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Staff Pick: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Barb B. staff picks photoThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak is superbly written almost in a poetic way. In 1939 Germany, Death has never been busier, yet it’s captivated by a young orphan who learns to find comfort in the written word. After the Nazis burn the town’s books, Liesel steals from the mayor’s own library and shares with a Jewish man hiding in her home. You will not be able to put this book down because of its award-winning writing.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on September 2, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, Picks by Barb B., Staff Picks

Nonfiction: Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong

Super Graphic book coverIf Guardians of the Galaxy has increased your appetite for fun with heroes, villains, and sharp images, Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe is just the companion you need. Tim Leong has combined imagination and analytics in a wild collection of graphs, charts, and tables that explores in glorious geeky detail the trivia that thrills true fans. Vibrantly colored infographics decipher the many affiliations of the Marvel universe or even the convergences of the big three superhero tropes. The diagrams aren’t limited to cape-wearers, so you’ll find data on stories as different as Persepolis, Tintin, and The Walking Dead. Rich with clever design and bold geometric definition, Super Graphic allows you to bask in the small details that add up to larger-than-life adventures.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on September 1, 2014 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Humor, Nonfiction

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

Cover of The Matchmaker Cover of Ten Percent HappierCover of Mr. Mercedes

The Matchmaker  by Elin Hilderbrand
10% Happier by Dan Harris
Mr. Mercedes  by Stephen King

Cover of The Snow QueenCover of Unlocking PotentialCover of A Triple Knot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham
Unlocking Potential by Michael K. Simpson
A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

 

New: Fantasy and Sci-fi

The Book of Life Book CoverCover of Fool's AssassinCover of The Magician's Land

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
• The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

Cover of Dark LightningCover of Lock InCover of Cibola Burning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Lightning by John Varley
Lock In by John Scalzi
Cibola Burn by James A. Corey

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on August 29, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, New Arrivals

Fiction: The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow

Cover image of The Girl Who Fell from the SkyEleven- year-old Rachel is the sole survivor of a horrific tragedy claiming the lives of her mother, brother, and sister. With a father too grief-stricken to take care of her, Rachel is sent to live with her grandmother in Portland, Oregon. For the first time Rachel, who is biracial, deals with racism from all different members of her community. Woven in with Rachel’s coming-of-age tale is the story of the emotional events leading to the family’s tragedy and the rippling effect of decisions big and small. Peppered with heartbreaking insights and vivid imagery, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow is an absorbing story about survival, the mistakes humans make, family, and the role race has in identity.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on August 28, 2014 Categories: Books, Literary

Book Discussion Questions: The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

House on the Strand book cover

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

 

Title: The House on the Strand
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Page Count: 298
Genre: Literary fantasy, Gothic fiction, Time travel
Tone: Mysterious, Atmospheric, Suspenseful

 

1.  Were you caught up in the book right away? Did you find it hard to follow?

2.  How did you feel about the narrative moving back and forth between time periods? Several critics have commented on the immense skill with which du Maurier keeps tension on both levels. Would you agree?

3.  Which time period /storyline did you find more interesting?

4.  What was your opinion of Richard, the narrator?

5.  Being the straight-laced man that he was, why did Richard try Magnus’ drug in the first place?

6.  How would you characterize the relationship between Magnus and Richard?

7.  What differences were there in the ways Magnus and Richard approached the experiments?

8.  Why do you think Roger was used as the link/guide/alter ego?

9.  Why did John Willis corroborate Richard’s testimony at the inquest?

10.  How important to the story is Vita? Why so?

•  Did you like her? Feel sorry for her? Were you increasingly annoyed by/with her as Dick was?
•  How would you characterize Richard and Vita’s relationship? Why is this so?
•  Why didn’t Richard tell Vita about the drug, especially after she became suspicious of him having an affair and acting so erratically?
•  In Latin, “Vita” translates as “life”. Do you think this was an intentional choice for du Maurier? What might this understanding add?

11.  Did you trust Dr. Powell? Was he right to release Richard when he did?

12.  What was the allure for Richard to keep going back to the past?

13.  Would you agree that this is a “story of addiction”? If so, was he addicted to the drug itself or to the stories he witnessed?

14. Was Richard actually time-traveling or merely hallucinating?

•  Were you satisfied with Dr. Powell’s theories at the end of the book?
•  If it were the drug, why did Magnus and Richard travel back to same period?

