Thursday, January 4th, 2023
New Year, New Reading Goals!
As we continue with our Winter Reading challenge don’t forget to mark you completed books in Beanstack! Here are recommendations for Romance Reads and books that represent Black History Month.
Two weeks have passed since Iris Winnow returned home bruised and heartbroken from the front, but the war is far from over. Roman is missing, and the city of Oath continues to dwell in a state of disbelief and ignorance. When Iris and Attie are given another chance to report on Dacre’s movements, they both take the opportunity and head westward once more despite the danger, knowing it’s only a matter of time before the conflict reaches a city that’s unprepared and fracturing beneath the chancellor’s reign. Since waking below in Dacre’s realm, Roman cannot remember his past. But given the reassurance that his memories will return in time, Roman begins to write articles for Dacre, uncertain of his place in the greater scheme of the war. When a strange letter arrives by wardrobe door, Roman is first suspicious, then intrigued. As he strikes up a correspondence with his mysterious pen pal, Roman will soon have to make a decision: to stand with Dacre or betray the god who healed him. And as the days grow darker, inevitably drawing Roman and Iris closer together…the two of them will risk their very hearts and futures to change the tides of the war.
‘The thing about books,’ she said ‘is that they help you to imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever dream of.’
On a quiet street in Dublin, a lost bookshop is waiting to be found…For too long, Opaline, Martha and Henry have been the side characters in their own lives. But when a vanishing bookshop casts its spell, these three unsuspecting strangers will discover that their own stories are every bit as extraordinary as the ones found in the pages of their beloved books. And by unlocking the secrets of the shelves, they find themselves transported to a world of wonder… where nothing is as it seems
Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
The winter reading challenge has begun! Patrons can register on Beanstack if they wish to participate. This challenge will be from December to the end of February, with the grand prize drawing at the end of February. The badges that can earned are A Cozy Mystery, Fresh Starts or New Beginnings, Black History Month, From your To Be Read List, A Romance, or A Young Adult Novel. Below are recommendations for some cozy mysteries and fresh-start novels.
In Bookshops & Bonedust, a prequel to Legends & Lattes, New York Times bestselling author Travis Baldree takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and second-hand books. Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned. Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it. What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?
Prodigal Summer is about nature and self-discovery, but it’s also an excellent book about new beginnings. The beautifully written story has three parallel plots, all focused around a farming community in the Appalachians, including Lusa, a young woman from the city who must unexpectedly start over and find her own way.
Pema Chödrön’s writing feels like a balm for the soul. Eternally wise and comforting, Pema draws on time-honored Buddhist teachings on shenpa (all the attachments and compulsions that cause us suffering) in this book. In Taking the Leap, she shows how certain habits of mind tend to “hook” us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, addiction, and so much more – and, most of all, how we can liberate ourselves from them for a new way of beginning.
At the stroke of midnight on her last day on earth, Nora finds herself transported to a library. There she is given the chance to undo her regrets and try out each of the other lives she might have lived. This leaves her with the all-important question: what is the best way to live? The Midnight Library is a book about fresh starts that will inspire you to think about the decisions you make every day, as well as your big-picture vision for life. That said, it will also help you to realize that you can’t do and be everything (because that’s impossible).
Wednesday, September 13th, 2023
September started our Fall Reading Challenge. Patrons can register for the challenge on beanstack from September through November. Patrons can earn 6 different badges to receive entry into the prize drawing a the end of the challenge. Below are the 6 badges that can be earned and recommendations for each badge.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by reading a book by a Hispanic Author
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiá family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad and alive with unforgettable men and women—brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul—this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.
Read Banned Book to celebrate Banned Book Week in October
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Back to School
August is here which means it’s time to go back to school. The Children’s Summer Reading program has come to an end and the Teen and Adult program is winding down. We will be drawing for prizes in the Adult and Teen Challenge after August 31st. This means that we are about to gear up for the Fall Challenge. Be on the lookout for information on the Fall Challenge coming up. If you are still finishing up the summer challenge were are some recommendations to finish off the summer!
They broke up five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends. Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most. Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?
It’s been a minute—or five years—since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. Though not for a lack of trying. Over the years they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living—that their lives mean something, to one another if not to themselves. But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact. A deeply honest tribute to the growing pains of selfhood and the people who keep us going, coupled with Steven Rowley’s signature humor and heart, The Celebrants is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living.
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl—and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi—will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants. A shimmering evocation of a bygone India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the difficulties undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. It is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.
Thursday July 6th, 2023
For those that are still doing the summer challenge here are some recommendations to help fill your badges.
After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.
Welcome to Charon’s Crossing. The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through. When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead. But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days. Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.
After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant). It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle.
There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide… What if your beloved fiancé, he of the crinkly smile and irresistible British accent, had kept a life-changing secret from you? And what if, just a week before your dream wedding, you discovered it? Georgia Ford, bride-to-be, hops in her car and drives through the night, from Los Angeles to Sonoma, to her safe haven: her family, and the acclaimed family winery. Georgia craves the company of those who know her best, and whom she truly knows. Better yet, it’s the eve of the last harvest—the best time of the growing season, and Georgia knows she’ll find solace—and distraction—in the familiar rituals. But when Georgia arrives home, nothing is at all familiar. Her parents, her brothers, the family business, are all unrecognizable. It seems her fiancé isn’t the only one who’s been keeping secrets…
Tuesday June 6th, 2023
Summer reading has officially kicked off. Our theme this year is All Together Now. The adult and teen challenge contains 6 badges that can be earned if you read books about community, love, joy, teamwork, kindness, and helping others. There are also several events throughout the summer that can earn you extra entries into the grand prize drawings including Book Club and a Nature Poetry Walk. We are also continuing with our Catching Up with the Classics Challenge. Reading Jane Eyre this summer.
Five Skies is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. Here he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life.
As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson’s novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force.
Jane Eyre. A classic Women’s History Month book that presents the story of a brave female survivor named Jane who grew up as an orphan and faced extreme cruelty and injustice. Yet she manages to emerge as a strong and spirited independent woman by following her conviction. This heart-throbbing novel was written by English writer Charlotte Brontë and although it was published in the year 1847, Jane’s story is relevant even today because of the way it realistically depicts a women’s emotions while she struggles for finding purpose and love in her life.
“Listening to Place: Nature and Poetry Walks,” a presentation and discussion by Megan Kaminski. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. The program is made possible by Humanities Kansas.
Connecting with the natural world can provide a wellspring of knowledge and inspiration, enabling us to (re)discover strategies for living in the world, to grieve and heal after loss, and realign our thinking toward kinship, community, and sustainability. This beginner-friendly nature and poetry walk will be oriented to connecting with the more-than-human world through literature in the environmental humanities. By the words of poets, writers, and our own senses, this hike will engage with diverse habitats throughout Kansas to help participants listen to the often-unseen wisdom around us.
Thursday May 11th, 2023
It’s beginning to look a lot like Summer
We are wrapping up the spring challenge this month. Only a couple more weeks and the winner will be drawn. Don’t forget to add your book entries in Beanstack for them to count! June 1st starts SUMMER READING, which means new a new challenge and new programs! This summer’s theme is All Together Now. We will be focusing on helping others, teamwork, and community! You can register on Beanstack for this upcoming challenge.
Thursday February 2nd, 2023
Book Lovers Month
It’s February also known as Book Lovers Month! Be on the look out for our new display featuring Blind Dates! We will have a variety of books, audiobooks, and movies that will be wrapped to disguise the titles. Pick at random or pick based on the fun description that is provided.
We are wrapping up another challenge. The Winter challenge will close at the end of this month. You still have time to claim your badges and be entered into the drawing at the end of the challenge. Be on the lookout for our Spring Challenge starting in March! In the meantime here are some fun Romance Novels to get you through this month!
The Time Traveler’s Wife is the debut novel by American author Audrey Niffenegger, published in 2003. It is a love story about Henry, a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about Clare, his wife, an artist who has to cope with his frequent absences.
People We Meet on Vacation follows Poppy and Alex, two best friends who are opposites in every way. She is a wild child with insatiable wanderlust while he is laidback and would rather stay home with a book. Every summer they come together for a week long vacation. Until one trip where everything is ruined and they stop speaking for two years. Now, in order to find happiness Poppy convinces Alex to take one last vacation, in order to fix everything between them.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a historical fiction novel by American author Taylor Jenkins Reid and published by Atria Books in 2017. The novel tells the story of the fictional Old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo, who at age 79 gives a final interview to an unknown journalist, Monique Grant.
Monday, January 9th, 2023
New Year New Reading Goals!
This year we have a lot of fun events coming up. Including some new challenges. Instead of doing the year-long challenge, we have decided to mix things up and do seasonal challenges.
We are still in our Winter Challenge which started in December and ends at the end of February. The badges for the Winter Challenge are a Christmas Tale, A Classic Read, A Romance, An Old Favorite, A Book about Family, and A Book with Snow in the Title. There is still plenty of time to complete this challenge. Register on Beanstack to participate!
Be on the lookout for news on the Upcoming Spring Challenge that will run from March to the end of May.
We are bringing back the Catching up with the Classics Challenge as well! Instead of trying to complete the books in a couple of months, we are spreading them throughout the year. We will be focusing on the Bronte Sister this year, starting with Anne and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. You can still sign up to get yourself a copy and it is also available on Libby and hoopla. The first meeting will be on February 7th and will look at the first half of the book (chapters 1- 27).
Monday, December 5th, 2022
December is here and Winter is coming!
The start of December brought with it a new winter challenge. From December 1st through February 28th patrons can complete 6 badges for a prize drawing.
December’s theme for the year long challenge is Holiday Parties and Pageants.
Imagine you’re a tween visiting a small town that loves nothing more than its prize fir—a perfect Christmas tree destined for the White House. Now picture yourself accidentally destroying that tree, making you public enemy number one. Lastly, imagine that to repay your debt, you have to remain in said town for the Christmas season. That’s what happens to Brady Bancroft. When Brady ruins Harper Hollow Fall’s prize tree, she’s sentenced to stay in the holiday-festooned town for the month of December. At first, she couldn’t be more depressed about the whole situation; but during her month there, she is surprised to discover that there’s much more than pine needles to the little town holding her captive. In the end, Harper Hollow Falls reminds Brady of the true meaning of Christmas—and she, in turn, saves the town.
With a name like Astra Noel Snow, holiday spirit isn’t just a seasonal specialty—it’s a way of life. But after a stinging divorce, Astra’s yearly trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market takes on a whole new meaning. She’s ready to eat, drink, and be merry, especially with the handsome stranger who saves the best kringle for her at his family bakery. For Jack Clausen, the Julemarked with its snowy lights and charming shops stays the same, while the world outside the joyful street changes, magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded living this charmed existence until Astra shows him the life he’s been missing outside of the festive red brick alley. After a swoon-worthy series of dates, some Yuletide magic, and the unexpected glow of new love, Astra and Jack must decide whether this relationship can weather all seasons, or if what they’re feeling is as ephemeral as marshmallows in a mug of hot cocoa.
Peter Armstrong and Hank Colfax are best friends, but their lives couldn’t be more different. Peter, the local pastor who is dedicated to his community, spending time visiting the flock, attending meetings, and, with the holiday season approaching, preparing for the Christmas service and live nativity. As a bartender, Hank serves a much different customer base at his family-owned tavern, including a handful of lonely regulars and the local biker gang. When Peter scoffs that Hank has it easy compared to him, the two decide to switch jobs until Christmas Eve. To their surprise, the responsibilities of a bartender and a pastor are similar, but taking on the other’s work is more difficult than either Peter or Hank expected. As the two begin to see each other in a new light—and each discovers a new love to cherish—their lives are forever changed.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2022
November has arrived! It’s officially the season of giving.
