Staff Reads — October 2017

Book Projector Treble Clef

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  • Rituals by Kelley Armstrong: 5th book and conclusion in the Cainsville series. Urban Fantasy about a young woman who solves mysteries. Along the way she finds out she’s adopted and part fae. I’ve enjoyed these characters so much that I was very sad that this was the last book in the series.
  • UNSUB by Meg Gardiner: Intense thriller follows a young detective as she tries to stop a serial killer.
  • The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka: I loved this book! Not only was the mystery interesting, but I can’t get enough of Roxane Weary, the young, tough PI. I’m anxiously awaiting the next one.
  • The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison: A fever has killed off most of the world’s women and children. Told from the perspective of a surviving midwife, we are taken on a journey across a ravaged country where it is not safe to be a woman. If you like post apocalyptic fiction with strong female characters you might like this. And there’s a sequel!
  • It: I can’t stand the book, but I absolutely loved the movie currently out in theaters.
  • Battle of the Sexes: Dramatization of Billie Jan King’s tennis match against’ Bobby Riggs. Shot on 35mm film, it actually felt like it was filmed in the seventies. I enjoyed it so much!
  • Victoria: The recent BBC/PBS drama starring Jenna Coleman as a teen Queen Victoria has me captivated.
  • Hotel Beau Sejour: Belgian drama currently on Netflix (which you can view by checking out a Roku a the library!). Belgian teenager Kato wakes up at the small Hotel Beau Séjour to find a bloody corpse in the bathtub – her own.

Nancy D.:

  • Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda: Fabulous domestic thriller narrated by the narcissistic, possibly psychopathic husband and centered around a trip he and his wife take to their lake cottage for the best day ever. A real page turner!
  • Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker: Very good missing persons thriller involving two teenage sisters, one of whom may or may not be an unreliable source of information.
  • Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker: A twist on Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, this novel tells the story of Mr Rochester, from his early childhood through to the end of the original novel when he and Jane Eyre are married, I loved the book up until it got to the part of Rochester’s life when he meets Jane Eyre. Then I got a bit bored and lost interest, maybe because I knew the original story from that point on. However, I truly loved getting to know and more fully understand the handsome, brooding Edward Rochester!
  • Speaking of Jane Eyre, if you want to revisit the movie (DVD), I recommend the 1983 version in which Timothy Dalton plays Mr. Rochester. He’s simply the best.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (audiobook): I highly recommend this character-driven story involving several families in a seemingly picture perfect upper middle class suburb, whose lives slowly start unraveling when several characters defy the unspoken rules and standards.
  • The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne (audiobook): A heartfelt and heartbreaking thriller whose protagonist is the daughter of a man who years before kidnapped her mother as a teenager and forced her to live with him in a wild marsh in upper Michigan for 14 years, until both mother and daughter (who was born in the wild marshland) escape and the father is caught and put in jail. The story goes back and forth in time between the time when the daughter lived in the woods with her mother and father, and later in life when the mother is dead and the daughter has a new life with her husband and two young daughters in Michigan near the marsh where she was raised. The novel opens with us learning that her father has just escaped from prison and the daughter knows she is the only one who has the skills to track him down again.
  • Shin Gojira: Shin Godzilla: I really enjoyed this Japanese remake of the Godzilla movie. What I like about this version is that it primarily focuses on the overwhelmed and under-prepared bureaucracy that tries to control and contain the out-of-control catastrophe that is the monster.


  • I just watched Little Evil on Netflix (which you can watch on one of our Rokus!), a funny movie and perfect for this spooky time of year!
  • Also on Netflix is The Crown. I’m just starting to watch this, but it’s really interesting to learn about the somewhat modern history of England that I really had no idea about. And I always love a period drama!
  • I’m also re-reading the Harry Potter series, and I’m currently on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s amazing to see how much detail and planning went into these books! I love them just as much as I did the first time reading them as a kid.

Pat A:


  • I was obsessed with The Crown and Stranger Things on Netflix. (View Netflix shows by checking out one of our Rokus)
  • I also recently read The Hating Game which was a modern day romance novel and kind of adorable – it reads like a teen movie.
  • I also read the American Housewife short stories by Helen Ellis which are well written and a light read.

Mary V.:

  • I just finished I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen. This is the newest Rizzoli and Isles book. As usual, it was hard to put down. I know a little bit about the lives of the saints, but I must say that I have never seen the kind of religious art that is described in this novel.
  • Scientology Murders by William Heffernan: This is the second book in the dead detective series. It was OK, but I wonder how much the author exaggerated about the Church of Scientology.
  • Sulfur Springs by William Kent Krueger: This is the newest book in the Cork Corcoran series. It takes place in Arizona which is a big departure from Minnesota.
  • No Middle Name by Lee Child: This is a collection of short stories. If you like the Jack Reacher books, you will enjoy this.




  • I am reading the children’s book, Hi! Fly Guy in preparation for our upcoming 1st & 2nd grader Book Club in November.
  • I am enjoying the new seasons of Madam Secretary and This is Us, enjoying the relationships between the characters.
  • When my turn for one of the library’s new Rokus comes, I plan on binge watching The Crown on Netflix.


  • Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee by Noralee Frankel: I’m a big fan of the Broadway musical, Gypsy, the (highly fictionalized) story of the rise of Gypsy Rose Lee and her overbearing stage mother, Mama Rose. There have been a rash of biographies of the former Louise Hovick, over the last few years, and I’m determined to read all of them! There are some elements that I recognize from the musical, but not surprising, there is more to Gypsy Rose Lee’s story. She was an extremely intelligent woman who was ahead of her time, in many ways. My one struggle is that whenever her mother, Rose, makes an appearance, I can’t help but picture Ethel Merman!
  • Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman (audiobook from Overdrive): Gastronomy historian and creator of the blog, “Four Pounds Flour“, Sarah Lohman tells the history of food in the United States through the prism and history of eight flavorings, spices, etc. These flavorings include black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. Lohman is delightful as an author and narrator. However, I give you a warning. Do not read or listen to this book while you’re hungry!
  • The Big Sick: I very much enjoyed this loose adaptation of the real life relationship between comedian, Kumail Nanjiani, and his wife, Emily Gordon (Gardner in the film). This movie maintains the right balance between pathos and humor, and there is a lot to which the viewers can relate.


  • The Girl With Seven Names: Escape From North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee: Growing up in North Korea is hard. One has to give proper homage to the Great Leader, Kim Il-sung, founder of the country and the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. This is a constant in North Korean life and woe to the one whose portraits of the Great Leader and the Dear Leader are not properly cared for. Officials wearing white gloves inspect the portraits which citizens must clean with a special government issued cloth. There are rules of conduct, of dress, of deportment, all of which must be followed. Bribes can sometimes get you out of a jam. Sometimes there is not enough food to feed a family and people starve. There are those who are punished for misdeeds by public hanging. One must be careful with one’s speech because there are people who will inform on you and your whole family could be punished. Suicide is illegal and if it is committed, your whole family can be punished….unless you pay the right bribe to the right person and get the death certificate changed.
    Still, growing up in North Korea, one takes this as a normal way of life. Hyeonseo Lee says that she had a happy childhood. She was loved and cared for. The teachings in North Korea are that it is the best place in the world to live. Still, Hyeonseo Lee was curious to see the larger world. She arranged to get taken across the river dividing N. Korea from China, and from there, she planned to stay with relatives for a few days, which turned into months, which turned into years. The Girl With Seven Names tells of the author’s journey out of North Korea and of her struggle to get her mother and brother out as well. Hyeonseo Lee is a brave woman who continues to speak out about the plight of those in the country that still has a place in her heart.
  • The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin: This is technically teen fiction but this adult loved it. I was hooked from the first page. Here is an excerpt from the first page: “For example, I have to admit that I don’t want you to know any details about happened when our mother kidnapped you-so long as you’ve forgotten it, anyway. So long as you’re not having screaming nightmares or something.” This is a great excerpt for you, the potential reader, because it will tell you whether or not this is the kind of novel you want to read. My response was yes! Give me more. I was off to a weekend in New Hampshire and this seemed like my kind of vacation book. (Now, now, I don’t always read this sort of novel, although, this one is great.)
    The narrator, Matt, is living in a three family in Southie with his mother and his two sisters. Downstairs lives his mother’s sister, Aunt Bobbie. Aunt Bobbie hides behind food and is of no real help to Matt and his sisters. This is also true of Matt and Callie’s father, Ben, who is paying child support to Nikki but who is not providing any other help to them or to their youngest sister, Emmy who has a different father.
    Early in the book, Matt goes to a local Cumberland Farms with his sister Callie and sees a man who he wants to get to know. This man, whose name we learn is Murdoch, gets between a bullying father and his son. He explains to the son that “It’s wrong for anybody ever to hurt you. No matter who does it, it’s wrong. Can you remember that?” Matt, who is thirteen at the time of this encounter immediately becomes obsessed with this new hero. He knows his first name but that is all. His sister Callie does some amazing internet searching and comes up with Murdoch’s last name.
    This is great because now Matt can befriend Murdoch. Except that his mother finds the name and phone number and inserts herself into the equation. Nikki has a genius for causing chaos and fear wherever she goes. She starts a relationship with Murdoch which brings hope to the three children. However, once she reveals her true colors as a parent, Murdoch pulls away and everything changes from here. The children have now had their hopes of some kind of normal life dashed. However, things begin to change as Nikki wreaks more and more havoc.
    The novel is a National Book Award Finalist and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. Read this book if you like excellent writing, a gripping plot, well developed characters, and some local color since it takes place in Southie. This book can appeal to teens and to adult readers as well.
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman: I am currently reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Hey, all of you Harry Potter Fans. Fear not. This is right up your alley. Not only that, but it is pure delight. Let me just share a fabulous quote with you:
    “To make matters worse, some of the books had actually become migratory. In the nineteenth century Brakebills had appointed a librarian with a highly Romantic imagination who had envisioned a mobile library in which books fluttered from shelf to shelf like birds, reorganizing themselves spontaneously under their own power in response to searches”
    This book features a special school for the magically inclined and it is so fun to read; it is like a little bit of heaven to add to your day. You will savor every moment I guarantee. If you like magic, if you like creativity, if you like humor, this is the book for you!

No Comments »

  1. Comment by Jeanette Curnyn
    October 31, 2017 @ 12:04 am

    Wow! Found many titles to add to my
    Books to read/listen to lists!

    Thanks Everyone

  2. Comment by Gerry
    October 31, 2017 @ 9:41 pm

    Thanks for doing this. I always find some great suggestions to add to my Must Reads!!

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