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The Friend

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 10:02am by Lucy S

The FriendThe unnamed narrator of Sigrid Nunez’s new novel, The Friend, is in mourning for her best friend. He has left her an unexpected inheritance in the form of his elderly great dane, Apollo, who is also deeply bereft. What follows is a unusual tale of a new friendship, an exploration of grief, and an examination of the writing life. Though the novel looks closely at the pain of loss, it is not without humor, as might be elicited by life with a giant dog and his daily habits. As Nunez’s narrator and the narrator’s late friend are both writers, her book is as much about this as it is a pet tale. By my count, there are at least 58 writers in these 212 pages, novelists, poets, playwrights, philosophers, whose mention adds to the depth of thought and the richness of the story. This is not a book of action, but of reflection, the narrator speaking mostly to the friend she has lost and occasionally to the dog she has gained. The Friend is a beautiful, deeply moving novel, Nunez’s 7th, but the first of her’s that I’ve read. I have some catching up to do!

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Survival Fiction for Kids

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 3:11pm by manz

horHorizon, by Scott Westerfeld, is the first book in a newer chapter book series that upper elementary and middle school readers will enjoy if they're into suspense and characters in survival mode. Here we have a group of kids who survive a plane crash and end up in a deadly jungle with little way out, and threats all around them, including each other. Book two Horizon: Deadzone is written by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and features a new location and new threats to watch out for. 

If survival stories sound good you'll also enjoy the Stranded series by Jeff Probst, host of Survivor, the TV show. And here's a list of even more survival fiction titles. 

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Almost Midnight, by Rainbow Rowell

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 9:30am by manz

RainbowIf you have been waiting patiently for more work by Rainbow Rowell, this might tide you over. Wait, who is this Rainbow person? She writes amazing teen and adult fiction novels. Almost Midnight: 2 Festive Stories have both been in print before, but are here in a cute little gift edition book with amazing illustrations by Simini Blocker. I was thrilled to hold this tiny blue sparkly book in my hands. It contains two short stories: Midnights and Kindred Spirits.

I really enjoy Rowell's writing, especially the dialog, and these stories were in the same vein as her previous works. In Midnight we see Mags and Noel's friendship develop over several New Years Eve parties. And in Kindred Spirits we have a young girl waiting in line outside with strangers to see the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Both stories are short and sweet, and feature characters I'm glad to have met. 

The author has other projects up her sleeve, so it'll be a while before we get a new novel. In the meantime, if you haven't read any of Rowell's teen or adult fiction books... check out Eleanor & Park, Landline, and Attachments, then read Fangirl and Carry On

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The Wes Anderson Collection

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 5:31pm by SamanthaR

Cover of bookThe Wes Anderson Collection is a series of 3 books showcasing Anderson's iconic films. These books are a must read for any Wes Anderson fan!

The first book in the series, The Wes Anderson Collection, is a retrospective of Anderson's career. Containing an interview running throughout the book, it begins with Anderson's childhood and covers everything from the people he's worked with to his inspirations. The second volume, The Grand Budapest Hotel, focuses on the movie, and includes stories and anecdotes from set, photos of set inspiration, and a variety of essays from film critics to style and costume consultants for the film. The third volume, Bad Dads, is a showcase of fan art from over 400 different artists. The art celebrates characters from Anderson's movies.

Isle of Dogs, Anderson's latest film, is in theaters now. Look for it at the library when it's released on DVD/Blu-ray!

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STEP

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 5:06pm by Lucy S

STEPAmanda Lipitz’s outstanding documentary STEP is worth making time to watch. It follows the development and progress of a step team at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, and features a close-up look at the lives of several members of this team. Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger, and Tayla Solomon all have different reasons for joining the team (or in Blessin’s case founding it) and different hopes and trajectories for their senior year at this charter school that aims to send 100% of its graduates to college. What these three young women share is their dedication, determination, and incredible skill when it comes to step, where they give their all, both mentally and physically. The scenes featuring tense rehearsals and captivating competitions, and the vulnerability that Blessin, Cori, Tayla and others are willing to share with viewers, combine to make a powerful and moving film. STEP was highly awarded. A few of its accolades include a Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary in 2018.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #666

