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Fiction: The 2014 Reading List 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.

Get your reading glasses on, because here we go!

This week we invite you to check out The Reading List, which honors outstanding titles in the most popular categories. Here are the featured winners, and you can follow the link for the other finalists and readalikes.

Red Sparrow book cover

Vicious book cover

Outcasts book cover    

     -  AdrenalineRed Sparrow by Jason Matthews
     -  FantasyVicious by V.E. Schwab
     -  Historical FictionThe Outcasts by Kathleen Kent

Last Days book coverMurder as a Fine Art book coverAny Duchess Will Do book cover
    

     -  Horror Last Days by Adam Nevill
     -  MysteryMurder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
     -  RomanceAny Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

Love Minus Eighty book coverMe Before You book cover

   

     -  Science FictionLove Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh
     -  Women’s FictionMe Before You by Jojo Moyes

By Readers' Advisor on March 14, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Horror, Lists, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Romance

Movies and TV: The Returned

Returned DVD coverA teenage girl clambers up a steep embankment and pulls herself over the guardrail of a twisty mountain road. She has awoken from a blackout, and the last thing she remembers is being on a school trip — a trip that ended in a tragic bus crash a full four years earlier. The Returned, a French series which emerges as a masterwork in eerie storytelling, purposely uncoils the accounts of those who mysteriously appear as if they have never been away. Inspired by the film Les Revenants, this fits easily in the current trend of stories which explore the dead returning, but none other does so with the same lyrical melancholy, the effect of which is enhanced by expert framing of tableaus and a haunting Mogwai score.

By Readers' Advisor on March 10, 2014 Categories: Horror, Movies and Television, Music, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

New: Audiobooks, Fantasy, and Sci-fi

Every Friday the Library will bring you two 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.

Get your reading glasses on, because here we go!

New: Audiobooks

Careful What you Wish for book coverGeek's Guide to Dating book cover

Orange is the new black book cover

•    Be Careful What you Wish for by Jeffrey Archer

•    Death of a Policeman by M.C. Beaton

•    Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann

•    Hidden Fires by Sandra Brown

•    Orange is the new Black by Piper Kerman

•    Someone by Alice McDermott

•    Private L.A. by James Patterson

•    Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

•    The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

•    Brooklyn by Colm Tolbin

 

New: Fantasy and Sci-fi

Shadow Ops: Breach Zone book cover

Influx book cover

Annihilation book cover

•    Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach

•    Shadow Ops: Breach Zone by Myke Cole

•    Autumn Rose by Abigail Gibbs

•    Dark Bites by Sherrilyn Kenyon

•    Red Delicious by Kathleen Tierney

•    Arcanum by Simon Morden

•    To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo

•    Influx by Daniel Suarez

•    Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

•    The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

By Readers' Advisor on February 21, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Horror, New Arrivals

Book Discussion Questions: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw 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 Turn of the Screw
Author: Henry James
Page Count: 134
Genre: Literary horror
Tone: Ambiguous, leisurely, literary

 

1. The job: to tend to two orphans in a country mansion full of rarely-seen servants with absolutely no oversight from the children’s remaining family. Do you think this job was unusual for the Victorian era? Why did the governess take the job? Would you have taken the job?

2. Is the Governess the first person to her position or were there others before her?

3. How would you describe the Governess as a person? Do you think she cared for the children?

4. What did you think of the children’s uncle? Do you think he cared for the children? Why do you think he never wanted to be contacted about their conduct or progress?

5. There are several unnamed characters in this book – the Governess and the Uncle. Why do you think Henry James never named them? Did you notice the characters were unnamed? What power does a name have?

6. Who is Mrs. Grose? Do the children trust her? Does the Governess trust her? Does Mrs. Grose trust the Governess?

7. The Governess has an ideal start with Flora and then Miles comes home from boarding school for the summer. A letter appears shortly after from Miles’ school saying he was expelled. Why was he expelled? Did the Governess talk to Miles about his expulsion? Why or why not? Would you have talked to Miles about it?

8. Did the Governess write Miles’ uncle about his expulsion? Why or why not?

9. What are other examples of people being vague or unnecessarily mysterious in The Turn of the Screw?

10. Who is Mr. Quint? Who is Miss Jessel? How were they connected to one another? How did the Governess first come across knowledge of Quint and Jessel?

11. Do you think the ghosts of Quint and Jessel were real?

12. Do you think the children saw the ghosts of Quint and Jeseel?

13. Was the Governess a heroic woman trying to protect the children from evil influence…or do you think she was hallucinating and losing her mind?

14. Why do you think the governess was so slow to write the children’s uncle? Did she ever actually write him? If she did, what happened to the letter?

15. Did the children write their uncle? What happened to their letters? Is there a reasonable explanation for why the Governess did not post them?

16. Did you find the children, Miles and Flora, to be lovely or sinister?

17. Did the children ever turn on the Governess? If so, how and why?

18. Miles asks the Governess when he is going back to school. It is here that we start to see his personality. What is Miles like? How does the Governess respond to his inquiries?

19. Corruption is a word often used by the Governess. What do you think this word means to her and to this story?

20. The Governess and Mrs. Grose find Flora playing outside. The Governess swears she sees the ghost of Miss Jessel across a stream from them. Can Flora see the ghost? What happens to Flora and the Governess’ relationship after this sighting?

