Thursday, April 1, 2021
Today we have some new science fiction books to offer. Whether you are doing the Bradford Genre Challenge 2021 on Beanstack, or you just enjoy some sci-fi, here are some exciting new titles to choose from! Click on the title or the cover to place your holds. (descriptions come from Amazon)
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey – “a trippy domestic thriller which takes the extramarital affair trope in some intriguingly weird new directions.”–Entertainment Weekly
I’m embarrassed, still, by how long it took me to notice. Everything was right there in the open, right there in front of me, but it still took me so long to see the person I had married.
It took me so long to hate him.
Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.
Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor – An alien artifact turns a young girl into Death’s adopted daughter in Remote Control, a thrilling sci-fi tale of community and female empowerment from Nebula and Hugo Award-winner Nnedi Okorafor
“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.”
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa―a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.
Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks―alone, except for her fox companion―searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.
But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?
In the Quick by Kate Hope Day – GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK • A young, ambitious female astronaut’s life is upended by a love affair that threatens the rescue of a lost crew in this brilliantly imagined novel “with echoes of Station Eleven, The Martian, and, yes, Jane Eyre” (Observer).
“The female astronaut novel we never knew we needed.”—Entertainment Weekly (Must-read books coming out in March)
June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention who leaves home to begin grueling astronaut training at the National Space Program. Younger by two years than her classmates at Peter Reed, the school on campus named for her uncle, she flourishes in her classes but struggles to make friends and find true intellectual peers. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station—and a hard-won sense of belonging—but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle’s fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world seems to have forgotten the crew, June alone has evidence that makes her believe they are still alive.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick!
Klara and the Sun is a magnificent new novel from the Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro—author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.
Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.
Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
The Swimmers by Marian Womack – A claustrophobic, literary dystopia set in the hot, luscious landscape of Andalusia from the author of The Golden Key.
“A richly imagined eco-gothic tale.” – The Guardian
“Exquisitely realised.” – The Times
After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl’s stepfather promises her to a starborn called Arlo, and the world Pearl thought she knew will never be the same again.
Set in the luscious landscape of Andalusia, this claustrophobic, dystopian reimagining of Wide Sargasso Sea is a literary fever dream, a blazing vision of self-destruction and transformation.
Game Changer by Neal Shusterman – “The conceit behind Shusterman’s latest is truly unique. While it exhibits the author’s usual storytelling aplomb, it also manages to delve into more serious and timely subject matter, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Despite these heavy topics, the story still moves at a lively pace and, thanks to a zany sci-fi twist, manages to pack in a few laughs as well.” —Booklist
All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.
Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.
The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.
And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…
The Truth App by Jack Heath – “A swift, intense page-turner.” —BCCB
In this pulse-pounding tech-thriller, Jack Heath creates a world where everyone knows when you lie—and telling the truth doesn’t always set you free.
Jarli likes to think he’s an honest guy. He’s a big believer in telling the truth, no matter what. So he develops The Truth App, a mobile application that listens in on your conversations and can tell when someone’s lying. Then his app goes viral and, suddenly, Jarli is an internet sensation.
But, soon enough, Jarli realizes that being famous can be dangerous—especially when you’ve just exposed everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets. Now his entire town is out to get him: kids at school, teachers, the police, even his own family.
Also, an underground network of criminals has just added Jarli to their hit list. Sometimes, exposing the truth comes with a price…
Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer – From the author of Annihilation, a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things.
Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.
Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out―for her and possibly for the world.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
It’s March, and in honor of our Genre Reading Challenge here at the library, the books featured today are True Crime books that have come out within the last year.
Descriptions from Amazon. Click on the titles or covers to reserve your copy!
With the Beatles, John Lennon surpasses his youthful dreams, achieving a level of superstardom that defies classification. “We were the best bloody band there was,” he says. “There was nobody to touch us.” Nobody except the original nowhere man, Mark David Chapman. Chapman once worshipped his idols from afar—but now harbors grudges against those, like Lennon, whom he feels betrayed him. He’s convinced Lennon has misled fans with his message of hope and peace. And Chapman’s not staying away any longer.
By the summer of 1980, Lennon is recording new music for the first time in years, energized and ready for it to be “(Just Like) Starting Over.” He can’t wait to show the world what he will do.
Neither can Chapman, who quits his security job and boards a flight to New York, a handgun and bullets stowed in his luggage.
The greatest true-crime story in music history, as only James Patterson can tell it. Enriched by exclusive interviews with Lennon’s friends and associates, including Paul McCartney, The Last Days of John Lennon is the thrilling true story of two men who changed history: One whose indelible songs enliven our world to this day—and the other who ended the beautiful music with five pulls of a trigger.
*An NPR Best Book of the Year*
A PopSugar Best True Crime Book of 2020
“I can’t imagine a more important book.”—Jeff Guinn, New York Times bestselling author
In 1979, a fiery preacher named Jane Whaley attracted a small group of followers with a promise that she could turn their lives around.
In the years since, Whaley’s following has expanded to include thousands of congregants across three continents. In their eyes she’s a prophet. And to disobey her means eternal damnation.
The control Whaley exerts is absolute: she decides what her followers study, where they work, whom they can marry—even when they can have sex.
Based on hundreds of interviews, secretly recorded conversations, and thousands of pages of documents, Pulitzer Prize winner Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr’s Broken Faith is a terrifying portrait of life inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, and the harrowing account of one family who escaped after two decades.
While other Dillinger and Barker Karpis molls have attracted more media attention, Beth Green has remained a shadow figure for decades, even though she played a key role in advancing the law’s grip on these two gangs. As you read this thoughtful book, she will come to life as a flesh and blood woman, with motivations that went far beyond her desire for a better deal upon her arrest. This is the deftly researched and crafted portrait of Beth by the family members who knew her. Her tale is alternately touching and heart-breaking, as Beth’s life is forever altered by her involvement with what the authors accurately call “bank robbers, sociopathic killers and kidnappers – .”
A New Look at a Legendary Hoax:
When the truth is far stranger than fiction.
Award-winning author masterfully unmasks the myth of Frank “Catch Me If You Can” Abagnale with meticulous research and the voices of those who know the truth…and what a trip.
In 1969, Delta flight attendant Paula Parks discovers a strange man is following her. She is soon horrified to learn that he has moved into her parents’ home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is sleeping in her bed. Posing as a pilot, his ruse is quickly discovered, but not before he is caught stealing from her family and other locals. Startled by more revelations in letters written by the 21-year-old criminal from jail, Paula’s parents lock them away…never imagining where those letters would one day lead.
For decades, Frank W. Abagnale’s story has captured the imagination of audiences around the world as a modern-day folk hero-but the truth could not be more different from the fictitious autobiography he sold to Hollywood. Self-proclaimed as “the world’s greatest con man,” the true dimensions of Abagnale’s hoax are revealed for the first time in this dramatic true story.
A Cold Case:
“A real-life crime drama with vivid individuals and neighborhoods. A murder unsolved until now after forty years. It portrays the unvarnished Chicago of yesterday…absolutely a must read.” —Dick Simpson, author of The Good Fight
The grandson and great-grandson of Chicago police officers, Chicago Police Detective James Sherlock was CPD through-and-through. His career had seen its share of twists and turns, from his time working undercover to thwart robberies on Chicago’s L trains to his years as a homicide detective. He thought he had seen it all.
But on this day, he was at the records center to see the case file for the murder of John Hughes, who was seventeen years old when he was gunned down on Chicago’s Southwest Side in 1976. The case’s threads led everywhere: Police corruption. Hints of the Chicago Outfit. A crooked judge. Even the belief that the cover-up extended to “hizzoner” himself—legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley.
A murder that had roiled the city and had been investigated for years had been reduced to a few reports and photographs. What should have been a massive file with notes and transcripts from dozens of interviews was nowhere to be found. Sherlock could have left the records center without the folder and cruised into retirement, and no one would have noticed.
Instead, he tucked the envelope under his arm and carried it outside.
A Serial Killer:
The legendary FBI criminal profiler and international bestselling author of Mindhunter and The Killer Across the Table returns with this timely, relevant book that goes to the heart of extremism and domestic terrorism, examining in-depth his chilling pursuit of, and eventual prison confrontation with Joseph Paul Franklin, a White Nationalist serial killer and one of the most disturbing psychopaths he has ever encountered.
It’s true crime AND a business book!
The American Mafia, which burgeoned during Prohibition in the 1920s, still operates in the twenty-first century. The Sinaloa Cartel remains the largest smuggler of drugs into the US, despite jailing its leader, El Chapo Guzmán, in a US supermax prison. How do these criminal syndicates survive, and even thrive? They apply fundamental economic principles to devise management practices that channel their heinous members’ self-interest to achieve the syndicates’ objectives.
The expert tries to explain “why”:
The most common triggers for homicide are fear, rage, revenge, money, lust, and, more rarely, sheer madness. This isn’t an exact science, of course. Any given murder can have multiple triggers. Sex and revenge seem to be common partners in crime. Rage, money, and revenge make for a dangerous trifecta of triggers, as well.
This book offers my memories of homicide cases that I investigated or oversaw. In each case, I examine the trigger that led to death. I chose this theme for the book because even though the why of a murder case may not be critical in an investigation, it can sometimes lead us to the killer.
And even if we solve a case without knowing the trigger, the why still intrigues us, disrupting our dreams and lingering in our minds, perhaps because each of us fears the demons that lie within our own psyche — the triggers waiting to be pulled.
Enjoy your reading!
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Welcome to February. Let’s look at some new books!
Each month this year, we are going to promote a different genre in all its glory and at the end of the year, you will be able to say that you have read 12 different genres. We are calling it the Bradford Genre Challenge 2021 and we encourage you to participate! Of course, you are welcome to join the challenges and do them at your own pace as well.
In February, we are talking about Romance, so here are some new books at the library that fit the bill!
(To join our challenges and track your reading, download the Beanstack app or go to https://bradfordlibraryks.beanstack.org/reader365 to participate there. It’s easy and fun to get started.) You are also encouraged to join our Facebook Group: Bradford Genre Challenge 2021.
As usual, these descriptions were mostly copied from Amazon, and you can click on the titles and covers to place your holds.
**Book 1 in the Rogues and Remarkable Women series; Regency/Historical Fiction; Multicultural; Emotional Read**
Could this one have a more stereotypical “romance novel”- type name? Ignore that, because it’s getting great reviews and lots of buzz! For fans of Bridgerton and Sanditon – you know who you are!
When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .
A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she’s breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?
**Book 1 in the Berlin Bookmobile series; Amish romance; Gentle (Closed Door); Matchmaking**
So many people love Amish books and Shelley Shepard Gray in particular; this is worth a try. If you want a gentle but fun romance, check it out, first in a series. But if the hold list is long, there are literally hundreds more to choose from, some historical, some contemporary!
Aaron Coblentz has a secret: he’s been studying to take the GED to get promoted at work. But he can’t let his Amish family know, not when his older brother already left the faith just a year after getting baptized, practically crippling the family. When Aaron asks bookmobile librarian Sarah Anne Miller for some additional study guides, she does one better. She arranges for Kayla Kaufman to be his tutor.
Kayla has a secret, too. Her life has been turned upside down in a matter of months—her mother’s death propelled her father into a constant state of depression, and unable to deal with his erratic behavior, her longtime boyfriend has broken things off. But despite losing those she holds most dear, she hasn’t completely given up on love. Only now she seeks to find it in the sweet romance novels she secretly checks out from Sarah Anne’s bookmobile.
As Aaron and Kayla’s study sessions start to feel less like work and more like pleasure, they soon realize that happily ever afters don’t only happen in fiction; sometimes they happen when you least expect it.
**Young Adult; Love Story; Plus-Size; Intersectionality**
This one is a YA book and it’s described as being as much about the main character learning to love herself as it is about the romantic relationship. Perfect for those looking for a not-romance with some young love and some character development.
When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.
In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.
**Historical Fiction; Short Stories**
A well-loved author gives us some historical short stories about love. Another option for someone not wanting a full-out romance.
The fourteen captivating tales in this collection are all inspired by photos from the Times of London archive. A young woman finds unexpected love while perusing Egyptian antiquities. A family is forever fractured when war comes to Penang, in colonial Malaysia. Iron Jelloid tablets help to reveal a young man’s inner strength. And twin sisters discover that it’s never too late to forge a new path—even when standing at the altar.
