Philip Roth – A Poem From The Shelves

As many of you may know, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Philip Roth died recently. The following poem, in homage to him, uses only titles of some of his works.

Reading myself and others

Our Gang

Everyman

Deception

Indignation

Nemesis

Shop talk

The facts

The plot against America

American pastoral

The great American novel

The humbling

The ghost writer

Letting go

Goodbye, Columbus

Exit ghost

 

What’s Your Favorite Holiday Movie?

One of my favorite holiday movies is Christmas in Connecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck.  The story is about a famous food writer who lies in her column about living on a farm, raising her children and being a good cook.  In reality she is an unmarried New Yorker who can’t boil an egg.  When her editor insists she will spend Christmas entertaining him and a heroic sailor as a good publicity stunt, her job is on the line.

 

She quickly rounds up a cottage, husband, baby and cook before the guests arrive, but real trouble begins when ‘married’ Stanwyck begins to fall in love with the engaged navy man.

 

Check this fun film out from the Gardiner Library sometime.

 

What’s one of your favorite holiday movies?

 

 

Great Books that make Great Gifts

Wishtree – by Katherine Applegate

/* Starred Review */ Gr 4–8—Newbery Award—winning author Applegate meets high expectations in this tale told by a tree named Red, a red oak who is “two hundred and sixteen rings old.” Touching on religious bigotry and the environment, Applegate keeps the emphasis on her characters, the many animals and birds who find shelter in the tree’s branches all year round. (All the birds and animals have names and the power to talk, just like Red.) Around the first of May, people write down their wishes on pieces of cloth and hang them from the tree’s branches, giving Red a special place in the community. The pacing starts out slowly, with early chapters focused almost entirely on the natural world, but eventually readers meet the human at the novel’s center. Samar, a recent Muslim refugee, is lonely and in need of a friend. A nameless boy uses the tree to convey hateful messages to Samar and her family. The owner of the tree is tired of roots in the plumbing and hopes all the nastiness will disappear if the tree is cut down, having forgotten the story of her ancestors and the beginning of all the wishes. Red decides to intervene and ask for help from the animals and birds. Even those who shy away from books with talking animals will find this believable fantasy elegant and poignant. Widening the appeal is a sparse word count, making this a great choice for a family or classroom read-aloud and an inviting option for reluctant readers. VERDICT Another stunning effort from Applegate. This thoughtful read is a top choice for middle graders.—Carol A. Edwards, formerly at Denver Public Library –Carol A. Edwards (Reviewed 06/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 6, p84)

 

Why I am me! – by Britt Paige

/* Starred Review */ PreS-Gr 2—Britt tackles the metaphysical for the picture book crowd. Two (presumably) parent/child pairs approach a subway from different directions: an African American father and son and a light-skinned mother and daughter. The boy reads a book while riding a skateboard; the girl has a musical instrument case strapped to her back. As the kids notice each other, he wonders: “Why am I me …and not you?” She thinks: “Why are you, you…and not me?” And so it goes, with thoughts such as, “If someone else were me,/who would they be?/Someone lighter,/older,/darker,/bolder?” Alko and Quall’s acrylic, colored pencil, and collage scenes portray a diverse population within the train car and seen through its windows. People of varying skin colors, physical abilities, and styles play, watch sports, or perform or listen to music. The thought bubble questions arise naturally; they’re the kinds of things that would go through a child’s mind when observing differences. The climax is spread over four openings. It begins with a triptych in which the star on the boy’s shirt becomes a twinkle in his eye and then a glowing shape in the sky. After the girl’s eye sparkles, the boy reaches out, and their faces intersect in a Venn diagram of friendship. VERDICT Universal questions combine with richly layered, captivating compositions, presenting opportunities for careful examination and stimulating conversations. Perfect for classroom or one-on-one sharing.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library –Wendy Lukehart (Reviewed 07/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 7, p56)

 

The Little Red Cat: who ran away and learned his ABCs (the hard way) – by Patrick McDonnell

/* Starred Review */ PreS-Gr 1—McDonnell’s abecedarian tale takes a small scarlet cat on a breathtaking adventure. The  clever tale—wordless except for two signs and  one warning shout—begins when the  feline notices his  home’s front door standing open and  takes to the  hills. He almost immediately comes upon a gape-mouthed Alligator, a climbing Bear, and an agitated Chicken along with a couple of other pursuers of the D and E variety. A chase begins with the cat leading his entourage through a day filled with ice and snow, a jungle, mountain peaks, and a potentially hazardous tumble off a high cliff. Humorous pen, ink, pencil and watercolor illustrations surrounded by copious white space are energetic and highly engaging for readers. The large letters of the alphabet appear near the top of the page and feature both capital and lowercase forms. While most illustrations offer a clear-cut answer to what each letter represents in the sequence, there are a few pages that require some thought; an answer key can be found at the end of the book. VERDICT A brilliant caper that young learners will want to pore over! A must-purchase.—Maryann H. Owen, Children’s Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI –Maryann H. Owen (Reviewed 08/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 8, p74)

 

