Check It Out Category: Lists

This Is Us: Fiction about Families

Holidays often mean time spent with family, and that can be joyous or…complicated.  The oft-quoted Tolstoy, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” might apply, but even the happiest have their moments. If you are looking for solidarity or reassurance through other family dynamics, your options run from the hilarious to the heartbreaking. Choose from one of these groupings, or contact us for your own personalized flavor.

Squabbling Siblings

Bread and Butter book coverBread and Butter
Michelle Wildgen
Ellen Meister

 

Home for the Holidays

Winter Street book coverWinter Street
Elin Hilderbrand
Green Road book coverThe Green Road
Anne Enright
Mary Carter

 

Modern Family

Color of Family book coverThe Color of Family
Patricia Jones
Run book coverRun
Ann Patchett
Zadie Smith

 

Delightfully Dysfunctional

Family Fang book coverThe Family Fang
Kevin Wilson
One Plus One book coverOne Plus One
Jojo Moyes
Jade Chang

 

We Are Our Past

Wally Lamb

Like Stranger Things? Try These!

stranger things headerObsessed with Stranger Things? While you wait for season 3, try some of the….

… movies that inspired the show

 

…music from the TV series

Billboard Top Hits of 1984 album coverBillboard Top Hits, 1984
Songs: “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
“Talking in Your Sleep” by The Romantics
Moby album coverEverything is Wrong by Moby
Song: “When It’s Called I’d Like to Die”
The Essential Clash album coverThe Essential Clash by The Clash
Song: “Should I Stay or Should I Go”

 

… books that will give you similar “feels”

Meddling Kids book coverMeddling Kids
by Edgar Cantero
Paper Girls Volume 1
Brian K. Vaughn (writer), Cliff Chiang (artist), Matt Wilson (colors) & Jared K. Fletcher (letters)
Firestarter book coverFirestarter
by Stephen King

 

Spooky Stories – Reader Beware

We’ve sourced some staff favorites to get you in the mood for Halloween.

If it’s a ghostly, ghoulish or spine-tingling read you’re after, look no further than these creepy gems…if you dare!

Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint

In the Old Country, they called them the Gentry: ancient spirits of the land, magical, amoral, and dangerous. When the Irish emigrated to North America, some of the Gentry followed… only to find that the New World already had spirits of its own, called manitou and other such names by the Native tribes. Now generations have passed, and the Irish have made homes in the new land, but the Gentry still wander homeless on the city streets. Gathering in the city shadows, they bide their time and dream of power. As their dreams grow harder, darker, fiercer, so do the Gentry themselves.

 

 

Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Days before a massive exhibition at the New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being murdered. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. The museum’s directors decide to go ahead with the bash in spite of the murders. Now museum researcher Margo Green must find out who or what is doing the killing.

 

 

 

 

 

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion.

 

 

 

 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

 

The story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

 

 

 

 

 

And for those of you who want to sink your fangs into yet more great choices, here are more wicked good books…

Salem’s Lot
Stephen King
13th Tale
Diane Setterfield
William Peter Blatty

 

Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders
The Monster’s Corner
Christopher Golden

 

The Troop
Nick Cutter
F. Paul Wilson

More to Read for National Reading Group Month

Reading Group Month logoWe’re now deep into National Reading Group Month, and there’s still so much to discuss! Perhaps your group has already tackled all fifteen books suggested in Part One, and you are eager for a different take. Allow us to introduce five additional categories with titles guaranteed to bring out your opinionated side.
 
 
 

Contending with the Unimaginable

Room
Emma Donoghue
Andy Weir

 

Solve the Mystery

Likeness book coverThe Likeness
Tana French
Cuckoos Calling book coverThe Cuckoo’s Calling
Robert Galbraith
Zoë Ferraris

 

Challenge the Norm

Quiet book coverQuiet
Susan Cain
Half the Sky book coverHalf the Sky
Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
Bryan Stevenson

 

Discussions in Translation

Elegance of the Hedgehog book coverThe Elegance of the Hedgehog
Muriel Barbery
tr. Alison Anderson
The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
tr. Lucia Graves
Fredrik Backman
tr. Henning Koch

 

And the Award Goes To…

Salvage the Bones book coverSalvage the Bones
Jesmyn Ward
Colum McCann

 

Interested in more suggestions? Stop by Fiction/AV/Teen Services on the second floor or ask online to visit our virtual desk. Also, check out titles in our book discussion collection, shop those available as Books-to-Go discussion kits, and help yourself to original questions and resources available through our website.

What to Read for National Reading Group Month

Reading Group Month logoThe truth that “good books bring people together” is one of the founding principles of National Reading Group Month. Whether you have been involved with a book club for years or have been thinking of trying your first, there is no better time to explore the possibilities of a story ripe for discussion. Find your category below and celebrate with a new title that entertains, challenges, and inspires!

 

Fabulous for First Discussions

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society book coverThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Sandra Dallas

 

Never Tried Nonfiction?

