Staff Reads September 2018

Book Projector Treble Clef


  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig: Matt Haig is one of my favorite authors, and he didn’t disappoint with this, his most recent novel. It’s about a man who ages at a far slower rate than the average human, so while he looks to be in his 40s, he was actually born in the 1500s. It’s a great combination of history, romance, and science fiction, with dashes of mystery and adventure. And it’s now on my “To Read Again” list.
  • The Dry by Jane Harper: I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book if it hadn’t been for my book club. I’m still not sure how I felt about it. I didn’t love it, but it was suspenseful enough to keep me flipping pages til the end.
  • The Wave by Todd Strasser: A novelization of a true story of a high school history teacher’s experiment with fascism gone awry. I found the book to be pretty badly written, but the story itself is a good wake-up call for how easy it can be to get swept up in a movement.
  • You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson: A collection of essays about race, gender, and pop culture by comedian Phoebe Robinson. It made me laugh and also made me think, which is always a good combination!
  • Listening:

  • I really love the CD collection at our library! This month I’ve been revisiting some classics, like David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders f and XX by Rage Against the Machine as well as new releases by old favorites like In Your Own Sweet Time by The Fratellis.
  • Also, in an attempt to lighten up my generally political podcast-filled commutes, I’ve started listening to the Ride Home Reactions podcast . Each episode is about 20 minutes of movie reviews, recorded on the podcasters’ ride home from the theater. It’s fun, and they have great insights!
  • Watching:

  • Ready Player One: Oof, I did not like this movie. I enjoyed the book so much and it just did not do the book justice. Maybe if I hadn’t read the book first I would have liked it, but I’m just glad I didn’t spend the money to see it in the theater!
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix)
    A super cute movie based on the YA novel of the same name. I read the book before watching, and think they did a great job staying true to the story. I felt a little torn while reading the book, but the movie made me Team Peter for sure.

Mary V.:

  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz: This is two mystery stories in one book. The first mystery takes places decades ago and is similar to an Agatha Christie mystery. The second murder takes place in the present time. I had never read this author, but I did like this book.
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz: A woman enters a funeral home to plan her funeral and is killed shortly thereafter. The author has placed himself in the book. He is recruited by a private investigator to shadow him during the investigation and the write a book about it.
  • A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo: An Amish teenager commits suicide by hanging herself in her family’s barn. A little later, another Amish teenager is found burned to death in his family’s barn. This is the newest Kate Burkholder mystery and Kate is hampered by silence in the Amish community as she strives to find answers and connections.
  • The Grell Mystery by Frank Froest: This is a mystery in the Detective Club series. It takes place and was written in 1913. There are too many characters. I was so confused about who everyone was that I gave up and asked by brother James who committed the murder. I rarely don’t finish a book I start, but I was not enjoying this one.
  • The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz: This is a Sherlock Holmes mystery. If you like Sherlock Holmes, I think that you would like this.
  • Desolation Mountain by William Kent Krueger: This is the newest book in the Cork O’Connor series. A US senator from Minnesota is travelling to Cork’s hometown of Aurora to attend a town meeting about restarting mining on the Native American reservation in Aurora. The senator is against mining the land and there is a group in favor of it. Her private plane goes down on Desolation Mountain. The government insists that it is pilot error, but Cork is suspicious and believes that there is a conspiracy to hide the truth when several Native Americans who were first at the crash scene are missing.
  • The Shadow of His Wings by Father Gereon K Goldmann: This is an autobiography of a Franciscan seminarian who was drafted into the German army. He was allowed to be a non-combatant, but had harrowing experiences on the battlefield as a medic. It is story of a man who believes in the power of prayer. He manages to practice his faith and be ordained a Franciscan priest in spite of great obstacles. He was held as a prisoner of war for more than two years and suffered great deprivations during captivity. He was falsely accused of being a Nazi, but through determination. prayer and effort was exonerated.
  • The Cabin at The End of the World by Paul Tremblay: This novel takes place in northern New Hampshire. Seven year old Wen is vacationing at a lakeside cabin with her dads, Andrew and Eric. She is looking forward to her eighth birthday party when four strangers arrive and terrorize the small family by breaking into the cabin wielding horrible hand made weapons and making unreasonable demands. It is very violent and eerie, but I could not stop reading it. There are occasional flashbacks to relieve the ongoing blood and gore.


  • You’re on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir by Parker Posey: I really wanted to like this stream of consciousness by one of my favorite independent actresses but I couldn’t get into it. The writing style reminded me of the pseudonymous, Libby Gelman-Waxner, whose columns were funny, but much shorter.
  • The Babysitters Club Graphic Novels by Raina Telgemeier and Gale Galligan, based on the original series by Ann M. Martin: I was obsessed with the Babysitters Club back in the day and was very excited when Raina Telgemeir adapted four of the titles into graphic novels, about 12 years ago. Telgemeier’s original four titles have been re-issued and Gale Galligan has taken over the reins and produced some of the later titles. In Mary Anne Saves the Day (Telgemeier), Claudia and Mean Janine (Telgemeier), and Dawn and the Impossible Three (Galligan), the two graphic novelists do a good job of staying true to the original books while also avoiding the factors that make Ann M. Martin’s series dated. There are also some original plot points, indicating that the graphic novels could be heading in a new and different direction. If you can’t get enough of The Babysitters Club nostalgia, I also recommend checking out The Babysitters Club Club Podcast, Arglefumpph Book Reviews on Youtube, and Babysitters Club Snark-Fest on Live Journal.
  • Ship It by Britta Lundin: Claire is a fan fiction writer who writes slash fiction about her OTP (that’s one true pairing for you shipping and/or fan fiction neophytes) from her favorite show, Demon Heart. A PR disaster ensues when she asks Forest, the lead actor, about it at a convention and he insists that his character is not gay. Claire soon finds herself involved in the show, and she and Forest start to learn more about themselves and their perception of others. A great look at fan culture as well as identity. This is a good readalike for fans of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl.
  • On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder: Yale history professor Snyder outlines 20 ways to combat tyranny using examples from twentieth century history. Very thought provoking.
  • I’ve been checking out some cookbooks and trying new recipes:

  • Pimp My Noodles by Kathy Kordalis: I’ve made Soy Eggs and look forward to making Ten Minute Ramen and Quick Prawn Laska.
  • The Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes and Bakes to Make at Home by Linda Collister: I’ve made the Maple Walnut Biscuits and the season 7 technical challenge, Viennese Whirls. Warning! The latter is very sweet!
  • I Love Pumpkin: I look forward to making Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup.
  • Mary Berry Everyday: I worship at the altar of Mary Berry! There are too many tempting recipes in this book to list!

Debora H.:

  • The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian: I read this in 4 days; I simply couldn’t put it down. This is Chris Bohjalian at his best – think Midwives, not The Night Strangers. Because this author always does his homework, I learned a lot about flight attendants…and alcoholics. The novel is about Cassie Bowden, a flight attendant who drinks so much, she often has black out periods where she has no memory of what she’s done. She wakes up one morning in Dubai to find the man she slept with the night before murdered next to her. This is a tense thriller that will keep you up at night.
  • Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen: This book is both sweet and sad and I loved every lyrical word of it. Harry Crane’s wife dies in a freak accident and to escape, he heads to Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains to literally live in the trees. There he meets a little girl, Oriana, who has lost her father and together with Oriana’s mother, Amanda, the two help each other reenter the world of the living. The power of libraries features big as well, something of course well appreciated by me.
  • Electric City by Elizabeth Rosner: I read this book because I grew up with the author. I recommend this book because it’s a great read. Electric City is the nickname for Schenectady, NY and the author deftly moves back and forth in time between a 1965 coming of age story about Sophie Levine and the mostly untold story of 1919 scientist Charles Steinmetz, the inventor of the first electric car. This is a story of both the individual characters and the city they inhabit.

Kerry: I’m reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. It’s a quick read but a thought provoking one. What would we do if we lost ten years of our memory? The main character finds herself in a completely different world in 2008, thinking it is still 1998, newly married and expecting her first child. Ten years, a divorce and three kids later she tries to put the pieces of the puzzle back together. The story unfolds in a unique yet relatable way. Great read for a rainy day!



  • Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay: The story of a family and their interaction with four strangers in the remote woods of northern New Hampshire. This book is dark and terrifying. You probably won’t see the next move coming…even if you think you might know what’s next some of the time, you’ll still feel dread until what’s done is done, and even after.
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid: What a story. Can’t say much without giving it away. Worth reading in one sitting, and I’m considering rereading it. Once you know the ending you’ll want to start it over too. Like it says on the back of the book “you’ll be scared but won’t know why,” and yea, you should be. The book offers a lot of philosophical discussion and elements but is firmly rooted in the horror camp.
  • Hereditary (DVD/Bluray): This is the story of a family dealing with death and spirits. A slow burn that remains moody and eerie throughout. And though the film takes its time, you get to know the family and the payoff is worth it. I loved that the film didn’t spell everything out for the viewer or give some big backstory to tidy up the story at the end. You get small moments and bits of backstory, and it is just enough to give the story meaning. I also love that this film didn’t go for the cheap thrills and tropes that are often in horror movies. The acting was excellent (except for the older brother’s cry) and there’s zero camp.
  • The Year of Less by Caitlin Flanders: A memoir of the author’s attempts to live without shopping for a year while traveling and saving more. You’ll want to revisit your budget after. I loved it and if you have any interest at all in these types of challenges, it’s a great read.


  • The Humans by Matt Haig: This delicious, delightful touching novel was recommended to me by our archivist and I loved every moment. The creative premise is that there is a mathematician who has made a great mathematical breakthrough that is considered to be a threat to the universe. The Vonnodorians, an advanced civilization devoid of mortality, emotions, bodies and other annoying human tendencies, send one of their own down to become Professor Andrew Martin. His mission? To destroy anyone who may have come into contact with this theory. However, the impostor Professor begins to lose his distaste for all things human. He becomes attached to the Professor’s family, his dog, peanut butter, Emily Dickinson and more. This novel is creative, funny, heartwarming, absorbing. Highly recommended even to people who don’t usually read speculative fiction or who don’t understand the theory of prime numbers.
  • Fear by Bob Woodward: I bought this book on the day it came out. I don’t usually buy books because of my awesome position in the library but somehow, my hand reached for the book. The book is interesting and seems very factual so far. Worth getting on the list simply because Bob Woodward has so much credibility. The chapters are short and very subject specific.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This was recommended to me first by an awesome library colleague and than by another awesome library colleague. One recommended the book format and then the other recommended the audiobook format. I went with the audiobook because the narrator, Jim Dale, is an amazing reader and I had to drive to Maine. Jim Dale could read the back of a cereal box and hold my interest and this book is much more interesting than any cereal box. The quality of the writing, the narration and the story are all superb. Harry Potter Fans will love this book. It would make a very interesting and entertaining movie but I don’t know that this is in the planning.
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Ottessa had me at Eileen and she still has me with this darkly funny, quirky novel. The main character is beautifully drawn. She decides to take a year off with the aid of the most bizarre you.psychiatrist ever. If you like your novels unusual, beautifully written and funny, this is the one for you.
  • The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekanan: My colleague, Mary V. has already recommended this novel but I have to chime in. I listened to the audiobook and I wanted my commute to be slow. I hated getting out of the car to go into the house because it meant that I had to stop the audio book. Loved the mystery in this book trying to figure out what the truth was. If you like psychological fiction, look no further.
  • Electra: A Delphic Woman Novel by Kerry Greenwood: What an entertaining exploration of the story of Electra, daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. Greenwood posits about the psychological scarring that Electra and Orestes experienced. (I can not reveal her theory because it will spoil the book for you). She does a good job making her female characters three dimensional and understandable. Cassandra gets a good outcome in this entertaining novel and we get to watch the gods and goddesses at work which is most amusing and, sometimes, horrifying. Recommended.
  • The Real F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thirty Five Years Later by Sheila Graham: I love reading about Scott and Zelda and this book by his gossip columnist lover does not disappoint.
  • Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper: Great novel by a talented CNN anchor. Tapper’s thriller takes place during the McCarthy era and we watch some of the corruption in the political arena in this creative and interesting novel. Sure, some of it might stretch credulity, but hey, this is a work of fiction people. Very enjoyable.

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