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Fiction: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Cover of How to Build a GirlJohanna Morrigan is a dumpy fourteen-year-old from a working class family in England, but not for long. After embarrassing herself on television, she has decided to reinvent herself into Daisy Wilde, a brilliant, funny, and beautiful music reviewer. Within two years she has made a name for herself as one of the most feared reviewers in the alternative/rock music scene. Even though she has become the hardcore girl she dreamed of, she knows her work in forming herself is not done. Refreshingly authentic,  Johanna unapologetically shares everything from her sex adventures to her failed attempts at humor. Set in the early 90s, How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran is a sure bet for the reader looking for an insightful and gritty coming-of-age tale.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 27, 2014 Categories: Books

Fiction: Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas book coverAs much as we enjoy our modern luxuries, there’s something about Jane Austen’s era that keeps us coming back for more. It seems a simpler, less harried, and more genteel time, and especially around the holidays that may truly appeal. What would the Christmas season have been like for the author herself? Stephanie Barron imagines exactly that in Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, but she also throws in a dead body or two. No need to worry that our heroine will swoon; the very qualities that make her a keen observer of character also lend themselves to identifying motive, and she is no stranger to inquests, this being her twelfth mystery. Exquisite historical detail and hints of characters that will come to be make this a gift-wrapped read for any self-respecting Janeite.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on November 24, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

List: November 2014 Indie Next List

What does a spy thriller set in Africa have in common with a book about the conservation of endangered birds? The recommendation of a bookseller working at an American independent bookstore! Every month IndieBound releases the Indie Next list. This list is made up of new books from all different genres recommended by an independent bookseller. As a result, the list is an eclectic mix of titles for readers to check out.

Recently, the November 2014 list was released. Check some of the titles out below:

Cover of Being MortalCover of The Remedy for LoveCover of Just Mercy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
The Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Cover of Fire Shut Up in My BonesCover of Crooked RiverCover of Jerry Lee Lewis His Own Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow
Crooked River by Valerie Geary
Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg
Cover of The Laughing MonstersCover of The ForgersCover of The Birds of Pandemonium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson
The Forgers by Bradford Morrow
The Birds of Pandemonium by Michele Raffin

Not interested in the titles above? Check out the entire list here and ask a Readers’ Advisor at the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor to find new and old titles tailored to your taste.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 21, 2014 Categories: Books, Lists, Literary, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: Unbored Games by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen

Cover of Unbored GamesThis winter season arm yourself with ideas to liven up the grey and bitter days with Unbored Games by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen. From the creators of Unboredthis small colorful book is bursting with variety, featuring over 70 games that range from online to offline and indoors to outdoors. Glenn and Larsen encourage creativity in their readers and follow suit, offering imaginative ideas such as Meditation Flowers to reduce stress, new takes on Rock Paper Scissors, a combination of competition and doughnuts in Doughnut on a String, and Cruel 2 B Kind which involves random acts of kindness. With little tweaking the games can be enjoyed by all ages, giving everyone the chance for a more fun winter!

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 20, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction

New: Historical Fiction and Romance

Every other 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: Historical Fiction Books

Cover of Expo 58Cover of Bitter GreensCover of Ballroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Ballroom by Alice Simpson

Cover of Sleep in Peace Tonight Cover of The Legend of Sheba Cover of The Hormone Factory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep in Peace Tonight by James MacManus
The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee
The Hormone Factory by Saskia Goldschmidt

New: Romance Books

Cover of JiltedCover of Indecent Proposal Cover of Change of Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jilted by Rachael Johns
Indecent Proposal by Molly O’Keefe
Change of Heart by Jude Deveraux
Cover of Never Marry a Viscount Cover of Unleashed Cover of the Zone of Interest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart
Unleashed by Rachel Lacey
The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 14, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, New Arrivals, Romance

Fiction: Outlaws by Javier Cercas

Cover of OutlawsA chance encounter in the late 1970s between lonely misfit Gafitas, gang leader El Zarco, and the beautiful Tere looks to be the beginning of a life of crime for Gafitas. However, the drugs, hookers, and thieveries don’t last long as a job eventually turns south and Zarco is thrown into jail. Flash forward twenty-five years. Gafitas is now a successful defense lawyer, Zarco is famously considered a Robin Hood of his day, and Tere has shown up in Gafitas’ office looking for help, pulling Gafitas into their world once again. Told entirely in dialogue between an interviewer and primarily Gafitas, Outlaws by Javier Cercas is an engrossing study of the blurry lines between fact and fiction, human motivation, and one unknowable man.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 13, 2014 Categories: Books

Staff Pick: 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

Photo of NancyIn Ernessa T. Carter’s spirited 32 Candles, Davidia Jones endures a tough childhood and then reinvents herself as a singer in Los Angeles.  When she runs into her high school crush, her attraction is back in an instant, but so is her memory of a hurtful prank.  When he pursues a romance, sparks fly.  Will she get the “happy Molly Ringwald ending” she’s always wanted?

