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Blog Post

Out in the Open

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:14pm

Jesús Carrasco's debut novel Out in the Open, offers a fresh take on primal survival.

Carrasco's novel opens with an unnamed boy hiding in a hole. If the boy is found, the hole could become his grave. We follow the boy as he runs from malignant forces. At first, the reader is not sure who the boy is running from, or why.

The boy travels through a desolate and unforgiving expanse; he struggles to find food and water. Eventually the boy meets a goat herder who helps him. The characters develop a relationship, and a ray of hope sprouts from Carrasco's somber story. The connection between the goat herder and the boy is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the novel. However, it is memorizing to follow the characters on their daily struggle to survive; it certainly makes our lives seem effortless in comparison.

Jesús Carrasco is from Spain. Out in the Open was originally written in Spanish. Margaret Jull Costa translated the text into English. Carrasco's novel has now been published in more than twenty countries and has received many accolades. Out in the Open won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2016, as well as an English PEN award.

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Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #660

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 2:51pm

Reviewers are calling The Last Mrs. Parrish * * * by Liv Constantine (pen name of sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine) a "devilishly ingenious debut thriller." (Publishers Weekly)

Amber Patterson deserves more, definitely more than her impoverished upbringing, her dead-end jobs and the constant worry about money. She set her sights on Daphne and Jackson Parrish, a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut who is living the privileged life she wants.

Meticulously clever and ruthlessly manipulative, Amber moves to Bishops Harbor, and plots to insinuate herself into Daphne's life, and through her, to Jackson, the handsome, powerful real estate mogul. Before long, Amber is traveling to Europe with the Parrish family; and when she finds out Daphne’s failure to give Jackson a male heir is the main source of tension in the marriage, she knows what she needs to do to become the next Mrs. Parrish, that is as long as the skeleton in her closet does not lay waste to all that scheming.

Halfway through, the narrative is picked up by Daphne, and the readers will get a surprisingly different take on the story. Well, let's just say some women get everything and some women get everything they deserve.

"With a plot equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train, this is sure to be a hit with suspense fans."(Library Journal)

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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Blog Post

From Costume Contest to Island Adventure

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 4:14pm

This new book by Peter Sís is another dreamy and beautiful childhood recollection, featuring a fantastical trip to the world of Robinson Crusoe. Sís recalls a touching story of dressing up like the shipwrecked hero, falling sick, and journeying to a deserted island. There, as depicted in page after page of Sís’s detailed illustrations and rich watercolors, young Peter lives a peaceful and quiet life with his animal friends. Did he imagine the whole thing or did he really journey there and discover a new land?

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Writing & Publishing

Emerging Writers: Writing and Review Meet-Up

Monday February 19, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:45pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Writing & Publishing

Emerging Writers: Writing and Review Meet-Up

Monday January 29, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:45pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Blog Post

PreK Bits - "Q" is for Quiet

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:37pm

This week Ms. Rachel presented stories that needed quiet.
SLEEPYHEADS ... where every quiet creature lays their sleepy head. Wait! One little sleepyhead is not in their bed!
Ms. Betsy played guitar and Ms. Rachel led the Quiet/Loud action song "Wake Up You Sleepy Heads".
You can hear the "Sleepy Heads" song on the recording SING IT! SAY IT! STAMP IT! SWAY IT! ... along with more favorite childhood songs!
The SQUEAKY DOOR had a Grandma putting her Grand-children to bed in the big double bed. It was time for quiet.

For more books that find "quiet" try the following favorites:
QUIET BUNNY'S MANY COLORS ... find them in the garden.
The QUIET BOOK ... very thoughtful, lovely prose, and beautiful gentle illustrations.
SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN ... who needs to be quiet?
TIPTOE JOE ... tiptoe to be quiet.
HANK FINDS AN EGG ... on a quiet walk in the woods. What shall he do?
The FAMILY BEDTIME TREASURY: Tales For Sleepy Times and Sweet Dreams ... a treasure trove in one book!
BEDTIME FOR BEAR ... with a "small but effervescent" overnight guest. Delightful storytelling and illustrations!
Find a cozy space.
Good Night!
Sleep Tight.

When you wake up the next day .... sing along with Joanie Bartels and MORNING MAGIC songs.

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Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #659

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 9:23pm

Seven Days of Us * * by Francesca Hornak, is a sharply observed and ultimately satisfying holiday story.

For the first time in years the entire Birch family will be spending Christmas together under one roof, no thanks to elder daughter, 32-year old Olivia, a disaster-relief physician who just spent 6 weeks in Liberia fighting an Ebola-like Haag epidemic. The family decides to ride out the one-week quarantine at Weyfield Hall, their dilapidated country estate.

Thrown together with little to occupy themselves, and cut off from the outside world (even their Wi-Fi is spotty at best), all their disagreements, resentments, and secrets, both old and new, come bubbling up.

