MPPL's staff blog about books, movies, music and the talent behind them.
Donna from Fiction/AV/Teen suggests Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Life leads you down strange and winding roads as you begin your adventures into adulthood. In Sourdough by Robin Sloan, Lois Clary is on just such a journey, open to the unknown as she ambles purposefully from the Midwest to San Francisco. Initially she heads to the Bay Area to take a job as a computer programmer at a startup company that makes robotic arms to perform delicate repetitive motions such as cracking eggs. Undeterred by a culture that forgoes food for semi-liquid nutrient supplement packets called “Slurry”, Lois embraces the high tech way of life. But when she finds herself craving a rich, flavorful meal that doesn’t come in a pouch, she begins a relationship with an ancient culture, an enigmatic duo of brothers and a bread recipe that takes on a life of its own.
For other offbeat adventures in the realm of culinary arts or the computer tech scene, try these…
by Doree Shafrir
Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea, but before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message helps his startup company go viral for all the wrong reasons.
by Aimee Bender
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice.
by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox is notorious: a fearlessly opinionated partner , a revolutionary architect, a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears…
by Man Martin
Bone King has no physical impairment, but at times his brain and muscles simply can’t recall how to walk him through doors and is not sure why, until renowned neurologist Arthur Limongello offers a diagnosis as peculiar as the ailment…
by Robin Sloan
After a few days on the job, Clay Jannon discovers that Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest.
Ireland has a history of cultivating great poets and authors – William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and Oscar Wilde, to name a few. Modern-day Irish authors successfully carry on this rich tradition. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are newer books from contemporary authors who hail from the Emerald Isle.
Anne Enright, The Green Road
A darkly glinting novel set mainly in a small town on Ireland’s Atlantic coast.The children of Rosaleen Madigan grow up in the West of Ireland in a world that is about to change. Three of the children leave home for lives they could never have imagined – Dan, for the frenzy of New York under the shadow of AIDS; Emmet, for the backlands of Mali where he learns the fragility of love and order; and actress Hanna, for modern day Dublin and the trials of motherhood. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother Rosaleen decides to sell the family home. Her adult children visit for Christmas carrying with them the complications of their present lives and the old needs of childhood as they are brought face to face with their mother’s aging and the effects her decision will have on them all.
Colum McCann, Thirteen Ways of Looking
In the exuberant title novella, a retired judge reflects on his life’s work, unaware as he goes about his daily routines that this particular morning will be his last. In “Sh’khol,” a mother spending Christmas alone with her son confronts the unthinkable when he disappears while swimming off the coast near their home in Ireland. In “Treaty,” an elderly nun catches a snippet of a news report in which it is revealed that the man who once kidnapped and brutalized her is alive, masquerading as an agent of peace. And in “What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?” a writer constructs a story about a Marine in Afghanistan calling home on New Year’s Eve.
Emma Donoghue, The Wonder
An English nurse is brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.
Colm Toibin, House of Names
“I have been acquainted with the smell of death.” So begins Clytemnestra’s tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband King Agamemnon left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon.. Clytemnestra reveals the tragic saga that led to these bloody actions: how her husband deceived her eldest daughter with a promise of marriage to Achilles, only to sacrifice her; how she seduced and collaborated with the prisoner Aegisthus; how Agamemnon came back with a lover himself; and how Clytemnestra finally achieved her vengeance for his stunning betrayal—his quest for victory, greater than his love for his child.
Lisa McInerney, The Glorious Heresies
When grandmother Maureen Phelan is surprised in her home by a stranger, she clubs the intruder with a Holy Stone. The consequences of this unplanned murder connect four misfits struggling against their meager circumstances. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father, Tony, whose feud with his next-door neighbor threatens to ruin his family. Georgie is a sex worker who half-heartedly joins a born-again movement to escape her profession and drug habit. And Jimmy Phelan, the most fearsome gangster in the city and Maureen’s estranged son, finds that his mother’s bizarre attempts at redemption threaten his entire organization.
Looking for a fast-paced page-turner? Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is the book for you. The story starts with a plane crash and the incredible actions of one unlikely hero. Why did the plane crash? Were any of the passengers complicit? Get ready for a ride that may surprise you!
Celebrate Women’s History Month by reading a novel about an innovator who made her mark! Whether your interest is in world leaders, trailblazers, or those who persevered, you’ll find a tale in which biographical fact is presented with an emphasis on story. Visit our new display on the second floor or choose from this sampling:
Leading the Way
Art of Inspiration
Laurel Davis Huber
Women Who Rule
Dark Rain and James Alexander Thom
In The View from Penthouse B, recently widowed Gwen-Laura moves in with her sister, recently divorced Margot. They take in a newly unemployed young gay man to help with the rent, and it’s fun to see the roommates support each another as they navigate New York City following their personal setbacks. Elinor Lipman’s novel is a charming, light read brimming with optimism, even as it explores themes of grief, forgiveness, and financial challenges.