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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

Cover of No Hero Cover of Small Victories Cover of Hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Hero by Mark Owen
Small Victories by Anne Lamott
Hope by Richard Zoglin

Cover of Hush Cover of The Rosie Effect Cover of Assassination Option

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hush by Karen Robards
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
The Assassination Option by W. E. B. Griffin

New: Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Cover of WildaloneCover of The Just City Cover of Mort(e)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIldalone by Krassi Zourkova
The Just City by Jo Walton
Mort(e) by Robert Repino

Cover of The Three Body Problem Cover of Golden Son Cover of Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women edited by Alex Dally Macfarlane

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 23, 2015 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, New Arrivals

Fiction: You Could be Home by Now by Tracy Manaster

Cover of You Could Be Home By NowWelcome to The Commons. Located an hour and a half outside of Tucson, Arizona, this luxury retirement community is strict in its rules, especially that no one under the age of 55 is allowed to live there. Chaos is unleashed when it’s discovered a resident is permanently taking care of her young grandson. The events unfold from the eyes of three eclectic narrators all dealing poorly with their own personal tragedies: Seth, a young husband, Ben, an older divorcee, and Lily, a teenaged beauty blogger. Breezy yet insightful, You Could be Home by Now by Tracy Manaster is a wacky tale about letting go and moving on.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 22, 2015 Categories: Books

Book Discussion Questions: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Cover of The Orphan TrainTitle: Orphan Train
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Page Count: 278 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Tone: Thoughtful, Poignant, Sobering

Summary from publisher:
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

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

1. Were the orphan trains a good thing? Why or why not? What, if any, better options were available at the time?

2. What did you notice about the style of writing and how this story was put together?

3. Thinking back on the children that were highlighted in the book, Carmine, Dutchy and Niamh, what were the motivations of the families who took in these orphans? How did these differing motivations affect the children’s lives?

4. What similarities or differences are there between the past as shown in the story and our present foster care system?

5. In what ways are Molly and Vivian similar? How are they different?

6. Do you have things that you don’t use or are stored away but you can’t part with? What are those things and why do you keep them?

7. What would a timeline of Vivian’s life look like? Use a white board to diagram this or just do it verbally. What characterizes each segment of her life?

8. What would a timeline of Molly’s life look like? What characterizes each segment of her life?

9. “You can’t find peace till you find all the pieces.” How is this true in Vivian’s life? How is it true in Molly’s life?

10. Molly’s charms on her necklace are mentioned throughout the story. What is their significance? What did Vivian’s Claddagh cross and Molly’s charms mean to them?

11. How has Molly changed Vivian’s life? How has Vivian changed Molly’s life?

12.  Read the prologue aloud to the group. Having read the book and rereading the prologue what does this tell you about Vivian’s view of the people in her past? What does this show about her character?

13. How did you feel about the way the author ended the story? Is Vivian’s happy ending enough?

14. If you were to write additional chapters to the book what would happen to Vivian, to Molly?

15. The American Experience, a PBS show, has a program on the orphan trains. There was also a movie made in 1979 called The Orphan Train. Do you think this book will come to the big screen? Would you want to see it?

Other Resources

Lit Lovers’ Discussion Questions
Video interview with Christina Baker Kline
History of orphan trains from The Children’s Aid Society
Huffington Post interview with Christina Baker Kline

If you liked The Orphan Train, try...

Cover of The Forgotten SeamstressCover of Austerlitz Cover of The Language of Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow
Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 21, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Historical Fiction

Staff Pick: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Picture of JennyDaughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier is an achingly beautiful fairy tale retelling. Sorcha has lived an idyllic childhood in the Sevenwaters Kingdom until her mother dies, her father marries a cruel woman, and her brothers are turned into swans. Now alone, Sorcha begins the painful journey of trying to get back everything she lost.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 20, 2015 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Picks by Jenny, Staff Picks

Audiobook: Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Letter from Birmingham Jail audiobook cover“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” These ringing words, written by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 16, 1963 in a Letter from Birmingham Jail, have just as much power and poetry more than fifty years later. Expert narrator Dion Graham lends his voice to this short recording, skillfully calling on a preacher’s rhythms, deep tones, and effective pauses to underscore a call to action that values what is right over keeping the peace. Hear for yourself the passion, eloquence, and conviction that made history once and for all.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on January 19, 2015 Categories: Audiobooks, Nonfiction

Movies and TV: Films on Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights

An Oscar nominee for Best Picture, Selma is just one of many fascinating movies exploring Martin Luther King, Jr. and the principles he fought for. Below are six movies for those wanting to immerse themselves further in the legacies King drew from, and the legacies he left behind.

Cover of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman2 Cover of Gandhi Cover of Lee Daniel's The Butler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Gandhi
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Cover of Mississippi BurningCover of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Cover of In the Heat of the Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mississippi Burning
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
In the Heat of the Night

 

Interested in what else there is to offer? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor for help with finding something suited to your taste, or peruse some of the lists found below!

