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Fiction and Nonfiction: Awards Spotlight

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.  This week we invite you to check out a winner!

Are you drawn to the adventure and panorama of the West?  Try one or more of the Spur Awards honorees:

Light of the World book cover

Crossing Purgatory book cover

Spider Woman's Daughter book cover

Best Western Contemporary NovelLight of the World by James Lee Burke

Best Western Traditional NovelCrossing Purgatory by Gary Schanbacher

Best First NovelSpider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman

 

Have a taste for distinguished American writing?  Read a newly minted Pulitzer Prize winner:

Goldfinch book cover

Toms River book cover

Margaret Fuller book cover

FictionThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

General NonfictionToms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

Biography or AutobiographyMargaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall

 

Which titles have the respect of their peers?  The Los Angeles Times Book Awards are chosen by working writers to celebrate how reading is an essential way of connecting with and understanding the world in which we live:

Tale for the Time Being book cover

Cuckoo's Calling book cover

We Need New Names book cover

FictionA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Mystery/ThrillerThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Art Seidenbaum Award for First FictionWe Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

 

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

By Readers' Advisor on April 18, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Lists, Literary, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Fiction: Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll

Before I Burn book coverIn 1978 an arsonist started a fire spree in a small town in southern Norway. Ten buildings were sent to cinders – some empty, some not, though luckily no one died. The arsonist’s last fire was set the day after a baby boy was christened in a local church. Thirty-years later, this boy, narrator Gaute Heivoll, seeks to find who the arsonist was through interviewing remaining townspeople. Before I Burn is an atmospheric autobiographical mystery where the question of who is somewhat simply solved, but the question of why creates compelling reading. Somewhat bleak and strangely energetic, Before I Burn is a mystery for people who don’t normally read mysteries.

By Readers' Advisor on April 17, 2014 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Staff Pick: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Cathleen Staff Picks photoNeed a vacation?  Let the honeyed voice of Edoardo Ballerini whisk you to a remote Italian villa in Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.  Entwining the past story of a bewitching extra on the set of Cleopatra with that of contemporary film production team, this Audie Award-winner offers a fascinating mental getaway.

By Readers' Advisor on April 15, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Audiobooks, Books, Picks by Cathleen

Movies and TV: The Garden of Words

Garden of Words DVD coverA chance encounter in a lush public garden brings two misunderstood souls together, and silent companionship becomes a refuge for both.  Takao is a teenage student eager to escape the classroom and begin a creative career.  Whenever it rains, he skips his morning class in order to sketch in a small botanic shelter.  It is there he meets Yukino, a young professional woman who cannot bear to go to work and who soon finds herself looking forward to their unplanned meetings.  In The Garden of Words, filmmaker Makoto Shinkai calls on a symphony of intense colors, stuttered time, and simple but expressive gestures to create an ode to unconventional friendship.

By Readers' Advisor on April 14, 2014 Categories: Art, Movies and Television

New: Audiobooks, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Audiobooks

Black-Eyed Blonde audiobook cover

Talk Like Ted audiobook cover

Empress of the Night audiobook cover

  – The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black

  – Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

  – Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak  

  – You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty by Dave Barry

  – Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

  – And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass

  – My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

  – All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

New: Fantasy and Sci-fi

Waking Engine book cover

Flight of the Silvers book cover

Wild Things book cover 

  – Waking Engine by David Edison

  – Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price

  – Wild Things by Chloe Neill

  – Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard

  – The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

  – Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

  – Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

  – Like a Mighty Army by David Weber

By Readers' Advisor on April 11, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, New Arrivals

Nonfiction: Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Linda J. Amendt

Gluten Free Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond book coverLiving a gluten-free lifestyle does not mean that you have to forgo the loveliness of waffles, pancakes, and other scrumptious breakfast stuff. In Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond Linda J. Amendt showcases short, simple-to-follow recipes with full-color photography. In addition to recipes, Amendt gives tips and lists on what everyday ingredients can have hidden gluten. Your mouth will water over the cinnamon pecan bread, cranberry orange scones, and sour cream coffeecake. With 100 recipes that range from kid-friendly French toast to savory stratas, Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond will be a hit with everyone in your home.

By Readers' Advisor on April 10, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

My Stroke of Insight book cover

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points, if you have not read the book.

 

Title: My Stroke of Insight
Author: Jill Bolte Taylor
Page Count: 183
Genre: Medical Memoir
Tone: Fast-paced, popular science

 

1. Why did the Jill Bolte Taylor want to write My Stroke of Insight? What response do you think Taylor wants out of her readers?

2. Who can benefit from reading this memoir (or other medical memoirs)? Do you think medical memoirs are important, why or why not?

3. What are other must-read medical memoirs?

4. What was the most surprising thing you learned about having a stroke in My Stroke of Insight?

5. Do strokes only affect the elderly? How old was Taylor when she had her stroke?

6. What made Taylor want to go into brain science? How did she continue her brain science career after her stroke?

7. What did you think of the pace of this book? Was it a fast read for you?

8. Were there any chapters you would cut? Was there anything about Taylor’s stroke or recovery you wanted to hear more on?