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 11:03am by muffy

Paris_MetroDrawn largely from her articles for The New Yorker, war reporter Wendell Steavenson’s debut novel Paris Metro was initially intended as a nonfiction book about the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre, until the November attacks happened.
Catherine (Kit) Kittredge, an British-American reporter, traversed the Middle East following 9/11, filing human interest stories from some of the most dangerous geopolitical hot spots. She met Ahmed Solemani, a Westernized Iraqi diplomat in Baghdad. After their wedding, they moved to Paris where Ahmed began working for the UN. A divorce followed, but not before Kit was left to raise Little Ahmed, his son from a previous marriage, alone. In the company of a makeshift family of diplomats, photographers, and artists, these “two mongrel outcasts brought together by fate” became a family of two. When they lost a friend at Charlie Hebdo, and Kit witnessed firsthand terrorists storming the Bataclan Theatre, she began to distrust those closest to her - her husband, and her own son.

“With unflinching realism and complicated, captivating characters, Steavenson tackles the turbulent realities of the war against terror by diving deeply into the history and motivations of the people waging their own personal battles in search of the truth.” (Booklist)

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My Hero Academia

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:08am by ngop

My Hero AcademiaEver wanted to know what it would like in a world where everyone has a superpower? Want to know who people are referring to when they say "Green Naruto"? My Hero Academia follows a world where most people develop supernatural abilities known as Quirks. Izuku Midoriya, Deku for short, dreams to be a hero as well. There's just one little problem standing in Deku's way. He's Quirkless, and the chances are slim. Determined, Deku dedicates his time to studying in hopes that he can join a high school for heroes. 

Although Deku is definitely not a ninja and nowhere related to the Naruto series, his story is full of adventure and inspiration. I highly recommend watching the series.

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Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 8:29pm by -alex-

Cover image - two people holding a dark box in an eerily lit roomThis lush, beautifully rendered graphic novel is guaranteed to keep you glued to the page.  Miles Hyman's adaptation of Shirley Jackson's classic short story packs an entire small town's worth of tension and detail into 135 slim pages.  All is not as it seems in the American heartland, and the reader will encounter more than they bargained for. 

You'll find Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" in our teen graphic novel section. Follow the links for a review from Hyperallergic and an excerpt Literary Hub.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #665

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 6:50pm by muffy

Laura_emmaOne of the most anticipated book of spring 2018, Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead is “a sly, charming debut...a beguiling addictive read.” (People)

The way single, thirtysomething Laura got pregnant in 1981 sets the tone for this original take on the mother-daughter novel. Emma is the product of a one-night stand with a burglar while house-sitting for her parents. Considered herself to be progressive, liberal, (& proud to be unfashionable), Laura nevertheless raised Emma the only way she knew - penthouse apartment, private school, summer at the shores, all with the help of a healthy trust fund and Upper East Side connections. When Emma developed into an independent young woman, it seems more in spite of her mother rather than because of her. “This is a thoughtful novel of trying to find oneself despite an assigned place in the world.” (Publishers Weekly)

Not far away in Waterbury CT, another mother-daughter duo struggles with similar issues under drastically different circumstances. In Brass* * *, debut novelist Xhenet Aliu draws on her own life to tell the story of 2 generations of an immigrant family - the mother-daughter connections; resilience; and dreams that endure despite the odds. (* * *= 3 starred reviews)

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Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary!

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:13am by Lucy S

RamonaToday, April 12, marks the 102nd birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary. This “living legend” is the creator of many timeless and memorable characters such as Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse and my personal favorite, Ramona Quimby. I spent countless hours with Ramona as a child, but it was through reading Cleary’s books to my children that I came to truly appreciate Klickitat Street and all its residents. Mr. and Mrs. Quimby set a wonderful example of how to raise a spirited child. They are some of my most admired literary parents. Cleary herself was a late reader as she was raised in a small Oregon town without a library. Once she mastered reading she spent the rest of her childhood with books and was inspired to create the kind of stories she wanted to read, but couldn’t find. For that I would like to say thank you to Beverly Cleary and Happy Birthday!