The Gentleman Recommends: Hari Kunzru

Posted on Monday, November 13, 2017 by Chris

Like any gentleman of means, I’m fond of gallivanting around the world. Though I may not travel as much as I’d like, what with the estate, the cats and the pending transactions needing looking after, my attache case is always packed with books and monocles so that I may use the wonders of literature to mitigate the horrors of public transportation. On two of my most notable excursions, novels by Hari Kunzru helped eat several hours that would have otherwise been occupied by fretting over what sorts of messes the cats were making in the estate. Given space constraints, my obligation to save the details of my travels for my visitors’ parlor, and two lawsuits, I’ll sum it up by saying that I have a soft spot for Kunzru’s writing. He earned the soft spot, though. It wasn’t just because he succeeded in distracting from the snores of the man taking up most of my seat: Kunzru is a brilliant writer.

The Impressionist,” which I read when I was little more than a pup easily startled by every ticket taker and fuel-efficient vehicle I saw, is his debut novel, and one that garnered a lot of praise on publication. It’s about a brown boy born with white skin. My memory is fuzzy on specifics, but it was great. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Hari Kunzru”

Literary Links: Veterans Day

Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2017 by Seth

I come from an extended family that has always prided itself on military service. My Grandpa Smith was a combat engineer in France during World War II, and numerous uncles and cousins have served in the Army and Navy. For me, Veterans Day is always a day of profound appreciation for all veterans in this country. The holiday, which was originally called “Armistice Day” to celebrate the signing of the treaty that signaled the end of World War I on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, is now a federal holiday. The library offers a variety of books for readers interested in learning more about the veteran’s experiences.

Civilianized book coverReturning home from war can be difficult, and countless books have recounted the perilous journey after discharge. One of the more recent titles to come out about this struggle is Michael Anthony’s memoir, “Civilianized.” Anthony immediately struggled with depression, severe anxiety and an escalating drinking habit after returning to the States, before he got back on his feet and became a published author. Some of Anthony’s fellow soldiers continue to battle far worse demons; several members of Anthony’s unit have taken their own lives. Continue reading “Literary Links: Veterans Day”

Quintessential Comics: Top Five Must Reads

Posted on Friday, November 10, 2017 by Josh

Do you find yourself wanting to explore the worlds of graphic novels, but are unsure as to where you should start? Have you perhaps caught yourself wishing that you, too, could learn to love this particular form of storytelling? Trying to familiarize yourself with this new and uncanny world of literature can seem daunting at first. Well, have no fear! This volume of “Quintessential Comics” should hopefully give you a good place to start. These titles are in no particular order and some contain mature content, so be advised. Okay then, let’s get started.

Watchmen

Watchmen book cover

Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” almost has to be on this list if only for the fact that it is one of the most recognizable and influential graphic novels to date. Set in an alternate Earth timeline in which the United States is on the brink of World War III with the Soviet Union, this graphic novel contains a grittiness unlike any other work of its kind. With pencils by Dave Gibbons and color by John Higgins, this work really captures the “realness” of the world in which the story takes place. With their help, Moore manages to create a bold world in which the heroes might not always win and even if they do, it begs the question, “Does the end justify the means?” If you’re looking for something raw, or just want a change of pace from most comics, be sure to check this out.

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come book coverThis one makes the list for two main reasons. First, the artwork by Alex Ross is some of the best I’ve seen. His style perfectly captures the iconic nature of the heroes and the battle of good versus evil. Second, it holds a special place in my heart. This graphic novel is one of the first that I read back in high school and remains one of my favorites to this day. This one also takes place in an alternate timeline, but in a future where metahumans (individuals with powers) are running rampant across the globe, and the heroes of the golden age have all but retired. What happens in a world where Superman himself has lost hope in humanity? If you want to find out, pick this one up at your library.

