Reader Review: Everything You Want Me to Be

Posted on Friday, September 1, 2017 by patron reviewer

Everything You Want Me to Be book coverI’ll admit to beginning “Everything You Want Me to Be” with inaccurate expectations. For some reason I thought it was going to be a “The Girl on the Train” style thriller, but it’s not — and it’s much better for it. There is a murder in this book that happens within the first couple chapters, and then we spend the rest of the book unraveling who committed it (and working on two timelines: both pre and post murder), but that’s not really what the story is ABOUT. In actual fact, this is the tale of three individuals and the town they all live in and the actions and decisions that can lead to terrible consequences. One of the best features of this book is that there are not any “bad guys.” There are people who make bad decisions, but we all do that all the time. There are people who take love very seriously and those that trample on love (sometimes the same people), but that is true to life. This is not necessarily a book that is going to stick with me for a long time, but it is certainly a book I appreciate having read.

Three words that describe this book: Doomed, Thoughtful, Human

You might want to pick this book up if: If you enjoy tracing each thread as they get increasingly tangled and ultimately lead to tragedy.

-Xander

September 2017 LibraryReads: Books Librarians Love

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by Kat

LibraryReads logoI’m excited about September’s LibraryReads list! We have the follow-up of the popular author Celeste Ng (of “Everything I Never Told You” fame), an apocalyptic novel that starts with a tick infestation and, ever the librarian’s favorite, a book of love letters to books. Oh, and a Little House reimagining! Take a look, and get ready to place holds on these librarian favorites for September:

Little Fires Everywhere book coverLittle Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

“’Little Fires Everywhere’ delves into family relationships and what parenthood, either biological or by adoption, means. We follow the members of two families living in the idyllic, perfectly-planned suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio: Mia and Pearl, a mother and daughter living a less traditional lifestyle, moving from town to town every few months, and the Richardsons, the perfect nuclear family in the perfect suburb … until Izzy Richardson burns her family home down. Ng’s superpower is her ability to pull you into her books from the very first sentence!”
~Emma DeLooze-Klein, Kirkwood Public Library, Kirkwood, MO Continue reading “September 2017 LibraryReads: Books Librarians Love”

Perfect Timing

Posted on Monday, August 28, 2017 by Reading Addict

Painting by Egg of two women in a carriage

Have you ever read just the right book at just the right time and everything was enhanced by the experience? My family recently took a trip to Vienna and Munich and we had a wonderful time, but it was made even better (for me, anyway) by two perfectly timed books.

The Lady in Gold book coverThe first book was “The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” by Anne Marie O’Connor. This book is a convoluted story moving from the crazy art world of the early 1900s to the crazy art auction world of today. It is also a story that spans from the Holocaust and Austria’s complicity all the way to today’s collective guilt on one hand or the lack of it on the other. Continue reading “Perfect Timing”

Debut Author Spotlight: August

Posted on Friday, August 25, 2017 by Katherine

Several new authors are making their debuts this August. These books are sure to be a hit, so place your holds now!

See What I Have Done” by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done book cover

On August 4, 1892 Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were found brutally murdered. Lizzie was tried for the crime and acquitted, but although her guilt was widely assumed, there remains the possibility that she was innocent.

Focusing on the immediate time before and after the crime, “See What I Have Done” takes us into the heads of Lizzie, her sister Emma, their maid Bridget and a mysterious stranger named Benjamin. The dysfunctional relationships that existed within the Borden family spawned violence and hatred, and any of them may have had motive for murder. Schmidt takes the facts of the Borden case and re-imagines the infamous murder, casting doubt on the long held assumption that Lizzie Borden “took an ax and gave her father forty whacks.”

Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: August”

Out of the Wild: Docs With Animals Out of Their Natural Habitat

Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Photo of chimp from Project Nim film

Humans remove animals from their natural environment for many reasons. Sometimes it is to try an experiment, or for entertainment, or because they are endangered. Whatever the reasons, the way the animals react to this change is not always predictable. Check out these docs about animals out of their natural habitat.

Project Nim DVD coverProject Nim” (2012)

The story of Nim, the chimpanzee who became the focus of a landmark 1970s experiment to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Project Nim uncovers the unflinching and extraordinary journey of one animal thrust into human society. Continue reading “Out of the Wild: Docs With Animals Out of Their Natural Habitat”

The Gentleman Recommends: Kij Johnson

Posted on Monday, August 21, 2017 by Chris

If you like to use books to escape from reality, whether it’s because your cats have been acting up or due to the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation, the strange tales of Kij Johnson are your ticket to a more pleasant reality, one where, for example, a fox might fall in love with a prince and so decide to transform into a human female so that she might increase the odds of the woo she pitches being perceived and appreciated. Or, maybe, inspired by your cat’s complete disregard for authority and subpar mousing, you’re craving a story in which a truly independent kitten traverses the bulk of Japan devouring mice. Maybe your travelling magic monkey show just isn’t bringing in the bucks like it used to, and you’d like to read about a modestly successful travelling magic monkey show. Perhaps you’d like to learn of a fancy bridge being built in a strange land. Or maybe the graphic details of the intimate encounters shared by two shipwrecked space travelers (one human, one exceedingly not) is more your cup of tea. Whichever strange brew you require to slake your thirst for escape from your foolhardy cats or pending nuclear explosions, Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees” has concocted it for you. I recommend you take a taste right here.

At the Mouth of the River of Bees book cover

(Kij Johnson has an imagination that should earn shrines, but I can’t sculpt, so what she gets is this blog post. She is welcome.)

Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Kij Johnson”

Patron Review: Homegoing

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

Homegoing Book coverIn a saga that spans two centuries, “Homegoing” takes readers on a journey through the Gold Coast slave trade, Asante wars, colonialism, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement and more. One woman, Maame, birthed two daughters, Effia and Esi, unbeknownst to one another. Each woman is left to find her way in the harsh world, their challenges magnified due to the color of their skin and their circumstances. Through split narratives, we follow the descendants of Maame through time and through the world. Not for the faint of heart, this novel touches on graphic and disturbing periods of American and world history, but will leave the reader feeling touched and inspired.

Three words that describe this book: powerful, moving, historic

You might want to pick this book up if: You like family sagas, US history and world history.

-Chelsea

Danger! View It Safely: The Solar Eclipse

Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 by Reading Addict

photo of Eclipse from onboard Apollo 12
“S80-37406 (14-24 Nov. 1969) — This photograph of the eclipse of the sun was taken from the Apollo 12 spacecraft during its trans-Earth journey home from the moon.

In many cultures, a solar eclipse was thought to be due to an animal or demon trying to eat the sun or moon. People would bang on pots and pans or drums to drive the threat away. For some cultures an eclipse is a time of terror, but for others it is a time for reflection and reconciliation. Whatever meanings we ascribe to it, we know that solar eclipses are natural occurrences whereby the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. This year’s eclipse is the first total solar eclipse to be visible in the continental U.S. since 1978 and the first to cross the entire country from west to east since 1918. Columbia is lucky to be in the middle of that path. We will have 2 minutes and 37 seconds of totality. That doesn’t seem very long but if you didn’t know the science behind it, it could be a bit terrifying. Continue reading “Danger! View It Safely: The Solar Eclipse”

Literary Links: One Read 2017

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2017 by Lauren

One of the great pleasures of One Read, the library’s community-wide reading program, is the opportunity to use a single book to explore a myriad of topics and to connect with other readers through that exploration.

The Turner House book coverThis year’s selection, “The Turner House” by Angela Flournoy, provides an intimate portrait of a family, a home and a city. By following the lives of Francis and Viola Turner, we witness one black family’s experience moving north as part of the Great Migration and get a glimpse into that period of American history. We celebrate and suffer along with the Turner siblings, gaining an appreciation of the complexities of being a member of a large family, or perhaps recognizing dynamics from our own families. We also come to know Detroit, which is a character in and of itself. The following books will enhance your experience of Flournoy’s novel. Continue reading “Literary Links: One Read 2017”