9. Have any of you seen Jill BolteTaylor’s Ted Talk? How was hearing her story live a different experience than reading it?

10. What are the warning signs of having a stroke? (p. 26)

11. When and how did Taylor realize she was having a stroke? (p. 37) How big did her blood clot end up being? (p. 35)

12. At one point, Taylor talks about her thinking process like this:

“…I visualize myself sitting in the middle of my brain, which is completely lined with filing cabinets. When I am looking for a thought or an idea or a memory, I scan the cabinets and identify the correct drawer. Once I find the appropriate file, I then have access to all of the information in that file.”  (p. 48)

Do you have a similar thought process? How does your thought process differ from Taylor’s?

13. Taylor sometimes refers to thoughts as “brain chatter”. How do you calm your mind when your brain chatter is going in overdrive? Has My Stroke of Insight given you any techniques to quiet brain chatter?

14. How long did it take Taylor to call for help, once she realized that she was in physical harm? Why did it take her so long to call for help? Who does she end up calling?

15. When Steve and Taylor arrived at Mount Auburn Hospital, staff put Taylor in a wheelchair and then put her in the waiting room. Were you surprised by this? Did Taylor have to wait long, why or why not?

16. Taylor says, “Despite the overwhelming presence of the engulfing bliss of my right mind, I fought desperately to hold on to whatever conscious connections I still retained in my left mind.” It is a striking realization, that something that feels beautiful and light could be so harmful. Were there any other passages in this book that felt powerful to you?

17. What does the right brain mainly control? What does the left brain mainly control? How are they different?

18. How many years did it take for Taylor to recover from her stroke? (8 years – p. 35)

19. Who helps Jill Bolte Taylor recover from her stroke? Does this person live-in with her? How would Taylor’s outcome been different if she did not have a support system?

20. What other lucky breaks did Taylor have in her recovery? (Rose Hulman Institute of Technology hired her to teach anatomy in her 2nd year of recovery, p. 126)

21. What are a few of the 40 things Jill Bolte Taylor said she needed most when she was recovering from her stroke? (Appendix B)

22. Taylor said, “…I learned that I had the power to choose whether to hook into a feeling and prolong its presence in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.” (p. 120)  and then goes on to explain that it takes 90 seconds for a feeling to physically run through your body, causing a negative or positive response. If it takes only 90 seconds for a first wave of anger to exit the body, why do so many people stay angry for years?

23. Does Jill Bolte Taylor see herself as completely recovered? (p. 131)

24. Have you ever felt a deep inner peace like Taylor talked about? What helps you get to that mindspace?

25. Did Jill Bolte Taylor have a typical stroke experience? Does a typical stroke exist? Do you think this book will help stroke victims and their friends/families?

26. Are you an organ donor? Would you consider donating your brain?

 

Other Resources

My Stroke of Insight website
Jill Bolte Taylor’s TedTalk
Oprah interview
RealitySandwich interview
Jill Bolte Taylor’s list of 40 Things Need for her Recovery

 

If you liked My Stroke of Insight, try…

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly book cover     The Brain That Changes Itself book coverLeft Neglected book cover

By Readers' Advisor on April 9, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: Baby’s in Black by Anne Bellstorf

Colleen staff picks photoIf you are a fan of The Beatles, then you will definitely want to pick up the graphic novel Baby’s In Black.  Working closely with Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe’s girlfriend, Bellstorf packs an emotional punch with black-and-white drawings that detail “the lost Beatle’s” short but impactful time with the band.

By Readers' Advisor on April 8, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Art, Books, Music, Picks by Colleen

Staff Pick: The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn’t Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew

De-Textbook book coverSteve from Research Services recommends The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn’t Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew by Cracked.com:

The De-Textbook is full of lists that will blow your mind. You’ll find out how little you know about real ninjas, Puritans, Thomas Jefferson, why you lay awake at night, and velociraptors. One interesting fact is that the symbol of the modern anarchist movement is Guy Fawkes, a supervillain who wanted to blow up the English king and Parliament. You’ve seen his pointed moustache on a thousand protest masks. In actuality this man was no anarchist. Guy Fawkes wanted to install a much more conservative government ruled by the Pope. He’s been misappropriated by a movement that doesn’t understand what he wanted. But then, most everything any of us think we know about most anything is probably wrong, and this book will astound you out of ignorance.

By Readers' Advisor on April 7, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Books, Humor, Nonfiction

Fiction: The Left Coast Crime Awards

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

This week we invite you to check out the winners of the 2014 Left Coast Crime Awards. Each year this mystery fan convention selects a clever theme and then honors the most appealing in several wonderfully specific categories. Here are your Calamari Crime Winners: 

Good Cop book cover

Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses book cover

The Lefty:  Best Humorous Mystery NovelThe Good Cop by Brad Parks

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award:  Best Historical Mystery Novel Covering Events Before 1960Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses by Catriona McPherson

Ordinary Grace book cover

How the Light Gets In book cover

The Squid:  Best Mystery Set within the United StatesOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

The Calamari:  Best Mystery Set Anywhere Else in the WorldHow the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

 

By Readers' Advisor on April 4, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Humor, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense