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!
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Hi everyone. These are crazy times for everyone and we at the library are sorry that our physical space has been temporarily closed. One of the best things that we have to offer the public right now is e-books to borrow. There are several places that you can do this and one of our favorites is our digital consortium, Sunflower e-library.
Unfortunately, there can be long wait times on the bestsellers in this format, due to high prices on e-books in general. So, you should absolutely get on the wait list for anything that you are dying to read, but in the meantime, here are some good alternative options. I looked to see what was available as of this morning that might be of interest, even if they are not the top selling titles of the moment. Here are some that are either critically acclaimed, or written by a popular author.
Also, you should take the time to browse around. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to audiobooks on my phone when I am doing chores. So while you are there, check out what Sunflower has in both e-books and e-audiobooks!
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
It’s a new month with new books in the library! Here are some highlighted titles that may not be on your radar. If you are participating in the Reading Challenge this year, we also have some categories to tick off. (descriptions were found on Amazon.com)
Several books from authors who are old favorites of many readers:
Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas – Everything has a price . . .
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.
Postscript by Cecilia Ahern – The long-awaited sequel to the international bestseller, PS, I Love You! It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died, six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.
She s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.
The Warsaw Protocol by Steve Berry– In New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s latest Cotton Malone adventure, one by one the seven precious relics of the Arma Christi, the weapons of Christ, are disappearing from sanctuaries across the world.After former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone witnesses the theft of one of them, he learns from his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, that a private auction is about to be held where incriminating information on the president of Poland will be offered to the highest bidder―blackmail that both the United States and Russia want, but for vastly different reasons.
Here are two authors that are new, so they would be books by “an author you’ve never read before.”
Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still: Hope and Humor from my Seriously Flawed Life by Kristina Kuzmic (also a “funny book” and the only nonfiction on this list. – Delivering inspiration and “parenting comedy at its finest,” here is one woman’s story of ditching her fairytale dreams and falling in love with her unpredictable, chaotic, imperfect life.
Kristina Kuzmic has made herself a household name, speaking directly to mothers from the trenches of parenthood via her viral videos and social media presence. She is now bringing her message of self-acceptance, resilience, and joy to book readers. With a refreshingly unpretentious, funny, and galvanizing voice, Kuzmic goes behind the scenes to reveal how she went from broke and defeated to unshakably grounded and brimming with thankfulness.
Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (also “a book set in another country”) – Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”—the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni’s father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.
When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless slave, Adunni is told, by words and deeds, that she is nothing.
But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can—in a whisper, in song, in broken English—until she is heard.
And, as if you needed help finding “a mystery or a thriller”, here are two new options.
Things in Jars by Jess Kidd – In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.
Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.
Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough – “‘Big Little Lies’ meets ‘Rebecca’ in Sarah Pinborough’s ‘Dead to Her,’ a saucy novel about insecure second wives dragged down by secrets [and] jealousies…” —Washington Post For fans of Liane Moriarty, Liv Constantine and Lisa Jewell, a twisty psychological thriller about a savvy second wife who will do almost anything to come out on top from the New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes.
“A book you can finish fairly quick” is the newest by Walter Mosley,
Trouble is What I Do – Phillip “Catfish” Worry is a 92-year-old Mississippi bluesman who needs Leonid’s help with a simple task: deliver a letter revealing the black lineage of a wealthy heiress and her corrupt father. Unsurprisingly, the opportunity to do a simple favor while shocking the prevailing elite is too much for Leonid to resist.
But when a famed and feared assassin puts a hit on Catfish, Leonid has no choice but to confront the ghost of his own felonious past. Working to protect his client and his own family, Leonid must reach the heiress on the eve of her wedding before her powerful father kills those who hold their family’s secret.
Finally, two bonus YA books that would satisfy your challenge of reading “a book set in high school.”
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon – Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid by Kate Hattemer – Jemima is named to Senior Triumvirate, alongside superstar athlete Andy and popular, manicured Gennifer, and the three must organize prom. Inspired by her feminist ideals and her desire to make a mark on the school, Jemima proposes a new structure. They’ll do a Last Chance Dance: every student privately submits a list of crushes to a website that pairs them with any mutual matches.
