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!”
The 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”
This time of year brings summer weather and a whole new month’s worth of debut fiction. There are some exciting titles by new authors that came out in May and, as always, you can find a longer list of debut titles in our catalog.
“Song of Blood and Stone” by L. Penelope
The magical barrier—known as the Mantle—separating the enemy lands of Elsira and Lagrimara is about to fall. Both countries face the threat of impending war, but also that of an ancient evil known as the True-Father which seeks to conquer them both.
Gifted with the power of Eathsong, Jasminda is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira where her dark skin marks her Lagrimaran descent. Jack is an Elsiran spy who is trying to warn Elsira about the eminent collapse of the Mantle and the threat of the True-Father. As Jasminda and Jack work together to protect their home and reinforce the Mantle, their professional alliance becomes personal even as they are faced with political and social opposition.
Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: May 2018”
There has already been a list made for this Read Harder Challenge task but I couldn’t help myself. I had to make ANOTHER list! This is one of my favorite categories, and there’s just so much out there! The category is so broad, too.
Do you want a book about nature but maybe just the nature in your own backyard? How about “Grace From the Garden” by Debra Landwehr Engle? There is something about being elbow deep in dirt — it’s very grounding. Or maybe it’s not grace you’re looking for, but something else from the garden. How about “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Drinks” by Amy Stewart? Amy will lead you on a world tour of plants, flowers and fruits with plenty of history and fun facts about the things we love to drink. But I must warn you, you might end up a little thirsty.
“Drunken botanists? Given the role they play in creating the world’s great drinks, it’s a wonder there are any sober botanists at all.”
“The Drunken Botanist” by Amy Stewart
Continue reading “A Book About Nature: Read Harder 2018”
This September, our community will have the chance to dive into a work of true crime that explores a dark chapter of U.S. history involving the murder of Osage Indians in 1920s Oklahoma. David Grann’s National Book Award finalist, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” beat out “News of the World,” a post-Civil War historical fiction by Paulette Jiles, when both titles were put to a public vote earlier this year.
Before the vote, a reading panel of community members considered 10 books in all. The list included science fiction, westerns and nonfiction and addressed a wide array of timely topics, from race to consumer habits to mortality. Here is an overview of the remaining eight finalists. Continue reading “Literary Links: One Read Finalists 2018”
As I am writing this blog, sheets of rain are pouring down — the perfect time to talk about or read a mystery. Read Harder 2018 challenges you to read a mystery by a person of color and/or a LGTBQ author, and I have a few to recommend. We have a more extensive list in our catalog if none of these make you want to curl up under your covers with a cup of hot tea.
If you like the mystery genre, but feel the stories are all starting to sound the same, try Rachel Howzell Hall’s “The Land of Shadows.” Hall begins this series about Detective Lou Norton, a female detective who is investigating the death of a 17-year-old girl in gritty South Los Angeles. The death of this girl strangely mirrors the disappearance of Norton’s teenage sister 25 years ago. The author really shines in the development of her characters and the community in which they live. With snappy dialogue, brisk pacing and just enough plot twists, this is a refreshing new voice in the police procedural. Continue reading “A Mystery By a Person of Color or LGBTQ+: Read Harder 2018”
Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this June. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
“First in Line” by Kate Anderson Brower, the best-selling author of “First Women” and “The Residence,” explores the lives and roles of 13 vice presidents of the modern era, from Richard Nixon to Mike Pence, discussing the complicated relationship between president and vice president and how this connection influenced each vice president’s political future.
For all the scores of biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the most famous detective in the world, there is no recent book that tells this remarkable story — in which Conan Doyle becomes a real-life detective on an actual murder case. In “Conan Doyle for the Defense“, Margalit Fox takes us step by step inside Conan Doyle’s investigative process and illuminates a murder mystery that is also a morality play for our time — a story of ethnic, religious and anti-immigrant bias. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: June 2018”
If you thought Summer Reading was only for kids, I’ve got some news for you! The Daniel Boone Regional Library is challenging adults to read three books, submit three book reviews and do seven fun, library-related activities. Complete the challenge, and beginning July 5, you’ll receive a prize. You’ll also be entered into a drawing for other fun rewards including an Amazon Fire tablet or a book store gift card.
Step One: Register for the Adult Summer Reading Challenge. Download a reading record to help you keep track of your reading, reviews and activities.
Step Two: Read three books and submit three book reviews.
Step Three: Complete any seven of these activities: Continue reading “Adult Summer Reading 2018: Libraries Rock!”
Beginning May 22, PBS is hosting The Great American Read, “an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels.” (Sorry nonfiction readers.) To choose the 100 novels, a public opinion poll surveyed approximately 7,200 people and the list was narrowed to the top 100 responses, filtering for just one title per author and combining series titles into one. You can find the list of 100 here. Over the course of the PBS series, there will be a nationwide vote to choose one book as America’s most loved novel.
I was surprised about many of the books on the list and wondered how in the world they made it. There are many on the list that I love and many that I just really didn’t like. I have seen, in post after post, people say they think they have to read them all. I have personally read 55 of the 100, and I will probably try to read a few more during the course of the series, but I resist the inclination to HAVE to read all of them. There are some that I just have no interest in reading. So, I have come up with a few alternatives. Continue reading “The Great American Read: Some Alternate Reads”
It’s May, the season for flowers, graduations and assessing your progress on the Read Harder Challenge. I’m sure there are a handful of overachievers who have zipped through all 24 categories on the checklist already. The rest of us, however, still have several titles to curate. Here are a few suggestions for challenge number three — a classic of genre fiction.
Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” has also been published under the title “Blade Runner.” It has inspired a movie, a TV show and a series of graphic novels. The novel is an android-filled contemplation on the nature of consciousness. Sort of. Any androids reading this? If you were an android, would you know?
“The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. Le Guin is a book about walls: physical, psychological and social. The story begins with a physicist crossing a wall that contains the only “no trespassing” sign on his entire planet. Le Guin’s science fiction has space ships and cool technology, but it’s less about the wow factor of the technology than about its effect on societies and individuals. Continue reading “Classics of Genre Fiction: Read Harder 2018”
It’s neat when a novel reminds you of the practically limitless possibilities of fiction. It’s also neat when it reminds you of the practically limitless possibilities of reality. If you’d like to be reminded that one can not only write a fictional account of a race of super-intelligent monster dogs, but that, given the time, brilliance, resources (robot arms, 19th century Prussian fashion, etc.) and willingness to ignore a slew of ethical concerns, one might even create a race of super-intelligent monster dogs, read “Lives of the Monster Dogs” by Kirsten Bakis.
As a gentleman who is nearly as enthusiastic about dogs as I am about cravats and monocles, Bakis’ debut novel seems engineered to appeal to me. But while there are plenty of dogs dressed in the fashion of 19th century Prussian aristocrats, there is also a fair bit of animal murder, human murder and gruesome experimentation. One cannot build a race of dog soldiers without first trying and failing to attach wings to a squirrel or swapping the rear and front legs of an unfortunate cow. So, a century before the monster dogs make their home in Manhattan, Augustus Rank experiments wildly on all sorts of critters. Fortunately for the reader, rather than follow this path to its natural culmination of serial killing, Rank begins to achieve success and earns a patron. His patron funds him, and eventually, as an adult, Rank sets up an outpost in the Canadian wilderness where he can nurture a cult, mandate that the cult maintains 19th century Prussian customs, and continue to follow his dream of creating a race of dog super soldiers complete with robot arms and robot voice boxes. Though he dies before achieving his goal (but not before promising he would return from the dead when the time was right), his followers eventually complete his goal for him. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Kirsten Bakis”