Saga

Now, this entry technically can’t be classified as a singleSaga book cover graphic novel, as it’s a series of comics that is still running. However, it’s such a wonderful series that I can’t leave it off this list. Have you ever wondered what Romeo and Juliet would be like if it took place in space? Well, look no further. Full of rich character development, action, suspense and that very awesome sci-fi/fantasy mix, “Saga” is sure to keep you captivated for the long haul. I can’t think of a series that I’ve read in recent memory that rivals the extent to which this work fleshes out its characters. If this one sounds like something you’d like, stop by the library for more blaster fire, space travel and romance than you can handle.

Maus

Maus book cover

I can’t imagine creating a “Top Five” list for graphic novels and not including this title. Creator Art Spiegelman delivers a tale of the anguish brought about by the Holocaust in a format unlike any you’ve seen before. This one is framed by an interview with Spiegelman’s father, accounting his experiences during the war. By depicting the Jewish characters as mice and the Nazi soldiers as cats, Spiegelman evokes emotions that I feel are unique to this method of storytelling. The first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, “Maus” has since been praised by critics, in addition to gaining its academic merit. Anyone who believes that graphic novels can’t be powerful needs to give this one a read.

Persepolis

Persepolis book cover

Rounding out this list is another moving tale featuring a young girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. Categorized as a graphic autobiography, this piece by Marjane Satrapi really brings something new to the table. Accompanying beautifully simplistic black and white panels, this poignant story effortlessly captures the tumultuous period of adolescence amidst such a harrowing event. Don’t miss out on this one.

 

Image credit: Sam Howzit, Comic Books via Flickr (license)

Nonfiction Roundup: November 2017

Posted on Monday, November 6, 2017 by Kirk

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

TOP PICKS

Promise Me, Dad book coverPromise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose” by Joe Biden

This chronicle of the vice president’s experiences in the most momentous and challenging year of his life describes how in 2015 he struggled to balance the requirements of his job with the realities of his eldest son’s failing health, a challenge marked by international crises, his growing friendship with Barack Obama and his deepening perspectives on his family ties.

Bunk book coverBunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists,Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News” by Kevin Young

The award-winning author traces the history of the hoax as a distinct American phenomenon, exploring the roles of stereotype, suspicion and racism as factors that have shaped fraudulent activities from the heyday of P. T. Barnum through the “fake news” activities of Donald Trump. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: November 2017”

Debut Author Spotlight: October

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 by Katherine

Here’s a look at some of the most exciting books being published by first-time authors in November.

The Last Mrs. Parrish” by Liv ConstantineThe Last Mrs. Parrish book cover

Philanthropist Daphne Parrish and her husband Jackson live a life of wealth and power — the life that invisible Amber Patterson craves. Her envy of Daphne drives her determination to manipulate her way into the life she deserves. Amber insinuates herself into the family’s life, befriending their daughters and becoming Daphne’s friend and confidante all the while growing closer to Jackson. But when a part of her past is revealed, her carefully constructed plan threatens to crumble around her.

 

Mr. Dickens and His Carol book coverMr. Dickens and His Carol” by Samantha Silva

In this charming imagining of how Dickens came to write “A Christmas Story,” Charles Dickens is having a difficult Christmas: his latest novel isn’t selling and his publishers are demanding that he write a Christmas story to keep them from losing money. Dickens reluctantly sets out to write the story, but finds he has no idea where to begin. A late night walk during which he encounters an unlikely muse brings back his Christmas spirit and sparks the inspiration he needs to write the holiday classic.

Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: October”

October 2017 LibraryReads List: Top 10 Books Librarians Love

Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 by Kat

LibraryReads logoI’m so excited to share with you October’s LibraryReads list — one of my favorite authors (Alice Hoffman) is releasing a new book! We also have a perfectly-timed book about the traditions surrounding death that looks incredibly interesting, and, interestingly enough, a book by Tom Hanks (yes, that Tom Hanks) about typewriters. Enjoy!

