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Donna C’s Pick: The Wingman by David Pepper

Donna C Staff Pick photoJack Sharpe is an investigative television news reporter. Congressman Anthony Bravo is a decorated Iraq War veteran and a Democratic candidate for president. In the fast-paced political thriller The Wingman by David Pepper, these two characters become embroiled in a high-stakes world entangled in dark money, deep pockets and scandal at every turn.

Books: Native American Heritage Month

In celebration of Native American Heritage month this November, treat yourself to one of these wonderful books written by Native American authors.

Murder on the Red River book coverMurder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon
Cash and Wheaton—a strange partnership. He pulled her from her mother’s wrecked car when she was three. Northern Minnesota, cold Indian Country. Wheaton kept an eye out. So there they are, staring at the unidentified dead Indian. Cash said he was Red Lake. Dreamed his cheap house on the reservation, mother and kids waiting. That’s the place to start looking.

 

 

 

 

There There book coverThere There by Tommy Orange
Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day. As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow—some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent—momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything.

 

 

 

 

Trail of LightningTrail of Lightning book cover by Rebecca Roanhorse
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

 

 

 

The Man Who Heard the Land book coverThe Man Who Heard the Land by Diane Glancy
An unnamed man driving a lonely Minnesota highway hears the voice of the land–but he can’t make out what it has said. The man is a professor who teaches a ‘Literature and the Environment’ course, but he soon realizes that there is much he must still learn about the land, his past, and his home state. What follows is a kind of odyssey of self-discovery. He submerges himself into the history of the region, trying to piece together geology, Native folklore, and early explorer literature, all in an effort to decipher what the land has said.

 

 

 

Hearts Unbroken book coverHearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
When Louise’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. Long-held prejudices are being laid bar. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult.

Cathleen’s Pick: Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard

Cathleen's Staff Pick photoAs if road trips through difficult weather weren’t already minefields, the slim-but-potent Listen to Me employs the perceptions – and baggage – of an isolated couple to craft delicious strain in the narrative. Even more impressive is how author Hannah Pittard calls upon the reader’s preconceptions to coil additional tension in a masterpiece of character-driven suspense.

Books: Timely Horror

As the leaves fall and the air chills, All Hallows’ Eve brings with it a turn toward the sinister and dark. For those looking for a spine-tingling, hair-raising accompaniment to your Halloween weekend, look no further than these recent tales…

if you dare.

The Devil Crept In book coverThe Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are aware that after the first 48 hours the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. Despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for his cousin and best friend. And there was that boy, Max Larsen…found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. The awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

 

 

Strange Weather book coverStrange Weather by Joe Hill

A collection of four short, chilling novels.”Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories. In “rain” a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado erupts with a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. In “Aloft” s young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud. In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting, but under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel.

 

 

 

Universale Harvester book coverUniversal Harvester by John Darnielle

Jeremy works at the Video Hut. It’s good enough for Jeremy: it’s a job, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck. But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return a tape, she has an odd complaint: “There’s something on it.” Two days later, a different customer returns a tape and says “There’s another movie on this tape.” Jeremy brings the movies home to take a look. The middle of each movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video. The scenes are odd and sometimes violent, dark, and deeply disquieting and have been shot just outside of town.

 

 

Sleeping BeautiesSleeping Beauties book cover by Stephen King and Owen King

In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men? In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

 

 

 

The Dark Net book coverThe Dark Net by Benjamin Percy

The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now, an ancient darkness is gathering there. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew, including a twelve-year-old who has been fitted with a high-tech visual prosthetic to combat her blindness; a technophobic journalist; a one-time child evangelist with an arsenal in his basement; and a hacker who believes himself a soldier of the Internet. Set in present-day Portland, this is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we already live in.

Book Discussion Questions: The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 book coverTitle: The Woman in Cabin Ten
Author: Ruth Ware
Page Count: 340 pages
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Tone: Menacing, Uncertain, Tense

Summary: An intruder in the middle of the night leaves Lo Blacklock feeling vulnerable. Trying to shake off her fears, she hopes her big break of covering the maiden voyage of the luxury cruise ship, the Aurora, will help. The first night of the voyage changes everything. What did she really see in the water and who was the woman in the cabin next door? The claustrophobic feeling of being on a ship and the twists and turns of who, and what, makes it difficult to know what to believe.

