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Staff Pick: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Picture of NancyDonna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is an engrossing novel that follows the ups and downs of New Yorker Theo Drecker. It’s a huge book with generous detail and many thought-provoking themes such as art, friendship, and the chaos and beauty of life. The flawed, charismatic characters stayed with me long after I finished the last page. If you missed it when everyone was talking about it in 2013, don’t worry – you can never be too late to the party with this award-winner.

Surprising Authors Who Wrote Science Fiction

George R.R. Martin has published science fiction books? C.S. Lewis wrote a space trilogy? Why yes, they did! While known for writing in different genres, these and other popular authors have made their way into the frontier of science fiction. Try one of these titles below, or a different science fiction book and you can enter to win a prize! Read here for more details.


Hunter's Run book cover

Creator of A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin is most known for his fantasy writing. However, in Hunter’s Run he collaborates with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham to write a science fiction adventure about a man on the run from police, fugitive aliens, murder mysteries, and deadly planets.




Out of the Silent Planet book cover


C.S. Lewis is well-known for his fantasy series “The Chronicles of Narnia”, as well as his writings on Christianity. He also wrote a science fiction trilogy where a college academic, Dr. Ransom, is abducted by an alien space ship. Out of the Silent Planet is the first in the trilogy.



Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World book cover


Known for his works of literary magical realism, such as 1Q84 and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami creates a collision of eclectic characters, electronic brainwashing, and an intricate world set in the near future in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.



Best Science Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle book cover


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the man behind the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, but he over fifty years he also wrote short stories about eternal life, time travel, and mind-swapping. The fourteen science fiction tales are collected in The Best Science Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle.



Blue Light book cover


Hardboiled mystery writer Walter Mosley takes his readers to 1960s San Francisco, where a light flashes across the earth and anyone touched by it is ascended into a higher level of understanding in Blue Light.

Fiction: Orphanage by Robert Buettner

Orphanage book coverLike to read about military life? Try Orphanage by Robert Buettner.

Aliens have waged war on the world and they’re looking for one thing: the extermination of humanity. After his family is killed by the destruction of Indianapolis, Jason Wander is left an orphan. It takes a lot to mold the joker into a successful foot soldier, but soon he is on his way to invade the attackers on a last ditch effort to save the world. The weight of humanity rests on his soldiers.

All through November 2015, read a science fiction book and enter to win a prize! Read here for more details.

New Science Fiction: Library Clones, Missing Film Makers, and More!

New in Sci-Fi Picture Header

For the month of November, we’re turning the spotlight on the imagination, excitement, and insight of a collection too often dismissed as only about spaceships and aliens.  Adults who accept our challenge to read a science fiction book may enter to win an AMC Theatres or Barnes & Noble gift card. Check out below what newer books have landed in the science fiction collection.


Saturn Run Book CoverSaturn Run
by John Sandford and Ctein

When a Caltech intern notices what seems to be a spaceship decelerating towards Saturn, a new space race begins as governments hurry to get their hands on the technology.

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits Book CoverFuturistic Violence and Fancy Suits
by David Wong

Reluctantly traveling to the city in a violent near-future, a recent college grad learns that her late estranged father was the head of a superhero negotiator organization.

A Borrowed Man Book CoverA Borrowed Man
by Gene Wolf

A clone living on a shelf in a public library with an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer as his personality is about to be checked out into a mystery of his own.

Radiance Book CoverRadiance
by Catherynne M. Valente

Severin starts making documentaries and while investigating the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus is never seen again, with only her crew left to preserve her story.

Ancilliary Mercy Book CoverAncillary Mercy
by Ann Leckie

In order to save Atheok Station from her most bitter enemy, professional soldier Breq devises her most desperate plan yet.

Summaries are from Novelist and Publishers.
Looking for new nonfiction? Head here for new and forthcoming titles.

