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Staff Pick: Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Jennifer from Community Services suggests Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Relic ChildLet me start by saying, if you saw the movie based on this book from a few years back, the book is very different and well worth a read.

Relic takes place with the fictionalized equivalent to New York City’s American Museum of Natural History, where the museum curators are getting ready for a huge extravaganza, the Superstition exhibition. As the exhibit title implies, it is designed to feature the world’s superstitions. Among the artifacts on display in the exhibit is a small relic clouded in mystery and disaster, bringing with it rumors of a horrible curse that resulted in the death of everyone on the expedition that discovered it.

Now, just a week before the big exhibit opening, people are being brutally attacked and murdered in the nether-regions of the museum. Museum officials just want it all to go away (murder can be such a bother some times), but FBI Special Agent Pendergast, NYPD Police Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta, Ph.D. candidate Margo Green, and intrepid journalist William Smithback, Jr. are determined to get to the bottom of the grizzly killings. Relic, while very different from what has become known as the Pendergast series, is an absolutely fantastic read.

For more detailed thrilling adventures, try…

 

The 6th ExtinctionThe 6th Extinction: A Sigma Force by James Rollins

A madman with an environmental agenda has gotten a hold of the most powerful virus on the planet. A virus no plant of animal has immunity against, and which can be used to bring about the 6th Extinction.

 

 

 

The Great Zoo of China book coverThe Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

CJ Cameron is on assignment to see The Great Zoo of China ahead of its grand opening. CJ is unaware of what exactly lurks inside the Great Zoo until she arrives at a hidden valley in China under great secrecy and sees it for herself.

 

 

 

Pulse book coverPulse by Jeremy Robinson

A small elite military unit comes into conflict with an evil mega-corporation that it trying to find the secret of eternal life.

 

 

 

in-the-woodsIn the Woods by Tana French
When a girl is found murdered at an archaeological dig, Detectives Ryan and Maddox are assigned to the case. Detective Maddox uncovers an eerily similar case twenty years earlier, a case that saw an adolescent Detective Ryan as the only survivor.

 

 

 

The Supernatural Enhancements book coverThe Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

An inherited haunted house, cryptology, and an undercover society on a quest around the world lead the new master of the house to uncover the secrets of its former owners.

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5 Books to Read for the End of Summer

With summer starting to wind down, your next book may either set the tone for your next season of reading or be your last summer book. Here are a few suggested titles to fill that spot for you!

With video appearances by…

The Miracle on Monhegan Island by Elizabeth Kelly

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Originals by Adam Grant

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

If none of these are striking a chord email us at readers@mppl.org and we’ll work on getting together more suggestions for you!

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New Audio Spotlight: Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley

Charcoal Joe audiobook coverSometimes we’re looking to be dropped into a rich, moody world that doesn’t bear much resemblance to our everyday. A favorite escape is to the dark streets of mid-century Los Angeles, in the company of legendary detective Easy Rawlins. In Charcoal Joe, Rawlins is asked to aid a promising Stanford student charged with the race-related murder of a white man in the late 1960s. Author Walter Mosley, winner of the 2016 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, once again creates a door to history with gritty settings, lifelike characters, and velvet words.

Narrator Michael Boatman knows that the language of a Mosley story is its power, and he emphasizes the swagger and silk of the characters’ dialogue. Descriptions are spun with a cadence that makes them reality, and hard-boiled tension is equally earned. It’s a smooth performance, and one Easy himself would approve.

 

RITA Award Spotlight: Historical Romance and Inspirational Romance

Romance displays

As Romance Awareness Month draws to a close, the Library is celebrating with dual displays. Here you may find the recently announced honorees of the 2016 RITA Awards, which celebrate excellence in the romance genre. Often the most exciting races are those for historical romances and inspirational romances, and you can see several favorites below.

Historical Romance: Long

Tiffany Girl book coverTiffany Girl
WINNER:  Deeanne Gist

Earls Just Want to Have Fun book coverEarls Just Want to Have Fun
Finalist: Shana Galen

 

Bella and the Beast book coverBella and the Beast
Finalist: Olivia Drake
If the Viscount Falls book coverIf the Viscount Falls
Finalist: Sabrina Jeffries
Finalist: Grace Burrows

 

Historical Romance: Short

Say Yes to the Marquess book coverSay Yes to the Marquess
Finalist: Tessa Dare
Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy book coverThe Secrets of Richard Kenworthy
Finalist: Julia Quinn
Finalist: Elizabeth Hoyt

 

Inspirational Romance

A Noble Masquerade
WINNER: Kristi Ann Hunter
Mountain Midwife book coverThe Mountain Midwife
Finalist: Laurie Alice Eakes
Finalist: Becky Wade

 

Book Discussion Questions: Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife book coverTitle: Call the Midwife (also called The Midwife)
Author:  Jennifer Worth
Page Count: 340 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Tone: Reflective, Warm

Summary:
Reflects on the experiences of Jennifer Worth as a midwife in London’s postwar East End, including the nuns from whom she learned her craft and the interesting and challenging births she aided during her career.