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: 2018 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. The book starts with a prologue, “In my dream, the girl was drifting, far, far below the crashing waves and the cries of the gulls in the cold, sunless depth of the North Sea. Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water; her pale skin was wrinkled; her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrating into rags.” How did this set the tone of the book for you?

    1. 2. The story dives right in. Chapter 1, as we are introduced to the books’ protagonist, Lo Blacklock; we are immediately thrust into a home invasion. It was a short chapter but a lot happens. How did this opening feel to you?

3. Did you have any initial opinions of Lo?

4. We go from Lo’s apartment being broken into, to the scene in Jude’s flat where Lo accidentally knocks out Jude’s tooth. Let’s talk about this and their relationship?

5. What were your initial impressions of Jude?

6. Lo goes on the cruise. Do you think she should have gone? What did you think of the ship?

7. Lo wakes up at 3am. “Something had woken me up. Something that left me jumpy and strung out as a meth addict. Why did I keep thinking of a scream?” She picked up her book and then heard something else, “something that barely registered above the sound of the engine and the slap of the waves, a sound so soft that the scrap of a paper against paper almost drowned it out. It was the noise of the veranda door in the next cabin sliding gently open.” She believed that she heard the splash made by a body hitting water. What did you think?

8. What did you think about Lo’s interaction with the ships security Johann Nilsson?

9. We start to see emails/texts from Jude wondering if anyone has heard from Lo. How did this affect the story for you?

10. The morning after “the murder,” Lo checks out the entire staff of the ship looking for the woman she saw in Cabin 10. She told the staff that she heard a scream and then felt the mention of the scream had been a mistake; she felt “the staff had closed ranks.” What do you think of that? Did you think the staff was hiding something?

11. No staff seemed to be missing, no passengers were missing, and Lo’s career could be on the line.  Why do you think she pursued her line of inquiry? Would you?

12. As the story continues, it is clear that Nillsen seemed to doubt Lo’s suspicions of foul play.  Thoughts?

13. Lo approached Lord Richard Bullmer about her belief of a possible murder. Did you think this was a good idea? Let’s talk about their interaction.

14. Ben Howard, Lo’s ex-boyfriend, becomes an important character in the book. What did you think about him?

15. In the middle of the book, the prologue comes into play. Lo goes to the spa and gets a mud wrap, as she goes into the shower, she sees written across the steam mirror the words “stop digging” and on the very next page, we read that Lo’s body was found by a Danish Fisherman. Where did the story go for you at this point?

16. Lo asked Karla (her cabin attendant) if she knew anything. Karla said she felt sorry for Lo and that Nillson thinks she is paranoid. Karla proceeds to tell Lo that the staff all needed their jobs and that she (Karla) has a son. “Just because perhaps someone let a friend use an empty cabin, that doesn’t mean she was killed, you know” and Lo shouldn’t “make trouble if nothing happened.” What did you think about this conversation?

17. Ernst Solberg was an investor who was supposed to be in Cabin 10, we find out that he was not on the cruise because his home was burglarized & his passport was stolen. Was this related to Lo’s break in?

18. There is an online “Whodunit” thread discussing Lo’s disappearance. What did you think about that?

19. Lo sees the girl from Cabin 10 outside her door and goes after her. Lo is then “kidnapped.” By this time, did you have your list of suspects? Who did you think was the Woman in Cabin 10?

20. Lo starts pumping her kidnapper for information. The kidnapper said, “You’re digging your grave, do you get that?” What did you think of Lo at this point?

21. What was your opinion of Carrie?

22. By the end of the book, what did you think of Lo?

23. Lo is home with Judah. They are in bed and she starts crying. Lo says “I can’t stop thinking of her, I can’t accept it, it’s all wrong.” Let’s talk about this.

24. Why do you think Lo had such a hard time accepting what happened to Lord Bullmer?

25. Why do you think Lo had a change of heart at the end of the novel and decided to move to New York?

  1. 26. What did you think of the last page of the novel, a deposit of 40,000 Swiss Franc went into Lo’s account with the reference “Tigger’s Bounce?”
  1. 27. Were there unanswered questions in the plot? If so, what wasn’t covered or finalized in the ending?
  1. 28. How effective were the email messages and articles in moving the story forward?

