a captured American U-2 pilot Gary Powers – an incident I remember happening when I was younger.
Here are the bestseller lists for the week of May 1, 2016:
Your “Staff Reads” for Tax Day and Patriot’s Day!
Lisa: I got of our elevator on my way to look for some easy reading and got distracted enough by Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (humor writing) from our Comedy display that I decided I needed to read it.
- House of Cards: The Complete Second Season. Nasty Frank Underwood and Company – You never know what they are conniving to do next!
- We also are revisiting Person of Interest – Seasons 1-2. Waiting for Season 3 & 4. Enjoyed watching this when first aired – amazing how much you forget.
- The Rosie Effect [sound recording] / Graeme Simsion. I like the way Don can say what he’s really thinking without filters…Often vicariously wish I could do that, when dealing with difficult situations…
- Pretty Girls [sound recording] : a novel by Karin Slaughter. This book kept me interested but it was a bit too gory and descriptive of the horrific torture the serial killer put his victims through. I didn’t get through the whole book. The author’s last name describes this book – it was a real slaughter. Don’t know if I want to read/listen to anymore.
- Finders Keepers [sound recording] : a novel by Stephen King. I guess I’m getting too old to wait for all the characters that Mr. King has in his books to develop and bring them together to tell the story. I may give this another try but I just couldn’t get into it at this time.
- Split Second [sound recording] / Catherine Coulter. Good mystery lots of twists and turns involving different subplots – and a need to suspend realistic belief during a part of the story.
- A Monster Calls [sound recording] : a novel by by Patrick Ness ; inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd.
Times have changed since I was a teenager many moons ago. My parents wouldn’t have let me read this kind of book…too scary
- The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook : From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapés to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding by Emily Ansara Baines.
I really didn’t intend to make any of these labor intensive recipes but it was fun to look thru the “exotic” fare.. Chapter 4 was titled – Fourth and Fifth Courses: Juicy Joints and Succulent Steaks.
Jan: I read Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty by Dan Jones. While it may seem dry at first, it’s actually a fascinating account of the way of life in the Middle Ages. It takes you way beyond your memories of sugar cube constructions of castles in school to the story of the injustices of King John’s reign (yes, the King John of Robin Hood fame, mentioned but only briefly.) The quintessential founding document of constitutional government, the Magna Carta became more than a peace treaty between the king, his warring barons, and the Church. It ensured rights that are now enshrined in charters around the world.
Pat A.: Currently reading Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy. I saw her on a television interview. She talks about how we hold ourselves, posturing, has a deep effect on our mind and changes how we present ourselves.
Just finished The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman about a family of women with charm bracelets and the story behind each charm. A “charming” book.
- A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger: In 1960’s Belmont, a woman was found murdered. Was the culprit the Boston Strangler or an African-American handy man? Junger goes into elaborate detail and paints an amazing portrait of race relations (still relevant as ever) and the fear and fascination we all have with crimes. Junger gives the reader a strong sense of place regarding the time period and the area. I loved the detail in The Perfect Storm and was glad to see that this book was similar.
- What We Find by Robyn Carr: Carr’s latest romance is the story of doctor Maggie Sullivan, who dealing with multiple lawsuits, a broken relationship, and a miscarriage, runs to her father’s campground in rural Colorado. There she begins a romance with Cal Jones, a drifter, who is running away from his own issues. A quick read, though somewhat predictable, the quirky side characters and the romance make it worthwhile.
- Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta: Meadow and Carrie are childhood friends who are filmmakers. Throughout the years, their friendship waxes and wanes as they embark on their respective careers. Things come to a head when Meadow makes a documentary about “Jelly”, a woman who calls men but never wants to meet them. This book is either pretentious or making fun of pretentiousness. An interesting look at life behind the movie camera and how film is or isn’t a metaphor for life.
- I’m currently reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Fanny Price, sent to live with her aunt’s family, has always felt a bit like an outsider among her cousins and struggles to find her place in the family. I love how Austen developed her characters’ personalities through the dialogue rather than descriptions. The dialogue, as in Pride and Prejudice is very witty.
- Moonrise Kingdom: This has been on my “to watch” list for awhile. This movie is pure Wes Anderson, with its heightened reality and quirky yet fully realized characters. This movie was delightful.
Hannah: The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth: Skip Hollandsworth retells the story of America’s first serial killer. Pre-dating Jack the Ripper (in fact, London police wondered if it might be the same person), the Midnight Assassin lurked in Austin, Texas during the year 1885. The killer brutally murdered seven women in the span of a year. More than a dozen men were arrested for the murders, but the true identity of the killer remains a mystery. Whether you love a good mystery or revel in true crime this book is sure to fascinate.