Father Andrew, a restaurant critic secretly hates food, and longs for the glory days as a globe-trotting war correspondent. Mother Emma is trying to shield her family from the cancer diagnosis so they could enjoy their time together. Olivia's secret relationship with a fellow doctor could potentially be dire for the whole household. Younger, and unabashedly frivolous, Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding while secretly having second thoughts about her fiance George. None of them are prepared for the charming stranger who turns up at the door - Andrew's son from a one-night stand while on assignment in the Middle East.

"Hornak writes with a sense of irony and an eye on today's social issues... Fans of contemporary English stories such as those by Jane Green or Jenny Colgan will enjoy this novel about the shaky recovery of family bonds." (Library Journal)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Blog Post

An unusual debut

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:38pm

In a literary world full of “5 under 35 lists” and authors publishing first novels in their 20s, Leah Weiss is something of an anomaly. Her debut novel, If The Creek Don’t Rise was written after her retirement from a 24 year career as the executive assistant to the headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School. In it she introduces us to the harsh and difficult life in a small town in Appalachia in the 1970s. This can be a dangerous place, a world of violence and cruelty, especially for women. Weiss presents this community through a profuse range of voices, voices with their own dialect, particular to these mountain ranges.

The chapters in Weiss’ book, each narrated by a different individual, read like a collection of connected stories, offering a unique and varied glimpse of Baines Creek, a remote haven in an unspecified state. As a newcomer to Baines Creek, teacher Kate Shaw, one of Weiss’ strongest characters, describes it as “barely a crossroad, a dot on a map. It’s remote, embraced by natural beauty, and riddled with hardships,” with “poverty the likes of which I’ve never imagined except in the books of Dickens and Brontë sisters.”

The cast of players in this secluded town represents all facets of personality and morality, and an internal view of even the most vile characters unveils some vulnerability. We are able to see why Prudence Perkins, the reverend’s spiteful, spinster sister, is so mean spirited, and to learn from where intense cruelty is born in the heart of an abusive bully, Roy Tupkin.

If there is a main character in If The Creek Don’t Rise, she is Sadie Blue, the wife of Roy. Her voice provides bookends, she starts the first and last chapters with the same sentence, within which she demonstrates one woman’s path to a better place in a town that so often resists change. Ultimately this is Sadie Blue’s story, provided to us by a chorus of voices from those who know her, but we get to experience so many other memorable folks from Baines Creek along the way.

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Blog Post

Thor: Ragnarok!

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 2:55pm

Thor: Ragnarok arrives in theaters today, making now the perfect time to revisit your favorite Thor materials! The movie is already generating quite a buzz and has received rave reviews (with a 93% rating, it's currently Rotten Tomatoes' best reviewed comic book film ever!).

A great place to start are the previous Thor movies, including Thor and Thor: The Dark World, as well as his appearances in The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. For younger kids who aren't quite ready for the Marvel movies, Thor is featured in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (there are multiple volumes of this series, including Vol. 5 and Vol. 6).

For adult readers, some of the original Thor comics are included in the anthology series The Essential Thor Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 and Vol. 4. Many of these original stories also appear in The Mighty Thor: Omnibus collection. More recent additions to the Thor universe include God of Thunder Vol. 1 (Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 are also available), Lord of Asgard, Bringers of the Storm, Godstorm, and Thor Vol. 1 (Vol. 3 is also available). Currently, a woman has taken on the title of Thor in The Mighty Thor: Thunder in her Veins.

There are awesome Thor graphic novels in the Teen section, including Wolves of the North and The Lost Gods. A mysterious female Thor has also taken the lead in The Goddess of Thunder and Who Holds the Hammer?.

Kids have a variety of Thor books to choose from as well. Younger children will like gentler Readers such as The Trouble with Thor and These are the Avengers. Older kids can enjoy comic books like Thor: The Mighty Avenger Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Mini Marvels: The Complete Collection. Books for kids about the Avengers include The Avengers: The Ultimate Guide and The Avengers: The Movie Storybook. We also have several comic books based on Norse mythology, such as Thor and the Giants and Thor and Loki (also available in Spanish).

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Blog Post

Franklin's Flying Bookshop

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:23am

Franklin's Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell reminds you that every once in a while it's nice to read a book about reading. A book that makes you want to shout from the rooftops: HEY EVERYONE, BOOKS ARE SO MAGICAL AND FUN AND AMAZING!

The beautifully illustrated pages and delicate language tell the tale of Franklin, a dragon who loved to read inside his cave. He reads about everything! Stories about electricity, baking, kung fu, vikings, music, and spiders - by firefly light while sipping on tea. One day he ventures out to read stories to others, without much luck - until he happens upon a young girl named Luna who loves dragons and books. They are two peas in a pod who both feel they are "made out of stories."

The story takes a twist, they do some building, and decide to bring their wonderful books to the masses via a flying bookshop perched upon a dragon. It's a great little picture book to read with the kiddos.