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Sep 12

Patron Recommendations

Posted on September 12, 2016 at 9:48 AM by Craig Jacobson

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Quite often people will ask library staff for recommendations of books to read.  From time to time, you share the titles of books you really enjoyed with us.  Here are just a few. 

oncewewerebrothers.jpgIn Once We Were Brothers, you become immersed in a story about WWll between a German and Jewish family - before and during the war.  The story continues when two of the family members meet again many years after the war and the story is finally brought to completion.  The patron told me he couldn’t put the book down and he was right.

fallofmarigolds.jpgThe next recommendation, A Fall of Marigolds, is also historical fiction that ties two time periods together- the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 and September 11, 2001.  Events that took place one hundred years apart and yet are connected by a common thread, a scarf that found its way from one period of time to the next.  A scarf that helped its owners to overcome the tragedies that had over whelmed them.

cityguide.jpgCity Baker’s Guide to Country Living is so quaint and cozy you just want to pack up your things and move there.  Olivia Rawlings is a fantastic pastry chef in Boston until she almost burns down the dining club as she is setting her flambe dessert aglow.  She leaves town with no place to go.  She ends up on her friend’s doorstop in the middle of the night in Guthrie, Vermont.  She needs to work, so she agrees to work at the Sugar Maple Inn for a year.  Little did she know, not only had she found a job she loved, but she had finally found a place she could call home.  If you’re a food junkie, this book is for you.

arthurpepper.jpgThe next three recommendations are about older men whose wives have died.  The first book is The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. Ever since Arthur Pepper’s wife died, his life has become more routine than it had ever been in the past.  He gets up at 7:30 every day and wears the same grey pants and mustard colored sweater vest.  It’s now been a year since her death and he decides to break with his routine and finally go through her things and decide what to do with them.  It’s then that he discovers a charm bracelet that he doesn’t remember her wearing.  This piece of jewelry is much more elaborate than the life she lived and he’s very confused as to why she had it.  As he discovers what each charm represents, he comes to learn of the life his wife led before they were married.  His heart begins its slow process of healing charm by charm.

mancalledove.jpgIn A Man Called Ove, most people would say that he was born grumpy.  It wasn’t so much that he was grumpy, as it was that Ove just had expectations of how one should live their life and his opinion just wasn’t the same as most other people’s opinions.  However, the more you get to know Ove, the more endearing he becomes - no matter how hard he is around the edges.  I loved his story.

majorpettigrew.jpgIn Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, we travel to England to the rustic little village of Edgecombe St. Mary.  It’s a place where everything is done properly, including how the tea is made and served.  The Major is a 68-year-old widower who is retired from service and is a respected fixture in the community.  His orderly life comes undone when his younger brother dies suddenly.  In his moment of grief, he is unexpectedly comforted by Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper from the village.  A friendship grows between them as they share the things they have in common, but is it “proper” for this relationship between a local English gent and a permanent foreigner to become more?

Thanks for the recommendations and happy reading!

Book covers courtesy of Easicat.

Sep 08

Stranger Reads

Posted on September 8, 2016 at 1:23 PM by Craig Jacobson

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Perhaps you've already binge-watched Stranger Things, the 1980s nostalgia horror series. Perhaps it's still sitting in your Netflix queue. (Or maybe you've just listened to others endlessly rave about how good it is and been annoyed by the Stranger Things meme showing up everywhere). Whether you're looking to relish the show's deliciously creepy atmosphere a little longer or do a little advance reading, here are some fantastic books and shows to consider.

Blog_KingCovers.pngStephen King is unquestionably one of Stranger Things' biggest influences: lurking monsters behind a small town's peaceful fa?ade traumatizing children and government goons toying with forces beyond their control are all hallmarks of classic Stephen King novels. Many of King's titles pair well with the TV series, but Itand Firestarter are two that complement it particularly well.

13-year-old Conor wakes up one night to a monster outside his window, though it's not the one he's seen in nightmares. It offers a trade: a story for a story, but the story it wants from Conor isn't a story Conor's sure he's prepared to tell. Both humorous and eerie, A Monster Callswrestles with questions of life and death. And it comes with a perk: you'll have read the book before the movie comes out this October.