When’s my Birthday? – by Julie Fogliano

Preschool-Grade 1 /* Starred Review */ In an infectious, bouncy rhythm, Fogliano playfully captures the antsy excitement for birthdays in a pitch-perfect kid voice. In between a refrain of “When’s my birthday? / Where’s my birthday? / How many days until / my birthday?” Fogliano’s verses cover food and presents, who to invite, and, of course, the all-important cake. Robinson’s thickly painted collage illustrations feature cheery children and friendly creatures in birthday  hats, with always happy faces enjoying the delights described in Fogliano’s lines. Amid all the anticipation and happy planning, the text takes a realistically worried turn when the waiting seems so endless that the narrator wonders whether he or she will have a birthday at all. Luckily, after a near-sleepless night, the day finally arrives: “It’s the daytime! / Here’s my birthday! / Happy happy! / Hee! Hee! Hee!” Robinson’s signature style—bold collages depicting kids and animals in blocky shapes—is the ideal vehicle for Fogliano’s frolicsome text, and the two together evoke a quintessentially childlike glee, which adults will recognize and little ones will revel in. There might be a more perfect picture book about birthdays out there, but you’d be hard-pressed to find it. — Hunter, Sarah (Reviewed 7/1/2017) (Booklist, vol 113, number 21, p69)

 

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt – by Ben Clanton

/* Starred Review */ Gr 1–3–Donning a cape, Narwhal decides to become a superhero—after eating lunch, of course. Super Narwhal needs a sidekick, so pal Jelly is dubbed Jelly Jolt. In this second installment of the sweetly surreal series, the characters are true to form; delightfully ditzy Narwhal  remains upbeat even when he initially fails to exhibit a single superpower, while his jellyfish friend frets at every turn. In addition to three tales about Narwhal and Jelly, there’s a section about the “superpowers” of various ocean creatures (for instance, crabs can regrow their legs, the mimic octopus can change its appearance to resemble other animals, and dolphins sleep with one eye open) and a pun-laced story “written” by Narwhal and Jelly, in which Super Waffle and Strawberry Sidekick rescue their city from a giant butter blob. Clanton crafts a whimsical narrative that focuses on quirky conversations rather than superheroic adventures, and the funny story will snare a range of readers. Lively illustrations, dominated by hues of blue and featuring irresistibly cheerful characters, have a childlike feel, as though scribbled by a youngster clutching a crayon. As in many of the best reads starring dynamic duos—Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad,” Mo Willems’s “Elephant and Piggie”—friendship is at the core; Narwhal always quells the many anxieties of his loyal companion. VERDICT A super addition to graphic novel collections serving younger readers, especially where the first volume is popular.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal –Mahnaz Dar (Reviewed 06/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 6, p83)

 

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day – by Beatrice Alemagna

/* Starred Review */ While her mother works at her desk, a girl in owlish spectacles plays with a handheld video game console. “What about a break from your game?” her mother says, prodding the girl outside despite the pouring rain. Almost at once she drops her device in a pond (“This could not be happening to me”) and sinks into despair (“The rain felt like rocks were hitting me”). Then, in a moment of magic, she’s greeted by four cheerful snails, and her journey opens into an encounter with all the life of the forest: “a thousand seeds and pellets, kernels, grains, roots, and berries touched my fingers.” Alemagna’s spreads ignite with the warm glow of discovery. The generous trim size accommodates big, dramatic spreads as the girl, in her incandescent orange cape, tumbles down a hill and sees the world turned dizzily upside down. When she returns to the family’s cabin, the girl finds that even her mother looks a bit different now. Alemagna demonstrates an uncanny knack for rendering emotional experience with line and color in this intimate and distinctive story. Ages 4–8. (Sept.) –Staff (Reviewed 07/10/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 28, p)

 

 

Posted – by John David Anderson

Grades 5-8 /* Starred Review */ By eighth grade, Frost feels secure within his established circle of smart, relatively geeky boys, including Bench, Deedee, and Wolf, who know they can count on one other. But Rose, a new student with a tall, muscular body and an independent streak, unexpectedly joins their table in the middle-school cafeteria. Then Bench starts hanging out with his fellow athletes instead of the gang. Meanwhile, a school-wide cell-phone ban leads to the increasingly “twitchy” student body writing their messages, jokes, opinions, and insults on sticky notes and slapping them on each other’s lockers for all to see. Bullying becomes more open, and matters come to a head when Rose challenges an intimidating middle-school thug to a suicidal bike race down a steep, wooded hillside. Written with understated humor and fine-tuned perception, Frost’s first-person narrative offers a riveting story as well as an uncomfortably realistic picture of middle-school social dynamics. The author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day (2016), Anderson vividly portrays each boy in Frost’s group, their intertwined relationships, and their individual responses to the changes that inevitably come. Initially not well understood by the narrator, Rose gradually comes into focus as an individual and an agent of inevitable change. This rewarding novel should resonate with many readers. — Phelan, Carolyn (Reviewed 3/15/2017) (Booklist, vol 113, number 14, p64)

 

