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.
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”
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.
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.
I’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!
“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, LAContinue reading “October 2017 LibraryReads List: Top 10 Books Librarians Love”
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.
Wilson’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”
On 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!”
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.
Of 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”
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.
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”
“Homesick For Another World” is a brilliant collection of short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh and a common affliction. It is certainly an affliction suffered by the characters that populate her stories. Some might describe her characters as losers and find themselves unable to understand how anyone but a loser or an aficionado or losers would enjoy these stories about drug users, sexual deviants, bulimics, body modifiers, bad actors, crooked Catholic school teachers, and one young girl who longs to murder the specific person whose death she believes will open up a portal to “a better place,” the place she’s always known she belongs. Well rest assured, having achieved the status of runner-up in dozens of eating contests, this gentleman is no loser, and this gentleman found these stories, despite the relative scantness of their plot, fascinating and absorbing. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Ottessa Moshfegh”
On September 18, 1937, the world was introduced to Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” The world didn’t pay adequate attention, and the title went out of print for years. A 1978 reprinting brought the book recognition as an American classic. Alice Walker and Zadie Smith both cite Hurston as an influence.
Hurston grew up in Eatonville, Florida, a town established and run by African Americans. It serves as setting for much of her novel. She went to New York for an anthropology degree from Barnard College and stayed for the Harlem Renaissance, with trips back to the south for story collection and research.
Author William Claassen will be speaking about his new book “Risks” on September 14 at the Columbia Public Library. One of Columbia’s many nationally recognized authors, Claassen has authored four books and one play in the last two decades, along with numerous articles. “Risks” is Claassen’s first true memoir, recounting a life spent traveling, learning and performing humanitarian works across the globe. Among many common themes that stand out in these books is the initial influence of Thomas Merton’s classic autobiography “The Seven Story Mountain” on Claassen’s life and how it led him to take a different path. Continue reading “Author William Claassen”