Year of Yes book coverYear of Yes
Shonda Rhimes
Warren St. John

 

Looking for a Lighter Option

Crocodile on the Sandbank book coverCrocodile on the Sandbank
Elizabeth Peters
Laura Dave

 

Staff-Selected Superstars

Cover of The Book of Unknown AmericansThe Book of Unknown Americans
Cristina Henríquez
Candice Millard

 

Not Afraid of Next-Level Reads

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Land of Love and Drowning book coverLand of Love and Drowning
Tiphanie Yanique
Kate Atkinson

 

UPDATE: Find more suggestions in Part Two of this series!

Interested in more suggestions? Stop by Fiction/AV/Teen Services on the second floor or ask online to visit our virtual desk. Also, check out titles in our book discussion collection, shop those available as Books-to-Go discussion kits, and help yourself to original questions and resources available through our website.

Dyslexia in Fiction

dyslexia awareness month header

October is National Dyslexia Awareness month. Did you know that approximately 17% of the population has dyslexia? Throughout the month of October, we’ll be putting up displays featuring actors with dyslexia, authors with dyslexia, and dyslexia in fiction. Here are a few books to start with that feature characters with dyslexia. Make sure to check out one of our displays or ask us at the Fiction/AV/Teen desk for more suggestions!

MAggot Moon book cover

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell–who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright–sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big

 

Instructions for a Heatwave book cover

 

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

When a recently retired family patriarch clears out his bank account and disappears during a sweltering summer in 1976, his three children converge on their mother’s home for the first time in years and track clues to an ancestral village in Ireland, where they uncover illuminating family secrets.

 

ahgottahandleonit book cover

 

Ahgottahandleonit by Donovan Mixon

Tim’s a dyslexic black kid on the mean streets of Newark. He wants to do what is right, but anger boils deep inside him. Despite everything, Tim wants his life to matter

 

 

Book summaries provided by publishers.

Movies and TV: If You Like Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies DVD coverMaybe you were already a fan of the blockbuster novel by Liane Moriarty. Maybe you became swept up in the combination of critical acclaim and breakroom buzz when the TV adaptation first aired. Or maybe the eight Emmy wins, including for acting, directing, casting, music, and the top prize of Outstanding Limited Series broke down your defenses. One way or another, you’re now a fan.

Whether you have already binged the pitch-perfect Big Little Lies or are waiting patiently for your turn, you may be interested in related shows that offer variations on those same delicious appeals.

Top of the Lake DVD cover

 

Top of the Lake

Description: Obsessed with the disappearance of a 12-year-old pregnant girl near a freezing lake in New Zealand, a brave detective finds herself up against small-town secrets and a side of herself that was meticulously kept at bay.

Why This? Atmosphere! Both limited series lean in to the twisted and the dark beneath the surface. With complex, fascinating female characters, dynamic performances, and the exposure of sinister secrets in an insular town, you will be riveted.

 

Pretty Little Liars DVD cover

Pretty Little Liars

Description: Four friends band together against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets.

Why This? The similar title words are not the only reason this series is one of the most frequently mentioned watchalikes for Big Little Lies. Though the protagonists are younger and the machinations perhaps a bit soapier, the intrigue and drama inspire an equally obsessive viewing, especially as dangerous secrets threaten to come to light.

 

Broadchurch DVD cover

 

Broadchurch

Description: Two strong yet compassionate detectives are brought together to solve the murder of an eleven year-old boy in a small coastal town.

Why This? Season one of this celebrated series ticks all the boxes: seaside setting, murder mystery, almost-too-close community, and rich layers of storytelling. As the increasingly twisted evidence is followed, the prejudices, grudges, and underbelly of the idyllic town become exposed with dire consequences. You might also watch for the magnificent performances, especially that of Olivia Colman, who is more than equal to the standouts of Big Little Lies.

 

Little ChildrenLittle Children DVD cover

Description: The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts.

Why This? This 2007 film is based on a novel by Tom Perrotta, an author credited as a master of suburban noir. That means you can expect secrets behind closed doors of a seemingly benign neighborhood. Also, if you were interested in the parent roles of Big Little Lies, you will find parallels including the larger question of who might be misbehaving like little children, regardless of actual age.

 

RevengeRevenge DVD cover

Description: Wealth, beauty, and power define the residents of New York’s most exclusive community, but one woman will stop at nothing to exact revenge from those who ruined her father’s life.

Why This? The central character is presented as a newcomer to a wealthy beachside community. Not only does she navigate making new friends and learning whom she can trust, but she is also dealing with the aftershocks of a pivotal event in her past. Ring any bells? This is another series option for those who like shows that won’t let you go once you start.

 

Music: Your Fall Soundtrack

With fall here it’s time to surround yourself with the sounds of autumn. What songs do you have lining your days? For a mix of slower, laid-back tunes, try these!

