Most holiday stories seek to warm your heart, but those who would rather have their blood chilled needn’t feel left out. For merry-making that is somewhat off the beaten path, try a mix of seasonal paranormal stories set in the Old West. Six-Guns and Slay Bells: A Creepy Cowboy Christmas, presented by Western Fictioneers, plays with yuletide fear in selections such as “Christmas Wraiths” by Douglas Hirt and L. J. Washburn’s “A Creature Was Stirring”. Well-known authors Robert Randisi and James Reasoner raise the stakes with “Sheriff Santa and the Ghost of Two Gun Jim” and “Presents for One and All”. Hauntings, shootouts, monsters, and snake-oil salesmen combine to make this Christmas gathering one you won’t easily forget.
Check It Out
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: Mystery Books
New: Thrillers and Suspense
In their second full album, Talking is Hard, Walk the Moon has created a conglomeration of electropop and contemporary indie rock. While mimicking the same positivity and dance beats evident in their self-titled first album, the band of four explores the spectrum of their sound, allowing some tracks to lean further toward the rock genre while others, such as “Aquaman,” to fall into a smooth 1980’s sound. The twelve tracks are distinctly different from one another, but they work cohesively, sharing catchy choruses, sharp lyrics, and a similar fast-paced energy. This lively CD is for the listener looking for something to brighten his or her day.
For snappy, tongue-in-cheek dialogue written by Mae West herself, try West’s 1932 film debut Night After Night . The queen of the double entendre rules all five movies in the Mae West Glamour Collection with bawdy charm.
“This is the story of pens that were as mighty as swords,” writes Molly Guptill Manning, and she isn’t exaggerating. During the dark days of World War II, when it became known that Hitler had banned and burned over one hundred million books, librarians rallied to send free books to American troops stationed overseas. The popularity of the Victory Book Campaign then led to the establishment of the Council on Books in Wartime, in which the Army itself oversaw the printing of thousands of paperbacks that could be tucked into packs. When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II is a highly readable, greatly informative celebration of what great stories of all kinds can do for those in unimaginable circumstances. Not only is this a hit for book lovers and history buffs alike, but an index of titles issued as part of the Armed Forces Editions is included to fatten up your to-read list.
Goodreads is a social media website readers can use to keep track of what they have read or want to read and interact with friends. Every year Goodreads hosts the Goodreads Choice Awards in which readers vote for what they consider the best books in different categories are. This year, there were over 3 million votes cast! Check out some of the winners below.
Barry is known as a lot of things: a husband, a retired engine-fitter, a father, a man of style, and a grandfather. What he isn’t known for is secretly being in love with a man. Bernardine Evaristo weaves together Barry at seventy-four, hiding his true feelings from his family and the impact that secret has had on his family, especially his wife, Carmel. For fifty years Carmel has been married to someone she knows doesn’t love her, and her harrowing and poetic voice rings out, contrasting against Barry’s cheeky commentaries and charm. A lyrical story that will equally make you laugh and break your heart, Mr. Loverman shows regardless of age, it is never too late to chase your dreams.
Title: The Wednesday Sisters
Author: Meg Waite Clayton
Page Count: 288 pages
Genre: Women’s lives and relationships
Tone: Heartwarming, character-driven
Excerpted summary from publisher:
When five young mothers—Frankie, Linda, Kath, Ally, and Brett—first meet in a neighborhood park in the late 1960s, their conversations center on marriage, raising children, and a shared love of books. Then one evening, as they gather to watch the Miss America Pageant, Linda admits that she aspires to write a novel herself, and the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society is born.. In the process, they explore the changing world around them: the Vietnam War, the race to the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they believe about themselves. At the same time, the friends carry one another through more personal changes—ones brought about by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.
1. The first character we meet is Frankie. She’s from Chicago but moves across the country to Palo Alto with her husband and two young children. What kind of person is she? What is it that brings her together with the other women in the park?
2. The next character we meet is Bret. She is unique for wearing white gloves after that style is out of fashion. We don’t find out why she wears them until much later in the book. What did you think about the gloves? Were you surprised by why she wears them?
3. What was the significance of the mansion by the park? What did it represent to the women and to the time period in which they lived? Who was the person they saw walking around in the mansion? Why was she there?
4. Are the friendships realistic? Do they seem similar to some of your own friendships?
5. Why was Frankie able to confess that she was trying to write a novel to Danny’s boss but not Danny?
6. This book takes place in the late ’60s at a time when things were beginning to change more rapidly for women in the United States, yet a lot of the old conventions were still in place. In what ways did that affect the opportunities these women had, both in their personal lives and in their professional lives?
7. Some notable historical events that occurred at this time: moon landing, assassination of Bobby Kennedy, women’s liberation movement, and the Pentagon Papers. Was this time in history particularly significant and/or more fraught with turbulence and change than periods since? In what ways did that affect the characters and their generation?
8. Ally’s husband is Indian and they have trouble having a baby. In what way does that affect her relationships in the group? Does having or not having children not affect the women’s relationships amongst each other?
9. What do the books the sisters read say about them?
10. Frankie wanted to reinvent herself when she got to California. She wanted to be called Mary rather than Frankie. She imagined herself hosting parties and attending parties with her husband’s colleagues. Was she able to reinvent herself? How was her life similar or different to what she imagined?
11. How did Danny’s intelligence and success affect Frankie’s view of herself and their relationship?
12. Danny leaves his stable company to start a new venture in Metal Oxide Semiconductor chips without asking Frankie her opinion. How does this make her feel? Is this lack of communication indicative of the time they lived in or specific to their relationship?
13. What was the significance of the Miss America pageants to the women? Why did they initially get together to watch it? Over the course of the book, how did their feelings change?
14. In chapter 13, the sisters went to the funeral parlor and sat in a coffin. What did that mean to the sisters? (Page 84-85)
15. What do you think of the guidelines for mastectomy, as Linda experienced? Was she powerless in the treatment process?
16. The women are so close to Stanford University and some encourage Frankie to go take classes there but she doesn’t feel like she can. Why not?
17. The Wednesday Sisters have a big schism after they find out that Ally’s husband is Indian. Why did Jim’s being Indian cause such a rift between the sisters?
18. What did you think of the scene on the Johnny Carson show? How did the show mark a changing point in the lives of the sisters?
If you liked The Wednesday Sisters, try...
William and Mary is a slice of modern lighthearted yet complicated British life. Julie Graham plays Mary, a midwife, and William, played by Martin Clunes, is an undertaker. The two meet and hope to finally get a relationship right. Life is hectic and unpredictable, but they find that as in birth and death, love is the most important and strongest force.
The greatest books defy category, and the ambitious Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a shining example. With equal appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic settings and to readers of complex, thought-provoking novels, this National Book Award finalist is a sure bet for multiple Best of 2014 lists. The on-stage death of a celebrity actor portraying King Lear is the harbinger of a global pandemic that destroys life as we know it. The action seamlessly moves between the old and new worlds, and Kirsten Potter’s discerning narration allows the slow revelation of unexpected connections to take the spotlight. Is survival sufficient in a world wiped out by disease, or is there hope for more? When all the world’s a stage, we just may find out.