WaywardPines.jpgIf you'd rather turn off the lights and watch a creepy story unfold, try picking up Twin Peaks, in which an FBI agent and a sheriff try to track down a murderer in the quiet town of Twin Peaks. Their investigation creates more questions than it answers as the pair realize that Twin Peaks has more secrets beneath its surface than a simple murder mystery.? You might also enjoy Wayward Pines, on which the Duffer brothers also worked. After a car crash, U.S. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke wakes to find one agent dead and the other happily settled in the small town of Wayward Pines, Idaho. Although the town first appears idyllic, Burke is unable to contact the outside world and finds that the town is contained by an electric fence – and any attempts to escape are punishable by death. Burke sets out to uncover the forces at work behind the mysterious town.

PaperGirls.jpgIf the trio of Mike, Lucas, and Dustin searching for their lost friend have captured your heart, pick up Paper Girls: in the wee hours after Halloween, four newspaper delivery girls out on their morning routes get more than they bargained for. Lights in the sky, strange men in masks, and missing townspeople have them out of their depth, but the Paper Girls are as determined to defend their homes as they are to defend their jobs. You could also re-watch The Goonies, in which a group of kids go chasing after treasure and encounter a band of outlaws.

If Nancy, Barb, and Steve have caught your attention, try Eleanor and Park, the story of two high school misfits brought together by music. They fall for each other despite knowing that first love almost never works – but they can't help but try. (For a truly immersive reading experience, Rainbow Rowell also provides a full playlist of all the music on her website.)

Ready Player ONe.jpgAnd if you're looking for another heavy dose of '80s geek nostalgia, but without the dark setting, try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In the near future, the real world is a bleak place – which is why most people spend their time in the OASIS, an online universe full of everything from normal schools to whole worlds inspired by Bladerunner or Dungeons & Dragons. The world's creator has left behind 3 keys and a series of puzzles hidden inside the OASIS and the first person to find them all will inherit the vast fortune he left behind. But when Wade Watts finds the first key, he finds that some of his competitors will stop at nothing to win this virtual game – including real life murder.

Still not enough? Drop by FLW this week to check out our Stranger Reads display!

It and Firestarter cover art from http://jimtierneyart.com/1_king.php
All other images courtesy of Easicat.

Aug 15

Graphic Novels for Kids

Posted on August 15, 2016 at 2:55 PM by Craig Jacobson

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More and more children’s graphic novels are being published every year (that are age-appropriate) and they can also be a great choice for reluctant readers since it combines texts with pictures!? Here is a round-up of some really good titles and series to check out that we have at the Frank L. Weyenberg Library!

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For Grades 2-4
Squish, Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm
“Squish, a meek amoeba who loves the comic book exploits of his favorite hero, "Super Amoeba," tries to emulate him when his best friend is threatened by a bully.”

Lunch Lady by Jarrett Krosoczka
“The school lunch lady, a secret crime fighter, sets out to stop a group of librarians bent on destroying a shipment of video games, while a group of students known as the Breakfast Bunch provides back-up.”

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
“Binky's blast-off into outer space (outside) to battle aliens (bugs) is delayed when he realizes he's left something behind--and it's not the anti-gravity kitty litter.”

Guinea PIG: Pet Shop Private Eye by Colleen Venable
“Sasspants, a guinea pig, reluctantly agrees to act as a private investigator when Hamisher the hamster begs for her help in discovering who is stealing sandwiches from the pet shop's befuddled owner.”

Other series/titles to try:
Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm
The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson

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For Grades 4-6
Secret Hero Society by Derek Fridolfs
“This inventive novel follows young Bruce Wayne and his friends Clark (Superman) and Diana (Wonder Woman) as they start a Junior Detective Agency to investigate their teachers and find out what's going on behind closed doors at Doomvale Academy, all before recess.”

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
“For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school- in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.”

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
"After the death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals. Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves."

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
“Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader, but one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear and even a retainer with fake teeth attached--on top of all that, there's a major earthquake, boy confusion and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.”

Other series/titles to try:
Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin
Bone by Jeff Smith
Doppel Ganger Chronicles by G.P. Taylor