The Gentleman Recommends: Nicole Krauss

Posted on Monday, July 16, 2018 by Chris

Before I donned the gentleman’s cloak, back when I was still a wayward scamp who held doors open for people with nary a bow or doffing of a top hat, I recommended the work of Nicole Krauss. “The History of Love” and “Great House” are recommended enthusiastically, but those recommendations have disappeared into the unending chasm of the internet, and while a government agency undoubtedly has copies on a floppy disk, I am unable to link you to those recommendations, and rather than use words to elaborate on those previous recommendations (when said words are clearly better spent doing whatever it is I’m doing now), I merely urge any reader with a taste for what folk call “literary fiction” to read those novels.

Forest Dark book cover
I also recommend Krauss’s most recent novel, “Forest Dark.” But I concede it may require a more voracious appetite for fanciness than her previous novels. “Forest Dark” alternates chapters between Epstein, a retired lawyer, freshly divorced, whose parents recently died and who has developed a condition his lawyer refers to as “radical charity,” and Nicole, an author wrestling writer’s block and a dying marriage. Epstein gives away expensive paintings and timepieces. Nicole fancies she has a double. They go, separately, to Israel. Epstein loses his coat and a cherished book in a coatroom switcheroo. Nicole is informed that Kafka faked his death and is asked to finish some of his unfinished work.

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BRICS: Reader Harder Challenge

Posted on Friday, July 13, 2018 by Reading Addict

World Map

How is the Read Harder challenge going for you? I was flying along until I hit some of the tasks that are truly reading HARDER for me. Now I feel like I have slowed down a little. On some of the challenges I may even be a little stuck.

If you are still trying to find a book to fulfill the Read Harder task #5 for a book set in one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China or South Africa) here are a few more suggestions for you — one nonfiction and one fiction for each country. Continue reading “BRICS: Reader Harder Challenge”

Debut Author Spotlight: June 2018

Posted on Monday, July 9, 2018 by Katherine

Summer is a great time to discover new authors. Here are some of the titles by debut authors that hit the shelves in June. For more, please visit our catalog.

Optickal Illusion book coverThe Optickal Illusion” by Rachel Halliburton

Based on a true story of scandal and betrayal in the art world of 1797s London.

Ann Jemima Provis and her father offer American artist Benjamin West a long coveted secret—the formula for master painter Titian’s famous coloring—which they claim to have uncovered in an ancient manuscript. A beautiful young woman and herself a talented painter, Ann demonstrates the technique for Benjamin, drawing him and the Royal Academy of Arts, of which he is president, deep into scandal and fraud.


A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising” by Raymond A. VillarealPeople's History book cover

A disease that solidifies the blood has sparked an epidemic of vampirism that begins in the United States and then sweeps across the world. Those who survive the virus are left with an increased lifespan in exchange for a diet of fresh blood. They are called “Gloamings,” and soon people begin to clamor for rebirth as one of the elite, despite the risk of death if their bodies can’t handle the disease.

What follows is a drastic shift in society and the emergence of a Gloaming Crimes Unit, an anti-Gloaming sect, and the first Gloaming candidate for senator all of which are building up to a bloody vampire revolt.

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Literary Links: The Armchair Adventure

Posted on Sunday, July 8, 2018 by Elaine

Summer is the season of travel and adventure. The kids are out of school, adults have vacation time to use and the great wide world is calling. Would-be adventurers imagine exotic trips with fascinating companions, but in reality the joy of travel is usually tempered by a host of unpleasant logistics. This is why the best travel experiences are often those found in books about other peoples.

Shark Drunk book coverFor hardy souls who believe the only true adventure includes a physical challenge, start with “Shark Drunk: The Art of Catching a Large Shark From a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean,” by Morten Strøksnes. Norwegian journalist Strøksnes makes a pact with a friend to try to catch the elusive Greenland shark, a creature that can grow to 24 feet long and may live to be 500 years old. Their quest brings a myriad of challenges, including procuring a rotting bull corpse for bait and rigging a rubber boat for an oversize catch — all while they ponder life and death and the nature of myth. Continue reading “Literary Links: The Armchair Adventure”

Independence Day Read: “Rebels”

Posted on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 by Eric

In 1870 Congress passed a law making Independence Day (that’s July 4, in case you weren’t sure) a federal holiday. Since Rebels book coverthen many of us get that day off and spend it eating grilled meats, watching fireworks and enjoying activities associated with summer. While there is a nebulous love of country in the air (stars and stripes tank top anyone?), the original intent of the holiday often isn’t the focus. The holiday was declared to commemorate the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopting the Declaration of Independence and announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. But a history lesson doesn’t really say “summer fun.”