Meanwhile, Jemima finds herself embroiled in a secret romance that she craves and hates all at once. Her best friend, Jiyoon, has found romance of her own, but Jemima starts to suspect something else has caused the sudden rift between them. And is the new prom system really enough to extinguish the school’s raging dumpster fire of toxic masculinity?
If you are interested in our Bradford Challenge, please join our groups, “Bradford Challenge 2020” on Facebook and/or Goodreads. (These are also places to get more great reading suggestions!)
Monday, February 3, 2020
One of our categories for the Bradford Challenge 2020 is, “A Book that might make you cry.” Here are some books from the past year that might do just that. If you have any suggestions, please join our Facebook or Goodreads group and tell us what to read!
What I Carry by Jennifer Longo – This is a Young Adult novel. A powerful and touching story about a girl about to age out of the foster care system. What a beautiful cover as well as a beautiful story.
When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald – The main character, Zelda, has a disability and lives with her older brother, who is a gang member. She is interested in just a few things, including Vikings, and her mission is to be legendary. For fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes – This is a middle grade book by the award winning author, Henkes. If you enjoy reading children’s literature and want a tearjerker, this may be the one. Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father—a cranky and stubborn English professor—has decided Florida is too much adventure. Now Amelia is stuck at home until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred D Taylor – The saga of the Logan family–made famous in the Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry–concludes in a long-awaited and deeply fulfilling story. Cassie Logan, is a young woman now, searching for her place in the world, a journey that takes her from Toledo to California, to law school in Boston, and, ultimately, in the 60s, home to Mississippi to participate in voter registration.
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano – A young boy is the lone survivor of an airplane crash. Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri – Nuri is a beekeeper and Afra, his wife, is an artist. Mornings, Nuri rises early to hear the call to prayer before driving to his hives in the countryside. On weekends, Afra sells her colorful landscape paintings at the open-air market. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the hills of the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo—until the unthinkable happens. When all they love is destroyed by war, Nuri knows they have no choice except to leave their home.
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout – The sequel to the very popular Olive Kitteridge. It was named one of the best books of the year by Time, Vogue, NPR, and many more.
Akin by Emma Donoghue – Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together. “What begins as a larky story of unlikely male bonding turns into an off-center but far richer novel about the unheralded, imperfect heroism of two women.” —New York Times
Happy Reading and don’t forget to join Bradford Challenge 2020!
Monday, January 6, 2020
It’s a new year and we have a new challenge for you! Named “Bradford Challenge 2020”, we are encouraging everyone to join our Facebook and/or Goodreads groups by that name. If you stay away from social media and prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, that’s ok too! Pick up a print calendar at the front desk at the library and keep track that way. Basically, there are 48 category options, and we are challenging you to pick 12, which will have you reading 12 different types of books this year. There are a lot of options, so it shouldn’t be hard to find enough books! But, in case you like recommendations, I will try to do some of that here on the blog.
Today, new books that the library owns, that will fill the category of A Memoir!
Even if you aren’t into reading challenges, but are into memoirs (usually me!), here are some that look very interesting to start us off this year.
Click on the title or cover to place a hold on any of these books.
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow – Want to learn more about the #MeToo movement from a behind-the-scenes investigator? Here it is. Both a first-person journalist’s account and a spy thriller.
Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong – Wong is a hilarious, sometimes shocking, stand-up comedian. This is her own story of her early adulthood and career and what she (eventually) wants her daughters to know.
Me by Elton John – The first and only official autobiography of the star.
The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe – The Way I Heard It presents thirty-five mysteries “for the curious mind with a short attention span.” Every one is a trueish tale about someone you know, filled with facts that you don’t. Movie stars, presidents, bloody do-gooders, and villains. A memoir full of surprising revelations, sharp observations, and intimate, behind-the-scenes moments drawn from Mike’s own remarkable life and career.
Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur – On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me.
Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.
Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews – I am looking forward to reading this one, since I really enjoyed her first memoir, Home. This one picks up where the other one left off and covers the years that she made the movies Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria.
Do You Mind if I Cancel?: (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti – Gary Janetti, the writer and producer for some of the most popular television comedies of all time, and creator of one of the most wickedly funny Instagram accounts there is, now turns his skills to the page in a hilarious, and poignant book chronicling the pains and indignities of everyday life.
Long Way Home by Cameron Douglas – Cameron Douglas is born into wealth, privilege, and comfort. His parents are glamorous jet-setters, his father a superstar, his mother a beautiful socialite, his grandfather a legend. On the surface, his life seems golden. But by the age of thirty, he has taken a hellish dive: he’s become a drug addict, a thief, and–after a DEA drug bust–a convicted drug dealer sentenced to five years in prison, with another five years added to his sentence while incarcerated. Eventually he will spend two years in solitary, where he manages, nonetheless, to hold fast to the brutal ethos of prison survival . . . until: he begins to reverse his savage transformation, to understand the psychological turmoil that has tormented him for years, and to prepare for what will be a profoundly challenging, but eventually deeply satisfying and successful, reentry into society at large.
Well, that will hopefully get us started in our reading challenge this year. Don’t forget to join our groups or pick up a calendar when you come in to pick up your holds!
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
December is here! A chill is in the air and Christmas books are on the shelves. The holiday will be here before we know it and I, for one, need to read something Christmas-y to help me get into the holiday spirit. Here I will share some Christmas/winter books new for this year. Click on the title or cover to place a hold on one of these books! (descriptions from Amazon)
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan -In her comfy cottage nestled in the Derbyshire hills, Rosie Hopkins has good reason to feel a warm blush in her cheeks. With Christmas weeks away, the holiday is being ushered in with England’s first glorious snowfall of the season. Her boyfriend Stephen is starting his new job as a teacher in the village school.
But when a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the close-knit town, plans for a cozy Christmas are suddenly in danger of melting away. It’s going to take Rosie’s indomitable spirit, the embrace of family and friends, and the resilient good will of a community to turn it all around and make this a holiday to be thankful for.
The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen White -Melanie Trenholm should be anticipating Christmas with nothing but joy—after all, it’s only the second Christmas she and her husband, Jack, will celebrate with their twin toddlers. But the ongoing excavation of the centuries-old cistern in the garden of her historic Tradd Street home has been a huge millstone, both financially and aesthetically. Local students are thrilled by the possibility of unearthing more Colonial-era artifacts at the cistern, but Melanie is concerned by the ghosts connected to it that have suddenly invaded her life and her house—and at least one of them is definitely not filled with holiday cheer….
A Mrs. Miracle Christmas by Debbie Macomber -As the holiday season begins, Laurel McCullough could use some good news. She and her husband, Zach, have been praying for a baby that seems more and more like an impossible dream, and they’ve had to move in with her beloved grandmother, Helen, who’s having trouble taking care of herself. But when Laurel contacts a local home-care organization for help, there are no caregivers available.
Then Mrs. Miracle appears at the door. No stranger to lending a helping hand to a family in need, Mrs. Miracle reveals herself to be nothing short of a godsend. Helen’s even convinced she’s an angel!
The 19th Christmas by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro -As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Crime is down. The medical examiner’s office is quiet. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. And the news cycle is so slow that journalist Cindy Thomas is on assignment to tell a story about the true meaning of the season for San Francisco.
Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella -’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness—even if that only means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.
But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents hosting, carols playing on repeat, her mother pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors coming ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?
Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw -From New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep comes a haunting romance perfect for fans of Practical Magic, where dark fairy tales and enchanted folklore collide after a boy, believed to be missing, emerges from the magical woods—and falls in love with the witch determined to unravel his secrets.
Be careful of the dark, dark wood…
Dasher by Matt Tavares -Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life — one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head. One day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh — a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same.
A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin -A heartwarming and tender picture book introducing readers to their first snow, from award-winning, bestselling author-illustrator Grace Lin.
When it was quiet, Little Snow grinned and then jumped, jumped, jumped!
Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Reading!