Try Sci-Fi: It’s More Than You Think

The science fiction approach doesn’t mean it’s always about the future; it’s an awareness that this is different.  - Neal StephensonTry Sci-Fi promotion

Thrills. Romance. Adventure. Humor. Suspense. Literature. Mystery. All these and more are represented in science fiction! Don’t let stereotypes keep you from sampling a new spin on a favorite genre. For the month of November, we’re turning the spotlight on the imagination, excitement, insight, and heart of a collection too often dismissed as only about spaceships and aliens. Browse our collection, choose from a suggested list that matches your taste, or spin our Try Sci-Fi wheel to find your next read. Adults who accept our challenge may enter to win an AMC Theatres or Barnes & Noble gift card. New possibilities await!

Spooks and Scares Available After Hours

spooky landscape imageThe wind is howling, the moon is glowing, and you crave something to make your skin crawl. Even if the Library building is closed for the night, you can still grab a chilling story to make the most of your mood. Hoopla, a digital service you access with your MPPL card, offers instant access to tales of all kinds, including those that terrify just the way you like. Here is a sample of the horrors on offer:

E-Audio Books:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle coverWe Have Always Lived in the Castle
by Shirley Jackson

Six years after four family members died suspiciously–of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods live together in pleasant isolation until threatened by a cousin’s arrival.

The Raven and Selected Short Stories coverThe Raven and Selected Short Stories
by Edgar Allan Poe

A collection of ten short stories and poems widely regarded as the most famous of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings.

The Library Policeman coverThe Library Policeman
by Stephen King

Overdue books may seem a minor offense, but not to Junction City’s malevolent monster of a librarian.


The Living Dead coverThe Living Dead
edited by John Joseph Adams

A collection of the best zombie literature of the last three decades from Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, George R. R. Martin, Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, and Joe Hill.

Classic Tales of the Supernatural coverClassic Tales of the Supernatural
compiled by Robin Brockman

Stories from the heyday of supernatural fiction, including authors such as Henry James, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Warped: Tales of Horror and Rage coverWarped: Tales of Horror and Rage
by Rick Ochre

Fourteen stories that shine a light into the minds of disturbed individuals, explore otherworldly terror, and imagine unspeakable acts of vengeance.

New Books by Kevin Costner, Robert Galbraith, and More!

Almost everyday new books arrive at the Library to be processed and then placed on the shelf or in your hands. Take a look at some of the books that have arrived most recently at the Library. Want help getting matched with a book to fit your reading mood? Ask online or at the Fiction/AV/Teen services desk on the second floor.

Newly Arrived Books:

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Book CoverA Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

by George R.R. Martin

A collection of three novellas set almost a century before A Game of Thrones, following the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, a boy called Egg.

A Passage to Shambahla Book CoverA Passage to Shambhala
by Jon Baird and Kevin Costner

Set against the backdrop of WWI, a covert group of elite adventurers sets off to find the golden city of Buddhist myth.

Bollywood Bride Book CoverThe Bollywood Bride
by Sonali Dev

Traveling home to Chicago to attend a family wedding and ride out a scandal, Bollywood star Ria Parkar reunites with Vikram Jathar, whose heart she broke to pursue her career.

Killing and Dying Book CoverKilling and Dying
by Adrian Tomine

In six interconnected, darkly funny stories, Tomine forms a quiet portrait of contemporary life, covering themes such as identity, parenthood, and varying art forms.

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine Book CoverThe Woman Who Walked in
by Alexander McCall Smith

A latest entry in the best-selling series finds the Agency and Mma Ramotswe’s first-ever holiday thrown into unexpected turmoil by a case involving a Botswana war hero whose reputation is being called into question.

Bliss Book CoverBliss
by Shay Mitchell and Michaela Blaney

Set in the intoxicating worlds of Hollywood, Thailand, and London, Bliss paints a portrait of life in your early twenties with equal parts optimism and fear, hope and disappointment, expectation and reality.

Newly Arrived Audiobooks:

Career of Evil Book CoverCareer of Evil
by Robert Galbraith

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a severed leg, and Cormoran Strike must look to his past to determine who is behind the horrid parcel.

Lake House Book CoverThe Lake House
by Kate Morton

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. Decades later, the truth starts to be unearthed.

