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Poetry: Sound the Deep Waters

Sound the Deep Waters book coverSpring — finally! — and with it, a renewed appreciation for beauty and promise. Tickle your eyes and ears with the soul-stirring Sound the Deep Waters: Women’s Romantic Poetry in the Victorian Age. Editor Pamela Norris has collected verse from both familiar wordsmiths (the Brontë sisters, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti) and those equally deserving but less renown. Each poem in this slim keepsake volume is mirrored in a lush illustration of Pre-Raphaelite painting. Grouped into timeless themes which celebrate the loves, delights, dreams, and sorrows of life, the lyrical phrases speak to kindred spirits as well as to quiet contemplation. Snuggle into a window seat and discover modern truths in classic words and vibrant portraits.

By Readers' Advisor on March 31, 2014 Categories: Art, Books, Literary

New: Historical Fiction and Romance

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!

New: Historical Fiction Books

Wives of Los Alamos book cover

Winter King book cover

Somerset book cover

 

•   The Wives of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit

•   The Winter King by Alys Clare

•   Somerset by Leila Meacham

•   The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott

•   Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble

•   Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

•   A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

•   Motherland by Maria Hummel

•   The Lion and the Rose by Kate Quinn

New: Romance Books

Betting the Rainbow book cover

Melting the Ice book cover

MacGregors Lady book cover

•  Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas

•   Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton

•   The MacGregor’s Lady by Grace Burrowes

•   Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

•   Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

•   True Love by Jude Deveraux

•   The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell by Paula Quinn

•   Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

By Readers' Advisor on March 28, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, New Arrivals, Romance

Movies and TV: Blackfish

Blackfish DVD coverTilikum is a 12,000 pound bull orca. He is blamed for the deaths of three people. Blackfish is a hypercritical documentary against SeaWorld and other marine parks like it. It explores Tilikum’s story through trainers and whale experts with a notable lack of involvement from SeaWorld executives, who refused to participate. With commanding cinematography Blackfish doesn’t shy away from showing the bleeding, living situations, and mental distress that leads these highly social creatures to turn dangerous. Though SeaWorld denies Blackfish’s claims, this documentary will force viewers to choose between attending and supporting marine-parks or boycotting them for their alleged animal abuse. If you liked The Cove or movies that make you reexamine your beliefs, try Blackfish.

By Readers' Advisor on March 27, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

Big Brother book cover

 

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

 

Title: Big Brother
Author: Lionel Shriver
Page Count: 373
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Tone: Issue-driven, dramatic, reflective

 

1. Who is Big Brother dedicated to? Why? Do you think this is autobiographical fiction?

2. What did you think of Pandora? Was she likable? Did you connect with her?

3. How would you describe Fletcher, Pandora’s husband? Do you think that the two of them were happy together before Edison? What about after Edison?

4. Why do you think Fletcher dislikes Edison so much?

5. What would your reaction have been if you went to pick up a family member from the airport and they were three times the size you last saw them at? Is there a right or wrong reaction to have to in a situation like that?

6. Describe Edison. Was he a likable character? Did you connect with him?

7. What is the cause of Edison’s obesity?

8. Why do you think Edison never tried to reconnect with his ex-wife or son? Did this change your feelings about him?

9. Edison and Pandora had a LA childhood living with a TV star father. Do you think they liked their childhood? How did this altered upbringing affect them? Do you think that their nostalgic storytelling shut people out or invited them in? Explain.

10. What is Pandora’s company? Is it successful? Can she admit this? What does the admittance of success or failure show about Pandora’s character?

11. Would you every give a Baby Monotonous doll as a gift? Why? Would you like it if you received a doll? Why?

12. What does Fletcher do for a living? How does his business affect the family? Is it a successful business? How does its success or failure affect Fletcher and the way he interacts with his family?

13. Is Edison a successful jazz piano player? Was he ever a success? What do you think the turning point (for good or bad) was in Edison’s career?

14. Did reading Big Brother make you want to go listen to some jazz or to avoid it completely?

15. How would you describe Cody? How would you describe Tanner? Are they similar siblings or quite different? What is their relationship like compared to Pandora and Edison growing up?

16. Do you think that Tanner ran away because Edison filled his head dreams of stardom? Would Tanner have still quit high school if Edison hadn’t been in the picture?

17. Who is Oliver? What is his relationship with Pandora? How did this relationship make you feel? How do you think it made Fletcher feel?

18. Pandora took the drastic step of living with her brother for an entire year to be there to cheerlead and coach him to weight loss. How did this affect Pandora’s own family? How would you have reacted if you were Fletcher? Is this something you would have done if you were in Pandora’s shoes?

19. Was there ever a point you were worried about Pandora and her own weight loss? Do you think Edison noticed that his sister’s weight loss had gone too far? Did he say something to her? Why or why not? Did Fletcher say something to her about her extreme weight loss? Who ended up telling Pandora she had to eat more? Why do you think this voice came from outside the family unit?

20. Did you think that Edison would be able to take off all the weight? Did he take off all the weight? Did he keep it off? Why or why not?

21. There is a twist at the end of the novel – a twist that reveals that Pandora has made up the whole story. Edison is her brother and he is a larger man, but she never tried to live with him for a year to help him lose the weight. What did you think of this twist?

22. If Pandora made up the entire weight loss story, why would she end her tale with Edison gaining his weight back? Why didn’t she allow herself a happy ending? How did Edison die in Pandora’s real version of events?

