What Are We Reading? November 26, 2014

Welcome to a special Thanksgiving edition of “What Are we Reading” featuring an entry from our new director, Kelly Linehan!

  • Jan: “I read The River by Beverly Lewis. This is a new work by a very prolific author of Amish fiction. She has written for readers of all ages and is well known for her stories about this fascinating group of people. This latest work concerns two sisters who left their community for the outside, or English, world. When they return for a family occasion they discover they both have secret problems that go back a long way. Solving them is difficult when they don’t quite fit in with the way of life they left behind.”
  • Jeanette:
    • Death of a Kingfisher (sound recording) by M.C. Beaton. “My first Hamish Macbeth mystery. Enjoyed it and look forward to more.”
    • Cross Fire (sound recording) by James Patterson. “Always enjoy Alex Cross mysteries.”
    • I Remember Nothing (sound recording) by Nora Ephron. “Love Nora Ephron’s take on life…I agree with many of her views. Sad that she is no longer with us!”
    • In Too Deep: an Arcane Society Novel (sound recording) by Jayne Ann Krantz. “Couldn’t get into this story, maybe at another time.”
    • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (sound recording) by Wes Moore. “Another book with “Other” in the title. Very interesting to have someone with “your” name growing up nearby whose path in life takes a different route. Quote from a book summary: ‘Told in alter­nat­ing dra­matic nar­ra­tives that take read­ers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of sur­pris­ing redemp­tion, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a gen­er­a­tion of boys try­ing to find their way in a chal­leng­ing and at times, hos­tile world.'”
    • What the Dog Saw (sound recording) by Malcolm Gladwell “Interesting compilation of the authors writing from The New Yorker. Kind of like a short story book, you can pick and choose the ones you’re interested in reading.”
    • “We are watching the first season of The Blacklist. (We’re) fans of James Spader took us a couple of episodes to get into the characters but enjoying it so far.”

    “Here are a few Children’s Book that caught my eye down at rear circ when I was checking them in.”

  • Kelly: “I just finished Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. If you like the HBO series GIRLS, you’ll LOVE this book. I thought it genius. Crazy, but genius. The short essays are easy to read, amusing, and eclectic, although certainly best for a mature audience who isn’t easily fazed/horrified.”
  • Pat O.: Pat just finished Five Days Left by Julie Timmer.
  • Laura:
    • “I recently read the novel, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley. In 1959, Sarah Dunbar is one of ten African-American teenagers to integrate Jefferson High School in a small town in Virginia. The treatment that Sarah and the others endure at the hands of many of the white students and even some of the teachers is appalling and gut wrenching to read. Although this book is technically a work of fiction, Sarah’s experience is all too real and leaves a lasting impression. Fans of this book may also enjoy the non-fiction book Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick, which is about the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas and the relationship between the two students in this picture on the first day of school.”
    • “I’m currently listening to the book The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, courtesy of the library’s Hoopla subscription. Outside of Sydney, Australia, housewife and Tupperware maven, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, discovers a letter from her husband to be opened upon his death. Even though he’s very much alive, and the contents have enormous consequences for her and two women who seemingly have little connection to the Fitzpatrick family. To see any more would be to give it away, but Moriarty is great at building a scene and developing her characters. Caroline Lee brings everything to life with her delightful narration.”
    • True confession time. I have a (slightly unhealthy) obsession with 1970’s and 1980’s television shows. In many cases, the cheesier the better. I’ve recently begun a binge watch of The Love Boat, an old favorite. Okay, so it made no sense that a teenage girl was being raised on a cruise ship, the ship’s doctor spent more time hitting on passengers than he did treating them, the yeoman purser (whatever that is, exactly) just cracked bad jokes all the time rather than do any work, the cruise director had her heart stomped on by every male passenger, and the ship’s bartender managed to be at every bar on the boat at the exact same time. A Love Boat binge watch has been an enjoyable and mindless way to relax at the end of the day, and maybe dream of warmer weather!”
  • Paula: Paula has read Almost a Woman by Esmeralda Santiago (the sequel to When I Was Puerto Rican) and Imagined London:A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City by Anna Quindlen. She is currently reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and has watched The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire.
  • Gerry:
    • Love Letters by Debbie Macomber. “This is the third book in the Rose Harbor Inn Series. It is a cozy story about the loves and heartaches of the guests who stay at the Rose Harbor Inn in Cedar Cove, a town in Washington State. It is also the continuing story of the Inn’s owner Jo Marie Rose. I enjoy Debbie Macomber’s easy writing style and how she makes you care about her characters. I feel like they are friends.”
    • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption (sound recording) by Lauren Hillenbrand “This is the true story of 26 year old Louis Zamperini and his imprisonment and torture during World War II in Japanese prison camps. Although the subject of this book was difficult to hear, I recommend it for all to read or listen to. A movie version of this book will be released in December 2014.”
    • The Fall Season 1 Starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. “This British TV series is set in Northern Ireland. It is a psychological thriller that examines a serial killer who stalks his victims and a female detective who is brought in to catch him. After each episode we had to take a break from this gritty program. We are hooked!”
    • Mr. Peabody and Sherman. “The DVD of the movie based on the television show of the same name.”
    • Gerry is also currently listening to the audiobooks Open Season by CJ Box and The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva.
  • Virginia:
    • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk (non-fiction). “This intense, scholarly book is written by a local Boston psychiatrist who specializes in PTSD. It includes details about the structure of the brain especially when it has been traumatized. One chapter covers EMDR as a treatment for flashbacks & it also reveals the fact that modern day psychiatric medications do very little to help resolve trauma.”
    • Losing Tim : How Our Health & Educational Systems Failed My Son with Schizophrenia by Paul Gionfriddo (non-fiction). “This is the sad true story of a boy named Tim who, as the subtitle reveals , suffered from schizophrenia by the time he was 10 years old. It took another ten years to get a precise diagnosis so he was badly served by the school system which constantly punished him & suspended him for behavior over which he had no control. Because of the lack of coordinated cohesive treatment Tim ended up denied an education & later spent years on & off in jails due to the inability of mental health facilities & programs to deal with his particular needs.”
    • Yours for Eternity: a Love Story on Death Row by Damien Echols (non-fiction). “Having already read the biography of Damien Echols several years ago I was delighted to find a new book by Echols & his eventual wife Lorri Davis whom he wed while on Arkansas death row. Their relationship is illustrated by the many letters they sent to one another as Echols languished on death row for a horrific crime he did not commit. The story of the West Memphis 3 is well known mainly due to the documentary called ‘Paradise Lost’ which revealed the outrageous injustice which saw a teenaged Echols & two of his friends charged with the murder of 3 little boys. There was no evidence to convict them but public hysteria prevailed & Bible Belt bigots insisted they must be guilty because they wore black clothing & listened to heavy metal music. Echols was tortured & tormented in prison, living in a tiny cell for 22 hours a day. He suffered terribly but during these dark years he received letters from Lorri Davis who had seen the documentary made about the railroading of the WM3 & was horrified by the injustice. They discovered they were kindred souls & very quickly fell in love. These letters helped them to create a world of their own where Echols could transcend the grueling endless hours of incarceration. This book does a wonderful job at portraying the human spirit as it endeavors to survive as years go by. After 18 years Echols was finally released although Arkansas refused to admit that they had made a mistake in prosecuting him. Davis took over control of his case as lawyers came & went. Echols was released in 2011 suffering from intense PTSD.”
    • Will Not Attend : Lively Stories of Detachment & Isolation by Adam Resnick (non-fiction). “This is a hilarious book by a writer for David Letterman & SNL who is also a screenwriter. Resnick does not like people. Any people. Ever since he was small he has spent his life avoiding social interaction & this book relates unfortunate episodes with unpleasant people in his life, including a nightmarish trip (against his better judgment) to Disney World.”
    • An Atheist in the FOXhole by Joe Muto (non-fiction). “This is a snarky hilarious true story of a young liberal who, just out of college, goes to work for the conservative Fox News in NYC for 8 years, 5 of the years working for Bill O’Reilly. Eventually his conscience gets the better of him & he turns spy, an informant as to just how ‘unbalanced’ & ‘unfair’ the network really is. Written with a good deal of suspense & sarcasm, this is a delightful read & very informative of a behind-the-scenes TV production.”
  • Maureen:
    • “Just finished reading: The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene. A chic lit story that takes place in the English countryside, Jenny Davis is at a car boot sale looking for vintage teacups for her upcoming wedding. She falls in love with a set only to discover two women are right behind her looking at the same set. They decide to buy them jointly and share the use. This is the beginning of new friendships and how lives become woven together. A charming, well written book that relieves your stress at this time of year!”
    • “Now reading: Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom. Emmy lives in California with her mother, Kate. Emmy has spent her entire life believing that her father was dead and that her mother had no family. Now at sixteen she discovers she has a Dad and an Aunt & Uncle who live in Washington. So Emmy is being sent to eastern Washington to spend the summer getting to know her Aunt & Uncle that she and her Mom lived with when Emmy was a baby. Emmy is reluctant to go but grows to love her birthplace, her new found family and the Native American boy , Reuben, who lives next door. I am 3/4 of the way through and looking forward to finishing this debut novel.”
    • “Am listening to: the digital download of And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass. Kit Noonan has reached a fork in the road. Underemployed with no clear sense of purpose, he is floundering, until his wife urges him to take some time away to work out the secret of his father’s identity. That search leads him back to his stepfather Jasper in Vermont – a self-sufficient outdoors man who effectively raised him along with two stepbrothers. Glass writes so well that you are completely swept up in the lives of her complex and interesting characters. The narrator is great and I am thoroughly enjoying this as I knit away!!”
  • Louise: The Language of Flowers by Vannesa Diffenbaugh: “I had the privilege of reading the book and listening to the audio version. This tale of a foster child growing up in California will touch your heart as she struggles with connection. In one of her placements, Victoria Jones actually does find some hope with the emotionally scarred Elizabeth. She learns about flowers and the Victorian (note the pun on Victoria’s name) language of flowers. Elizabeth goes through a series of difficult foster and group homes but still manages to find meaning and hope in her life. This book is beautifully written and, even if you forget the Latin names of the flowers as I do, you will still find a lot to love. I recommend this book to fans of White Oleander by Janet Fitch. White Oleander is a beautifully written, poetic novel about a daughter who ends up in foster care. Her mother is charged with the murder of a lover who scorned her and we follow Astrid as she struggles to create a life for herself. Please do see the movie as well.”
  • Todd: Todd is reading American Plague : the Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby and has been listening (courtesy of the library’s Freegal subscription), the new Swingin’ Utters album, Fistful of Hollow


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