Welcome to Night Vale Book CoverWelcome to Night Vale
by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

From the creators of the wildly popular podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves.

The Secret Chord Book CoverThe Secret Chord
by Geraldine Brooks

Brooks traces the arc of King David’s journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

The Devil Wins Book CoverThe Devil Wins
by Reed Farrel Coleman

Investigating the discovery of three bodies in an abandoned factory after a huge storm, Jesse Stone learns that two of the victims were teen friends, who went missing twenty-five years earlier.

The Theory of Death Book CoverThe Theory of Death
by Faye Kellerman

Investigating a suspicious suicide in the woods, former LAPD detective Peter Decker, and Tyler McAdams infiltrate a college’s elite mathematics circle to uncover an operation that transforms bright students into criminals.


Summaries from Novelist and Publishers.
Looking for new nonfiction? Head here for new and forthcoming titles.

Asked at the Desk: Debbie Macomber for Book Groups

Looking for a book that will transport you to a different era? Wondering if all Australian TV series are as much fun as Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries? How about a new audiobook that will help keep you sane on a long commute?

These are just a few examples of questions we hear daily at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk! Recently, we’ve been asked:

Are Debbie Macomber books good for discussion?

Our answer? They certainly can be!

Almost any book can provide spark for good dialogue, and much will depend on the people doing the discussing. Some groups enjoy thoughtful debate about serious issues; others are simply looking for a shared reading experience that offers a chance to bond.

Why might Debbie Macomber author picMacomber make a right choice? Her characters are contemporary, ordinary women caught in difficult situations but who remain optimistic nonetheless. The writing is straightforward and steadily paced, so you won’t find extended descriptions, symbolism, or pretention. These books are gentle and upbeat, and even groups who prefer to challenge themselves may be interested in a more mainsTwenty Wishes book covertream, heart-warming story as a break from usual fare.

However, keep in mind that most libraries don’t have full sets of Macomber titles.  If your group likes to take advantage of library holdings, be sure you check on availability before you pick a title.  MPPL does offer one Debbie Macomber book, Twenty Wishes, as a Books-to-Go discussion kit.  In it, you’ll receive ten copies and a binder of questions and other information.  The kit can be reserved up to a year in advance, and it checks out for six weeks to allow plenty of time between meetings. For other titles offered as ready-made kits, click here.

October is Reading Group Month, and book kits are only one way the Library can help your book club. We’re happy to help you select your next title, connect you to other resources, and offer questions for your chosen book.

Have a question yourself? Ask online or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor, and we will connect you with something to fit your mood!

Fiction: Diversify Your Reading

“The human condition is complex and contradictory, layered like an ice-cream parfait, with flavors blending among the layers. A great novel reflects that complexity. We may read it several times, as we do with our favorites, and each time it is like finding an old friend and gaining new insights from that friend.”
Why Read Fiction” – Forbes 2015

One of the benefits we gain from reading fiction is gaining insights on how people view and experience the world differently. In order to do so, we have to challenge ourselves to seek out stories written from voices less heard or perspectives we haven’t read before. In support of reading widely, here are a few recent additions to the MPPL fiction collection that pull from a variety of experiences:

Balm Book CoverBalm
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Exploring the the end of slavery, this story of love and healing is about three people who struggle to overcome the pain of the past and define their own future.

Love Love Book Cover

by Sung J. Woo

In alternating chapters, siblings Judy and Kevin share their lives as they figure out how to live, how to love, and how to be their best selves amidst the chaos of their lives.

Stand Your Ground Book Cover

by Victoria Christopher Murray

A black teenage boy is dead. A white man shot him. Was he standing his ground or was it murder?

A Bad Character Book Cover

by Deepti Kapoor

Set in New Delhi, a twenty-year-old girl yearning to break free of tradition casts aside her fears and throws herself headlong into a love affair.

The Sellout Book Cover

by Paul Beatty

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.

A Little Life Book Cover

by Hanya Yanagihara

Moving to New York to pursue creative ambitions, four former classmates share decades marked by love, loss, addiction, and haunting elements from a brutal childhood.