29. What did you think of Ruth Ware’s writing style? Were there any passages that struck you?

  1. 30. How would you describe the book?
  1. 31. What do you think of the following statement?: “We mostly don’t believe women, especially angry women.” (A 2015 study from Arizona State University that focused on jury reactions showed how angry men gain influence while angry women lose it.)

32. Would this have been a different read if it had been a male protagonist?

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

OTHER RESOURCES:

YouTube Book Trailer
Book of the Month
Ruth Ware’s official author website
LitLovers discussion guide
Culturefly interview with Ruth Ware “Interview with Ruth Ware”

READALIKES:

I See You book coverI See You
by Clare Mackintosh

The Couple Next Door book coverThe Couple Next Door
by Shari Lapena

Every Last Lie book coverEvery Last Lie
by Mary Kubica

Book Discussion Questions: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

mr. penumbra's 24-hour bookstore book coverTitle: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Page Count: 288 pages
Genre: Tech Fiction, Adult Fiction for Teens
Tone: Likeable, Quirky, Offbeat

Summary: The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web-design drone and landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, and never seem to actually buy anything. Soon he ropes his friends into helping him figure out just what’s going on.

 

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: 2018 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. Why did Ajax Penumbra hire Clay?

2. What is the purpose of recording everything about the customer’s physical features? (p. 19, “…were there button on his coat made of mother-of-pearl? Or were they horn? Some kind of metal? Copper?”)

3. What do you think of Clay? Was he an accessible protagonist? How was he uniquely able to help Mr. Penumbra on his quest?

4. How does the novel deal with old and new technology? What do you think about that?

5. As the “information superhighway” began to really take off, many predicted that there would no longer be any use for libraries. What do you think about that? What has happened? Can the old ways coexist with the new? What does the book say about the idea that you can find everything on Google?

6. What did you think was happening in the bookstore? Did you think there was something nefarious happening?

7. What role does Corvina play in the story? What does he represent? How do you feel about him? Is he right to act as he does?

8. Kat introduces the concept of Singularity – “the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization” – on p. 58 (Wikipedia). She says you have to be an optimist. Is our feeling toward the future regarding technology’s role dependent upon how optimistic or pessimistic we are?

9. Mr. Penumbra tells Clay he didn’t know young people still read books. (p. 65) He looks at Clay’s Kindle, noticing things that are good about, such as being able to make the font bigger. He also notices the font is a very old one, Gerritszoon. Is/was the Kindle a positive example of a new way to interface with the old?

10. Why is the book set in San Francisco? What role did that city play in the story? Why did New York make an appearance?

11. There was a lot of concern during the time of Guttenberg and Manutius, as people worried printing houses would take work away from monks, and would replace skilled labor with unskilled labor, and take away the prestige of books as they became more accessible to common people. Was that concerned founded? What is the similarity between that and what is happening today as far as books and technology?

12. What role did The Dragonslayer Chronicles play in this book? Would you publish the third book or leave it hidden forever?

13. Describe Clay’s friend Neel and their relationship?

14. Which character did you most relate to? Why? Which character did you least relate to?

15. What do you think about the answer to “our greatest question”/how to live forever?

16. Why does the Festina Lente company embrace technology but the Unbroken Spine does not?

17. Society’s reaction to the advent of the printing press was somewhat similar to society’s reaction to the Kindle. Why? Were the opponents of printing houses correct to feel as they did? What about those who felt the Kindle and ebooks would destroy reading and book culture?

“ChurchHatesTucker points us to a wonderful historical analysis of a 15th century luddite, abbot Johannes Trithemius, who was no fan of the printing press, because of what it was going to do to those poor monks. It wasn’t just that it would put them out of work, but that it would impact their souls. He worried that the printing press would make monks lazy.

It was okay that the act of copying was hard. It built character, in Trithemius’s opinion, the same way as chopping wood (though to this “interior exercise,” i.e. exercise of the spirit, he assigned far more importance). For monks, labor was part and parcel of devotion, and if you weren’t good at writing, you could do binding, or painting, or for heaven’s sake practice. And it goes even further: the labor of manuscript writing was something for monks to do — for there was no greater danger for the devout soul than idleness.