There are big stories behind these simple images. Though at first glance they may appear to represent small moments, these photographs in fact speak volumes, uncovering possibilities of love, friendship, and happiness. With his indomitable charm, Alexander McCall Smith takes us behind the lens to explore the hidden lives of those photographed; in so doing, he reveals the humanity in us all.
From here on out, the rest of these books are all Romantic Comedies. This genre is really having a moment right now, and is right up my alley. As you can see, rom-coms come in many forms, so give one a chance today! (Fair warning: just because the cover is cute does not necessarily mean it isn’t steamy! Proceed with caution, by which I mean just google the book or author and read some reviews if you are concerned that it’s too sexy or not sexy enough.)
**Book 3 in the Moose Springs, Alaska series; Small Town Setting; Contemporary Romance; Romantic Comedy**
Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.
Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.
Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.
**Romantic Comedy; Light Mystery; Amnesia**
Mia might look like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia after an accident, Mia can’t remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), she senses she’s wealthy, but the only way to know for sure is to retrace her steps once she leaves the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in her posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with a house-sitting gig. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire with a chocolate empire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they’re in love, Mia is living the good life, and he’ll be back that weekend.
But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover an ugly truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Did Mia have it coming? And if so, is it too late for her to rewrite her story?
**Young Adult; Romantic Comedy; Love Triangle; Immigration**
Sixteen-year-old Ana is a poet and a lover of language. Except that since she moved to New Jersey from Argentina, she can barely find the words to express how she feels.
At first Ana just wants to return home. Then she meets Harrison, the very cute, very American boy in her math class, and discovers the universal language of racing hearts. But when she begins spending time with Neo, the Greek Cypriot boy from ESL, Ana wonders how figuring out what her heart wants can be even more confusing than the grammar they’re both trying to master. After all, the rules of English may be confounding, but there are no rules when it comes to love.
With playful and poetic breakouts exploring the idiosyncrasies of the English language, Love in English is witty and effervescent, while telling a beautifully observed story about what it means to become “American.”
**Young Adult; Romantic Comedy; Family Drama; Adoption Fiction**
When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.
But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.
When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents ― especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.
The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.
**Book 1 in the Runaway Royals series; Arranged Marriage; Royal; Romantic Comedy**
When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.
A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.
By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.
**Book 3 in the Bromance Book Club series; Romantic Comedy; Friends-to-Lovers**
Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.
Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.
Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.
Happy February and Happy Reading!
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
We are starting the year out with our new Bradford Genre Challenge for 2021. Each month, we are going to promote a different genre in all its glory, and at the end of the year, you can say that you have read 12 different genres! Of course, you are welcome to join the challenges and do them at your own pace as well. But in January, we are talking Fantasy!
(To join our challenges and track your reading, download the Beanstack app or go to https://bradfordlibraryks.beanstack.org/reader365 to participate there. It’s easy and fun to get started.)
Here is a round-up of some newer titles that have had some good buzz in the Fantasy genre. Fantasy can be as simple as a little magic appearing in someone’s life; an alternate history; a mythology or fairytale retelling; some sexy paranormal characters; or even a fully imagined fantastical world. There’s something for every reader!
(descriptions from Amazon)
**Epic Fantasy; Coming of Age; Academies of Magic**
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.
“The dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for.” Katherine Arden, author of Winternight Trilogy
I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.
Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.
“A must-read . . . Novik puts a refreshingly dark, adult spin on the magical boarding school. . . . Readers will delight in the push-and-pull of El and Orion’s relationship, the fantastically detailed world, the clever magic system, and the matter-of-fact diversity of the student body.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
**Ghost Thriller; Historical Fiction; Psychological Fiction**
The Deep by Alma Katsu – Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. Between mysterious disappearances and sudden deaths, the guests of the Titanic have found themselves suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone from the moment they set sail. Several of them, including maid Annie Hebley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, are convinced there’s something sinister–almost otherwordly–afoot. But before they can locate the source of the danger, as the world knows, disaster strikes.
Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together. Working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic‘s sister ship, the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship, she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier fighting in World War I. At first, Annie is thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the sinking, but soon, Mark’s presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past–as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.
Brilliantly combining the supernatural with the height of historical disaster, The Deep is an exploration of love and destiny, desire and innocence, and, above all, a quest to understand how our choices can lead us inexorably toward our doom.
**Humorous Fantasy; Dark Fantasy; Literary Fiction**
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house―a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
**Dark Military Historical Fantasy; Action/Adventure**
The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie – A fragile peace gives way to conspiracy, betrayal, and rebellion in this sequel to the New York Times bestselling A Little Hatred from epic fantasy master Joe Abercrombie.
Peace is just another kind of battlefield . . .
Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.
For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized, and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.
**Paranormal Romance; Romantic Suspense**
All the Colors of Night by Jayne Ann Krentz – Two psychics plunge into a dark world of deadly secrets in this second installment of the Fogg Lake trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz.
North Chastain possesses a paranormal talent that gives him the ability to track down the most dangerous psychic criminals. When his father suddenly falls into a coma-like state, North is convinced it was caused by a deadly artifact that traces back to the days of a secret government program known only as the Bluestone Project. North knows his only hope of saving his father is to find the artifact. He is good when it comes to tracking down killers, but to locate the relic he’s going to need help from a psychic who knows the shadowy world of obsessive collectors, deceptive dealers and ruthless raiders.…
With her reputation in ruins after a false accusation, antiques expert Sierra Raines is looking for a fresh start. She turns to the murky backwaters of the paranormal artifacts trade, finding and transporting valuable objects with a psychic provenance. When North Chastain approaches her for help, Sierra takes him on as a client, though not without reservations. North represents the mysterious Foundation, the secretive organization established to police the underworld populated by psychic criminals and those, like Sierra, who make a living in the shadows of that world.
**Greek Mythology; Contemporary Fantasy**
Lore by Alexandra Bracken – Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
**Environmental Epic Fantasy; Coming of Age; Dark Fantasy**
The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson – The first book in a new environmental epic fantasy series set in a world where ships kept afloat by magical hearthfires sail an endless grass sea.
On the never-ending, miles-high expanse of prairie grasses known as the Forever Sea, Kindred Greyreach, hearthfire keeper and sailor aboard harvesting vessel The Errant, is just beginning to fit in with the crew of her new ship when she receives devastating news. Her grandmother—The Marchess, legendary captain and hearthfire keeper—has stepped from her vessel and disappeared into the sea.
But the note she leaves Kindred suggests this was not an act of suicide. Something waits in the depths, and the Marchess has set out to find it.
To follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, Kindred must embroil herself in conflicts bigger than she could imagine: a water war simmering below the surface of two cultures; the politics of a mythic pirate city floating beyond the edges of safe seas; battles against beasts of the deep, driven to the brink of madness; and the elusive promise of a world below the waves.
Kindred finds that she will sacrifice almost everything—ship, crew, and a life sailing in the sun—to discover the truth of the darkness that waits below the Forever Sea.
Here are some favorites of library staff:
**Wizards and Witches; Historical Fantasy Romance**
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller – “They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart. And they never will.”
Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen―all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
**Fairytale and Folklore; Sword and Sorcery**
The Folk of Air series by Holly Black – Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
**Steampunk; Paranormal; Urban Fantasy; Witty**
The Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger – When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances – names it the Spotted Crumpet and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea.
But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?
Join our Facebook group, Bradford Genre Challenge 2021 for more book recommendations!
Happy Fantasy Reading!
Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020
Let’s talk about some new books at Bradford that are perfect for your holiday reading needs. (Descriptions from Amazon.com. Click to place your holds today!)
Some that look fun:
The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia – The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Chicken Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight–even if doing so pits her against her sister Amanda and rival shop Chicken Frannie’s. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?
A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen – When a man is washed ashore after a wreck, Laura acts quickly to protect him from a local smuggler determined to destroy him. As Laura and a neighbor care for the survivor, they discover he has curious wounds and, although he speaks in careful, educated English, his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Despite the evidence against him, the mysterious man might provide her only chance to discover the truth about her parents’ fate. With danger pursuing them from every side, and an unexpected attraction growing between them, will Laura ever find the answers she seeks?