15.  Would you say the tone of the story is approving? marveling? objective?

16.  What did you think of the end of the book? Was it satisfying to you?

•  What really happened to Richard?
•  Du Maurier once wrote, “What about the hero of The House on the Strand? What did it mean when he dropped the telephone at the end of the book? I don’t really know, but I rather think he was going to be paralysed for life. Don’t you?” Does her statement surprise you?

17.  This book was written in 1969. Is the subject still topical? Would you recommend this book to others?

18.  How do du Maurier’s descriptions deepen and reinforce the themes in the novel?

19.  Growing up, du Maurier disliked the expectations and limitations of being a girl. How well does she write the male perspective? What other attitudes toward society are revealed in her story and characters?

20.  Du Maurier’s only disappointment with The House on the Strand was that a film version was not made. It was her favorite of all her books, and she had written it almost as a film script. Do you think it a story that could be successfully adapted as a movie or miniseries?

 

Other Resources

Daphne du Maurier author site
author interview from Kilmarth, a central location in The House on the Strand
BBC article:  “Walking in du Maurier’s Footsteps”
“The Cornwall of Daphne du Maurier”, originally published in British Heritage magazine

 

If you liked The House on the Strand, try…

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Distant Hours book coverThirteenth Tale book cover    Outlander book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on August 27, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Literary

Staff Pick: Little Murders

John staff picks photoAdapted from Jules Feiffer’s play, 1971’s Little Murders is a pitch-black paranoid satire which follows a couple and their supremely dysfunctional family through an absurdly (and disquietingly) chaotic New York City.  Don’t miss Donald Sutherland’s legendary extended cameo as an unorthodox wedding officiant.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on August 26, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Picks by John, Staff Picks

Fiction: There Is No Lovely End by Patty Templeton

There Is No Lovely End book coverIt all begins with Hester Garlan, a spitfire outlaw who sees the dead. After a mid-jailbreak encounter results in an inconvenient pregnancy, her sensitivity to rogue spirits is transferred to her child, a son she can’t abandon fast enough. When she discovers her second sight is gone, Hester sets off to trade the boy’s life for her gift’s restoration. Meanwhile, a young woman unsuited to expected society roles is thrown together with the founder of the Winchester rifle empire, and though there is a mutual attraction, happily-ever-after may not be in their tea leaves. There Is No Lovely End by Patty Templeton is a debut that drips with acid-tongued banter, tintype settings, and otherworldly imaginings. It’s a modern take on an old-fashioned tale, and you’ve never read anything quite like it.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on August 25, 2014 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Horror

New: History, Current Events, and Popular Culture

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: History and Current Events

Redeeming the Dream book cover

Double Agent book cover

Dog Who Could Fly book cover

• Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality by David Boies and Theodore B. Olsen
Double Agent by Peter Duffy
The Dog Who Could Fly by Damien Lewis

Spy Among Friends book cover

Virtual Unreality book cover

America_Imagine a World Without Her book cover

• A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre
Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It’s True? by Charles Seife
America: Imagine a Life Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza

New: Popular Culture

Greta Garbo the Mystery of Style book cover

Yeah Yeah Yeah book cover

Brandos Smile book cover

Greta Garbo: The Mystery of Style, edited by Stefania Ricci
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé by Bob Stanley
Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work by Susan L. Mizruchi

Stand Up Straight and Sing book cover

Not to Be Missed book cover

Man on the Run book cover

Stand Up Straight and Sing! by Jessye Norman
Not to Be Missed: 54 Favorites from a Lifetime of Film by Kenneth Turan
Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s by Tom Doyle

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on August 22, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Fiction: The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts book coverDescribed “as fresh as it is terrifying” by Joss Whedon, The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey is not your average post-apocalyptic story. Every day 10-year-old Melanie wakes up in a prison cell, gets a gun pointed to her head while she is strapped into a wheelchair, goes to class, and then is taken back to her cell. This life is all Melanie knows until she is thrust to the outside world and learns answers to questions she never thought to ask. A study of humanity, power, and making hard decisions, anything can and will happen in this lyrically-written, tense novel.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on August 21, 2014 Categories: Books, Horror

Staff Pick: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Donna S. staff picks photoThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is the tale of a man who owns a bookstore and loves only books. One day a baby is abandoned in his shop and slowly his life changes. Treat yourself to a heartwarming celebration of the stories in each of our lives.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on August 19, 2014 Categories: Books, Picks by Donna, Staff Picks