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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

The System book cover

Delicious! book cover

The Ecsasy of Surrender book cover

  – The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian

  – Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

  – The Ecstasy of Surrender by Judith Orloff

  – Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

  – Walking on Water by Richard Paul Evans

  – Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini

  – The Haunted Life: And Other Writings by Jack Kerouac

  – Self-Help Messiah by Steven Watts

New: Fantasy and Sci-fi

The Word Exchange book cover

The Tropic of Serpents book cover

Murder of Crows book cover 

  – The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

  – The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

  – Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

  – The Departure by Neal Asher

  – Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

  – House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter

  – Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty

  – Alien Collective by Gini Koch

By MPPL on June 13, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, New Arrivals

Fiction: Still Waters by Nigel McCrery

Still Waters book coverIf you’re looking for a lesser-known mystery series to dive into, you might try Still Waters, the first installment by English writer Nigel McCrery to feature detective duo Chief Inspector Mark Lapslie and his Sergeant Emma Bradbury. The novel begins with a bloody bang, as a bewildering act of horrific violence takes place at a girls’ garden party. Decades later, and somehow connected, Lapslie (who, interestingly, suffers from synesthesia—causing him to taste sounds, for instance) is called to investigate the bizarre death of an elderly woman found dead when her burial place under a tree is unearthed during a car crash. It’s a fast-moving read, but beware: it’s creepy and relentlessly sinister.

By MPPL on June 12, 2014 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Book Discussion Questions: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room book cover

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

 

Title: Room
Author: Emma Donoghue
Page Count: 321
Genre: Literary fiction, Psychological fiction
Tone: Suspenseful, Haunting, Moving

 

1.  Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, called Room “a book to read in one sitting. When it’s over,” she said, “you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lasts for days.” Is this how you experienced the book? Do you agree or disagree? How so?

2.  What do you think of the author’s choice to use five-year-old Jack as the narrator of this story? What qualities does he lend to the story that an older narrator might not have?

3.  What about Jack shows him to be a typical five-year-old boy? What makes him unlike others his age? Is he/his voice convincing?

4.  How did you react to Jack’s difficulty distinguishing between what’s real (in Room) and what’s on the television? Did you find his changes in perception and understanding feel authentic to you?

5.  Donoghue creates a unique world for Jack—and by extension, for us, the readers. What details of her setting most impressed you? Was she successful in her creation of this unique world? Could you really see Room in your mind as the story progressed, or would including diagrams in the book have helped?

6.  Ma is shown only through the eyes of young Jack. Is she mysterious as a character? Are there things you wish you knew about her?

7.  Are there any examples of Ma’s resourcefulness that especially stood out for you? What can we learn about her from seeing how she raises her son?

8.  What does the focus on Ma’s teeth and Jack’s dental routine reveal?

9.  Donoghue deliberately keeps the kidnapper—or the villain—out of the spotlight. How would this story be different if he’d been more present in these pages, if we’d been privy to his thoughts, his motivations, or even his name? Why do you think she chooses not to focus on Old Nick? Did you want to know more about him?

10.  Many people—including the author herself—view Room as a book with two halves, the climax taking place hallway through. Do you see it this way? Did you prefer one half over the other?

11.  Did the author build suspense well leading up to the climax? Did you think Ma’s plans would work?

12.  How would you characterize the doctors’ and nurses’ treatment of Ma and Jack? Was the care what you’d expect?

13.  Often stories focus on the captivity of women and children and not on the pain of their re-entry into the outside world. What were some of Ma’s and Jack’s biggest struggles, and how did they work against each other?

14.  How was Jack shaped by his ordeal? Did any of his struggles to adjust to Outside surprise you?

15.  Did Ma’s behavior Outside make you think differently about her character?

16.  How does Ma’s family react to Ma and Jack? How do strangers react to the mother and son?

17.  The chapters on re-entry turn into something of a commentary on life itself, exploring what is necessary, important, strange, etc. What examples stood out the most for you?

18.  Was the choice to have Ma and Jack return to Room a surprising one? Was this an effective closing scene? Did you want or expect something different?

19.  Are this story and its characters relatable? Donoghue said she thinks a tragic story like this can illuminate the human condition, that Ma and Jack’s story might be everybody’s story. What do you think she means? Do you agree with her?

20.  Both motherhood and childhood, the author has said, can sometimes feel like a locked room. How is this reflected in the novel?

21.  Is this a book where you are left wanting to know what happens to the characters in the future? Why or why not?

22.  Room deals with some difficult and disturbing topics. Why would anyone want to read it? Is the novel sensationalistic in its portrayal of these characters’ lives? Why has it been so popular?