For among all the manual exercises, none is so seemly to monks as devotion to the writing of sacred texts.

He also pulls out the typical “but this new fangled thing just isn’t as nice as the old stuff”: He does spend some time talking about practical reasons that printed books weren’t anything to get bothered about: their paper wasn’t as permanent as the parchment the monks used (he even advocates the hand-copying of “useful” printed works for their preservation); there weren’t very many books in print, and they were hard to find; they were constrained by the limitations of type, and were therefore ugly.” (Predictions by Mike Masnick, www.techdirt.com February 25. 2011)

18. There were many opposing reviews of this book. How many of you found the book to be charming? Overly-convenient? Clever? Implausible? Fun? Did you think ever-present synchronistic elements add to or detracted from the plot?

19. Would you recommend Mr. Penumbra to a friend? What other books would you recommend to a fan of this book?

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

OTHER RESOURCES:

New York Times review, “Bookworms and Apples”
Slate review “Scanners”
Robin Sloan’s official author website
LitLovers discussion guide
NPR interview with Robin Sloan “‘Mr. Penumbra’ Bridges the Digital Divide”

READALIKES:

The Invisible Library book coverThe Invisible Library
by Genevieve Cogman

S book coverS.
by Doug Durst and J.J. Abrams

Asked at the Desk: Bookshop Fiction

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

J. R. R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Book lovers know the anticipation, excitement and joy they experience when wandering a bookshop, not quite sure what they are looking for until they’ve found it. This is why the allure of bookshops is so strong, and why a recent patron who visited the desk was inquiring about a publishing trend: bookshop fiction. If you’d like to explore some of these books yourself, check out the following titles:

Tried and True

The Thirteenth Tale book coverThe Thirteenth Tale
Diane Setterfield
The Shadow of the Wind book coverThe Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafon

New to Me

A Novel Bookstore
Jenny Colgan
The Lost for Words Bookshop book coverThe Lost for Words Bookshop
Stephanie Butland

The Bookstore
Deborah Meyler

Interested in more suggestions? Stop by Fiction/AV/Teen Services on the second floor to ask at the desk yourself, or ask online to visit our virtual desk.

Books: Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 – October 15

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we spotlight some of the best newer books by Latinx authors, both up-and-coming and familiar favorites.

Fruit of the Drunken TreeFruit of the Drunken Tree book cover by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

A novel set against the violence of 1990s Columbia follows a sheltered girl and a teen maid, who forge an unlikely friendship as the families of both struggle to maintain stability amidst Bogotá’s rapidly escalating violence.

The House of Impossible Beauties book cover

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

1980, New York City. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must tend to their house alone. She recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus’s life.

Lost EmpressLost Empress Book Cover by Sergio de la Pava

A shockingly hilarious novel that tackles both America’s most popular sport and its criminal justice system. From Paterson, New Jersey to Rikers Island to the streets of New York City, a cast of characters is assembled unlike any other in modern fiction: dreamers and exiles, immigrants and night-shift workers, lonely pastors and others at the fringes of society–each with their own impact on the fragile universe they navigate. At the story’s center is Nina Gill, daughter of the aging owner of the Dallas Cowboys. When her brother inherits the team and she is left with the Paterson Pork, New Jersey’s only Indoor Football League franchise, Nina vows to take on the NFL and make the Paterson Pork pigskin kings of America.

Her Body and Other PartiesHer Body and Other Parties book cover by Carmen Maria Machado

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted house guest.

The Friend book coverThe Friend by Sigrid Nunez

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.

Short Story Discussion: The Short of It

The Short of It book coverIf you are a short story reader you won’t want to miss The Short of It, our upcoming discussion on Monday, September 17 at 7:00pm. Enjoy a compelling discussion and engage with other literature lovers! Join retired high school teacher Ron Crowley-Koch for a discussion revolving around the following three short stories freely available online and linked below. Please read the stories twice to glean their true beauty.

Revelation Book Cover

 

Revelation” by Flannery O’Connor

 

 

 

 

 

Haircut Book CoverHaircut” by Ring Lardner

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fly book coverThe Fly” by Katherine Mansfield.