The theme for this month is Family. We have a new display out in the New Section featuring cookbooks for all your upcoming holiday parties. If you venture over to the Young Adult Section you will find a display of books with fall colors.
The Book Challenge theme is Family so here are some recommendations to help you hit your November goal!
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?
The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman clan has congregated in years. There is, however, one conspicuous absence: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose affair with his radio- shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father and his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. The week quickly spins out of control as longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed and old passions are reawakened. Then Jen delivers the clincher: she’s pregnant…
Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.
Friday, September 2nd, 2022
Fall is approaching! Not fast enough if you ask me….
With the new season comes a new challenge!!
Fall in to Reading (clever I know!) This challenge will last till Thanksgiving and you will read 5 books of your choosing. The category’s or badges in Beanstack are; a Banned Book, Magic, Science Fiction, has Red Cover, and a Cozy book. These can all be read any order, but the last week of September is Banned Book week. Here are some suggestions from each category.
Banned Book week is September 25th through October 3rd. These books are commonly challenged in schools and libraries. Here are some challenged books so celebrate Banned Books week!
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Animal Farm. A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
This could be fantasy books, books that just have magic in them, or books that are just “magical.”
The Starless Sea. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood.
The Books of Magic. For over three-hundred years a curse has kept the Owens family from love—but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.
You could get pretty creative with this one. Alien, ghosts, outer space, robots, super powers, whatever strikes your fancy!
2002 A Space Odyssey. This allegory about humanity’s exploration of the universe—and the universe’s reaction to humanity—is a hallmark achievement in storytelling that follows the crew of the spacecraft Discovery as they embark on a mission to Saturn. Their vessel is controlled by HAL 9000, an artificially intelligent supercomputer capable of the highest level of cognitive functioning that rivals—and perhaps threatens—the human mind.
We Could Be Heroes. When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.
This one also has many options. There are many mystery or thrillers with red covers along with romance and regular fiction.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky. Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.
Dark Matter. In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. Hiswife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
A Cozy Read
Have fun with this one. Something light hearted that makes you feel like fall is in the air.
The Bookshop on the Corner. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile — a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.
The Dead Romantics. Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.
Wednesday August 3, 2022
Back to School Reads
A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression. They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.
.An “A” for “adultery” marks Hester Prynne as an outcast from the society of colonial Boston. Although forced by the puritanical town fathers to wear a bright red badge of shame, Hester steadfastly resists their efforts to discover the identity of her baby’s father. The return of her long-absent spouse brings new pressure on the young mother, as the aggrieved husband undertakes a long-term plot to reveal Hester’s partner in adultery and force him to share her disgrace. Masterful in its symbolism and compelling in its character studies, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale of punishment and reconciliation examines the concepts of sin, guilt, and pride. The Scarlet Letter was published to immediate acclaim in 1850. Its timeless exploration of moral and spiritual issues, along with its philosophical and psychological insights, keep it ever relevant for students of American literature and lovers of fiction.
The Red Badge of Courage. A war novel by American author Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage is set during the American Civil War and is centered on the experiences of a young Union Army private, Henry Fleming, who longs to be wounded — to earn a “red badge of courage” — to compensate for his feelings of cowardice. The Red Badge of Courage was a ground-breaking work in how it engaged with the inner psychological life of its protagonist, providing an unprecedented psychological portrayal of fear. The novel was also known for its distinctive style, with realistic battle sequences and repeated use of color imagery and symbolic motifs, juxtaposed against an ironic tone
In the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s, six-year-old Scout Finch and her older brother Jem become the beneficiaries of gifts left by an anonymous giver who deposits them in the hollowed tree outside the Radley house. While Scout and and Jem ponder the identity of their generous secret sharer and his relationship to the reclusive Radley family, their lawyer father, Atticus, is appointed defense attorney for Tom Robinson, a young black man accused of raping a white woman in a case that has brought the town’s simmering racial tensions to a boil. Slowly, ineluctably, the worlds of innocence and experience known to the members of the Finch family come into violent collision, shaking their beliefs in the inevitability of justice and the ultimate triumph of truth over hypocrisy and prejudice.