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 11, 2014 Categories: Books, Picks by Nancy, Staff Picks

Fiction: When Mystical Creatures Attack! by Kathleen Founds

When Mystical Creatures Attack book coverLike most young teachers, Laura Freedman wanted to make a difference. She teased her students’ creativity with assignments such as “write a one-page story in which your favorite mystical creature resolves the greatest sociopolitical problem of our time.” Alas, she had her own demons to battle, and after a dramatic breakdown is committed to a mental health facility. Winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, When Mystical Creatures Attack! is a sparkling debut from Kathleen Founds. Each of the twenty-five linked mini-stories contains a magic of its own, and the sum total burns bright and true. Presented in letters, journal entries, assignments, and e-mails, the commentary may be humorous — even absurd — but the struggles are achingly real.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on November 10, 2014 Categories: Books, Humor

Nonfiction: Over Easy by Mimi Pond

Cover of Over EasyIt is 1978; hippies are out, punks are in, and art school dropout Mimi Pond has a new love: The Imperial Café. The staff is wild, the food is to die for, the customers are beautiful, and Pond wants in. Once hired, the reality of dishes, drugs, and social hierarchies rudely interrupts Pond’s romantic vision, and while she might not be playing the beautiful snarky waitress in this graphic novel memoir like she wants to, her eagerness and dirty jokes earn her a place in the crew. Using tones of green, Pond vividly watercolors a realistic snapshot of a west coast breakfast café filled with eclectic characters in Over Easy.

 

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 6, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: The Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer

Cover of The Dive From Clausen's PierTitle: The Dive From Clausen’s Pier
Author: Ann Packer
Page Count: 432 pages
Genre: Coming of Age
Tone:  Moving, bittersweet

Summary from publisher:

At the age of twenty-three Carrie Bell has spent her entire life in Wisconsin, with the same best friend and the same dependable, easygoing, high school sweetheart. Now to her dismay she has begun to find this life suffocating and is considering leaving it–and Mike–behind. But when Mike is paralyzed in a diving accident, leaving seems unforgivable and yet more necessary than ever. The Dive from Clausen’s Pier animates this dilemma–and Carrie’s startling response to it–with the narrative assurance, exacting realism, and moral complexity we expect from the very best fiction.

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

1. This is Packer’s first novel. Why do you think it has become so popular? What is the appeal?

2. Packer originally wrote this in the 3rd person, but then rewrote it in the first person. Would you have felt differently about the book had she left it in the 3rd person? How and why?

3. What contrasts did you find in the book, whether in personalities or in other areas?

4. What was the major theme or themes of the story?

5. Carrie asks the question on page 133, “How much do we owe the people we love?” How much do we owe them? How does she answer this question thru her actions in the book? Does her answer change throughout the book? How?

6. What are the different perceptions people have of Carrie’s going to New York? What are her perceptions?

7. Carrie is feeling guilty about leaving and she asks her mother, What kind of person does that make me? Her mother replies, the kind of person you are. You could just have easily have stayed. But that wouldn’t make you a good person any more than leaving makes you a bad one. You’re already made, honey. That’s what I mean. Are people defined by what they do, or by how others perceive them, or by neither?

8. Compare or contrast Mike and Kilroy’s characters. What attracted Carrie to both of them? Were you surprised to find out that Kilroy was forty?

9. What was Carrie’s relationship to Mike based on? What about your relationship to Kilroy?

10. Jamie and Lane are both Carrie’s friends but they are very different also. On page 254 Packer describes their relationships. Do you see a relation between the two female friend characters and the two lovers of Carrie? How?

11. What part does sewing play in the story? How does it change throughout the book?

12. How far can we escape our upbringing? How does that question relate to Carrie? How about to Kilroy?

13. Does finding out the mystery of his family, both meeting his parents, and finding out about his brother’s death explain who Kilroy is? Why or why not?

14. What makes Carrie finally return home? Does guilt or obligation make her decide to stay or is it something else – what? Is she settling, giving up or being true to herself?

15. At the end of the book Mike asks,
“We never would have gotten married would we?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “It was beginning to seem like not the best idea.”
“I think I know why,” he said. “It was like we already were married – we’d gone too far.” What does Mike mean by saying that? What went wrong or changed in Carrie’s and Mike’s relationship? Did Carrie or Mike change, or did their circumstances change, or both?

16. Envision an inverted version of the book written from Mike’s point of view in which Carrie had the accident. How might their lives have played out differently? What does this exercise reveal about their relationship and Carrie’s character?

Other Resources
Lit Lovers’ Discussion Questions
Reading group guide from publisher
Video of Ann Packer on writing
An interview with Ann Packer

If you liked The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, try…

Cover of SwimmingCover of Broken for YouCover of My Sister's Keeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming by Joanna Hershon
Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on November 5, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books