Seven Days of Us book coverSeven Days of Us” by Francesca Hornak

“The Birch family will be spending the Christmas holiday in quarantine, thanks to eldest daughter Olivia’s recent relief work in a disease-infested Liberia. She has returned to England but must be in quarantine for seven days. This family has never spent that much time in each other’s company. Each person has secrets that are slowly revealed over the course of the seven days. It is particularly interesting to watch them become the family that they should have been all along: supportive and loving. An enjoyable read.”
~Cheryl Braud, Iberia Public Library, New Iberia, LA Continue reading “October 2017 LibraryReads List: Top 10 Books Librarians Love”

The Gentleman Recommends: Kea Wilson

Posted on Monday, October 16, 2017 by Chris

As a professional book recommender, I’m constantly recommending books. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys the same sorts of books I do, so I must resort to asking what sorts of books a person likes before I can offer my precise recommendation. Over and over again, I hear, “I want a work of fiction about a fictional movie that’s inspired by the making of the film ‘Cannibal Holocaust.’ Also, it needs to have a subplot about a socialist revolution that intersects with the main plot in perfect but horrifying fashion,” they’ll inevitably say. Prior to reading “We Eat Our Own” by Kea Wilson, I could only offer tearful apologies and some of the candy I keep in my pockets: I knew of no such book. Now, however, I can enthusiastically recommend “We Eat Our Own” by Kea Wilson, and keep my candy.

We Eat Our Own book coverWilson’s novel follows several different characters. We start with “Richard,” whose name is in quotes because he’s only referred to by the part he’s playing until near the end of the novel. “Richard” is an unknown American actor who is brought into the production because having an American actor lowers distribution costs, and the previous American actor abandoned the project because there was no script. Also, crucially, he is the same shoe size as the departed actor. As it’s set in the ’70s, he has no reliable and civilized way of informing his girlfriend of his immediate departure, so he writes a note that she won’t see for weeks, and makes his way to South America. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Kea Wilson”

Escape the Haunted Library!

Posted on Monday, October 9, 2017 by Anne

rendering of old book with magnifying glassOn a dark and stormy October night, a group of travelers find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere after their van breaks down. Fortunately, they realize they are just down the street from a library. The library surely has a phone they can use to call for help.

Entering the library, they are greeted by its librarian, who introduces herself as Elsie. She welcomes them to make themselves at home, but warns that with the stormy weather the power is out and phones aren’t working. A few lanterns throughout barely light the space. The dark library is spooky and Elsie seems nervous and on edge, but with the storm raging, the travelers decide it will be safer to stay. Continue reading “Escape the Haunted Library!”

Literary Links: Spooky Reads

Posted on Sunday, October 8, 2017 by Chris

The reader’s urge for a scary book rises as Halloween looms, whether due to a desire to embrace spooky customs, or due to the wish for an absorbing thrill to distract and perhaps inoculate oneself from the menace of roving gangs of masked children demanding candy. Your local library yearns to slake this thirst. The following books are, of course, just a few of the thousands of scary fictional titles you can find at the Daniel Boone Regional Library. If none of these strike your fancy (maybe you’d rather read a nonfiction account of the end of the world or something about clowns), we can find one that does. Either way, one thing is certain: no one at the library will try to take your candy unless you’re being really messy.

Passage book coverOf course, you could always read one of the thousands of novels by Stephen King, but perhaps you just want to read something a lot like Stephen King. Try “The Passage” by Justin Cronin. The first book in a trilogy, “The Passage” shows society’s collapse at the hands and fangs of vampires and then jumps forward to an era when floodlights and walls are mandatory if you wish to survive. In a refreshing twist, there is very little romance ascribed to the vampires. Continue reading “Literary Links: Spooky Reads”

Nonfiction Roundup: October 2017

Posted on Monday, October 2, 2017 by Kirk

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

TOP PICKS

Grant book coverGrant” by Ron Chernow

This biography is a meticulously researched portrait of the complicated Civil War general and 18th President, challenging the views of his critics while sharing insights into his prowess as a military leader, the honor with which he conducted his administration and the rise and fall of his fortunes.

 

We Were Eight Years in Power book cover

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This book is a synthesis of the historic Barack Obama era featuring essays originally published in “The Atlantic,” including “Fear of a Black President” and “The Case for Reparations,” as well as new essays revisiting each year of the Obama administration. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: October 2017”