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Fiction: Revolutionary by Alex Myers

Revolutionary book coverThe year was 1782, and Deborah Samson had escaped her indentured servitude. The only way to do this was to cut her hair, wrap her chest, and dress herself in the clothes and mannerisms of men. After doing this, she became a soldier in the Continental Army. Samson – newly known as Robert Shurtliff – excelled as a soldier. Revolutionary is Alex Myers’ historical fiction debut, recounting the life of Deborah Samson, a real woman (one of many) that secretly fought in the Revolutionary War. Colonial history is given a whole new shine when seen through the eyes of this remarkable woman. If you like your historical fiction gritty, detailed, and focusing on lesser-knowns, try Revolutionary.

By Readers' Advisor on May 26, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction

New: Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense

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: Mystery Books

Murder on Bamboo Lane book coverStolen Remains book coverThe Dog Killer of Utica book cover

     -  Murder on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara

     -  Stolen Remains by Christine Trent

     -  The Dog Killer of Utica by Frank Lentricchia

     -  Invisible City by Julia Dahl

     -  The Son by Jo Nesbø

     -  Wolf by Mo Hader

     -  Any Other Name by Craig Johnson

     -  Murder at Mullings by Dorothy Cannell

New: Thrillers and Suspense

The Forbidden book cover

The Bees book cover

 Hunt the Jackal book cover

     -  The Forbidden by F.R. Tallis

     -  The Bees by Laline Paull

     -  Hunt the Jackal by Don Mann

     -  Bird Box by Josh Malerman

     -  Starfire by Dale Brown

     -  Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes

     -  The Broken by Shelley Coriell

     -  In the Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty

 

By MPPL on May 23, 2014 Categories: Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, New Arrivals

Fiction: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites book coverIn Burial Rites, a sensual, quiet novel based on true events from early 19th-century Iceland, a housemaid is convicted of brutally murdering her master. Agnes is a sympathetic if mysterious character; abandoned in childhood and forced to fend for herself in progressively impoverished conditions, she has known only struggle. While awaiting execution, she’s sent to live with a humble country family and counseled by a young priest. Slowly, she reveals the sad path of her life leading up to her master’s death. Kent weaves together rich imagery and evocative period detail, ensuring readers feel the cold of the Icelandic winter, the pain and fear in Agnes’ heart, and the bitingly unfair treatment of the poor and condemned.

By MPPL on May 22, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction

Audiobook: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film audiobook coverHere’s a fun treat for cinephiles. Night Film is dark, labyrinthine, and titillating. The beautiful daughter of reclusive director Stanislas Cordova–a man worshiped by his fans, who call themselves “Cordovites”—is found dead, an alleged suicide. Longtime Cordova naysayer Scott McGrath investigates the mysterious death, which leads him to run-ins with black magic, underground sex clubs, and secret Internet message boards. You know, that old story. Interspersed throughout the traditional narrative are magazine articles, police reports, and even message board posts—which makes this a really interesting listen. Actor Jake Weber narrates, deftly performing the voices of a multigender, multiethnic, all-ages cast.

By MPPL on May 21, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Staff Pick: The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene

Nancy staff picks photoWhy is the respected headmaster of a boarding school wandering naked in Central Park?  More questions — and some surprises — are in store in The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene.  This stunning novel is an enigmatic tale of love, loss, and regret that will keep you guessing until the very end.

By MPPL on May 20, 2014 Categories: Books, Picks by Nancy, Staff Picks

Movies and TV: Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

Deceptive Practices DVD coverRicky Jay is a world famous magician and actor. The documentary Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay examines his rise as a renowned stage illusionist and the elder statesmen of magic that helped him on the way. A talk show regular in the ‘70s, Jay wowed audiences with sleight of hand and piercing watermelons with thrown playing cards, but Jay has come a long way. He has studied and owns thousands of books on magic. His performances are half illusions and half entertaining lessons on eccentrics, con men, and magicians through the last several centuries. Deceptive Practices will fill your evening with both history and wonder.

By Readers' Advisor on May 19, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Nonfiction

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 Everything Store book cover

Autobiography book cover

The Humans book cover

  — The Everything Store by Brad Stone

  — Autobiography by Morrissey

  — The Humans by Matt Haig

  — Stronger by Jeff Bauman

  — Jump the Gun by Zoe Burke

  — Second-Chance Dog by Jon Katz

  — A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey

  — Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw

New: Fantasy and Sci-fi

Irenicon book cover

Heaven's Queen book cover

Archetype book cover 

  — Irenicon by Aidan Harte

  — Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

  — Archetype by M.D. Waters

  — Steadfast by Jack Campbell

  — Authority by Jeff VanderMeer

  — City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte

  — The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas

  — Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni

By MPPL on May 16, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, New Arrivals

Music: The Only Place by Best Coast

The Only Place album coverIf the seemingly interminable polar vortex and belated start of spring has you pining for sunshine and summer tunes, check out The Only Place, the second album by neo-surf rock duo Best Coast. The entire thing is a love song to California, to beaches and babes, and to the beauty of young love and heartache. Sing along with Beth Cosentino as she declares “we wake up with the sun in our eyes…” to help jump start your own magical summer.