All’s Faire in Middle School – by Victoria Jamieson

/* Starred Review */ Jamieson doesn’t disappoint in her first graphic novel since her Newbery Honor–winning Roller Girl. Imogen Vega’s parents perform at a Renaissance fair in Florida, immersing the family in a world of jousting and archaic language (“Thou qualling toad-spotted clack-dish!”). Imogen has been homeschooled all her life; now, at 11, she’s headed to public school. In her first weeks, she falls victim to the wiles of a mean girl, hurts a girl who might have been a good friend, and throws her younger brother’s treasured stuffed animal into the lake. As Imogen undergoes a period of self-enforced solitude, the extended family of the fair community offers unexpected support. Jamieson’s sturdy artwork (her figures are decidedly unglamorous, as if to offer regular kids reassurance) and sharp dialogue make it easy to care about her characters. Readers will also appreciate the irreverent humor of the fair’s adults: as a treatment for bullies, one recommends “a large quantity of chicken feathers and a few pots of honey.” The fair emphasizes adventure and theater, but its unconventional performers teach Imogen about kindness, too. Ages 9–12. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Sept.) –Staff (Reviewed 07/17/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 29, p)

 

The Three Billy Goats Gruff – by Jerry Pinkney

/* Starred Review */ PreS-Gr 2—Employing his signature pencil and watercolor compositions, Pinkney  brings a thoughtful, nuanced perspective to this classic tale. The story begins as expected, with the goats “trip-trapping” across the bridge in search of food—the first two urging the troll to wait for the bigger animal coming next. Each goat has a distinctive appearance; the troll is fierce, with green skin, horns, and exceptionally large teeth. The halcyon, rainbow-studded river valley is surrounded with rocks on one side and lush vegetation on the other. While the story retains familiar cadences, subtle decisions about language and behavior elevate the telling, ensuring multiple readings. As the drama progresses, the design changes, incorporating ever-stronger personalities until a gatefold opening accommodates the standoff between the largest goat and the troll. Hand-lettered sound effects enhance the text’s dynamic potential. An artist’s note mentions that Pinkney was “confounded by the ending of the original tale, in which the troll disappears or turns to stone… It seemed he never had a chance to learn his lesson.” Here, after the troll is catapulted into the water, he faces a monster fish who gives him a taste of his own medicine. A visual epilogue on the endpapers allows readers to form their own conclusions about the encounter’s impact on all involved. –Wendy Lukehart (Reviewed 02/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 02, p76)

 

Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat – by Judy Sierra

Gr 1–3—The 1950s was a boring time for beginning readers in the United States. After a critic wrote about the lack of fun books in this category, Seuss was determined to write one of his very own. Limited by the words that could be used for such a book, he created the classic The Cat in the Hat. Adults and children alike will enjoy reading about Seuss, his funny hats, and all the work that went into making one of the most well-known children’s book characters of all time. Hawkes adeptly uses Seuss-like illustrations to tell his story, incorporating famous Seussian words, characters, and the man himself throughout. Children will love to learn more about this renowned author and how he came up with such a simple but ingenious book. Educators could use this work for various writing activities and lessons. Also Sierra’s focus on how long it took Seuss to finish his masterpiece will communicate to young readers the stamina it takes to create. VERDICT An easy addition to any elementary school nonfiction collection.—Molly Dettmann, Moore Public Library, OK –Molly Dettmann (Reviewed 09/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 9, p165)

 

New Titles for November!

FICTION:

 The art of keeping secrets by Rachael Johns.   They started out as “misfit” moms at their sons’ private school.  They shared everything – or so they thought.  Now on a trip to NYC, their tight hold on the secrets they’ve keep for years begins to slip.

Beneath the depths by Bruce Coffin.  A police procedural in which a lawyer who’s already antagonized half the people in Maine winds up dead and, every pine tree in Portland seems chock-full of suspects.

The best kind of people by Zoe Whittail.  A local schoolteacher is arrested, leaving his family to wrestle with the possibility of his guilt, in this novel about loyalty, truth, and happiness.

Fresh complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides.  A collection of stories that the author has been steadily producing through the years.

The girl who takes an eye for an eye by David Lagercrantz.  Lisabeth Salander teams up with an investigative journalist to uncover the secrets of her childhood.

Good me bad me by Ali Land.  Milly’s mother is a serial killer.  Though she loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police.  Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity and a home with an affluent foster family.  But Milly has secrets of her own.

Haunted by Richard Patterson. A detective from New York takes his family on a vacation to Maine and is enlisted by local cops to help solve a crime in the woods.

Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng.  An artist with a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo upends a quiet town outside Cleveland.

Merry and bright by Debbie Macomber.  A temp, who works for a strict and stressed boss, is given a social life when family members create an online dating profile for her.

The ninth hour by Alice McDermott.  A powerfully affecting story spanning the 20th century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.

Origin by Dan Brown.  After reconnecting with one of his first students, who is now a billionaire futurist, Professor Robert Langdon must go on a perilous quest with a beautiful museum director.

P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy.  A modern-day love story between a famous actress hiding in Paris and a bestselling writer lying to himself.  They knew their friendship was going to be complicated, but love – and the City of Lights – just might find a way.

Paradox bound by Peter Clines.  An aimless young man escapes his dead-end town when he meets a time-traveling adventuress.  A rousing adventure novel that marries steampunk aesthetics to the seminal concept of protecting American liberty.

Proof of life by J.A. Jance.  When J.P. Beaumont is asked to investigate the death of his nemesis, it leads to an old case once thought solved.