At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. This far from civilization they can do anything they want. Anything. But as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued.
Tuesday July 5, 2022
American Historical Fiction
This month’s challenge read is Historical Fictions
In this big-hearted odyssey, four homeless children set out during the Great Depression on a journey down the Mississippi River. Odie, an orphan trapped at the Lincoln Indian Training School, sets out with his brother, his best friend, and a mysterious girl named Emmy on a journey of self-discovery, and a trip to uncover if there is a place left in America for them to call home. A heartfelt portrait of the America that both inspires and haunts us, THIS TENDER LAND is a classic coming-of-age adventure story.
Inspire by true events, AMERICAN SPY is the story of FBI agent Marie Mitchell, a brilliant young black woman trapped between her country and her beliefs. Marie is tired of paperwork, so she jumps at the opportunity to join a task force aimed at bringing down Thomas Sankara, the Communist president of Burkina Faso. But as Marie turns spy and becomes Sankara’s lover, she begins to see that her own ideology aligns more with his than with her employer’s. Lauren Wilkinson’s novel is a poignant family drama, passionate romance, and bracing spy thriller, all in one.
The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.
Based on local history & family stories passed down by Frazier’s great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded Confederate soldier, Inman, who walks away from the ravages of the war & back home to his prewar sweetheart, Ada. His odyssey thru the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada’s struggle to revive her father’s farm, with the help of an intrepid young drifter named Ruby. As their long-separated lives begin to converge at the close of the war, Inman & Ada confront the vastly transformed world they’ve been delivered.
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force. Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.
Thursday June 2, 2022
June is the month to relax and take in a chill book. This month’s theme is beach reads. Here are some fun recommendations!
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Set against the backdrop of the Malibu surf culture of the 1980s Malibu Burning follows the daughter of a famous singer who, once she finds fame, must grapple with the fact that her father abandoned her and her siblings when they were young.
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
Polly Waterford flees to the Cornish coast to escape a ruined relationship. To keep her mind off her troubles, she throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey–courtesy of a handsome beekeeper. Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected it.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
When Poppy met Alex, there was no spark, no chemistry, and no reason to think they’d ever talk again. Alex is quiet, studious, and destined for a future in academia. Poppy is a wild child who only came to U of Chicago to escape small-town life. But after sharing a ride home for the summer, the two form a surprising friendship. After all, who better to confide in than someone you could never, ever date? Over the years, Alex and Poppy’s lives take them in different directions, but every summer the two find their way back to each other for a magical week long vacation. Until one trip goes awry, and in the fallout, they lose touch. Now, two years later, Poppy’s in a rut. Her dream job, her relationships, her life – none of it is making her happy. In fact, the last time she remembers feeling truly happy was on that final, ill-fated Summer Trip. The answer to all her problems is obvious: She needs one last vacation to win back her best friend. As a hilariously disastrous week unfolds and tensions rise, Poppy and Alex are forced to confront what drove them apart – and decide what they’re willing to risk for the chance to be together.
Summer by Ali Smith
“In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile, the world’s in meltdown–and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time. This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: Where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common? Summer.
June is also the start of the Summer Reading Challenge. Novel Destinations is the challenge this year. Patrons are tasked to read 5 books set in 5 different countries. Here are some recommendations to get you started.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco : Italy
It is a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327, and an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies, and literary theory. It was translated into English by William Weaver in 1983.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Germany
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer: Timbuktu
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers. In 2012, thousands of Al-Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali.
A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier: Sweden
Way up in the Swiss mountains, there’s an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. Once a year, when the famous New Year’s Eve Ball takes place, and guests from all over the world arrive, excitement returns to the vast hallways. Sophie, who works at the hotel as an intern, is busy making sure that everything goes according to plan. But unexpected problems keep arising, and some of the guests are not who they pretend to be. Very soon, Sophie finds herself right in the middle of a perilous adventure, and at risk of losing not only her job but also her heart.