Sometimes you read a book that’s so good you want to recommend it every month, or at least quarterly. (But then you reflect on the swarms of rabid library blog readers and their hunger for fresh recommendations and the quiet disappointment they would feel should the same recommendation with slightly different wording and a varying quantity of references to the recommender’s fondness for snacks and monocles be what greets them as they enthusiastically “ask Jeeves” to retrieve the latest recommendation from “that book recommending gentleman,” and the recommender realizes, variety, even when what varies pales in comparison, can be useful, particularly in diets and reading material, and so you do the noble thing, and recommend a different author, at least until the author of that astounding novel you want to constantly recommend writes another book deserving of the recommender’s unhinged enthusiasm.) “A Naked Singularity” the first novel by Sergio de la Pava is such a book. Fortunately, his third novel, “Lost Empress,” is similarly magnificent, and so now I can recommend it and him again.
Devoted DBRL blog readers will no doubt remember de la Pava’s bio, and thus how massively deserving he is of his talents and success, but I will deliver a brief version: he is a public defender in New York, and he writes big, brilliant novels when he’s not publicly defending people for a slim fraction of what he could make if he was privately defending corporations. Given that he is a public defender, it’s logical that the justice system plays a large role in his fiction, and it’s even more logical that he would enumerate on the horrifying injustice that dominates our justice system. What might not seem logical is how his enumerations on injustice could be simultaneously compelling, hilarious and heartbreaking. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Sergio de la Pava (again)”
Summer reading is coming to a close here at the library and back to school season is just around the corner. I find myself thinking back to my high school days and how this is the exact time where I’d be playing last-minute catch-up on those pesky books assigned for the new school year. Those books assigned back in May? Yeah, those will get read eventually — I’ve got fun reading to do first! This August, I find myself in the same predicament. I’ve already completed most of my most enjoyable or “easy” tasks for the Read Harder Challenge, and I’m beginning to tackle some of the more difficult ones. For obvious reasons, I’d been dreading task 24: An assigned book you hated or never finished. Rereading loathed literature feels like punishment, but at best, the task may help you gain a new appreciation for the book. So in the spirit of the season, here are some books people are commonly assigned in school, and may have hated or left unfinished. Note: This task is super subjective and not intended to offend anyone’s personal tastes!
Continue reading “Assigned Books You Hated (or Never Finished): Read Harder 2018”
Many different cultural and historical threads intersect in David Grann’s outstanding work of investigative history, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The rich combination of subjects, page-turning story and quality writing makes this book an excellent choice this year for One Read, Daniel Boone Regional Library’s community-wide reading program.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is about a little-known chapter in American history when members of the Osage Nation ranked among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The discovery of oil beneath the Oklahoma land where they had been relocated led to immense wealth. But, by the 1920s, the tribe had suffered a series of mysterious deaths and outright murders that attracted the attention of a nascent FBI. Grann traces the course of the investigation and uncovers further information about this dark episode in American history. If you have already read and enjoyed Grann’s book, the following titles might interest you as well. Continue reading “Literary Links: Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Children of Blood and Bone” is a stunning YA debut from Tomi Adayemi. The book takes readers into an alt-West Africa, where magic users have been repressed into near-extinction by a brutal monarch. Zélie Adebola might be her peoples’ last hope, but she’ll need the help of a princess-gone-rogue. Too bad the princess’s rogue brother is out for her blood.
This book flies by in a flurry of quick pacing and excellent world development. Despite being a fairly standard hero’s journey, complete with magical MacGuffins, the unique setting and well-developed characters keep it fresh. But be warned: this book is brutal. People die. Children die. There’s more than one torture scene. Every time our heroes take a breath, a new tragedy comes crashing down. And it ends on a cliffhanger — please come soon, book two!
Three words that describe this book: Brutal, diverse, gripping
You might want to pick this book up if: You’ve got a strong stomach and you want to support Black voices in YA.
Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this August. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
“Fly Girls” by Keith O’Brien traces the story of five women, including Amelia Earhart, who successfully fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s.
Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: August 2018”
The heat gives us the perfect excuse to sit inside and read, and with these new titles, I can think of nothing else I’d rather be doing. August brings us sci-fi, crime fiction, magic and love, among other things. Check out this month’s LibraryReads: the top 10 books librarians across the country recommend.
by Christina Dalcher
“In the future world depicted in ‘Vox,’ women are limited to speaking 100 words per day. Readers will want to shout every word in their heads, hoard every book in their libraries and second guess the words of every person in their lives. A captivating, timely book that explores women’s rights in a fast-paced, compelling story.”
~Jennifer Gaenzle, Fort Fairfield Public Library, Fort Fairfield, ME Continue reading “August 2018 LibraryReads”
Here are some new titles by debut authors to help you get through this heat wave. Best read with a cold glass of lemonade in hand. For a longer list, please visit our catalog.
“City of Lies” by Sam Hawke
Jovan’s uncle is the poison master — responsible for detecting poisons and developing antidotes — for the Chancellor of Silasta. Jovan grew up being slowly poisoned as he trains to fill the same role as his uncle for the Chancellor’s heir, Tain. But Jovan is forced to step into his uncle’s shoes far too soon when an unidentified poison kills both his uncle and the Chancellor. Jovan must now keep Tain alive amid political intrigue, rebellion and betrayal.
“Fruit of the Drunken Tree” by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Bogotá, Colombia during the reign of drug lord Pablo Escobar is a violent, dangerous place, but young Chula and her older sister Cassandra live sheltered lives in their gated community. Then their mother hires a live-in maid from the slums — 13-year-old Petrona — and their two worlds collide, exposing Chula and Cassandra to the conflict and danger outside their gates.
Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: July 2018”
Anyone receive one of those new electric pressure cookers for Christmas? Still haven’t tried it? Now might be the best time to give it a go. With the ability to sauté, steam, slow and pressure cook (among other functions), you can make almost anything without heating up the kitchen. The icing on the cake? Only having one pot to wash out when you are done.
I did receive one for Christmas, but it took me a few weeks to try it. I grew up hearing pressure cooker horror stories — lids flying off and putting holes in ceilings, serious burns and huge messes. Needless to say, I was a little intimidated. I tried my first recipe with the oversight of a nuclear scientist handling an extremely volatile substance. And all it took was one recipe to make me a believer. I took kidney beans from dry to thoroughly cooked in 30 minutes. Unbelievable! So as the summer heat forces a more pared-down style of meal preparation, I encourage you to check out some of the books below to begin your love affair with minimalist cooking and electric pressure cookers. Continue reading “Too Hot to Turn on the Oven!”
I’m excited to share these LibraryReads with you! There are a lot of thrillers to check out this month, but if that’s not your cup of tea, fear not, there’s something for everyone. Check out these newly-published librarian favorites:
by Naomi Novik
“A wonderful reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin story. A tale of love, family, magic and destiny, told from the perspective of three strong female characters.”
~Melanie Liechty, Logan Library, Logan, UT
Continue reading “July 2018 LibraryReads”
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.
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.
Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Nicole Krauss”