Month: January 2016

Check It Out Blog

Books: Leave Behind Winter and Escape into a Book!

If you could escape into any book, which one would you want to escape into_

Would you love to be Elizabeth Bennet’s best friend in Pride and Prejudice? How about going on a date with Don Tillman in The Rosie Project or moving into your own hobbit hole? In celebration of Winter Reading, we asked Library staff what book they would like to escape into! Join in on the fun and tell us what book you’d like to escape into when you sign up for Winter Reading. Winter Reading for all ages lasts February 1-February 29!

 

Magic Strings of Frankie Presto cover and Miriam quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miriam would love to escape into The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
David would love to escape into Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

 

The Rook cover and Jennifer quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer would love to escape into The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Cathleen would love to escape into Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

 

The Mists of Avalon and Anne quoteThe Paris Wife and Carol quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anne would love to escape into The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Carol would love to escape into The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

A Week in Winter cover and Cathleen quoteWild Cards cover and Joe quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denise would love to escape into A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
Joe would love to escape into Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin

Anna and the French Kiss cover and Janine quote

Jenny(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janine would love to escape into Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Jenny would love to escape into How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Mary Jane Jenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Jane would love to escape into Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Barb would love to escape into The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Want to keep on experiencing the fun? Take a look at MPPL staff starring in the video Winter Reading 2016 as they escape to Mordor, the wild, from zombies, and more.

Asked At the Desk: Looking for Something Good to Read Part 2

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

One of the most popular questions at the desk is,

What is something good to read?

Since good is subjective, if you stop by the desk with this question and have time to talk we will try to narrow down what would be good specifically for you with questions like: What did you read last that you liked? Do you prefer your books to be set during a certain time period? What are you in the mood for today?

However, if you are looking to quickly glance at what’s been popular and/or notable recently, one good stop is the 2016 Reading List: Year’s Best in Genre Fiction for Adult Readers, created by The Reading Council. The award list is divided up by 8 different genres, with one title winning for each genre and 3-4 titles chosen for the short list.

Browse below what was chosen for mystery, science fiction, horror, and romance. Want to see what won for fantasy, historical fiction, woman’s fiction, and adrenaline? Check out our post from last Friday!

Mystery


Winner: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

Shortlist:
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
Land of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin
Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty
Last Ragged Breath by Julia Keller

Romance

Winner: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

When a Scot Ties the Knot book cover

Shortlist:
When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Rumor Has It by Cheris Hodges
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Ever After by Jude Deveraux

Horror

The Fifth House of the Heart book cover

Winner: The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

Little Girls book cover When We Were Animals book cover The Silence book coverA Head Full of Ghosts book cover

Shortlist:
Little Girls by Ronald Malfi
When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
The Silence by Tim Lebbon
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Science Fiction

Golden Son book cover

Winner: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Seveneves book coverSlow Bullets book cover  Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits book coverThe Water Knife book cover

Shortlist:
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Have a question about books, movies, or music you’d like answered? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor, or ask online!

Book Discussion Questions: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn Girl book coverTitle: The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Page Count: 664 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tone: Dramatic, Romantic, Suspenseful

Summary:
The daughters of a ruthlessly ambitious family, Mary and Anne Boleyn are sent to the court of Henry VIII to attract the attention of the king, who first takes Mary as his mistress, in which role she bears him an illegitimate son, and then takes Anne as his wife.

 

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

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

1. On p. 54 Anne said to Mary, “You are all ready for the pleasures of bed and board, but the woman who manages Henry will know that her pleasures must be in managing his thoughts every minute of the day? Do you think a young girl of 14 has the capability to be so calculating, much less the sexual prowess to seduce him?

2. On p. 59. Anne talked about the family’s strategy of using Mary to catch the king’s desire. Her Uncle Howard asked why Anne didn’t try for the king herself. She said, “I thought of it, but I’m a Howard. What matters most is that one of us catches the king. It hardly matters which one.” Do you think Anne meant what she said at the time? How did she change?

3. Describe Mary’s relationship with Queen Katharine. On pg. 29 she professes her love and admiration for the Queen and feels she can’t betray her. How could Mary then have an affair with the King?

