Month: August 2018

Check It Out Blog

Books: Recommended Reads for a Long Weekend

The Labor Day Weekend is upon us, which just might offer you the opportunity to sit back and enjoy that book you’ve been meaning to start. If you haven’t already found that perfect book, take a look at the following celebrity recommended reads.

 

Warlight book coverWarlight by Michael Ondaatje
Recommended by Barack Obama
In 1945, just after World War II, siblings stay in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth.
In Other Words book coverIn Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
Recommended by Mindy Kaling
Lahiri’s meditation on the process of learning to express herself in the Italian language.
Grist Mill Road book coverGrist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates
Recommended by Selma Blair

The year is 1982; the setting, ninety miles north of New York City. There, three friends―Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah―are bound together by a terrible crime.
Of Human Bondage book coverOf Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
Recommended by John McCain
After studying in Heidelberg, and a brief spell in Paris, Philip settles in London to train as a doctor where he meets Mildred, the waitress with whom he plunges into a tortured affair.
Heart Berries book coverThe Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
Recommended by Emma Watson
A powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest.
The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jenifer Lewis
Recommended by Questlove
This gripping memoir is filled with insights gained through a unique life that offers a universal message: “Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes.”

Books: August Is Women In Translation Month

Books are universal, and as global readers we have translators to thank for bringing great books to us from around the world. August is Women in Translation month, and as such here are some of our favorite authors who have had their words translated into English.

LaDivineLaDivine Book Cover by Marie NDiaye (French)

Clarisse Riviere’s life is shaped by a refusal to admit to her husband Richard and to her daughter Ladivine that her mother is a poor black housekeeper. Instead, weighed down by guilt, she pretends to be an orphan, visiting her mother in secret and telling no-one of her real identity as Malinka, daughter of Ladivine Sylla. In time, her lies turn against her.

 

In the Midst of WinterIn the Midst of Winter Book Cover by Isabel Allende (Spanish)

Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story.

 

Convenience Store Woman Book CoverConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (Japanese)

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis―but will it be for the better?

 

The Almond Picker Book CoverThe Almond Picker by Simonetta Hornby (Italian)

The child of poor farmers, La Mennulara became a maid for a well-to-do local family when she was only a girl; by dint of hard work and intelligence, she became the indispensable administrator of the family’s affairs. Still, she was a mere servant, and now (as this story begins) she is dead. As the details unfold about this mysterious woman, The Almond Picker assumes the witty suspense of a thriller, the emotional power of a love story, and the evocative atmosphere of a historical novel.

 

S. A Novel Book CoverS., A Novel About the Balkans by Slavenka Drakulic (Serbo-Croatian)

Set in 1992, during the height of the Bosnian war, S. reveals one of the most horrifying aspects of any war: the rape and torture of civilian women by occupying forces. S. is the story of a Bosnian woman in exile who has just given birth to an unwanted child—one without a country, a name, a father, or a language. The birth only reminds her of an even more grueling experience: being repeatedly raped by Serbian soldiers in the “women’s room” of a prison camp. Through a series of flashbacks, S. relives the unspeakable crimes she has endured, and in telling her story—timely, strangely compelling, and ultimately about survival—depicts the darkest side of human nature during wartime.

 

Beyond Illusions Book CoverBeyond Illusions by Duong Thu Huong (Vietnamese)

A brilliantly spun tale of a young woman who marries her professor because she so admires his idealism. When he sells out everything he believes in order to support her, her love goes. Only when they are both beyond illusions can they try again for a real relationship. Deeply lyrical and wholly believable, this novel is illuminated by the haunting language and unflinching honesty.

Favorite Books Discovered This Summer

Our Summer Reading participants discovered the following gems this June and July. Though the official Summer Reading Program is over, the warmth and sunshine of summer continues, so if you’re looking for a great book try one of these fellow patron suggestions:

The Strange Library
by Haruki Murakami
In a fantastical illustrated short novel, three people imprisoned in a nightmarish library plot their escape.
Dear Mister Rogers: Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood?
by Fred Rogers
In this collection of letters and replies, Mister Rogers encourages parents, grandparents, and teachers to cherish the questions and comments that come from their children.
Finders Keepers
by Stephen King

King’s instantly riveting story about vengeful reader John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades.
Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
by Ruth Emmie Lang
Raised by wolves after being orphaned in childhood, Weylyn Grey, a man with astonishing powers, is evaluated by the people who care or wonder about him.
An American Family
by Khizr Khan
This inspiring memoir by a Gold Star parent is the story of one family’s pursuit of the American dream and why–especially in these tumultuous times–we must not be afraid to step forward for what we believe in when it matters most.
After Anna
by Lisa Scottoline
Noah Alderman, a doctor and a widower, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie, and for the first time in a long time he and his son are happy. But their lives are turned upside down when Maggie’s daughter Anna moves in with them.
Encore Provence
by Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle is back in his beloved Provence, celebrating his homecoming by sharing with us a whole new feast of adventures, discoveries, hilarities, and culinary treats, liberally seasoned with a joyous mix of Gallic characters.