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor.  This begins with a 13 year old girl’s disappearance from an English village, and then tracks the village through the following years, as teenagers become adults, people grow old and die, and couples get together and separate while what happened to the girl remains a mystery.

The rules of magic by Alice Hoffman.  Hoffman delights us in this prequel to Practical Magic as three siblings discover both the power and curse of their magic.

The Salt Line by Holly Jones.  In the future, the US border has receded behind a salt line – a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks.  Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear.  Only adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature stray past the salt line.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan.  How many novels can boast an obstreperous sourdough starter as a key character?  This is a delightful and heartfelt read.

Star Wars: from a certain point of view.  An anthology of short stories retells the original “Star Wars” from the point of view of supporting characters.

To be where you are by Jan Karon.  Three generations of Kavanaghs face changes in their lives.

Winter solstice by Elin Hilderbrand.  The Quinns celebrate the holidays when one family member returns from the war in Afghanistan but the gathering turns rocky.

NONFICTION:   

American wolf by Nate Blakeslee.  The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her.

The best of us by Joyce Maynard.  In this touching memoir, Maynard chronicles her 2nd marriage.  She beautifully renders the joys of falling in love later in life and the pain of watching her husband die of pancreatic cancer.  Her heartfelt story resonate with those who have loved and lost.

The comfort food diaries by Emily Nunn.  Nunn chronicles her journey to heal old wounds and find comfort in the face of loss through travel, home-cooked food, and the company of friends and family.

The encyclopedia of animal predators by Janet Dohner.  Learn about each predator’s traits and behaviors, identify the tracks and signs of more than 50 predators to protect your livestock, poultry, and pets.

Grant by Ron Chernow.  Ulysses Grant was a complex, mostly admirable figure, and this may become the definitive biography for the foreseeable future.

Hiding in the bathroom by Morra Aarons-Mele.  An introvert’s road map to getting out there in the business world (when you’d rather stay home).

In the shadows of the American century by Alfred McCoy.  Can the US extend the “American century” or will China guide the globe for the next 100 years?  McCoy boldly lays out a series of scenarios that could lead to the end of Washington’s world domination by 2030.

Killing England by Bill O’Reilly.  Major events and battles during the Revolutionary War are told from the perspectives of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and others.

Logical family: a memoir by Armistead Maupin.  The author of the Tales of the City series chronicles his odyssey from the old South to freewheeling San Francisco, and his evolution from curious youth to ground-breaking writer and gay rights pioneer.

Mayhem by Sigrid Rausing.  A searingly powerful memoir about the impact of opioid addiction on a family.

Of mess and moxie by Jen Hatmaker.  Wrangling delight out of this wild and glorious life, Hatmaker presents a round of hilarious tales, shameless honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie.

Vacationland by John Hodgman.  Mild departures from the routine inspire neurotic palpitations in these dourly funny essays that peg the stories to several unnerving locals.

Vinyl Me, Please.  100 albums you need in your collection.

Why we sleep by Matthew Walker.  The first sleep study by a leading scientific expert, this reveals groundbreaking explorations of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better.

NEW MUSIC CDs:

Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie

Life changes by Thomas Rhett

Lost and gone forever by Guster

Twin Peaks (music from the limited event series)

Through the eyes of love by Melissa Manchester

Flicker by Niall Horan

 NEW DVDs:

Big little lies (2017) starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon

The big sick (2017) starring Kumail Nanjiani, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano

Wonder woman (2017) starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine

Hero (2017) starring Sam Elliott

This is us: the complete first season (2017) starring Mandy Moore

The beguiled  (2017) starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst

12 monkeys (1995) starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt

 

 

New Books – October 2017

FICTION

Any dream will do by Debbie Macomber.  As Shay Benson begins her life anew by building a relationship with Pastor Drew, her brother’s return threatens to undo it all.

Caroline: Little House revisited by Sarah Miller.  Peeling back the layers of Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, this reveals another side of Caroline Ingalls, Wilder’s mother.  Not to be missed by Wilder’s grown-up fans or those who enjoy historical fiction.

Crime scene by Jonathan Kellerman.  Clay Edison, a deputy coroner and former star athlete, investigates a possible murder.

The Cuban affair by Nelson DeMille.  Set in 2015 during the early days of the thaw between the US and Cuba – a line from the novel perfectly describes this page-turner:  “Sex, money, and adventure.  Does it get any better than that?”

Don’t let go by Harlan Coben.  Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful thriller.

Enigma by Catherine Coulter.  Agents Savich and Sherlock race against the clock to catch an international criminal and solve the enigma of the man called John Doe.

The followers by Rebecca Wait.  A struggling single mother falls under the spell of a charismatic cult leader, but her rebellious 12 year old daughter isn’t quite so gullible.

 A gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  A Russian count undergoes 30 years of house arrest.

Glass Houses by Louise Penny.  Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience – a court that supersedes all others.

The golden house by Salman Rushdie.  A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture – a hurtling, page-turning mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities.

The last Tudor by Phillippa Gregory.  The youngest Grey sister, Mary, is left to face her ruthless cousin, Queen Elizabeth.

A legacy of spies by John LeCarre.  The undisputed master returns with a riveting new book – his first Smiley novel in more than 25 years.