 

Other Resources
Official book site, features Room diagrams and Ma and Jack’s library
Author site, includes reviews and interviews
NPR (audio) interview with the author
New Yorker interview with the author

 

If you liked Room, try…
The Bear by Claire Cameron
Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

The Bear book cover    Amity & Sorrow book coverA Stolen Life book cover

 

 

 

 

 

By MPPL on June 11, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books

Staff Pick: The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Barb B.Worth’s The Midwife tells the fascinating story of her life as a midwife in 1950’s London. Set in the East End, where she worked with nuns from St. Raymond Nonnatus, Worth chronicles the rigorous drama and inspiring magic of birth. It’s a captivating memoir. After reading, watch the excellent television series it inspired.

By MPPL on June 10, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Nonfiction, Picks by Barb B., Staff Picks

Fiction: Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi

Ascension book coverAlana is a sky surgeon. She can repair any starship out there, but she’s never actually flown in one. She works from her shipyard. One day, a cargo vessel stops by looking to hire Alana’s sister, Nova, who is a spiritual guide. Alana doesn’t know where Nova is, but she wants to go looking, so she stows away when they leave. The search soon becomes dangerous as the complexities of Nova’s life unfold. Ascension is an exciting space opera featuring people of color in lead roles, LGBT characters in the forefront, and lots of adventure. This is a must-read for those looking for up-and-coming sci-fi authors that depict the universe as diverse as it actually is.

By Readers' Advisor on June 9, 2014 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

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.

New: Historical Fiction Books

Edwin: High King of Britain book cover

The Last Kind Words Saloon book cover

The Orenda book cover

 

Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert

The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

The Boy in His Winter by Norman Lock

History of the Rain by Niall Williams

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

The Whiskey Baron by Jon Sealy

New: Romance Books

How to Handle a Cowboy book cover

Talk Dirty to Me book cover

Sister Betty Says I Do book cover

How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy

Sister Betty Says I Do by Pat G’Orge-Walker

Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas

Dreams of Lilacs by Lynn Kurland

Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren

Letting Go by Maya Banks

By MPPL on June 6, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, New Arrivals, Romance

Audiobook: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie audiobook coverThe Twelve Tribes of Hattie, an Oprah Book club selection, just begs to be listened to on audiobook. Its numerous, multigenerational characters and decades-shifting setting come alive when read aloud by expressive and dynamic stage actors Adenrele Ojo, Bahni Turpin, and Adam Lazarre-White. The trials and tribulations of the Shepherd family—Hattie, August, and their twelve children—weave together boldly, poetically, often painfully. The characters are well-drawn, and each narrative reveals a new perspective on the meaning of love and the bonds of family.

By MPPL on June 5, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks

Staff Pick: The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Emily staff picks photoHighsmith, famous for mystery classics like Strangers on a Train, tells a story of two women in love. Trying to escape mundane 1950s lives, they’re trailed and blackmailed by a shadowy private investigator. Thought to have inspired Nabokov’s Lolita, The Price of Salt imbues a pulpy plot with unexpected hopefulness.

By MPPL on June 3, 2014 Categories: Books, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian book coverLarry of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends The Martian by Andy Weir:

Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after a mishap during a storm prevents him from escaping the planet with the rest of his crew. Alone, with a small supply of food and damaged equipment, the only thoughts on his mind are survival and the hope that a rescue party will come for him. With his optimism and engineering skills, he is determined to live, yet at every turn, there are obstacles that threaten his survival. While this is a story of attempting to overcome long odds in a harsh environment, it is also filled with just enough wit and humor to lighten the story without diminishing its seriousness. The plot takes the reader on a “what more can go wrong” roller coaster ride with a steady progression of the story leading to a climactic, edge-of-your-seat ending. The Martian is a suspenseful, fun, and rewarding read.

By MPPL on June 2, 2014 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Picks by Larry, Staff Picks

New Arrivals: 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.

New: Fiction Books

The Hollow Ground book cover The Possibilities book coverDebbie Doesn't Do It Anymore book cover

     -  The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett

     -  The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

     -  Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley

     -  Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

     -  Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy

     -  Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins

     -  To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

     -  The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison

New: Nonfiction Books

Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie book coverCreativity, Inc. book cover Little Demon in the City of Light book cover

     Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie by Ranya Tabari Idliby

     - Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

     -  Little Demon in the City of Light by Steven Levingston

     -  Cattitudes by Victoria Roberts

     -  Young Widower by John W. Evans

     -  The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

     -  Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller

     -  Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

By MPPL on May 30, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction