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Jun 20

Short, But Good!

Posted on June 20, 2016 at 10:44 AM by Craig Jacobson

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Summer is upon us, schools are letting out, and hopefully some moments of leisure are in your near future. Whether you are traveling near or far this summer, your most important accessory is a great book to read along the way. The following suggestions are excellent choices for a leisurely afternoon read in the sun or a weekend trip, all under 200 pages:

annihilation.jpgIn the world of fiction, we begin with two classics: Jane Austen’s comic gem Lady Susan may not be as well-known as Pride & Prejudice, but it is not to be missed. If you get a chance, the film adaptation, titled Love & Friendship, is currently in theaters. Secondly, for any of those who question the rapid advancement of technology, Ray Bradbury’s 1953 science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 continues to be relevant in the present day. Additionally, immerse yourself in the psychological landscape of an isolated family in the unsettling We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson or go on a science fiction adventure in the trilogy opener Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. Other suggestions include the story of a decades long friendship in Sula by Toni Morrison, and the story collection The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. 

between.jpgIf non-fiction works are of more interest to you, there are plenty of shorter works in a wide range of topics to explore. The 2015 National Book Award recipient for non-fiction was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, comes in at 150 pages, and is written as a letter from father to son. The following two titles focus on human psychology in two very different settings. Man’s Search for Meaning, by the Austrian psychologist Viktor E. Frankl, was written following the author’s experiences during World War II in Nazi concentration camps. Susanna Kaysen’s experiences and treatment at a psychiatric hospital in Girl, Interrupted are revealed in her memoir. Additionally, two memoirs by two very well-known authors round out my non-fiction reading suggestions. Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks details both naturalist and cultural elements on his travel in southern Mexico. And finally, the author of dozens of bestsellers provides a glimpse into his mind for readers in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. 

Wherever your summer takes you this year, hopefully you have a good book with you along the way!

Jun 06

R & R: Reading and Recipes

Posted on June 6, 2016 at 11:25 AM by Craig Jacobson

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The Mitford series by Jan Karon is one of my favorite reads. It’s easy to become attached to the people of this quaint little town in the foothills of North Carolina. Throughout these seven books, the most scrumptious foods are described, leaving your mouth watering. However, there are no recipes to help you recreate these wonderful dishes. Karon took care of this by writing Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader. It’s filled with scenes from her previous books and 150 recipes including Esther Bolick’s delicious Orange Marmalade Cake.

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There are many books that tell a good tale and include recipes for the reader to try out. A Taste for Nightshade is one that combines history, mystery, and recipes from 19th century England. In Off the Menu, Alana is an executive culinary assistant to a celebrity chef in Chicago. Not only does she develop recipes for him but she shares them with the reader as well as her hectic life behind the scenes and her romance with RJ. If you like good food and a good laugh this book is for you. In The Quilter’s Kitchen, food and recipes become the inspiration for the quilting squares created by the new head chef for Elm Creek Quilts. 

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Sally Andrew and Isis Crawford have both written a mystery series that includes recipes in each book. There must be something about murder mysteries that work up a good appetite because the Hannah Swenson Mysteries, the Lucy Stone Mysteries, and the Coffeehouse Mysteries are all series of books that also include recipes in their stories.

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If you enjoy a little romance sprinkled with some recipes, then try these titles: Cupcake Club Romance, The Love Goddess Cooking School, The Apple Orchard, or Little Beach Street Bakery

In Wisconsin, our favorite foods vary from cream puffs, to Ojibwe rice, to Hmong egg rolls, to the Friday fish fry. If you would like to know more about Wisconsin’s culinary traditions, then please join us for the program “The Flavor of Wisconsin” on June 14th at 6:00 PM in the Tolzman Community Room to learn more about what we gather, produce, cook, and eat.

Happy reading and bon appetite!

Pictures courtesy of Easicat.

May 11

Read Ahead for May’s Author Visit

Posted on May 11, 2016 at 1:53 PM by Craig Jacobson

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promo board image.jpgOn May 18th, the Frank L. Weyenberg Library will host Milwaukee author Liza Wiemer (Hello?) and New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout (Obsidian, The Problem with Forever) for an author talk. Get a sneak preview and suggestions on what to read while you wait below.

hello.jpgFive Wisconsin teens’ lives are intertwined through their connections to each other and a single phone call. Each teen’s story is told from their own viewpoint and in their own style, -- and those styles range from prose to screenplay. This intensely emotional debut novel is full of friendship, heartbreak, loss, and resilience.

Find out more here: Hello by Liza Wiemer

The Problem with Forever.jpgJennifer Armentrout writes paranormal romance, suspense, and more. In The Problem with Forever, Mallory “Mouse” Dodge has finally found caring adoptive parents after years in an abusive foster home – but has been separated from her one-time protector, Rider. When their paths cross again, Mouse finds that she remains mired in the past while Rider has grown. How has their relationship changed – and is it for the better? The Problem with Forever will be released on May 17 – click here to request it early.

While You Wait
Of course, sometimes there’s a waitlist for new titles. If you’re wondering what to fill the gap with, here are some suggestions.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout
Two girls disappear – only one returns. Samantha – or Sam – remembers little of her former life and nothing of what happened to her friend. As Sam tries to piece her life back together, she discovers that she didn’t much care for who she used to be. But as she tries to piece back together what happened to her, she puts her life at risk because someone does remember what happened the night her friend disappeared and they don’t want Sam to remember – ever.

Walk the Edge - McGarry.jpgWalk the Edge by Katie McGarry
Breanna is the responsible girl, the weird one, the quiet one. She doesn’t fit in at home or at school – she just wants to leave her small town. When a kindness from local bad boy Razor turns against the two of them, warping into blackmail and cyberbullying, the two push back … and the more time they spend together, the more they care for one another.

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
For fans of Armentrout’s Covenant series (Half-Blood, Apollyon), Embrace follows Violet, 17 and torn between two identities. Angels live among humans – and sometimes, humanity needs protection from angels. It’s not a fight Violet wanted and if chooses wrong it’s not just her life that’s at stake – it’s her soul.

Infinite MOment of Us.jpgThe Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
Wren and Charlie are about to graduate when chance brings them together. Wren is trying to find her own identity after years of living with loving but overbearing parents. Charlie, a former foster child, loves his family – he’s trying to regain his sense of identity after a toxic relationship. Myracle captures the intensity of first love in this summer romance.

Banner from flwlib.org. All other images courtesy of Easicat.