The locals by Jonathan Dee.  Here are the dramas of the 21st century America – rising inequality, working class decline, a new authoritarianism – played out in the classic setting of some of our greatest novels: the small town.

My absolute darling by Gabriel Tallent.  A remarkably self-sufficient 14 year old girl must fight to save herself from her abusive survivalist father.

North Haven by Sarah Moriarty.  A portrait of the family scars and faults passed along the generations, brilliantly capturing life on the Maine coastline, where time seems to stand still even as the water never stops moving.

The punch escrow by Tal Klein.  Fans of hard SF and time travel will enjoy this imaginative debut.

The right time by Danielle Steel.  The author Alexandra Winslow, writing under the pseudonym Alexander Green, creates a double life that isolates her.

Robert B. Parker’s The hangman’s sonnet by Reed Coleman.  This Jessie Stone novel involves a reclusive folk singer.

Secrets in death by J.D. Robb.  Lt. Eve Dallas must separate rumors from reality when a woman who traffics in other people’s secrets is silenced.

Seeing red by Sandra Brown.  The TV journalist Kerra Bailey and former federal agent John Trapper join forces to expose a web of conspiracy behind a hotel bombing in Dallas.

Sleeping beauties by Stephen King and Owen King.  The authors tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

The store by James Patterson.  Two NY writers go undercover to expose the secrets of a powerful retailer.

Strange practice by Vivian Shaw.  Fans who enjoy gaslamp fantasies will appreciate how Shaw brings her Victorian monsters into the modern age.

We shall not all sleep by Estep Nagy.  Set on a small Maine island, this is a richly told story of American class, family, and manipulation – a compelling portrait of a unique and privileged WASP stronghold on the brink of dissolution.

Y is for yesterday by Sue Grafton.  Yesterday was for youthful indiscretions.  Today is for consequences.

NONFICTION

After the eclipse by Sarah Perry.   A mother’s murder, a daughter’s search.  In a fierce memoir of a mother’s murder outside of her daughter’s bedroom in rural Maine, a daughter’s coming-of-age in the wake of immense loss, and her mission to know the woman who gave her life.

Dying: a memoir by Cory Taylor.  This slender volume brings a fresh point of view to end of life care, the concept of having a sense of control over the unknown, and the role of chance in life.  This deep meditation is beautifully written and destined to be an important piece of conversation surrounding death.

The far away brothers by Lauren Markham.  The deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador’s violence to build new lives in California – fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong.

A farewell to ice by Peter Wadhams.  Based on five decades of research and observation, this is a haunting and unsparing look at the melting ice caps and what their disappearance will mean.

Feeling Jewish by Devorah Baum.  A young critic offers an original, passionate, and erudite account of what it means to feel Jewish – even when you are not.

The four tendencies by Gretchen Rubin.  The indispensable personality profiles that reveal how to make your life better (and other peoples lives better too).

Install your own solar panels by Joe Burdick.  Designing and installing a photovoltaic system to power your home.

Madness by Sam Sax.  An astounding debut collection of poems – Winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series Competition.  In this collection, Sax explodes the linkage between desire, addiction, and the history of mental health.

Nomadland by Jessica Bruder.  A book about low-income Americans (mostly seniors) eking out a living while driving from locale to locale for seasonal employment.

The plant paradox by Steven Gundry.  Most of us have heard of gluten – a protein found in wheat that can cause widespread inflammation in the body.  Americans spend billions on gluten-free diets in an effort to protect their health.  But what if we’ve been missing the root of the problem?

Quakeland by Kathryn Miles.  A journey around the US in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts and ultimately the kind of preparation that will actually help guide us through disasters.

The republic for which it stands by Richard White.  This offers a fresh and integrated interpretation of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age as the seedbed of modern America.

This blessed earth by Ted Genoways.  Both a concise exploration of the history of the American small farm and a vivid, nuanced portrait of one family’s fight to preserve their legacy and the life they love.

What happened by Hillary Clinton.  The former secretary of state relates her experience as the first woman candidate nominated for president by a majority party and reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history.

What I found in a thousand towns by Dar Williams.  A beloved folk singer presents an impassioned account of the fall and rise of the small American towns she cherishes.

Why Buddhism is true by Robert Wright.  Neuroscience and psychology findings are used to support Buddhist practice and meditation and show how it holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.

Notes from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, and New York Times Book Review.

 

An Alphabet of Maine Titles

A friend and I were talking the other day, and we wondered if it would be possible to create an alphabetical list of books containing Maine places.

My list isn’t quite alphabetical, though the Maine places ARE in alphabetical order.  As you will notice, I did use poetic license with two letters – X and Z.  Please leave a comment if you have ideas for these two special letters!

Summers at Castle AUBURN

The BLUE HILL meadows

CHELSEA Chelsea bang bang

DALLAS Buyers Club

EMBDEN town of yore

FRIENDSHIP makes the heart grow fonder

The GRAY man

HOPE and tears

History of ISLESBOROUGH, Maine

Thomas JEFFERSON builds a library

KENNEBEC gumbo

LIBERTY or death

MOUNT VERNON love story

NORTH HAVEN

The OLD TOWN Canoe Company

Mr. Goodhue remembers PORTLAND

The daring Miss QUIMBY

RANDOLPH Caldecott

SAINT GEORGE and the dragon

TURNER & Hooch

The UNION quilters

Hollywood comes to VINALHAVEN

The three Weissmanns of WESTPORT

Elijah of BuXton

New YORK to Dallas

History of Cape EliZabeth, Maine

New Items In The Library!

FICTION:

The Amber Shadows by Lucy Ribchester.  This re-creates World War II life and the enclosed world of code-breaking and plays out the suspense in a Hitchcock homage almost worthy of the master.

Before we were yours by Lisa Wingate.  A South Carolina lawyer, researching her grandmother’s past, learns about a Tennessee orphanage that kidnapped children and placed them for adoption with wealthy people.

The blinds by Adam Sternbergh.  A tense, broiling, 21st century Western with a crafty premise and a high body count.

Brave deeds by David Abrams.  Spanning 8 hours, this follows a squad of 6 AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their leader.

The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Moore.  A gripping novel about a woman who returns to her hometown in coastal Maine and finds herself pondering the age old question of what could have been.

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor.  A woman inherits a bookstore and discovers her family’s connection to a famous set of photographs.

Deadfall by Linda Fairstein.  The Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper becomes a suspect.

Down a dark road by Linda Castillo.  Kate Burkholder, an Amish-born (but excommunicated) chief of police, believes that an old friend accused of his wife’s murder may be innocent.

The duchess by Danielle Steel.  A 19th century British duke’s daughter, disinherited by her half-brothers, flees to Paris to make a new life.

Exposed by Lisa Scottoline.  Rosato & DiNunzio, Philadelphia’s most drama-ridden law firm, faces perhaps its most dramatic episode ever when it’s threatened both inside and out.

The followers by Rebecca Wait.  A struggling single mother falls under the spell of a charismatic cult leader, but her rebellious 12 year old daughter isn’t quite so gullible.

A game of ghosts by John Connolly.  The games begin anew as retired police detective Charlie Parker, along with sidekicks Angel and Louis, bring their special brand of cynicism and expertise to this paranormal thriller.

Gather the daughters by Jennie Melamed.  A haunting novel about a cult on an isolated island where nothing is as it seems.

Grace by Paul Lynch.  A sweeping, Dickensian story of a young girl on a life-changing journey across 19th century Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine.

The grip of it by Jac Jemc.  A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple haunted by their newly purchased home.

The half-drowned king by Linnea Hartsuyker.  Steeped in legend and myth, this is a swashbuckling epic of family, love, and betrayal that reimagines the Norse sagas.

House of spies by Daniel Silva.  Gabriel Allon, the Israeli art restorer and spy and now head of Israel’s secret intelligence service, pursues an ISIS mastermind.

I know a secret by Tess Gerritsen.  Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles pursue a shadowy psychopath keeping secrets and taking lives.

A kind of freedom by Margaret Sexton.  An urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.

The last laugh by Lynn Freed.  A hilarious novel about the riotous, passion-filled adventures of three women who THOUGHT they were past their prime.

The late show by Michael Connelly.  This introduces Rene Ballard, a fierce young detective fighting to prove herself on the LAPD’s toughest beat.

Less by Andrew Greer.  You are a failed novelist and about to turn 50.  A wedding invitation arrives: your boyfriend of the past 9 years is engaged to someone else.  You can’t say yes – it would be too awkward – and you can’t say no – it would look like defeat.  On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.  How do you arrange to skip town?  You accept them all.

The lightkeeper’s daughters by Jean Pendziwol.  A decades-old mystery is revisited as an elderly woman shares the story of her childhood with a troubled teen.  A haunting tale of nostalgia and lost chances that is full of last-minute surprises.

The locals by Jonathan Dee.  Here are the dramas of the 21st century America – rising inequality, working class decline, a new authoritarianism – played out in the classic setting of some of our greatest novels – the small town.

The lying game by Ruth Ware.  This introduces 4 women who have been carrying a terrible secret since their boarding school days, a secret that is about to be literally unearthed.

The mapmaker’s daughter by Katherine Hughes.  A fascinating evocation of the major players of the Ottoman renaissance. A captured Venetian encounters a strange blend of civilization and barbarism as she attains the highest rank possible for a woman in the Ottoman Empire.

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta.  A mother and son experience existential tizzies following his departure for college.

Secrets of the tulip sisters by Susan Mallery.  Sisters reconnect when one returns to their tulip-centered hometown.

See what I have done by Sarah Schmidt.  This recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time (Lizzie Borden) into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

Seven stones to stand or fall by Diana Gabaldon.  A collection of short fiction – including two never-before-published novellas – featuring Jamie Fraser, Lord John Grey, Mastery Raymond, and others, all extending the story of Outlander in thrilling new directions.

Sun at midnight by Rosie Thomas.  Love and adventure in this epic story set against the stunning backdrop of Antarctica.

Tom Clancy Point of Contact by Mike Maden.  With typhoons, deadly Chinese and North Korean operatives wielding bats, knives, and guns, and a weaponized thumb drive – the action reaches Clancy level early and stays there.

Use of force by Brad Thor.  The counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath is called in when a missing terrorism suspect drowns off the Italian coast.