4. Did Mary truly love the king – when she first began her affair with him? What about the king attracted Mary? How did that attraction change – and when?

5. On p. 144 Did Anne ever really love Lord Henry Percy? Or was she using him to become Duchess of Northumberland?

6. Henry was first and foremost a spoiled child; when he was given a present, he loved the giver (p. 177). Do you think that is an accurate description of Henry? Was he a good king?

7. How does Anne’s rein as Queen parallel that of Katharine’s? Did you feel sorry for Anne at all?

8. How would you describe Anne and Mary’s relationship? In what ways were they the same? In what ways were they different?

9. Anne tells Mary, “You can’t desire the king like an ordinary man and forget the crown on his head.” What does this statement reveal about the difference between Anne and Mary’s nature?

10. Were you surprised that George flaunted his relationship with Sir Francis Weston, knowing that homosexuality was a crime?

11. Was George a loyal brother? How was his relationship different with Mary than Anne? What did you make of the intimate kiss between George and Anne that Mary witnessed? Did you believe that Anne’s deformed premature baby was George’s?

12. Describe Mary’s relationship with William Stafford. Did she love him like he loved her? Did their relationship change Mary and how she viewed her family and the court? Knowing the kind of man William was, how could he tolerate George and Anne? How could he not argue with Mary when she said that no matter what, they were still family?

13. After Anne is arrested, Mary pleads for her by saying, “We did nothing more than that was ordered. We only ever did as we were commanded. Is she to die for being an obedient daughter? (p. 650) What is your reaction to these arguments? Did Henry have no choice but to sentence her death?

14. How would you describe the parents of Mary, Anne and George. Were you surprised by their actions, particularly their mother’s?

15. How many of you were familiar with the history of King Henry VIII’s court? Were you familiar with the degree of corruption in the court? Did reading this novel change your view of what you already knew? Were you familiar with Mary Boleyn – or just Anne?

16.How would you rate this novel compared to other historical novels?

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

Other Resources:

Lit Lovers’ discussion questions
Author website
AV Club’s comparison of the book vs. the film
About Philippa Gregory
Video interview with Gregory

Readalikes:
Nefertiti book cover Wolf Hall book cover The Sister Queens book cover

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot

Staff Pick: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Cathleen staff pick photoThis unlikely frontier love story (based on the biblical story of Hosea, of all things!) has stayed with me for years. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a narrative of unconditional commitment that breaks through terrible brokenness and betrayal to invite real trust. Somewhat controversial, but absolutely rewarding.

Asked At the Desk: Looking for Something Good to Read

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

One of the most popular questions at the desk is,

What is something good to read?

Since good is subjective, if you stop by the desk with this question and have time to talk we will try to narrow down what would be good specifically for you with questions like: What did you read last that you liked? Do you prefer your books to be set during a certain time period? What are you in the mood for today?

However, if you are looking to quickly glance at what’s been popular and/or notable recently, one good stop is the 2016 Reading List: Year’s Best in Genre Fiction for Adult Readers, created by The Reading Council. The award list is divided up by 8 different genres, with one title winning for each genre and 3-4 titles chosen for the short list.

Browse below what was chosen for fantasy, historical fiction, woman’s fiction, and adrenaline. Want to see what won for mystery, science fiction, horror, and romance? Check back here next Friday or stop by the Reading List award page!

Fantasy

Uprooted book cover
Winner: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Sorcerer to the Crown book cover The Aeronaut’s Windlass The Fifth Season book coverA Darker Shade of Magic book cover

Shortlist:
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
The Aeronauts Windlass by Jim Butcher
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Historical Fiction

Crooked Heart book cover

Winner: Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

Girl Waits with Gun book cover Jam on the Vine book cover Paradise Sky book coverThe Truth According to Us book cover

Shortlist:
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett
Paradise Sky by Joe R. Lansdale
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Women’s Fiction

Re Jane book cover

Winner: Re Jane by Patricia Park

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance book cover A Touch of Stardust book cover The Royal We book coverDays of Awe book cover

Shortlist:
This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

Adrenaline

Pretty Girls book cover

Winner: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Descent book coverThe Killing Lessons book cover  The Cartel book coverPalace of Treason book cover

Shortlist:
Descent by Tim Johnston
The Killing Lessons  by Saul Black
The Cartel by Don Winslow
Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews

Have a question about books, movies, or music you’d like answered? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor, or ask online!