23. What ending did you want? Does it match what ending the author gave?

24. Lionel Shriver often writes issue-driven fiction. What is your reaction to reading such a hot button book of fiction? Do you feel like Shriver is graceful or preachy when writing about obesity? Would you pick up other books by her?

25. Were there any parts of Big Brother that were shocking to you?

26. How would you describe the tone and pace of Big Brother to a friend? How did it make you feel? How quickly did it read?

27. Near the end of the novel, Pandora says, “However gnawing the deficiency, satiety is worse. So here is the thought: We are meant to be hungry.” What does the mean? (p. 372)

28. If one of your friends enjoyed Big Brother, what other books similar to it would you recommend to them?

29. Did reading Big Brother make you want to make changes in your own diet?

30. Why do you think obesity is such a large issue in America? Is it only about willpower? What are causes outside of willpower that might affect weight gain in America? (processed foods, marketing, food science, cost of food, portion sizes, etc.)

 

Other Resources
HarperCollins Reading Group Guide
Interview at Politics and Prose
Interview on English Pen
Interview with Here and Now
Interview with The New York Times
Profile of Shriver by Elle Magazine
Shriver writes on obesity for The Telegraph
Shriver writes on her brother for The Guardian

 

If you liked Big Brother, try…
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
Heft by Liz Moore
Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss

Middlesteins book cover     Heft book coverSalt Sugar Fat book cover

By Readers' Advisor on March 26, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books

Staff Pick: Endeavour

Larry staff picks photoEndeavour is a must-see movie for those who enjoy PBS’ Inspector Morse series. Young Endeavour Morse struggles with the naïveté of youth, his past, and learning hard life lessons while on his first detective case in this coming-of-age whodunit, full of twists and turns.

By Readers' Advisor on March 25, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Movies and Television, Picks by Larry

Audiobook: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians audiobook cover“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s words turn out to be a hard lesson to learn for economist Rachel Chu. She agrees to accompany her boyfriend Nick to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore, excited and a little apprehensive to finally meet his family. What he hasn’t mentioned is that he comes from staggering wealth, so she has no idea of the spectacle of excess she is about to face. Will this change her opinion of Nick? Narrator Lynn Chen plays with humor and drama, all while helping listeners keep a host of characters distinct. Crazy Rich Asians is an affectionate satire paired with relationship drama that is ideal for those who enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada.

By Readers' Advisor on March 24, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Humor

New: Fiction and Nonfiction

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: Fiction Books

Tempting Fate book cover The Land of Steady Habits book cover The Cairo Affair book cover

     -  Tempting Fate by Jane Green

     -  The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson

     -  The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer

     -  Four Friends by Robyn Carr

     -  Falling Out of Time by David Grossman

     -  Citadel by Kate Mosse

     -  The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas

     -  Bone Deep by Randy Wayne White

New: Nonfiction Books

The Hippest Trip in AmericaA Nice Little Place on the North Side book cover Wolfgang Puck Makes It Healthy book cover

     -  The Hippest Trip in America by Nelson George

     -  A Nice Little Place on the North Side by George Will

     -  Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy by Wolfgang Puck

     -  Parentology by Dalton Conley

     -  The Age of Radiance by Craig Nelson

     -  The Crusades of Cesar Chavez by Miriam Pawel

     -  The Thing with Feathers by Noah Strycker

     -  The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu 

By Readers' Advisor on March 21, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Fiction: Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Republic of Thieves book coverHear ye, hear ye! The Republic of Thieves, the eagerly-awaited third installment of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series, is finally here! Locke and Jean have escaped a heist-gone-horrible with their lives…barely. In fact, Locke has been poisoned and will die if he doesn’t agree to a Bondmage’s offer – to be a pawn in upcoming mage elections. To make matters worse, the campaign leader opposing Locke is his childhood love, Sabetha. If you like political parodies – especially witty, ruthless, adventurous ones – try The Republic of Thieves. Trust Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin who called Lynch, “a bright new voice in the fantasy genre.”

By Readers' Advisor on March 20, 2014 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

National Book Critics Circle Awards

Five Days at Memorial book cover

Looking for something a little more substantial in your reading diet?  Check out the newly-named honorees of the National Book Critics Circle Awards.  The NBCC “honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature.”

NonfictionFive Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
Fink provides a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina–and a suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice.  Also available in audio, e-book, and e-audio.

FictionAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.

AutobiographyFarewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti by Amy Wilentz
Describes the author’s long and painful relationship with Haiti before and after the 2010 earthquake, tracing the country’s turbulent history and its status as a symbol of human rights activism and social transformation.

John Leonard PrizeA Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
In a rural village in December 2004 Chechnya, a failed doctor Akhmed harbors the traumatized 8-year-old daughter of a father abducted by Russian forces and treats a series of wounded rebels and refugees while exploring the shared past that binds him to the child.
Also available in large print, audio, and e-book.

By Readers' Advisor on March 19, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Awards, Books, Lists, Literary, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: In the Mood for Love

John staff picks photoMr. Chow and Mrs. Chan are neighbors – his wife is having an affair with her husband. Frequently left alone by their unfaithful spouses, the two develop a bond that hovers agonizingly close to courtship. In the Mood for Love is an abstracted romance played out in the tiniest of gestures.

By Readers' Advisor on March 18, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Movies and Television, Picks by John, Romance