21. Where does Mrs. Grose take Flora?

22. What happens between Miles and the Governess while Mrs. Grose and Flora are gone?

23. Do you think Miles’ death was an accident? Do you think it could have been averted?

24. What are words you would use to describe The Turn of the Screw? What genre is it?

25. What makes a good suspense novel? What makes a good horror novel? Did The Turn of the Screw make a good horror or suspense novel?

26. What is the meaning of the title?

27. Have you seen (and would you recommend) any of the movies based on The Turn of the Screw?

 

Other Resources

Random House book discussion questions
Goodreads reviews
The New Yorker review
SparkNotes for the book
Wikipedia page for the book

 

If you liked The Turn of the Screw, try…

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen

The Woman in Black book cover     The Haunting of Hill House coverThe White People and Other Weird Stories cover

By Readers' Advisor on January 15, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Horror

Nonfiction: The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary

Borden Tragedy graphic novel coverNow that the first photo of Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden has been released, you will want to read about the legendary crime for yourself. The final days of Graphic Novels Month is an opportune time to delve into The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder. The 21st Century has no monopoly on sensationalized true crime stories, and this volume of the Victorian Murder series illustrates the facts and questions as they are known. The heavy black frames and recurring use of patterned lines add to both the ominous tone and the historic feel. We may never know for certain who got away with murder that fateful day, but Rick Geary presents the case with startling clarity.

By Readers' Advisor on November 25, 2013 Categories: Art, Books, Horror, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Music: Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County album coverNo joke, John Mellencamp and Stephen King are friends. They even collaborated on a Southern gothic musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, about two brothers involved in a murder/suicide who haunt an isolated, Mississippi cabin. King wrote the play, Mellencamp wrote the music, and T. Bone Burnett put his haunting, roots rock stamp over the soundtrack, which features a devilish Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and more. Interspersed with dialogue from the play, the soundtrack gathers you into the story of ghost brothers Jack and Andy as they feud, die, and later watch their nephews step onto the same calamitous path of tragic love and family secrets.

By Readers' Advisor on November 14, 2013 Categories: Horror, Music

Horror for Every Appetite

Brood X book coverWant a gritty, dark horror novel? Last Days by Adam Nevill is the leisurely tale of an indie filmmaker shooting a documentary on the cult The Temple of the Last Days, all of whose members were murdered. As the shoot progresses, evil has awoken and people start dying.

How about literary, uncanny short stories? Try Nalo Hopkinson’s anthology of dark fantasy and horror, Mojo: Conjure Stories. Nineteen authors, from Neil Gaiman to Tananarive Due, explore the tricky, powerful, and dangerous nature of magic.
This Book is Full of Spiders cover
What about an unlikely monster? Brood X by Michael Philip Cash shows what happens when cicadas take over the world. Billions of cicadas wreak havoc on the electric grid, wi-fi, food, and water for Seth and his family in this original, fast-paced read.

Finally, how about something funny? This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong is a small town Armageddon in the form of giant, invisible spiders that only two hopeless, sarcastic heroes can see and fight.

Still not enough horror for you?

Click here for humorous horror novels.
Click here for horror short stories.
Click here for horror comics.
Click here for contemporary horror novels and here for literary horror.

By Readers' Advisor on October 31, 2013 Categories: Books, Horror, Humor, Literary

Ghosts and Gorey

Edward Goreys Haunted Looking Glass book coverGhosts in the graveyard. Knocks at the door when no one is there. Houses cursed with madness. In our experience, horror that is only hinted can be much more terrifying than outright gore. Let the masters add an extra thrill to otherworldly nights with Edward Gorey’s Haunted Looking Glass. Fall under the spell of “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs or of “The Dream Woman” by Wilkie Collins. Stories from none other than Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson will make you think twice about trusting your own eyes and ears. Each gothic chill is prefaced by one of Edward Gorey’s original creepy-cute illustrations. Whether you prefer the odd or the truly frightening, this collection will satisfy your hunger for spooky.

By Readers' Advisor on October 28, 2013 Categories: Books, Horror, Literary

LISTS: Art House Horror Movies

Make Out With Violence DVD coverThe term “art house” implies that a movie is more experimental or artistic than the blockbuster, popular norm. Art house films can be of any genre and look to stretch their audience, as well as entertain them.

Make your Halloween fangtasticly strange. Click here for art house horror films.

By Readers' Advisor on October 25, 2013 Categories: Horror, Lists

Literary Ghost Stories

Small Hand and Dolly book coverSusan Hill is the author of The Woman in Black, which was adapted into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. Her latest collection of haunting and dread is The Small Hand and Dolly. In The Small Hand, Adam gets lost on the way home from work and finds himself at a dilapidated Edwardian home. While wandering the garden, a cold, invisible hand reaches to hold his, and his life is never the same. In Dolly, Edward is sent to live with his aunt at her summer home. He finds that Leonora, his cousin, can throw furious, terrifying rages when she doesn’t get her way. If you like foreboding fiction with quieter rather than bloodier scares, try Susan Hill’s macabre novels.

By Readers' Advisor on October 10, 2013 Categories: Books, Horror