By MPPL on May 15, 2014 Categories: Music

Book Discussion Questions: Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

Lone Wolf book cover

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

 

Title: Lone Wolf
Author: Jodi Picoult
Page Count: 421
Genre: Contemporary, Issue-driven, Relational
Tone: Bittersweet, Thought-provoking, Moving

 

1.  At the core of Lone Wolf is Luke, a character who is revealed solely through flashbacks and others’ recollections. How would you describe him? Are we as readers supposed to admire him? Did your opinion of him change throughout the story?

2.  One reviewer stated that “understanding [Luke] is the key to accepting the story.” Do you agree this is true? Was the author successful in helping you understand Luke?

3.  What would motivate a man to live in the wild with a wolf pack for a year? Do you know of any true-life examples of this?

4.  What did you learn about wolves from the book? How did this enhance the story? Were there any experiences that you found especially fascinating?

5.  What is the distinction between a lone wolf and pack wolves? Why is this important?

6.  In what ways do the lessons about wolf life mirror the circumstances and issues of the human family?

7.  Early in the book, Luke complains that some people tend to attribute human emotions and motivations to animals. How is his explanation of wolf behavior different?

8.  Picoult’s trademark style involves multiple first-person narrators contending with a difficult ethical issue. What are the advantages of this approach? Do all sides receive fair play, or do you think one or more viewpoints weren’t given as much weight? Is the author’s personal bias evident?

9. With which of the characters did you most easily empathize? Is this different from the character(s) you liked best?

10.  Are there characters with whom you had trouble empathizing, even when you were hearing their own thoughts and feelings?

11.  Were there any twists or developments that took you by surprise?

12. Throughout the book we’re given hints that more happened at the accident than we know. When the truth is revealed, does this help explain Cara’s actions? Would you have wanted to know this earlier in the story?

13.  Is Edward’s sexuality important to the story? For much of the book, the reader (and most of the characters) believe that his coming out to his father was the reason he left the family. Does using this as a red herring undermine the importance of the topic?

14.  The issue of medical advocacy is examined in several facets. Even though she was only 17, should Cara have been named her father’s proxy? How much weight should the handwritten document from years ago have carried?

15. What was your prediction when Luke opened his eyes and watched Cara move around the bed? How might this have impacted the story?

16.  In your opinion, who really had Luke’s best interests at heart? Is it possible to make these decisions without our own baggage getting in the way?

17.  What do you think Luke would have wanted?

18.  What other issues related to quality of life were raised? Should more time have been taken before a decision was made? Should the fact that his organs were candidates for donation affect the decision?

19.  How well did Picoult depict a family struggling with loss?

20.  During the debate, contrasting arguments were made based first on Luke’s animal activism and later on the secret abortion. Do these actions have relevance to the decisions being made about his life? How might you weight them?

21.  Georgie’s loyalties seem to change from one point in the story to another. Is this believable? Did you agree with her actions?

22.  Were you surprised by Joe’s involvement? What did you think of his role?

23.  How does Picoult portray her male characters as opposed to her female characters? Is this intentional? Have you noticed this in her other work?

24.  Often Picoult’s books are described as page-turners, ones that are hard to put down and that are accessible due to the short chapters and different perspectives. Would you say this is true for Lone Wolf?

25. Are animals portrayed as equal to–or even superior to—people? In this story or in general?

26.  Regardless of whether you had a strong reaction one way or the other, did it make you think? Is that a goal for which writers should strive?

 

Other Resources
Simon & Schuster reading group guide
author website resource page for Lone Wolf
The Huffington Post interview with Jodi Picoult
video interview with author
Discovery Channel documentary
NPR:  “Why Are Wolf Scientists Howling at Jodi Picoult?”
The Washington Post review

 

If you liked Lone Wolf, try…
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
The Man Who Lives with Wolves by Shaun Ellis
While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

Promise of Stardust book cover    Man Who Lives with Wolves book coverWhile My Sister Sleeps book cover

 

 

 

 

 

By Readers' Advisor on May 14, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books

Staff Pick: Sweet Smell of Success

John staff picks photoSweet Smell of Success features gorgeously stark black-and-white cinematography, a crackling Elmer Bernstein jazz score rife with jumpy energy, and muscular dialogue in a memorably hard-boiled style. Add two intensely powerful performances by Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, and you’ve got a masterful ode to blackhearted American ambition.

By MPPL on May 13, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Picks by John, Staff Picks