Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2016 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.
“The Silent Sister” follows Riley, a girl in her early 20s, who just lost her father. She is left to deal with his estate with little help from her mentally ill and disabled veteran brother. While doing so, she uncovers a lot of family secrets and discovers things about herself she had never known before. I liked this book because it kept me entertained. I had figured out some of the ending early on, but there was still a twist within that ending, and I liked that. The characters were well-developed and each held a piece to the puzzle. Continue reading “Reader Review: The Silent Sister”
Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released in January. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
“The Lost City of the Monkey God” by Douglas Preston
Bestselling author Douglas Preston joins a team of scientists on an exciting and treacherous journey to the rain forests of Honduras in search of the ruins of a mysterious, ancient metropolis. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: January 2017”
Hopefully during these busy last days of the year, you’ll be able to take a few moments for yourself. I can’t think of a better way to spend that time than with a good mystery and a cozy blanket, with cup of hot cocoa in hand. Here are a few cozy mysteries I highly recommend:
Agatha Christie is the first author who comes to mind when I think “cozy mystery.” Time after time, she flawlessly pulls together a masterful whodunit that you simply cannot put down. If you’ve never tried her books, “And Then There Were None” is a great introduction to the Queen of Mysteries. This stand-alone mystery is a gripping read that finds 10 strangers on an island off the coast of Britain in 1939. When they start dying off, the hunt is on to find which one of them is actually the murderer. Continue reading “Mysteries to Keep You Cozy”
If you attended public school, you may have forgotten that there are many different kinds of schools out there educating students in a variety of different ways. Take a look at some of these unusual schools, and see how they touch the lives of their students.
“Boys of Baraka” (2005)
Twenty “at risk” 12-year-old boys from the tough streets of inner-city Baltimore leave home to attend Baraka, an experimental boarding school located in Kenya, East Africa. Here, these brave kids begin the daunting journey towards putting their lives on a fresh path. This documentary was directed by award-winning filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. Continue reading “Alternative Learning: Docs About Unusual Schools”
I lived for a very brief time in Italy. I guess that it should come as no surprise that Italians do Christmas very differently than we do here in the United States, but I was stunned. I loved seeing the presepi (nativity scenes) everywhere. They were so intricate and HUGE! They showed entire villages in miniature, including bakers with a pizza ovens and oxen with carts. Many were built on the side of the road or into cliffs. They were beautiful! And while the Italians have Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) who might bring a small gift, it was Befana (a kind, but ugly, witch who rides on a broomstick) that brought most of the presents on the Epiphany (also known as Three Kings’ Day, January 6). Continue reading “Happy Holidays: A Look at Different Winter Holidays”
It is understandable that the average American is pressed for time, what with all the vacation butlers take, and the various board meetings, galas and cocktail hours that beckon so vigorously. So, as you study the 12 recommendations this gentleman has made in 2016 searching for the one that is most worthy of your limited reading time, consider this a clue: The GENTLEMAN’S ULTIMATE RECOMMENDATION for 2016 is “The Nix” by Nathan Hill.
I’d like to write a few thousand considered and enthusiastic words about how great this novel is, but because I must prepare for a gala, I’m going to plagiarize myself from an article printed in last week’s Columbia Tribune and quote from the book. The quotes from the novel should be sufficient to persuade you that Nathan Hill has written a genius novel, and lazily plagiarizing myself should convince you that thoughts of the impending gala are thoroughly distracting me. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Nathan Hill”
I’ve never been very good about keeping New Year’s resolutions. Life gets in the way, and promises that I’ve made to myself can no longer be kept for a variety of reasons. So, this year I’ve made “End of the Year Intentions” (leaving out the word “resolution”), with the vague starting point of around mid-December. This way, I can hit January 1, 2017 running. Why not make this holiday season the healthiest and happiest ever? The library has some good resources to help you along that path.
In my extended family, we have at least one vegan, two vegetarians, two pesco-pollo vegetarians and many red meat eaters of various degrees. My saint-like parents, both in their early 70s and still incredibly vigorous, host a phalanx of in-laws, kids, grandchildren and others during Christmastime, and they cook as best they can to suit all their guests’ needs. This holiday, keep the cooking simple, healthy and easy, and follow some of the fantastic recipes in Isa Moskowitz’s “Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook.” I’ve suggested this delicious cookbook as a resource for the common family denominator and to support healthy eating habits. Continue reading “Healthy Holidays: Start Your New Year Early”
The days are shorter, the air is colder and holiday stress threatens to overwhelm holiday cheer. Distractions that provoke laughter, or at least inward chuckles, are in order. A satirical novel (or two), could be just what you need to divert your attention from your heating bill and anything else that ails you.
“Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown and Company, 1996) is encyclopedic in size and scope, and satire features heavily among the hundreds of ideas battling for attention in its thousand-plus pages. Years are no longer represented numerically, but by whichever corporation has secured their naming rights. Much of the novel’s events take place during the “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.” And while “Infinite Jest” may not have forecasted the reach of the internet, it did take time to satirize the pull of entertainments. Specifically via the cartridge known in the novel as “The Entertainment,” a video so fatally compelling that its viewers become unable to do anything but repeatedly view it. It can be a challenging book, but it’s also bursting with pleasures and heart. Continue reading “Literary Links: Satire”
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Presented at the True/False Film Fest in 2016, this film focuses on the compelling stories of the Sherpas, the Nepalese mountain climbing guides who risk their lives to provide for their families. Director Jennifer Peedom set out to uncover tension in the 2014 Everest climbing season from the Sherpas’ point of view and instead captured a tragedy when an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpas. Continue reading “New DVD List: Sherpa, Particle Fever & More”
If life were fair, Shirley Jackson would have lived to a ripe old age and given us a dozen more books. Because life isn’t completely unfair, her influence lives on in the works of writers such as Neil Gaiman and Suzanne Collins. Jackson was born 100 years ago on December 14, 1916 and died unexpectedly of heart failure in 1965, at the age of 48. In that span of time, she managed to create a substantial collection of groundbreaking literature while simultaneously raising four children. All without a wife to help her.
Her experience of family life led to two memoirs of the snort-your-coffee variety. “Life Among the Savages” and “Raising Demons” are the forerunners of Erma Bombeck’s books, only with more edge. They need to be read as products of their time, as all of the adults smoke and nobody wears a seat belt. But many of the issues she coped with will still resound with parents today: playing musical beds when the whole family is sick, sports equipment everywhere, dealing with the IRS. Continue reading “Classics for Everyone: Shirley Jackson”