- A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady: A serial killer is murdering people during a very hot June in 1880’s Dublin.
- Death on the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst: A story of two sisters who go on tour to visit various sites memorializing Laura Ingalls Wilder. Of course, there are murders. I liked it so much I read the first two books in the series and plan on reading the others. Death on the Prairie is the last in the series, but there was no problem in reading it out of order.
- The Governor’s Wife by Michael Harvey: Another new book in a series that I enjoyed and plan to read the earlier books. Of course, there is a murder.
- Just finished reading:
- The Widow by Fiona Barton: The Widow is a creepy tale, a bit of a psychological thriller. Jean Taylor is a perfect London housewife, a little untidy. Her husband, Glen, is controlling, they married young and Jean does whatever Glen tells her to do until Glen is run over by a bus and dies. Jean has kept her secrets but now seems to be the time to let it all out of the bag. A little girl had gone missing from her front yard and Glen was the prime suspect. His van was seen in the girl’s neighborhood on the day she went missing, that and other clues lead the police to believe Glen is their man…but was he and how much did Jean really know??
- New Neighbor by Leah Stewart: Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is cantankerous, she lives alone on a mountain in Tennessee, and spies on her new neighbor, Jennifer, who lives across the pond. . Both women are keeping dark secrets, and Margaret is on a mission to find out what Jennifer is hiding, she has an obsession, loving to solve mysteries. I was surprised by the ending but felt it was really a good story.
- Recently watched:
- Spotlight: This movie is an account of the true story of how The Boston Globe investigated allegations of children being raped by priests in Boston in 2001, and uncovered a world-wide system of child sex abuse that the Catholic Church had been allowing for 30 years. Even being painfully aware of this scandal and it details, this movie brought more facts to light and just how the victims were left to deal with this abuse both mentally and physically.. It’s one of the best movies about investigative reporting I’ve ever seen.
- Brooklyn: A charming story about young Irish immigrant who comes to New York for a better life. She is torn between the prospect of a new beginning and leaving her much loved sister and mother behind in Ireland. This is truly a tale of two countries, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Here are the best seller lists for the week of April 3, 2016:
Here are the best seller lists for the week of March 27, 2016:
Your “Staff Reads” for St. Patrick’s Day!
Jan: I watched A Walk in the Woods [videorecording] released last year. Starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, it is a beautifully filmed story of a trek on the Appalachian Trail by a couple of old pals who discover more about themselves than the thrill of the hike. It is superficially similar to Wild by Carol Strayed, set on the west coast’s equivalent Pacific Coast Trail. But Walk gives some of the most beautiful views and iconic sights from the AT’s southern leg…a must see for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Pat A.: The Good Good-Bye by Carla Buckley and Come Away With Me by Karma Brown. Both were very good stories with a twist.
An older book that was very good was A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan.
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on DVD. It was a really good, but sad Iranian movie (filmed in the US) that had bits of humor, horror, drama, & romance. They way this movie was filmed reminded me a lot of Jim Jarmusch.
- Dope on DVD. This was a really enjoyable coming of age comedy/drama that has it all… a good story, likable characters, and great music.
- Streamed the new Face to Face album, Protection, off Freegal. Face to Face has been around since 1991 (with a short breakup last decade). This album reminds me a lot of their sound from the mid 90s (which is a great thing).
- I just started reading Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco via OverDrive. I was in the mood for a fun horror book, and, so far, I am enjoying it.
Stephanie: Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin: Gossipy, intriguing, fictional glimpse of the lives of several New York socialites and their relationship with Truman Capote. Heartbreaking and catty, dazzling and fun. You will want to re-visit both “Answered Prayers” and Capote’s article “Cote Basque 1965” published in Esquire Magazine November of 1975. Whether you liked Truman Capote or not, you wont be able to put this book down.
- The Precipice: [sound recording] : a novel by Paul Doiron: Always fun when a story takes place somewhere you are familiar with – Young female hikers get lost in the Maine Wilderness – Warden Mike Bowditch helps solve the mystery.
- The Killer Next Door [sound recording] : a novel by Alex Marwood. Too bloody for me, very descriptive of murder methods.
- Too Much Happiness [sound recording] : [stories] / Alice Munro (Short Stories) – Listened to a few but not my way to Happiness! So many other books so little time!
- The Gifts of Imperfection [sound recording] : Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. Listened to a couple of discs and decided I’m ok with myself all ready!