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce – It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson, a schoolteacher and spinster, is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and small existence to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: an insect that may or may not exist—the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind.
If you want some nonfiction:
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton – As told by Dolly Parton in her own inimitable words, explore the songs that have defined her journey. Illustrated throughout with previously unpublished images from Dolly Parton’s personal and business archives.
Mining over 60 years of songwriting, Dolly Parton highlights 175 of her songs and brings readers behind the lyrics.
The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest by Ed Caesar – In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Mount Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceives his own crazy, beautiful plan: he will fly a plane from England to Everest, crash-land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit—all utterly alone. Wilson doesn’t know how to climb. He barely knows how to fly. But he has the right plane, the right equipment, and a deep yearning to achieve his goal.
This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear – After sixteen novels, Jacqueline Winspear has taken the bold step of turning to memoir, revealing the hardships and joys of her family history. Both shockingly frank and deftly restrained, her story tackles the difficult, poignant, and fascinating family accounts of her paternal grandfather’s shellshock; her mother’s evacuation from London during the Blitz; her soft-spoken animal-loving father’s torturous assignment to an explosives team during WWII; her parents’ years living with Romany Gypsies; and Winspear’s own childhood picking hops and fruit on farms in rural Kent, capturing her ties to the land and her dream of being a writer at its very inception.
In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren – It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
All I Want for Christmas by Wendy Loggia – Bailey Briggs is counting down the days to Christmas: she lives for holiday music, baking cookies, going on snowy sleigh rides,and wearing her light-up reindeer ears to work at Winslow’s bookstore. But all she really wants this year is the one thing she doesn’t have: someone special to kiss under the mistletoe. And she’s 100 percent certain that that someone isn’t Jacob Marley–athlete, player, and of questionable taste in girlfriends–and that Charlie, the mysterious stranger with the British accent, is the romantic lead of her dreams. Is she right?
New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews – Tess and her opinionated older sister Lauren are spending the week after Christmas at the snowy Evergreen Lodge in Vermont and they aren’t happy about it. Their stern grandmother, who owns the holiday resort, is not known for her warmth and good humor. But when shy, straight-laced Tess meets Christopher in the lobby, things are suddenly looking up. And when she decides to get out of her comfort zone and create a bucket list of things to accomplish before the New Year-like singing in public and skiing a black-diamond slope-Christopher is happy to help, even as he keeps a secret that could turn everything upside down. When the ball drops, will Tess and Christopher share a magical kiss-or will Tess start the new year off alone?
Since there isn’t a new Harry Potter:
Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz – Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner―the only player without a dragon steed―is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.
But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire―a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form―the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.
This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano – 17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window.
Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. An all-gender, full-contact game, Quidditch isn’t quite what Ellen expects. There’s no flying, no magic, just a bunch of scrappy players holding PVC pipe between their legs and throwing dodgeballs. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into the very different world of sports: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans.
Happy reading and happy holidays!
Friday, October 16, 2020
It’s fall! Time for us to curl up with a good book and take advantage of the extra time inside. If you are looking for some promising new reads for October and beyond, look no further than the library. Here are just a few of the new titles you can try this month, or at least look forward to as it gets colder! Click on each title to place your holds.
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton – This one has been highly anticipated by library staff, as some of us enjoyed Turton’s first novel, The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. If it’s anything like that one, expect twists and turns and maybe some confusion.
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman – A prequel for Practical Magic, anyone? This is probably the best time of year to read about witches. This one is about an ancestor of the Owens family who didn’t have any wise aunts to teach her about the “Unnamed Arts.”
Humans by Brandon Stanton – Humans of New York expands throughout the world. If you aren’t on social media, this may be one of the few things you are actually missing. Striking portraits of ordinary people and a little something about their lives.
Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz – “In a new memoir, the rock musician breaks down the first 25 years of his life, when he found his sound, his voice and his commitment to love and nonviolence.” ―The New York Times
Lenny Kravitz has sold some fifty million records over a career spanning three decades.
David Ritz has collaborated with everyone from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin.
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe – There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .This is a sharply funny and insightful novel about the countless hustles we have to keep from doing the hardest thing: being ourselves.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam – Here is an intriguing description of one of fall’s biggest novels: “If there’s one book that will haunt you in 2020, it’s this one…. Equal parts literary fiction and suspense, Leave the World Behind is an unsettling, thought-provoking, and disturbing look at both the precarious state of world affairs as well as class and race relations. In a year when anything — including the apocalypse — feels possible, this novel offers a realistic glimpse of how the world as we know it could end, and it will leave you reeling.” (Buzzfeed)
The Racers: How an Outcast Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Challenged Hitler’s Best by Neal Bascomb – If you can’t get enough of WWII side stories, here’s one that looks good. Bascomb is known for his engaging nonfiction for young adults.
All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott – From the team behind #1 New York Times bestseller Five Feet Apart comes a gripping new romance that asks: Can you find true love after losing everything?
Kyle and Kimberly have been the perfect couple all through high school, but when Kimberly breaks up with him on the night of their graduation party, Kyle’s entire world upends—literally. Their car crashes and when he awakes, he has a brain injury. Kimberly is dead. And no one in his life could possibly understand.
Elsewhere by Dean Koontz – A father and daughter adventure. “Some authors have used the sci-fi genre to create other worlds and critique the current world politics or realities. Koontz’s interests lay elsewhere. He’s more concerned with the human condition that remains the same across time and space and that cannot be remedied by ideology.” —The Big Thrill
Happy fall and happy reading!
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
New books! This week we have all kinds of books, something for everyone! Here are a few suggestions for your reading pleasure. (Click titles or covers to place your holds.)
Nonfiction/Religion and True Crime:
Nonfiction/Science and Medicine:
A twisty murder mystery:
A fantasy about magicians:
A creepy homicidal clown:
A rogue CIA agent going after a band of criminals:
Historical fiction from a pandemic:
Historical fiction about Lucille Ball and infidelity:
A Christian romance set during the Great Depression:
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
This blog post is overdue, because I have struggled with what to recommend right now. Several people have told me that they haven’t been able to read. Other people are taking solace in reading. Today, I am going to give some newish and not so new titles that are for anxiety, self-care, isolation, and maybe something about pandemics. Just because we can’t get these things off of our minds right now.
As always, click on the titles or covers of the books to reserve a copy. Also please remember to log your reading on Beanstack if you would! Both the Bradford Challenge and Summer Reading challenges are easy to use on Beanstack.
Let’s start with isolation. This month I read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, as it just happened to be our book club pick. It was surprisingly relevant, even though it takes place in Moscow, in a luxury hotel, 70 to almost 100 years ago, and during a time of war and significant government upheaval. This book was so good at expressing how beautiful life is. I really did read it at a good time for me. Highly recommend.
(most descriptions from Amazon.com)
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.
The Martian by Andy Weir – Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Here are some pandemic/apocalyptic ideas:
This is another book that I wouldn’t have read without book club. It was beautiful and haunting.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.
The Fifth Season by NK Jemison – At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this “intricate and extraordinary” Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)
This is the way the world ends…for the last time.
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks – We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z is the only record of the pandemic.
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
“Will spook you for real.”—The New York Times Book Review
Some books about self-care and help for anxiety:
Untamed by Glennon Doyle – This is how you find yourself.
There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves.
For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.
The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.
Sarah Wilson first came across this Chinese proverb in psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir An Unquiet Mind, and it became the key to understanding her own lifelong struggle with anxiety. Wilson, bestselling author, journalist, and entrepreneur has helped over 1.5 million people worldwide to live better, healthier lives through her I Quit Sugar books and program. And all along, she has been managing chronic anxiety.
In First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, Wilson directs her intense focus and fierce investigating skills onto her lifetime companion, looking at the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism of her own experiences.
Some days you need a pick-me-up, some days you need a life preserver.
You may already practice some form of self-care, whether it’s taking an extra-long shower after a stressful day, splurging on a ~fancy~ dinner, or choosing Netflix over that friend-of-a-friend’s birthday party. But when life gets so overwhelming that you want to stay in bed, some more radical care is crucial to maintain your sanity.
The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care is here to help you exist in the world. Borges gathers over 200 tips, activities, and stories (from experts and everyday people alike) into an A-to-Z list—from asking for help and burning negative thoughts to the importance of touch and catching some Zzz’s. Make any day a little more OK with new skills in your self-care toolkit—and energy to show up for yourself.
And here are three books that could just be a little more fun:
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan – The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men: the WASPY fiancé of her family’s dreams and George Zao, the man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.
On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.
Quarantine: A Love Story by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc – This was written before the current pandemic, but might be a fun take on quarantine.
Oliver wants a girlfriend, and there’s a girl back home who might be interested in him. The problem is, he has to spend his spring break on a volunteer trip in the Dominican Republic. Flora, on the other hand, isn’t really looking for a boyfriend. She just wants to end a miserable spring break visiting her dad and her new stepmom in the D.R.
The solution to both their problems? Get back home to New York ASAP. Sadly, they won’t be getting there anytime soon.
Their hopes are dashed when Flora’s impulsiveness lands them in quarantine — just the two of them. Now, the two teens must come together in order to survive life in a bubble for 30 days. In that time, love will bloom. But is it the real thing, or just a placebo effect?
In her debut novel, Katie Cicatelli-Kuc delivers an introspective and witty story about finding love in the most unexpected place.
The Madwoman and the Roomba: My Year of Domestic Mayhem by Sandra Tsing Loh – A comic exploration of a year in the life of an “imaginatively twisted and fearless” (Los Angeles Times) best-selling author.
Ah, 55. Gateway to the golden years! Professional summiting. Emotional maturity. Easy surfing toward the glassy blue waters of retirement…Or maybe not? Middle age, for Sandra Tsing Loh, feels more like living a disorganized 25-year-old’s life in an 85-year-old’s malfunctioning body. With raucous wit and carefree candor, Loh recounts the struggles of leaning in, staying lean, and keeping her family well-fed and financially afloat―all those burdens of running a household that still, all-too-often, fall to women.
The Madwoman and the Roomba chronicles a roller coaster year for Loh, her partner, and her two teenage daughters in their ramshackle quasi-Craftsman, with a front lawn that’s more like a rectangle of compacted dirt and mice that greet her as she makes her morning coffee. Her daughters are spending more time online than off; her partner has become a Hindu, bringing in a household of monks; and she and her girlfriends are wondering over Groupon “well” drinks how they got here.
Happy (or peaceful, or soothing) Reading!
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
The Summer Reading theme this year is Imagine Your Story. Things are a little different for 2020, and Summer Reading is now a virtual experience. Sign up on the new Beanstack site for both you and your children to participate!
Also, we aren’t quite open yet so I’m not currently making an “Imagine Your Story” display like I thought I would. It was going to consist of “Fairy Tale” books that are magical for adults. Instead, we will share some of them here on the blog. Most of these are a few years old, but maybe you missed some of them when they came out. Some of them are retellings of familiar stories, others just have magical elements.
Most importantly, remember to sign up for Summer Reading! Download the Beanstack app on your phone and/or check it out here: https://bradfordlibraryks.beanstack.org/
(descriptions taken from Amazon)
Back-List Fairy Tale or Magical Stories:
Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
The Selection by Keira Cass – For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want. Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman – Here William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers finally receives a beautiful illustrated treatment.
A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts—The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world—a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a 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. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht – In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once raged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven’t seen in years. And, because a strange mist has caused mass amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him. As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share. By turns savage, suspenseful, and intensely moving, The Buried Giant is a luminous meditation on the act of forgetting and the power of memory.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi – In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries Arturo Whitman, a local widower, and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow.
A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African-Americans passing for white. And even as Boy, Snow, and Bird are divided, their estrangement is complicated by an insistent curiosity about one another.
Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman – Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.
Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.
The haunting story of a woman literally bringing herself back from the dead, Unbury Carol is a twisted take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson – In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shield his clients, dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.
The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman – Be careful what you wish for. A woman who was touched by tragedy as a child now lives a quiet life, keeping other people at a cool distance. She even believes she wants it that way. Then one day she utters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks a strange and powerful new beginning.
She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her perfect opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both hide their most dangerous secrets — what happened in the past that turned one to ice and the other to fire.
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled.
Happy Summer and Happy Reading!