Check It Out Category: Fiction

Asked at the Desk: Books by YouTubers

Looking for a book that will sweep you into a different land? Want a comedy that is family friendly? How about a new fantasy series that is just as addictive as A Song of Ice and Fire?

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

Do you have any books written by people on YouTube?

Our answer?

Yes! Here is a little bit of what we have:

Nonfiction:

Cover of You’re Never Weird on the InternetCover of A Work in ProgressCover of Really Professional Internet Person

You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day
A Work in Progress by Connor Franta
Really Professional Internet Person by Jenn McAllister

Cover of Make Up- Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, Success Online and OffCover of Selp-Helf by Miranda Sings Cover of We Should Hang Out Sometime

Make Up by Michelle Phan
Selp-Helf by Miranda Sings
We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

Fiction:

Cover of The Beginning of EverythingCover of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Cover of Girl Online

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

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!

Audiobook Trio: Female Illusionists

red curtain

The art of illusion relies on stellar performance, and these stories of fascinating women who make magic merit a standing ovation. You may not be able to trust your eyes, but thanks to these talented narrators, your ears won’t deceive you.

The Magician's Lie audiobook coverThe Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

The preeminent stage illusionist at the turn of the 20th century, the Amazing Arden is known best for the Halved Man. One evening she trades her usual saw for an axe, and later her husband is found murdered under the stage. Julia Whelan performs as the mesmerizing magician skilled in deception, and Nick Podehl voices the the desperate lawman seeking to pull back the curtain on the truth.

Illusion audiobook coverIllusion by Frank Peretti

Magicians Dane and Mandy Collins are about to retire when a car accident claims Mandy’s life. A grieving Dane goes to see a new magic act and is shocked to find a 19-year-old version of his Mandy. When the two reunite, they strive to uncover the conspiracy behind their meeting, Mandy’s supernatural magic, and who might be following them. Read by the author.

The Night Circus book coverThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Jim Dale, the genius narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks, spins another tale of fantasy and spectacle. When Prospero the Enchanter discovers that he has a young daughter with extraordinary magical talents, he wastes no time in setting up a competition between her and the protégé of his longtime adversary. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

Book Discussion Questions: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Cover of Beautiful RuinsTitle: Beautiful Ruins
Author: Jess Walter
Page Count: 337 pages
Genre: Fiction
Tone: Romantic, Dazzling

Summary:
From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

SPOILER WARNING:
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2015 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. What do you think the quotes at the beginning of the book mean? Do they set a tone for the book?

2. What does the title of this book refer to? Does it capture the essence of the book?

3. Beautiful Ruins had several story lines and timelines . How did that affect your reading?

4. What did you think of Porto Vergogna? A place you would go to visit?

5. Did you have a favorite character?

6. At the beginning of the story, Pasquale Tursi is waiting “for life to come and find him.” What do you think he was waiting for?

7. When Pasquale found out his father died there was no question that Pasquale would come home and take care of his mother. Why?

8. How do you think Carlo influenced Pasquale’s life?

9. In reference to the Tennis court that Pasquale wants to build, Pasquale waxed philosophically “Every point ended with someone missing. It seemed both cruel and in some way true to life”. What do you think about that? What did you think about his tennis court?

10. Did Shane Wheelers parents stunt his growth?

11. Claire Silver, the chief development assistant for legendary film producer Michael Deane, was enchanted by the magic of Hollywood when she saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s two days before her tenth birthday. How do you think this movie shaped who she became? Was it for better or for worse? Is it the idea of fame that draws people to Hollywood, or something else? Is Hollywood as influential on lives today as it was through much of the twentieth century?

12. Claire Silver is portrayed as a go-getter, what did you think of her character?

13. What do you think about this line: “Guilt is sometimes a kind of envy” (pg. 59)?

14. How do you think that the concept of the”American dream” applies in this novel? Do you think it is still attainable? How much of our notions of the American Dream are shaped by Hollywood? Is faith enough—or hard work—to make our dreams come true? Can we truly be, achieve, or do anything we desire?

15. This novel has many artistic inlets using storytelling itself as the story. Did any of them resonate with you?

16. When Pasquale came to Michael Deane’s office all those years later to find Dee, did you believe that Micheal had an altruistic motive to help him?

17. What did you think about Michael Deane? Is there any good in him?

18. Discuss the reunion of Dee and Pasquale. Dee asks Pasquale, “what took you so long?” To which Pasquale answers, “I’m sorry. There was something important I had to do.” Is true love timeless?

19. Pasquale left Dee to go to Amadea and led a good life. What would you have done? What do you think his life would have been like if he stayed?

20. When Amedea told Pasquale that she was pregnant, was she hoping he would marry her? (Pg. 120)

21. Do you think Pasquale would have went back to Amadea if he had not met Dee?

22. Pat Bender was the son of Dee Moray and Richard Burton. What did you think about him? Did he remind you of his father?

23. Why use the movie Cleopatra as the center of the novel?

24. Why do you think Dee kept track of Richard Burton’s career ?

25. What do you think about Dee not telling Pat who is real father was until the end?` pg 211

26. Pat was 45 and running off to Europe in the hopes of finding success. What did you think of this?

27. How are Pat and Shane Wheeler different?

28. Pat talks about living the life he should be living versus the one he actually is living. How is the way your life is dictated come from and where does “the should” come in?

29. How are our identities shaped by the culture we live in? Who shapes our culture in the first place? How did they get the power?

30. What did you think of the Richard Burton Character?

31. Richard Burton said “of course any right blighter would choose being a great actor over being a household word if the stacks were the same.” What do you think the relationship is between fame and art?

32. What did you think of the ending? The author said he wanted to give each of his stories one more moment in the present.

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

Other Resources:

Lit Lovers’ Reading Guide
Book Riot Discussion on Beautiful Ruins
Video Q&A with Jess Walter
In-Depth Interview with Jess Walter
Cleopatra movie trailer

READALIKES:
Cover of Movie Star by Lizzie PepperCover of The Rocks Cover of The Pirate's Daughter

Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper by Hilary Liftin
The Rocks by Peter Nichols
The Pirate’s Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Save

Fiction: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry book coverEvery seven-year-old deserves a superhero. This is true even (or especially) if your superhero is your crazy granny. Elsa’s granny is the one who teaches her about the Land-of-Almost-Awake to help her forget about her parents’ divorce and the bullies at school and her nightmares. Granny was many things: doctor, prankster, savior, free spirit, fighter of evil, and Elsa’s only friend, so when she is gone, Elsa is lost. Granny, who anticipated this, designed a treasure hunt asking Elsa to hand-deliver apology letters to everyone Granny hurt or let down, and so their joint adventures continue. Heartwarming and a bit wacky, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman is a fairy-tale-like story that inspires hope in the real world.

Fiction: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

Commitments book coverJimmy Rabbitte knows his music. He may not have a single note of musical ability, but he has the passion to form a band with guys who do, and the new sound of “Dublin soul” is born. The Commitments by Roddy Doyle is about the world’s hardest working band, one energized by the songs of James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding. The characters are scrappy, rude, and hilarious, and the familiar tale of an underdog group’s rise and fall is reborn as something fresh and real. Steeped in local color, youthful ambition, and the sheer joy of making music, this short novel is a great option for anyone in the mood for something other than the typical beach reads.

Rock-and-roll fiction is one way to turn up the volume on your summer reading. Sign up today for Read to the Rhythm and start earning chances toward fab prizes that will make you want to dance!