- Beach Town [sound recording] : a novel by Mary Kay Andrews. Mary Kay Andrews always writes an interesting story – a bit of love, family issues, old & new problems solved – books that are difficult to put down once you are into the story.
- The Stranger [sound recording] by Harlan Coben. Harlan Coben doesn’t disappoint – another page turner.
- A Museum Adventure [sound recording] by Daniel Kirk. This was cute – I love stories with mice in them – I think children would enjoy these library mouse adventures!
- Al Capone Shines My Shoes [sound recording] by Gennifer Choldenko. I’ve been to Alcatraz on a tour and I could visualize what it must have been like for these kids and their families.
- Lights Out: A Cyber Attack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel (sound recording) deals with what could and in Ted’s view most likely will happen to the human race in the future. Very scary – decided to switch back to Fiction for awhile easier for me to solve murders from the couch than dwell on Armageddon.
- Finished reading/listening to In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick – Interesting and learned a lot about the Whaling Trade back in the 1800’s. I read it after watching the movie The Whale – which I believe was based on the tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. Kept me on the edge of the couch!
- We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Another great story from the author of The Language of Flowers. It’s a story about a young single mother, Letty, who is trying to make a better life for her children. Letty has always relied on her parents to raise her children while she worked 3 jobs but now her parents have returned to Mexico.So she must make a life for her family as she deals with all of life’s trials and tribulations . It’s a story very relevant to today’s society as she weaves a tale of second-generation Americans and undocumented immigrants. A very engaging story with well developed characters.
- The Red Coat : a Novel of Boston by Dolley Carlson. Set in Boston in the 1940s, an Irish domestic, Norah Kelly, asks her wealthy employer for an elegant red coat that has been earmarked for a charity donation. Norah brings the coat home to her daughter and so begins the story of two families that intertwine over the decades. It’s a fascinating story with great character development but also amazing historical insight. There are lots of Boston landmarks that are presented in old photos along the side of the pages. It really came alive for me as my mother was an Irish domestic who worked on Beacon Hill when she first came to the states. Truly a book difficult to put down and sad to see it end..
- The Lake House [sound recording] : a Novel by Kate Morton. A mysterious tale of dark family secrets set in a lakeside estate in Cornwall, England. Once again this is a book that goes back and forth from a present day mystery to one that took place over 70 years ago.
This is a gripping mystery that will keep you thinking about it long after you’ve finished the book.
- Mirror Lake: [a novel] by Thomas Christopher Greene (audiobook download from Hoopla). Nathan Carter, a young man in his 30s moves from Boston to rural Vermont after the death of his father. He becomes a rural mail-person and one of the stops on his route is Wallace Fisk, a 79 year old curmudgeon, who takes down his mailbox so Nathan wouldn’t be able to deliver the mail.
Nathan’s Jeep goes off the road in a blinding snowstorm and it is Wallace who comes to his rescue and nurses him back to health. And so begins an unlikely friendship. The novel unfolds between each man’s past and present and some dark secrets are revealed. A very enjoyable story with a good narrator.
Lisa: I’m currently reading a variety of romance novels for light reading. For more substantive reading I like to read self-improvement books. Right now I’m focusing on self-improvement for my librarian self. I just finished a book called Crash Course in Library Services to Preschool Children.
- The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. Monsieur Perdu owns a bookstore pharmacy on a houseboat in the Seine, where he prescribes the perfect book for each of his customers. Haunted by memories of his one true love, a woman who was involved with him while married, and entangled with a young, brash writer, Monsieur Perdu drops anchor on the Seine and encounters several quirky characters and learns something about life. The writing is so lyrical, and I love the idea of the floating bookstore. And, though, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I have to admit I was drawn to reading this purely because of the cover.
- Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale. Illustrated by Nathan Hale. This fun graphic novel, written for teens but to be enjoyed by everyone, re-imagines Rapunzel in the Wild West with special guest star, Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk). Rapunzel is no damsel in distress as she manages to take care of herself and get out of her tower. The illustrations are just striking, and the prose is both compelling and humorous.
- Laura (Movie). I recently re-visited this film noir, starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, and Judith Anderson. Detective Mark McPherson falls in love with the compelling, Laura Hunt, simply by looking at her portrait. Unfortunately, he happens to be trying to solve her murder. The melodramatic movie is a little dated and is unintentionally funny in parts, but it’s still a fun ride, and Clifton Webb is sufficiently creepy as one of Laura’s multiple unsuitable love interests.