New Book Spotlight: American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

American Housewife book coverContrary to modern opinion, housewife is not a dirty word. It does, however, inspire a different picture than the ladies who populate the tartly incisive new collection of vignettes by Helen Ellis.  In American Housewife, be introduced to the deciphering of Southern lady code, to a most disturbing book club, and to the reality show Dumpster Diving with the Stars. Identify with neighbor battles that veer from passive-aggressive to outright aggressive. Look over the shoulder of a writer whose next novel is sponsored by the good people at Tampax. Delight in stories that are caustically funny but contain the grit of truth, but be on your guard. Just when you find yourself chuckling at the odd practices of the best bra-fitter south of the Mason Dixon line, an entirely different story-behind-the-story is there to prick your heart.

In the mood for a new non-fiction title instead? Try here!

Staff Pick: Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai

Picture of LarryThe oldest son of an eccentric family wants to escape the looming responsibilities of adult life and so he climbs a guava tree and lives there hoping to find peace. It gets complicated when the townspeople start to see him as a holy man. With characters including inept bureaucrats, a spy for the atheist society, and a herd of monkeys, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai will be a delight to read.

Music: Hamilton and Other Sung-Through Broadway Musicals

Hamilton CD coverThere is no denying that Hamilton: An American Musical  is a cultural phenomenon. Tickets are sold out for the foreseeable future, and any skepticism about a hip-hop spotlight of founding father Alexander Hamilton appealing to mass audiences has been successfully shouted down. Why the national passion for a show most haven’t seen with their own eyes?

One factor is that it is a “sung-through” musical, with little dialogue other than the lyrics, which means that simply hearing the cast album provides a close experience of the show. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Tony Award-winning creator Lin-Manuel Miranda explained that his own lifelong love of Broadway started with listening to his parents’ collection of cast albums, and he wanted to offer a similar thrill for Hamilton. Sample for yourself via CD or Hoopla streaming, or spark a similar fandom with a different sung-through musical.

Click here for a list of sung-through musical Broadway cast recordings at MPPL. 

Book Discussion Questions: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret book coverTitle: The Husband’s Secret
Author: Liane Moriarty
Page Count: 396 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Tone: Moving, Witty, Character-Driven

Summary:Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive.

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

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

1. What were your thoughts when you read the Prologue about Pandora?

2. Why do You think Cecelia was afraid to open the letter? What do you think finally spurred Cecelia to open the letter?

3. You find a letter from your husband/friend/significant other that says to be opened only in the event of my death. What do you do?

4. Once Cecilia read the letter, she faces quite a dilemma. Do you agree with her decisions or is there something else she could have done?

5. After Cecilia read the letter she said she was “No Longer Cecilia Fitzpatrick, she’d ceased to exist the moment she read the letter. Why?

6. Why did John-Paul write the letter? What do you think would have happened to John-Paul if either never wrote or Cecelia never opened the letter?

7. Did you have any strong feelings about any of the characters?

8. While this story is very much about women, there were several male characters, what did you think of them. Did any of them stand out for you?

9. Cecilia said she’d married John-Paul because of the father she knew he would be. Will was a very involved dad to Liam and would go running around outside with him instead of watching a ballgame. Rachel thought of her son Rob “as a good dad. A better dad than his own father had been. That was the way these days – all men seemed to be better fathers. Do you think this is true. Does changing diapers and playing with the kids make a father “better”?

10. In this novel thematically the Berlin Wall is huge. It is mentioned repeatedly in relation to key events in all their lives. What do you think was the significance using the Berlin Wall as a focal point in the story lines?

