Skylis Reviews: Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a captivating, exploratory speculative fiction novel set in a pandemic-ravaged United States. The narrative follows the entwined stories of several people across time, all connected to an actor who dies the night the pandemic begins. St. John Mandel’s writing is intimate and lyrical in this melancholy work…

Patron Recommendation: Hidden Valley Road – Robert Kolker

Our patron’s thoughts on the book: Story of an American family with 12 children – six of whom are diagnosed schizophrenic. Fascinating look at mental illness in America through the mid-20th century. Riveting detail about the scientific pursuit for answers, medical treatments, social stigmas associated with diagnosis, and the impact of all these factors in…

Jen Reviews: Unorthodox – Deborah Feldman

“As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. Yet in spite of her repressive upbringing, Deborah grew into an independent-minded…

Michelle Recommends: A Fortune For Your Disaster – Hanif Abdurraqib (National Poetry Month)

Along with Pagie Lewis’ Star Struck, Abdurraqib’s A Fortune For Your Disaster was another one of my favorite collections released in 2019. (His previous collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, might be one of my favorite collections full-stop.) The audiobook – read by Hanif Abdurraqib(!) – is available on Hoopla. About the collection: “In his…

It’s National Poetry Month!

Throughout the month I will be recommending poetry collections available via Hoopla and/or Overdrive. In the meantime, a few related items of note: This snippet from the poem “Pain Can Warn Us Of Danger,” from the 2011 collection by G.C. Waldrep and John Gallaher, Your Father On the Train of Ghosts, is eerily relevant still:…

Ebooks & Audiobooks For Your Teen Reader: Fantasy Novels

If your teen reader enjoys fantasy novels with deep, intricate worldbuilding, point them towards Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer (and its sequel Muse of Nightmares). Both titles—in ebook and audiobook formats—are available on Overdrive. About Strange the Dreamer: “The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian,…

Jen Recommends: Flower Confidential – Amy Stewart

“Award-winning author Amy Stewart takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes look at the flower industry and how it has sought—for better or worse—to achieve perfection. She tracks down the hybridizers, geneticists, farmers, and florists working to invent, manufacture, and sell flowers that are bigger, brighter, and sturdier than anything nature can provide. There’s a scientist…

Jim Recommends: The Hoopla Edition

The library may be closed but our elibrary is open 24/7 with ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music and more. But today I’m going to be recommending ebooks and audiobooks you can have right now from our Hoopla service. The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley. Audiobook I was first exposed to Buckley’s quirky style when I read…

Michelle Recommends: Essential Essays: Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry – Adrienne Rich

“Demonstrating the lasting brilliance of her voice and her prophetic vision, Essential Essays showcases Adrienne Rich’s singular ability to unite the political, personal, and poetical. The essays selected here by feminist scholar Sandra M. Gilbert range from the 1960s to 2006, emphasizing Rich’s lifelong intellectual engagement and fearless prose exploration of feminism, social justice, poetry,…

What The Library Director Is Reading

—“I’ve just started Poppy by Avi. So far, it’s wonderful.” At the very edge of Dimwood Forest stood an old charred oak where, silhouetted by the moon, a great horned owl sat waiting. The owl’s name was Mr. Ocax, and he looked like death himself. With his piercing gaze, he surveyed the lands he called…

Jen Recommends: Catch and Kill & She Said

Coinciding with the Harvey Weinstein trial, these are must-reads. Both are excellent reporting stories and rapid page turners filled with revelations that are at the same time disturbing, infuriating, and riveting.  Add to that the backstory of surveillance and  harassment of the reporters and alleged victims. If I had to pick one, I’d go with…

Patron Recommendations

A patron recently returned the two books below and said: “These were both really good.” The Paris Orphan – Natasha Lester “New York City/Paris, 1942: When American model Jessica May arrives in Europe to cover the war as a photojournalist for Vogue, most of the soldiers are determined to make her life as difficult as…

Rachel Reviews: Rebel Girls – Elizabeth Keenan

When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mix tape than she is talking to cute boys—or anyone, for that matter—and her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at her conservative Catholic high school. Then a malicious rumor that her popular, pretty, pro-life sister…

Patron Recommendation: Lies – T.M. Logan

“Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other…

Jim Reviews: African samurai – Thomas Lockley

Before William Adams (immortalized as John Blackthorn in James Clavel’s novel Shogun) became the first English samurai in the early 1600s there was Yasuke. Yasuke was an African slave/mercenary who ultimately become a samurai and served as a retainer of Ode Nobunaga a Japanese warlord from the Waring States period of Japanese history. Lockley’s African…

What The Library Director Is Reading

I’m reading To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. Willis is an incredible science fiction author, best known for Blackout/All Clear, a two-part novel about Oxford historians who travel back in time to observe (and not alter) historical events. They go back to World War II London. They’re amazing and stressful, and Willis…

Poetry Recommendation: Joanna Klink

Raptus “Everywhere, a forceful, scrupulous intelligence is active- a luminous diction, a range of cadences.” So has Mark Strand written of the work of Joanna Klink, who has won acclaim for elegant, sensual, and musical poems that “remain alert to the reparations of beauty and song” (Dean Young). The linked poems in Klink’s third collection, Raptus,…

Today In History Reading List

In our Today In History Reading List feature, we take the events of a particular day in history and try to give you a work of fiction and a work of non-fiction relating to those events. 1616 – Sir Walter Raleigh Freed From The Tower Of London Famous as an explorer Raleigh was also a…

Michelle Recommends: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory In Northern Ireland – Patrick Radden Keefe

“In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was…

Jen Recommends: The Gown – Jennifer Robson

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes…

February Lit Links

However long ago it was that I first came across word of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree, it was right then I determined to read it immediately upon its release (Feb 26, for the curious). With less than a week to go, Shannon has an essay up on Boundless that looks at…

Michelle’s Mid-Read Recommendation: Figuring – Maria Popova

“Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries—beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures…

Jim Recommends: Cooking + Historical Fiction!

I just recently discovered (and by discovered I mean a friend told me about them) the author Crystal King who writes cooking based historical fiction. Given that food and historical fiction are two of my favorite things I can’t wait to start these books. Also the covers are gorgeous. Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of…

The 2018 NOBLE Book Awards!

Late last year the librarians of NOBLE came together to vote on their favorite books of 2018. Here are the winners by category. You can view the runners-up and the sort-list at NOBLE Book Awards 2018. Adult Fiction Finn, A. J. The woman in the window : a novel It isn’t paranoia if it’s really…

What The Director Is Reading

I’m rereading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, which is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi books. It follows a character who isn’t able to discern gender and so the narrative doesn’t give many clues to the genders of the characters. At first this is somewhat confusing, but then it becomes clear that it doesn’t really…

Today In History Reading List

In our Today In History Reading List feature, we take the events of a particular day in history and try to give you a work of fiction and a work of non-fiction relating to those events. 1571 Royal Exchange Opens in London The Royal Exchange of London was based loosely on a similar institution in…

Søren Recommends: Katherine Kellgren’s Audiobooks

Today I’m honoring Katherine Kellgren, a renowned actress who voice acted more than 250 audiobooks. This month is the anniversary of her passing from a long battle with cancer that ended on 10 January, 2018. Kellgren is one of my all-time favourite audiobook performers; her voice acting brings characters to life like no other, and…

Michelle Recommends: Pretty Monsters – Kelly Link

“Through the lens of Kelly Link’s vivid imagination, nothing is what it seems, and everything deserves a second look. From the multiple award- winning “The Faery Handbag,” in which a teenager’s grandmother carries an entire village (or is it a man-eating dog?) in her handbag, to the near-future of “The Surfer,” whose narrator (a soccer-playing…

Today In History Reading List

In our Today In History Reading List feature, we take the events of a particular day in history and try to give you a work of fiction and a work of non-fiction relating to those events. 1154 Henry II of England Crowned King In Westminster Abbey Henry was the son of Matilda the daughter of…

Michelle, Currently Reading…

The first two of the following titles are on top of the pile so that I can discuss them with sixth graders at the middle school (or, barring that, as a potential summer reading option). Foxheart – Claire LeGrand Twelve-year-old Quicksilver dreams of becoming the greatest thief in the Star Lands. With her faithful dog…

Ari Reviews: Pride and Prometheus – John Kessel

If you are a fan of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley I highly recommend reading the book Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel. Kessel combines the novels Pride and Prejudice and Frankenstein that sparked my interest in coming across this book. I was curious to see how the two books combined would play out. Kessel uses Mary Bennett…

What The Library Director Is Reading

I just listened to Good Clean Fun by Nick Offerman, which is a memoir? a how-to-book? a satire? After enjoying Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year (a cookbook? a memoir? a tell-all?), I thought I’d give this a try, but it wasn’t really for me. I’m currently listening to The Cleaner, by Brett Battles, a thriller…

The Month Ahead: New History Books On The Way

A small sample of the many new history book titles arriving at the library soon How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England: A Guide for Knaves, Fools, Harlots, Cuckolds, Drunkards, Liars, Thieves, and Braggarts by Ruth Goodman Every age and social strata has its bad eggs, rule-breakers, and nose-thumbers. As acclaimed popular historian and author of How…

Mood Boards: Teen Fiction & Graphic Novels

mood board noun an arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text, etc., intended to evoke or project a particular style or concept. The Wee Free Men The Wee Free Men – Terry Pratchett “The first in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching. A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side…

Today In History Reading List

In our Today In History Reading List feature, we take the events of a particular day in history and try to give you a work of fiction and a work of non-fiction relating to those events. 1386 Tamerlane Sacks Tblisi Tamerlane, aka Timur, was the Turkic Emir of Samarkand who conquered much of Central Asia…

What The Library Director Is Reading

I’m almost done with When by Daniel H. Pink, which is about effective timing. Certain types of work are more effective at certain times of day. Being aware of this face and of our individual “chronotypes” (per wikipedia: “a chronotype is the behavioral manifestation of underlying circadian rhythms of myriad physical processes. A person’s chronotype…