Check It Out Category: Books

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.

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.

Summer Reading: Destination E – Read a Book of 150 Pages or Less

Have you taken up this summer’s challenge of Reading Takes You Everywhere? If Destination E: Read a Book of 150 Pages or Less is a stop on your journey, perhaps one of these books will get you there! Check out the first lines of these five books to see if any pique your interest.

“While this walking tour will cover a distance of only three city blocks, the compilers of this guide book suggest, based on our experience, that tourists and the curious be prepared to devote an entire day to it; there will be much to see and experience in your walk.”

A Walking Tour of the Shambles by Neil Gaiman





“In the department of — but it is better not to mention the department. There is nothing more irritable than departments, regiments, courts of justice and, in a word, every branch of public service.”

The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol





“The first thing I would like to say is ‘thank you.’ Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honor, but the weeks of fear and nausea I have endured at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight.”

Very Good Lives by J. K. Rowling





“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway





“Ennis del Mar wakes before five, wind rocking the trailer, hissing in around the aluminum door and window frames.”

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Summer Reading: Destination P – Read a Collection of Poetry

Have you taken up this summer’s challenge of Reading Takes You Everywhere? If Destination P: Read a Collection of Poetry is a stop on your journey, perhaps one of these books will get you there! Check out the first lines of these five books to see if any pique your interest.

“I thank the universe / for taking / everything it has taken / and giving to me / everything it is giving.”

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur





“I celebrate myself / And what I assume you shall assume / For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

Leaves of Grass by Walk Whitman





“who are you,little i / (five or six years old) peering from some high / window;at the gold / of november sunset / (and feeling:that if day has to become night / this is a beautiful way).”

Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings




“Sit where the light corrupts your face. / Mies Van Der Rohe retires from grace. / And the fair fables fall.”

In the Mecca by Gwendolyn Brooks





“Her heart was wild / but I didn’t want to catch it / I wanted to / run with it / to set mine free”

Love Her Wild by Atticus





Summer Reading: Destination S – Read a Book by an Author Using a Pseudonym

Have you taken up this summer’s challenge of Reading Takes You Everywhere? If Destination S: Read a Book by an Author Using a Pseudonym is a stop on your journey, perhaps one of these books will get you there! Check out the first lines of these five books to see if any pique your interest.

“The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn’t dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood’s at all.”

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre (David John Moore Cornwall)





“Though Robin Ellacott’s twenty-five years of life had seen their moments of drama and incident, she had never before woken up in the certain knowledge that she would remember the coming day for as long as she lived.”

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)





“Summer’s here. Not just summer, either, not this year, but the apotheosis of summer, the avatar of summer, high green perfect central Ohio summer dead-smash in the middle of July, white sun glaring out of that fabled faded Levi’s sky, the sound of kids hollering back and forth through Bear Street Woods at the top of the hill, the tink! of Little League bats from the ballfield on the other side of the woods, the sound of power-mowers, the sound of muscle cars out on Highway 19, the sound of Rollerblades on the cement sidewalks and smooth macadam of Poplar Street, the sound of radios – Cleveland Indians baseball (the rare game day) competing with Tina Turner belting out ‘Nutbush City Limits,’ the one that goes ‘Twenty-five is the speed limit, motorcycles not allowed in it’ – and surrounding everything like an auditory edging of lace, the soothing, silky hiss of lawn sprinklers.”

The Regulators by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)



“Victoria Claire Huntington knew when she was being stalked.”

Surrender by Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz)






“The prince had all his young life known the story of Sleeping Beauty, cursed to sleep for a hundred years, with her parents, the King and Queen, and all of the Court, after pricking her finger on a spindle. But he did not believe it until he was inside the castle.”

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Roquelaure (Anne Rice)

Summer Reading: Destination Y – Read a Book From the Young Adult Collection

Have you taken up this summer’s challenge of Reading Takes You Everywhere? If Destination Y: Read a Book from the Young Adult Collection is a stop on your journey, perhaps one of these books will get you there! Check out the first lines of these five books to see if any pique your interest.

“I shouldn’t have come to this party.”

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas






Simon VS the homo sapiens agenda book cover

“It’s a weirdly subtle conversation. I almost don’t notice I’m being blackmailed.”

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli





Pick me. It’s all I can do not to scream.”

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi





“At the time I first realized I might be fictional, my weekdays were spent at a publicly funded institution on the north side of Indianapolis call White River High School, where I was required to eat lunch at a particular time – between 12:47 P.M. and 1:14 P.M. – by forces so much larger than myself that I couldn’t even begin to identify them.”

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green




Divergent book cover

“There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.”

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Summer Reading: Destination Z – Read a Book About a World-Changer

Have you taken up this summer’s challenge of Reading Takes You Everywhere? If Destination Z: Read a Book About a World Changer is a stop on your journey, perhaps one of these books will get you there! Check out the first lines of these five books to see if any pique your interest.

“April, 1975. Phnom Penh city wakes early to take advantage of the cool morning breeze before the sun breaks through the haze and invades the country with sweltering heat.”

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung





“‘My grandfather was born into slavery,’ Jackie Robinson later wrote, ‘and although my mother and father…lived during an era when physical slavery had been abolished, they also lived in a newer, more sophisticated kind of slavery,’ as sharecroppers in the sugar-cane growing region of southern Georgia.”

Jackie Robinson: An Integrated Life by J. Christopher Shultz




“A cobalt blue house stands on the corner of Allende and Londres streets in a comfortable but unassuming residential area of the Mexico City borough of Coyoacan.”

Frida Kahlo at Home by Suzanne Barbezat




“As we stepped off the plane at the small airport, the howl of the jet engines deafening and the snowcapped foothills of the Himalayas looming behind us, two old friends embraced.”

The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu





“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Denise’s Pick: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Denise Staff Pick photoYou Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins is an interesting story of a family that emigrated from India to London and then to the U.S. in the ’70s. The story’s focus is on three generations of women and their experiences while trying to find their place in a new home. Hopes, dreams, relationships – it’s all there! The e-audio format is a lovely way to experience the story.

Have you taken up this summer’s challenge of Reading Takes You Everywhere? Enjoy this book for any one of the following categories:

D. Read or listen to a digital book.
K. Read a book set in two different time periods.
W. Read a prize-winning book.
Y. Read a book from the Young Adult collections.