11. The story of Cannonball Harry was really striking. This man hijacked a train and drove full speed thru the barricades with his wife and four kids lying on the floor of the train, bullets flying over their head. Cecilia said if I had been his wife, I would have said it’s not worth it; who cares if we’re stuck behind this wall? At least we’re alive. Death is too high a price for freedom. What did you think of this story?

12. There was another thread running the story – The Biggest Loser.  Do you think using that show with that title had any significance? Who was the “Biggest Loser”?

13. Grief and guilt are major themes in the novel. What do you think determines how guilty one feels? Is it the situation, or is it determined by who you are?

14. What did you think of the Will/Tess/Felicity Triangle?

15. Tess said of Will and Felicity, “they must have kissed. And that was worse than if they slept together.” What are your thoughts?

16. What did you think of Tess’s assessment that the only way to save her marriage was to let Will and Felicity have an affair?

17.Do you think Felicity and Will were actually in love or was it just a crush?

18. Tess read that there is no such thing as a good divorce for children. What are your thoughts?

19. What did you think about Tess’s “relationship” with Connor Whitby? Do you excuse the way she acted during that week because of the uncertainty in her marriage?

20. As it turns out Tess was technically unfaithful while Will and Felicity never consummated their relationship. What are your thoughts. Who is the “guilty party” in this scenario? Who was the Father of Tess’s baby?

21. What did you think about Rachel?

22. Rachel did not want Lauren and Rob to take her grandson away. She obviously adored him. What did you think of Rachel’s relationship with her own son?
23. What were Rachel’s feelings toward her daughter-in-law, Lauren? What do you think Laurens feelings are towards her mother-in-law?

24. Rachel hit Polly with her car. Obviously she is to blame for this. Do you think anyone else has a share in the blame?

25. Do you remember the story of Little Spiderman being hit by a car in the beginning of the novel? Cecilia then witness’s her daughter getting hit by a car and her worst fear comes true. Do you think that by keeping the secret Cecilia felt that she bore some of the responsibility for Polly’s accident? Do you think she should?

26. Cecilia ended up telling Rachel that it was John-Paul that killed Janie. Do you think she would have if Rachel hadn’t admitted that she was trying to kill Connor?

27. All these years Rachel wanted Connor Whitby put away yet she does not have John-Paul arrested. Why?

28. Do you think at the end of the day, Cecilia still love her husband?

29. John-Paul was a doting husband and active father who obviously loved his kids and the kids clearly loved their father. Does one act, even if it is a horrible act, define who you are? Do you believe that Jon-Paul went from a wonderful husband and father to an evil murderer after reading the letter?

30.  Was John-Paul the man the same as John-Paul the boy?

31. If he had done it, Do you think he should have gone to jail or did he pay for his mistake?

32. Were you surprised when you found out that John-Paul’s mother knew? What do you think she should have done?

33. What did you think of the ending? Do you think it restores some kind of moral balance?

34. At the end, we realize that John-Paul did not kill Janie. What did you think of that?

35. The novel opens with “to err is human; to forgive divine” For all the story lines, Is there forgiveness or is the damage done irreparable?

36. Is life meant to be or is it just right now and doing your best?

37. Is it ever OK to keep a secret?

38. Is it possible to ever completely know another person?

39. CBS optioned the movie rights for this novel. Liane Moriarty came up with her list of who should play the key roles. Who would you get to play the key roles?

Other Resources:

Lit Lovers’ Discussion Questions
Video of Liane Moriarty on The Husband’s Secret
Liane Moriarty’s dream cast for the book
Book Discussion hosting tips

Readalikes:
Pretty Baby book cover
More Like Her book cover
Sweet Salt Air book cover

 

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
More Like Her by Liza Palmer
Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

New Book Spotlight: What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

What Was Mine book coverLucy wants a child more than anything in the world, yet she is devastatingly unable to get pregnant. So, she does the unthinkable. One moment a baby is sitting in a shopping cart and the next she is in Lucy’s arms. Lucy begins to raise the baby as her own, and it’s not until twenty years later that her secret starts to unravel. The multiple narrators propel What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross forward as characters of varying level of involvement share their perspective in this thrilling exploration of motherhood and the ramifications of a single choice.

Looking for new non-fiction titles? Head over here!