 

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

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. Do you believe this book is adequately described as a career/work memoir or is it more than that?

2. What else did you learn about beyond midwifery in post-WW II England?  (What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?)  Was the book what you expected?

3. Beyond childbirth and midwifery, what are the dominant themes in the book?

4. One of the challenges of writing a memoir is deciding what to include and what to leave out.  Do you imagine Jennifer Worth had any difficulty making these decisions when writing her memoir?  (Note: She continued and wrote two additional books; The Midwife is considered first in a trilogy.)

5. According to an article on Slate (11-1-2012), the character of Chummy was created by Worth (Worth’s daughters insist she was real) – she was not based on an actual person she knew in that time.  How do you feel about the existence of fictional elements in a non-fiction book?  Does it affect your enjoyment of the book?

6. Worth’s ability to connect with people is somewhat restrained – she mentions several times holding back and resisting getting too drawn into someone’s personal situation.  What do you think of her preference to keep a distance?  Do you think this was a professional stance, or more of a reflection of her personality?

7. How do you think this distance/reserve affected her ability to write a book such as this?  Is it a strength or a weakness?

8. Can you recall which anecdotes or deliveries affected her despite her efforts to not be emotional?

9. Which mother/baby moments or deliveries did you find most memorable?  Did they all contribute equally to the book? Were there any stories that should have been left out?

10. What about the men in the book?  Who stands out in your mind?  Are there any generalizations that could be made about how men are portrayed?

11. Which nuns at Nonnatus House did you find most interesting?

12. What was her purpose in writing her memoirs?  Who do you think Worth’s intended audience was?

13. If you are a parent or not, would this affect your enjoyment or appreciation of the book?  What about if you like history or not?

14. Have you seen the BBC series based on this book (and other two books)?  How does it compare to the book?

15. Would you say there are differences between the book and the TV show?  If so, how are they different?  Does one enrich the other?

16. What do you think about the level of detail in some of the deliveries?  Was it necessary?  Does it give you a richer understanding of this line of work?

17. Thinking about the subject matter and the time period / setting, would you say this was an easy or difficult book to read?

18. The book’s subtitle is “a memoir of birth, joy, and hard times.” Was there a balance between challenging stories and more joyous circumstances?  Would you say the book had an overall tone / mood to it, or is it hard to say?

19. How has life changed for women since the time period captured in this book?  Have prenatal care and obstetrics changed?

20. What things do you think have stayed the same?  Despite the specific setting and time period, is there a timeless appeal to this book?

21. Are you interested in reading her two additional books?  Is one enough?  If you haven’t watched the series yet, do you think you will?

22. How would you describe her writing style?  Do you feel aware of the fact that she wasn’t a professional writer?

23. Is there anything that we can learn from her work as a midwife?  If so, what is it and why is it important?

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

OTHER RESOURCES:

Reading group guide from the publisher
Discussion questions and responses from blog, Project Motherhood
PBS music playlist for Call the Midwife
Video interview with Jennifer Worth on her life
Radio Times article: Jennifer Worth’s daughter on their mother

READALIKES:

All Creatures Big and Small book cover Balm in Gilead book cover My Name is Mary Sutter book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Balm in Gilead by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

Staff Pick: Boy & the World

Cathleen_2014Delight your eyes with a work of wonder! Nearly wordless and enhanced with music, Oscar nominee Boy & the World is a warm, uplifting exploration of childlike discovery. This Brazilian fable dazzles with inventive hand-drawn animation, juxtaposing the realities of life’s hardships with the adventure of youth. Exhilarating and unforgettable.

We’ve Got You Covered: Books and Flat Ladies

What can you tell by a cover? Not everything, of course, but it can offer a peek into tone, topic, and audience. If you are ready for stories that are accessible, contemporary, lively, and straightforward, try one of these bright “flat art” covers, designed to entertain. Sunglasses, though common, are optional.

Window Opens book coverA Window Opens
Elizabeth Egan
Enchanted August book cover
Enchanted August
Brenda Bowen

 

Cover of Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan

 

Finding Audrey book coverFinding Audrey
Sophie Kinsella
Royal We book coverThe Royal We
Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
I Take You book cover
I Take You
Eliza Kennedy

 

Like Stranger Things? Try My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism book coverIf you’re looking for campy horror with just enough spook to keep you on your toes but humor to break the tension, make Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism your next read. Set in small town America during the 1980s, Abby and Gretchen have been long-time best friends. Now they are in high school and Gretchen is suddenly acting strangely mean. Is it just growing up, or is she possibly possessed by a demon? Abby is on a mission to find out.

Like the hit Netflix original Stranger Things, the novel has strong elements of loyal friendship, an abundance of 1980s pop culture, and a slow build up resulting in an action packed final scene