Fortunately both summer fun and colonial history are available in a very American medium — comics. I spent much of my youthful summers reading comics — regularly biking in the heat to spend my lawn mowing money at the comics shop — and I don’t think I’m alone in that experience. Now you can enjoy the thrill of comics and immerse yourself in our nation’s early history with the series “Rebels” by Brian Wood. The series takes a period of history very familiar to most of us from grade school and creates a fresh take in both the form it’s presented and from the perspectives the stories are told. Continue reading “Independence Day Read: “Rebels””

Nonfiction Roundup – July 2018

Posted on Monday, July 2, 2018 by Kirk

Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this June. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.


Jell-o Girls book coverIn “Jell-o Girls” by Allie Rowbottom, a descendant of the Jell-O dynasty traces the privilege, addiction and illness that has impacted generations of her family, tracing her late mother’s obsessive research into a link between their family’s lifestyle and poor health. Part memoir, part family history, this title presents an enthralling examination of the dark side of an iconic American product. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup – July 2018”

June 2018 LibraryReads: Top Ten Books Librarians Love

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2018 by Kat

LibraryReads logoI’m excited to share these LibraryReads with you so you can start your summer off right! There’s a great variety, including thrillers, romances and mysteries. We even get a new book from the ever-popular Fredrik Backman! Take a peek at these newly-published librarian favorites:


Little Big Love book coverLittle Big Love
by Katy Regan

“A portrait of a family and a boy’s search for the father who left them, told from multiple perspectives with authentic, likeable characters.”
~Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis County Library, Austin, TX Continue reading “June 2018 LibraryReads: Top Ten Books Librarians Love”

Know Your Dystopias: DMZ

Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 by Eric

DMZ Friendly Fire book coverThe Civil War haunts the collective American memory, and we return to it again and again in both fiction and nonfiction stories. With a diverse and polarized electorate, the specter of another civil war occupies real estate in our imagination (and I’m not just talking about the Marvel Comics variety).  

In the comic book series “DMZ,” the demilitarized zone of the the title is the island of Manhattan. The heart of the Big Apple is now territory caught between two factions in a second American civil war. The warring factions are the armies of the United States federal government and the Free States armies, a coalition of various secessionist groups. Most of Manhattan’s population has been evacuated. The remaining population consists of the poor (who were abandoned), holdouts refusing to leave and various operatives for both sides of the conflict. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: DMZ”

The Gentleman Recommends: Colin Winnette

Posted on Monday, June 18, 2018 by Chris

Is there something happening in the world causing me to gravitate to strange stories told by unreliable narrators which offer little to no resolution? There is no way to know, but I’m here to recommend another story that, while thrilling many readers, has left others scratching their chins and polishing their monocles while they try to unearth the key that they missed which would unlock the mystery and allow them to go about their merry ways confident that they’ve completed a sensical story and fully absorbed what it has to offer.

The Job of the Wasp book cover
Perhaps I need to polish longer, but I haven’t been able to make total sense of “The Job of the Wasp” by Colin Winnette. But like riding a ferris wheel or eating a bucket of street food, the pleasure is in the journey rather than the destination. That said, where the book takes you is absolutely worth it, and the final sentence is a doozy, but just as one rarely finds themselves coming to any epiphanies while hosing out a freshly emptied bucket of street food, you’re unlikely to exclaim “A-HA,” upon finishing this novel.

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Father’s Day Reads

Posted on Friday, June 15, 2018 by Ida

A boy with thick glasses sits cross-legged, reading a book, as a different boy walks by accompanied by his father. “You know what we do to nerds, right?” the father asks. His son grins. “Yeah. Learn from them!”

Lunarbaboon book coverThe scene described is a sequence in the “Lunarbaboon” webcomic. Lunarbaboon is half human and half moon monkey, but the situations he encounters as a father seem entirely human. Author Chris Grady has a knack for taking some of our more undesirable social conventions and turning them on their heads. In one cartoon, the father offers to teach his son some “sweet moves” with the ladies. The “moves” turn out to involve listening and showing respect. After a number of years of internet popularity, Grady’s cartoons are now available in book form. “Lunarbaboon: the Daily Life of Parenthood” was published last year. Continue reading “Father’s Day Reads”