Fandago’s “8 Great Movies to Honor Martin Luther King Jr.
Film Racket’s “Top 10 Best Film About Racism Ever Made
Forbes’ “Top 10 Best Films to Watch for MLK Day

 

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 16, 2015 Categories: Lists, Movies and TV

Fiction: The Deep by Nick Cutter

Cover of The DeepNick Cutter’s claustrophobic sophomore novel, The Deep is an unsettling look at the descent into madness. Across the globe, humans are coming down with a horrendous disease called ’Gets. It starts small. The individuals might forget where a parked car is or a wedding anniversary, but then people forget how to read or tie their shoes, and finally their lungs forget to breathe and their heart forgets to beat. Eight miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, a possible cure has been discovered in a research facility, but communication has suddenly gone silent, and it is up to Luke, brother of the genius scientist working on the cure, to reestablish communication. Yet, unimaginable psychological and physical terrors face him, and at eight miles deep there is no escape.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 15, 2015 Categories: Books, Horror

Book Discussion Questions: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cover of Cutting for StoneTitle: Cutting for Stone
Author: Abraham Verghese
Page Count: 688 pages
Genre:  Literary Fiction,  Family Sagas
Tone: Haunting, Moving, Richly Detailed

Summary from publisher:
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined

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

“Writing has many similarities to the practice of internal medicine. Both require astute observation and a fondness for detail.”

“At heart I am a physician. It is my first and only calling. As a physician, things move me, and one way to talk about these things is to write about them. For me writing and medicine are not different parts, it is seamless, the same world view: fiction and healing promote the same cause.
~Abraham Verghese

1. As you reflect on this complex story, which scenes stand out in your memory? Why did those particular moments have such impact?

2. At the end of chapter 31 (379-380), Marion reflects on his home, including this statement: “I felt ecstatic, as if I was at the epicenter of our family…” Does this seem arrogant or appropriate for an adolescent to say? In what ways is Marion the epicenter of the book?

3. In what ways is Shiva something of a mystery to the reader? [Also consider, “’What I do is simple. I repair holes,’ said Shiva Praise Stone. Yes, but you make them, too, Shiva.” (577)]

4. Talk about Marion’s parting from his family when he is forced to leave the country (444).

5. Think about how the character of Genet is portrayed at different points. [e.g., “I wanted out of Africa. I began to think that Genet had done me a favor after all.” (457) and “she found her greatness, at last, found it in her suffering.” (601)] How is she integral to the story? How do you feel about her?

6. For a story that most often takes place in small settings with few people, somehow it has an epic “feel”. How is that?

7. When Ghosh returns from prison (350-351), he and Marion talk about a well-known story about a man who couldn’t rid himself of his slippers.

“The slippers in the story mean that everything you see and do and touch, every seed you sow, or don’t sow, becomes part of your destiny.”

Ghosh then shares about his past and has a lesson for Marion.

“I hope one day you see this as clearly as I did…The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t. If you keep saying your slippers aren’t yours, then you’ll die searching, you’ll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.”

Do you agree? Are these sentiments borne out in the novel? What is the role of fate throughout?

8. In what ways is this book about legacy? About exile? Betrayal? Forgiveness?

9. Marion states that he became a physician not to save the world but to heal himself. Do you think he was healed in the end?

10. What do the female characters in the book reveal about what life is like for women in Ethiopia?

11. Did the medical detail add to the novel or detract from it?

12. The latter portion of the book contains commentary on medical practice in America, especially regarding foreign physicians (e.g., 492). Did this seem significant to you?

13. Did “The Afterbird” offer closure for you? For the characters? How did you react to its revelations?

14. Remember Stone’s favorite question? [What treatment in an emergency is administered by ear? words of comfort] How is this poignant, especially given Stone’s choices and manner?

15. What is the role of sexuality in Cutting for Stone? How would you characterize the scenes that are depicted, especially between Marion and Genet?

16. What romantic relationships are central to the story? How so?

17. Though the book earned excellent reviews, it wasn’t in nearly as much demand as it seems to be now. Why do you think that is? With over 600 pages, it isn’t an easy choice for book groups, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern. Did the length bother you?

18. Few works of fiction include a bibliography or an acknowledgment section which credits many literary allusions included in the story. Does this affect your opinion of the book?

19.Verghese said that his aim in writing Cutting for Stone was “to tell a great story, an old-fashioned, truth-telling story.” He has also said “my ambition was to write a big sweeping novel into which you could disappear, travel away as though in a space-ship, disappear, meet exciting people, and return to find that only a couple of days had passed in real life. That’s what happens to me when I am reading a good book.” In your opinion, did he succeed?

Other Resources

Lit Lovers book discussion questions
One Book One City resources
Video of Abraham Verghese discussing Cutting for Stone
Frequently asked questions answered by Abraham Verghese
Radio interview with Verghese on Ethiopia

If you liked Cutting for Stone, try...

Cover of Desirable DaughtersCover of Beneath the Lion's Gaze Cover of God of Small Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desirable Daughters by Bharati Mukherjee
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 14, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Literary

Staff Pick: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Cathleen_2014A sure cure for winter glums is an energetic Broadway cast recording, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical strikes all the right chords: irresistible oldies, show-biz success story, and a dazzling Tony Award-winning performance by lead actress Jessie Mueller. Turn the grey into “One Fine Day” with a remarkable life in song.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on January 13, 2015 Categories: Music, Picks by Cathleen, Staff Picks

Fiction: Stealing Adda by Tamara Leigh

Stealing Adda book coverAdda Sinclair is a successful romance novelist known for her skill with male characters. If only that insight translated into real life! Her husband left her for her arch-rival, a pretty-boy cover model is more interested than she is, and the attractive publisher with plans to brand her books for male readers keeps her off-balance. What’s a girl with writer’s block and too little romance in her personal life to do? In Stealing Adda, it will take a public scandal, multiple misunderstandings, and a spiritual awakening to illuminate what’s most important. Author Tamara Leigh has created a funny and relatable heroine who comes to realize that roadblocks in life might serve a higher purpose and that perhaps she has it in her to write her own happily ever after.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on January 12, 2015 Categories: Books, Humor, Romance