Monthly Archives: October 2009

New Title.

A book recently added to our collection — to place a hold, give us a call at 985.2173 or do it online!

her-fearful-symmetryAudrey Niffenegger‘s Her Fearful Symmetry:

From the flap:

Six years after the phenomenal success of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger has returned with a spectacularly compelling and haunting second novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers–with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building’s other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin’s devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt’s neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including–perhaps–their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life–even after death.

See this interview with Time magazine for more.

New Title.

A book recently added to our collection — to place a hold, give us a call at 985.2173 or do it online!

true blueDavid Baldacci’s True Blue:

From the flap:

Mason “Mace” Perry was a firebrand cop on the D.C. police force until she was kidnapped and framed for a crime. She lost everything-her badge, her career, her freedom-and spent two years in prison. Now she’s back on the outside and focused on one mission: to be a cop once more. Her only shot to be a true blue again is to solve a major case on her own, and prove she has the right to wear the uniform. But even with her police chief sister on her side, she has to work in the shadows: A vindictive U.S. attorney is looking for any reason to send Mace back behind bars. Then Roy Kingman enters her life.

Roy is a young lawyer who aided the poor until he took a high-paying job at a law firm in Washington. Mace and Roy meet after he discovers the dead body of a female partner at the firm. As they investigate the death, they start uncovering surprising secrets from both the private and public world of the nation’s capital.

Soon, what began as a fairly routine homicide takes a terrifying and unexpected turn-into something complex, diabolical, and possibly lethal.

New Title.

A book recently added to our collection — to place a hold, give us a call at 985.2173 or do it online!

last_night_twisted_riverJohn Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River:

From the flap:

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County–to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto–pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them.

In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River–John Irving’s twelfth novel–depicts the recent half-century in the United States as “a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course.” From the novel’s taut opening sentence–“The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long”–to its elegiac final chapter, Last Night in Twisted River is written with the historical authenticity and emotional authority of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is also as violent and disturbing a story as John Irving’s breakthrough bestseller, The World According to Garp.

What further distinguishes Last Night in Twisted River is the author’s unmistakable voice–the inimitable voice of an accomplished storyteller. Near the end of this moving novel, John Irving writes: “We don’t always have a choice how we get to know one another. Sometimes, people fall into our lives cleanly–as if out of the sky, or as if there were a direct flight from Heaven to Earth–the same sudden way we lose people, who once seemed they would always be part of our lives.”

New DVDs.

Here are some trailers to give you a taste of some of the new items in our collection.  As always, feel free to call us at 985.2173 to place a hold — or do it online!

The trailer for Rivers and Tides, a documentary about artist Andy Goldsworthy:

The trailer for the Freaks and Geeks boxed set:

The trailer for In the Mood for Love, which looks gorgeous and achy:

The trailer for Shutter,  a Thai horror movie that reduced me to a shrieking, quivering disaster of a librarian:

The trailer for the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series based on Alexander McCall Smith’s novels:

Crossover discussion #1: The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly.

book-of-lost-thingsThanks to everyone who participated in our very first Crossover meeting — I hope to see all of you next month for our discussion of Judy Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied.  If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, do call us at 985.2173 to reserve one.

I did a bit of research and discovered that the poem I was thinking of wasn’t T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, but Robert Browning’s Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.  John Connolly provides a bit of information about it in this PDF.  And you’ll find more information about the other stories that made their way into The Book of Lost Things at the book’s website.  (Go to the Behind the Scenes section found under The Book of Lost Things tab.)

Some of the other books and movies that came up in last night’s discussion were:

  • Stephen King’s Dark Tower sequence — which is only one of the many works of fiction inspired (or partially inspired) by Browning’s poem
  • Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl — a retelling of the Grimm story
  • Megan Whalen Turner‘s The Thief* — another book in which the narrative pauses while a characters tell stories
  • Charles de Lint‘s Newford stories and novels — for their exploration of the dream world and parallel worlds, mythology, the power of story and for their all-around fantasticness
  • Baum‘s Oz books — specifically mentioned in TBoLT
  • Neil Gaiman‘s work — American Gods, Anansi Boys, the Sandman comic series and The Graveyard Book (as well as many others) all play with myth and fable
  • Elizabeth C. Bunce‘s A Curse Dark As Gold — a retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin story
  • Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces — while it didn’t come up in conversation, it’s a great book about comparative mythology, heroes and myth-cycles

Movies:

Labyrinth (1986):

Freaks (1932):

If I’ve forgotten anything — or if you have more recommendations — please add them in the comments.  See you next month!

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*Highly, highly (highly, highly, highly) recommended.

I’ve Got My Eye On…

The Yard Dog by Sheldon Russell.

519baOl2tNL__SS500_I looove the roughneck romance of the old timey railroad: the smokey, metallic smell of the railyard, the vibrating rumble of the tracks, and that haunting whistle you can hear for miles.  The Yard Dog is steeped in these atomospheric elements, setting a murder mystery against the backdrop of WWII-era Oklahoma where protagonist Hook Runyon has been hired to drive off the winos and pickpockets from the railroad near POW Camp Alva.  With such an intriguing premise, it’s definitely worth a look.

From the publisher’s summary:

The Yard Dog takes place near the close of World War II, when a large number of Nazi POWs were incarcerated in camps scattered across the prairies of the United States. At Waynoka Divisional Point, near POW Camp Alva, the disillusioned Hook Runyon is assigned by the railroad to run off hobos and arrest pickpockets. Left behind in the war because of the loss of his arm in a car accident, Hook lives in a caboose, collects rare books, and drinks busthead liquor. When a coal picker by the name of Spark Dugan is found run over by a reefer car, Hook and his sidekick, Runt, the local moonshiner, suspect foul play and are drawn into a scheme far greater than either could have imagined. This conspiracy reaches the highest echelons of the camp and beyond and will push Hook and Runt to their physical and mental limits.  Hook is a complex character, equal parts rough and vulnerable, an unlikely and unwilling hero. He is more than matched by Dr. Reina Kaplan, a Jewish big-city transplant to Camp Alva who is battling her own demons and has been put in charge of educating the Nazi inmates in the basics of democracy before their eventual return to Germany.Vivid descriptions of period detail, stark landscapes, and unique characters make this first book in the Hook Runyon series a fascinating mystery full of tension and deep insight.

Visit Sheldon Russell’s website.

If you’d like to place a hold on The Yard Dog please call us at 985-2173 or place a hold online.

I’ve got my eye on…

shelf_discovery…Lizzie Skurnick’s Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading.

How could I resist a book that celebrates all of the books that turned me into the huge reader that I am today?  I ask you.

From the Publisher’s Weekly review:

Launched from her regular feature column Fines Lines for Jezebel.com, this spastically composed, frequently hilarious omnibus of meditations on favorite YA novels dwells mostly among the old-school titles from the late ’60s to the early ’80s much beloved by now grown-up ladies. This was the era, notes the bibliomaniacal Skurnick in her brief introduction, when books for young girls moved from being wholesome and entertaining (e.g., The Secret Gardenand the Nancy Drew series) to dealing with real-life, painful issues affecting adolescence as depicted by Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle and Norma Klein. Skurnick groups her eruptive essays around themes, for example, books that feature a particularly memorable, fun or challenging narrator (e.g., Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy); girls on the verge, such as Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret or danger girls such as Duncan’s Daughters of Eve; novels that deal with dying protagonists and other tragedies like child abuse (Willo Davis Roberts’s Don’t Hurt Laurie!); and, unavoidably, heroines gifted with a paranormal penchant, among other categories. Skurnick is particularly effective at spotlighting an undervalued classic (e.g., Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase) and offers titles featuring troubled boys as well. Her suggestions will prove superhelpful (not to mention wildly entertaining) for educators, librarians and parents.

Get a taste of Lizzie Skurnick’s style and subject matter:  give her Fine Lines column at Jezebel a read.

If you’d like to place a hold, give us a call at 985.2173 or do it online!