We shall not all sleep by Estep Nagy.  Set on a small Maine island, this is a richly told story of American class, family, and manipulation – a compelling portrait of a unique and privileged WASP stronghold on the brink of dissolution.

NEW MUSIC CDs:

Evolve by Imagine Dragons

Come From Away (original Broadway cast recording)

Melodrama by Lorde

Fake Sugar by Beth Ditto

Dear Evan Hansen (original Broadway cast recording)

Divide by Ed Sheeran

NEW DVDs:

The Lost City of Z (2017) starring Charlie Hunnam

Only angels have wings (1939) starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur

Broadcast News (1987)  starring Holly Hunter and William Hurt

Westworld (1973) starring Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin

NONFICTION:

The Cooperstown casebook by Jay Jaffe.  Who’s in the baseball hall of fame, who should be in, and who should pack their plaques and go away.

Deaf daughter by Carol Lee Adams.  This memoir reveals what it’s like to be born able to hear, only to be deaf by age 19.

Drawing calm by Susan Evenson.  Relax, refresh, refocus with drawing, painting and collage workshops.

The history of top 40 singles: 1970-1989 by Frank Deangelis.  Once you learn the histories of these hits, you’ll never hear them the same way again.

Hue 1968 by Mark Bowden.  A stirring history of the 1968 battle that definitively turned the Vietnam War into an American defeat.

Magnetic City by Justin Davidson.  From “New York” magazine’s architecture critic, a walking and reading guide to New York City.

Modern ethics in 77 arguments by Peter Catapano.  Guns, race, and human rights are among the varied ethical issues tackled in this wide-ranging collection.

Notes on a foreign country by Suzy Hansen.  Blending memoir, journalism, and history, this is a moving reflection on America’s place in the world today.  It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation – a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of grave national and global turmoil.

Scotland: the best 100 places by Peter Irvine.  Extraordinary places to walk, eat, and sleep divided by the themes of reflective, magnificent, and human – all backed up by wonderful photos.

Sons and soldiers by Bruce Henderson.  The untold story of the Jews who escaped the Nazis and returned with the US Army to fight Hitler.

Step Parenting by Randall Hicks.  50 one-minute dos and don’ts for stepdads and stepmoms.

The totally unscientific study of the search for human happiness by Paula Poundstone.  This chronicles her amusing and surprisingly personal search for the key to happiness.  A deeply revealing memoir in which the pathos doesn’t kill the humor and one that delivers more than it promises.

Wild things by Bruce Handy.  It’s a profound, eye-opening experience to re-encounter books that you once treasured after decades apart.  A clear-eyed love letter to the greatest children’s books and authors.

Would everybody please stop?  by Jenny Allen.  An Erma Bombeck for the new age with reflections on life and other bad ideas.

Notes from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, and New York Times Book Review

 

What Should I Read Next?

What do you do when you have discovered a new (or new-to-you) author, and you want another book that is just like the one you finished?

You’ve read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on by ______ (fill in the blank) and want to read something JUST like (s)he writes.

Fascination with puppy dog tales – yes, I noticed the pun as well – has you craving more animal stories.

What do you do?  Yes, your local librarian is a wonderful help, but when you finish the book at midnight, and really, ReAlLy, REALLY need a new author SOON, please don’t call us! At least, not a midnight!

A fantastic website for you to find that new author, or subject area, or whatever piece of the title you just finished that sends you searching is part of the MARVEL database.  As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, this amazing resource is provided to all libraries in Maine, and with your current library card you will discover some great new authors and books.

Once you or I access the MARVEL database, which can be accessed through the library website, we need to scroll down, and click on the NOVELIST database.  There are two choices for Novelist – NoveList K-8 Plus and NoveList Plus.  As you might assume, one is geared more to the juvenile, but they both work the same way.

Okay, I’m here.  I type James Patterson in the search bar near the top of the page.  I’m doing a “Basic Search” at this point.  My results show me several things.  On the left side of the page there are several ways to “Refine Results”.  The majority of the page seems to be taken up by several tabs.  These tabs include Books ; Audiobooks ; Series ; Authors and Lists & Articles.

Since the Books tab is the first one (and open), I’ll see what it has to say.

My results include 389 citations.  I know Patterson is prolific, but 389???  Anyway, back to NoveList I go.  As I scroll down the first page, I see books by Patterson, books about Patterson, compilations that include Patterson, and books that he co-authored.  Many choices, but since I have read ALL of his stuff and am looking for something new, I click on the next tab.

Audiobooks appears to be exactly that – James Patterson books that have been recorded for our listening pleasure.  I do notice that the narrator of each audiobook is listed, and as a listener, there are some readers that I particularly enjoy listening to, as well as some that I would rather not hear again.  As I scroll down the first page, I realize that some of the titles are listed more than once and see that perhaps there is a choice of Abridged vs. Unabridged.  All in all, an interesting “tab” to look at.

The next tab is Series.  This one shows me the 22 series that Mr. Patterson writes.

The Authors tab lists six authors who in some way have been associated with James Patterson.  A couple of these authors appear to have written about him, or have co-authored works with him, or simply have the same name.

The last tab is Lists & Articles.  This is exactly what it claims – Lists and Articles about James Patterson.  A great resource for anyone interested in who Mr. Patterson is.

As I explored each of these tabs I noticed several things they had in common.  Below each citation there is a bit of information, as well as a few links.  I see a five-star popularity scale, whether the title is written for Adults, Teens or younger and the Read-alikes.  This is the piece I’m interested in right now.

I click on the Title Read-alikes link for one of the titles on this page.  If there were a specific title I LOVED this would be the time to choose it.  I am taken to a page with several new titles.  There is a “Reason” given for each of the titles on this page.

This process works the same way when I click on Author Read-alikes.  I am taken to a page with several – nine seem to be the maximum number – new authors that might be of interest.

Back to the original “James Patterson” search page I go.  This time I click on the book title itself, and am taken to a page with a description of the book, the genre and tone.  Also on this page, the far right column shows me Read-alikes.  I see the book covers, author and a link to this new title.  I know, I know, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover”, but … .

I can also search for those “puppy tales” I’m interested in.  The search bar is near the top of each of the NoveList pages, so I type in puppy tales.

Yup, this works as well!  I’m taken to pages that include more than 600 “puppy tales”.

Now, I’ve jumped around this great resource, my clock tells me it’s 2:00a.m., I didn’t disturb my local librarian, I’ve found some new reading ideas, and requested them to be picked up at the library.  This looks like several ticks in the WIN column to me!

Narrow Gauge Cinema

The Kennebec Journal announced on July 7th that the Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington was opening a new drive-in theater in the lot behind the cinema.  It brought back all the memories of childhood that involved my parents loading the 4 kids and the dog into the station wagon with bags of popcorn to go to a drive-in theater.  The one we visited had a playground in front of the huge screen that the kids would all play on until dusk arrived and the first movie started.  We always tried to stay awake through intermission to see the second movie since that one was always a little “racier” as smaller children would have fallen asleep by the time it started.  Remember the speaker that was mounted on a pole which you would hang on your car window so you could clearly hear what was happening on the movie screen?  Cars were larger then and a family of 6 with a dog could easily enjoy a double feature at a drive-in without feeling totally cramped and on top of each other.  Below is a web site from the Smithsonian magazine that will help you remember the glory days of the drive-in.  And if you have never had the experience, then it will give you a sense of what you have missed.  Is the experience worth a trip to Farmington to see a double feature under the stars?  It just might be.

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-drive-in-movie-theater-51331221/

 

Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Summer ’17 Children’s Books

Hattie & Hudson by Chris Van Dusen

This eloquent, evocative book about compassion is perfect for sparking discussions on      prejudice. A sensational choice for a seasonal storytime. (School Library Journal)

Be Quiet by Ryan Higgins

This hilarious and fun read-aloud will be a hit at any story time. Kids will be laughing out loud. (School Library Journal)

Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello

The story will be a familiar one to any young reader who feels too small to join in with older siblings or peers, and offers an empowering message of learning to overcome one’s small stature. (School Library Journal)

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Drywalt

Laugh-out-loud funny and outrageous at times, this read-aloud will have listeners jumping out of their seats. This is the sort of story that makes children love to read.

The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler

Twelve-year-old Nell Perkins lives in the small town of Mist Falls with her mother, Rose, and her brothers, George and Speedy. A dark cloud filled with evil witches sucks Rose up, and Nell and her brother’s team up with local resident Duke Badger following the cloud into the Dreamlands, the wondrous and horrific realm of all dreams. (School Library Journal)

The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff

It’s kids vs. parents in epic fashion, and Graff’s not-quite-fantasy world is every kid’s dream. All of the frustrations young people feel with their parents during a divorce are hilariously hyperbolized in a way that will make children feel vindicated and less alone. The epistolary format allows readers to get to know all of the characters through creative footnotes, sticky notes, newspaper articles, emails, and tiny drawings. Graff’s whimsical, original work is a breath of fresh air.  (School Library Journal)

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi

Wakening to a terrible storm, 12-year-old Oliver Cromwell Pitts finds his English seaside house flooded and his lawyer father gone off to London, leaving the child bereft, penniless, and facing the unsavory possibility of being remanded to the children’s poorhouse. Alas, that is exactly what happens. Happily, circumstances and quick wits allow him to flee the dreadful place, but, his life now in danger, he must escape to London. But how? Because of  his flight and the  fact that he has, er, borrowed some money, he’s wanted by the  authorities and must travel secretly, and the  road to the  capital is long and fraught with danger—there will be no relying on the kindness of  strangers. Will he find his way to London? This story is filled with suspense, surprises, and ultimately satisfaction. (School Library Journal)

Fairy Floss: The Sweet Story of Cotton Candy by Ann Ingalls

When Lillie and her aunt finally get to the World’s Fair, they take in all the sights, including a dazzling array of newfangled gadgets, and when they finally get to John and William’s kiosk, Lillie gets to make a batch of fairy floss herself. Ingalls’ story , centered on the  modernization of cotton candy , is well matched by Blanco’s colorful, whimsical, full-page 1904 World’s Fair scenes, which pack in plenty of  period detail, including clothing, transportation, and images of the  historic exhibits. Have cotton candy ready as a follow-up to this dip into the history of a well-loved amusement-park treat. (Booklist)

Ginni Nichols, Children’s Librarian