Bon Iver album coverFor Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver
Song: “Re: Stacks”

Passenger All the Little Lights album coverAll the Little Lights by Passenger
Song: “Things That Stop You Dreaming”

Breaking Dawn Soundtrack album coverBreaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack
Song: “From Now On” by Sleeping at Last

Wish You Were Here soundtrack coverWish I Was Here Movie Soundtrack
Song: “Cherry Wine (Live)” by Hozier

List: Books Set in Bulgaria

Bulgaria and US flagsThis week the Library added nearly 50 books in Bulgarian to our shelves, establishing it as the 15th language represented in our adult World Language collections. If you are curious about Bulgaria but are limited to reading in English, choose one of these to learn about the past, present, and imagination of this inspiring nation.

 

Making of June book coverThe Making of June
by Annie Ward
Leaving her idyllic home in California to follow her husband to Bulgaria, production assistant June finds herself abandoned in a country on the verge of civil war.
Shadow Land book coverThe Shadow Land
by Elizabeth Kostova
Twentysomething Alexandra heads to Bulgaria to teach English and attempt to escape the pain of losing a family member. She ends up searching for a family when she realizes she accidentally kept one of their bags after helping them on her first day in the country.
Street Without a Name book coverStreet Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria
by Kapka Kassabova
Recalling her childhood in Bulgaria under Soviet rule and her family’s escape when the Berlin Wall came down, the author describes her return to see how her homeland has changed since it became a member of the European Union.

 

Solo book coverSolo
by Rana Dasgupta
A portrait of a century through the story of a hundred-year-old blind Bulgarian man by way of both life lived and life imagined. Denied his real passions, Ulrich instead dreams of what could have been, and we follow his fantasy children, born of communism but making their way into a post-communist world of celebrity and violence.
Baba Yaga Laid an Egg book coverBaba Yaga Laid an Egg
by Dubravka Ugresic
Stories connected to the myth Baba Yaga describe a writer’s journey to Bulgaria to find peace with her mother’s fading memory, the true reason behind three friends’ trip to a resort, and a folklorist’s explanation of the myth.
Elusive Mrs Pollifax book coverThe Elusive Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman
On a simple courier assignment to deliver eight forged passports to a mysterious underground in communist Bulgaria, lovable CIA agent Mrs. Pollifax ends up putting a dictatorial general in prison, corrupting the agency’s last Bulgarian contact, and even storming the equivalent of a Bulgarian bastille to rescue a supposedly dead American. (Kirkus)

List: Our Staff’s Favorite Graphic Novels

Whether you are an avid reader of graphic novels or want to try one out for the first time, look no further than this post for a list of 15 of our library staff’s very favorite titles! This eclectic mix offers fiction and nonfiction, science fiction, steampunk, humor and the avant-garde. It is sure to provide more than a few gems for your reading pleasure.

For those of you just starting out with graphic novels, here are four good places to start:

Both Denise T. and Carol M. suggest Persepolis, the graphic autobiography by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. Carol says, “I remember watching the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but Marjane Satrapi’s story gave me the perspective of someone about my own age who lived through it. The graphic novel format was an inspired way to show how society changed after the Islamic Republic came to power.”

 

 

 

Donna S. recommends the conclusion of U.S. representative John Lewis’s true story of his personal experience of the civil rights movement. Donna says, “I found March Book Three an interesting reminder of the early civil rights movement in America. This is a National Book Award winner.”

 

 

 

 

Donna C. recommends the YA title, Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino, which uses Thoreau’s own writings to tell the story of his time experimenting with living an unconventional life in the woods. Donna says, “This is a lovely and very accessible way to approach both the writing of Thoreau and the graphic novel medium, for teens and adults alike.”

 

 

 

 

Anne S. recommends The Gettysburg Address by Jonathan Hennessey. “Hennessey uses text and pictures to illustrate the complexities and beauty in the Gettysburg Address while also giving a clear and concise overview of the driving forces which helped to develop the United States during its first 150 years. P.S. It’s also a great graphic novel for the person who ‘does not read’ graphic novels!”

 

 

 

If you’re looking for something further off the beaten path, try one of these staff suggestions:

Cathleen B. recommends Descender, Book 1, by Jeff Lemire, the sci-fi story of a robot boy whose life is in jeopardy in a universe where androids are forbidden. Cathleen says, “This series start is inventive and suspenseful and sad and sweet, but the gorgeous watercolor art is what truly won my heart.”

 

 

 

 

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman is a metaphysical tale of mythology and history, following the mistaken capture and imprisonment of Dream, who controls the dream world. Janine S. recommends this, saying, “It’s smart, emotional, and relevant with some of the greatest and most interesting characters I’ve encountered in all of my reading.”

 

 

 

 

Kelda G. suggests Stitches by David Small. “A best-selling and highly regarded children’s book illustrator comes forward with this unflinching graphic memoir. Remarkable and intensely dramatic, Stitches tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who awakes one day from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he has been transformed into a virtual mute―a vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot. From horror to hope, Small proceeds to graphically portray an almost unbelievable descent into adolescent hell and the difficult road to physical, emotional, and artistic recovery.”

 

 

 

Joe C. recommends yet another science fiction story, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn. This is a story about a world in which only two males exist, Yorrick Brown and his pet monkey. Joe says, “It is a brilliant and clever alternate history premise: what would happen if all the men died?”

 

 

 

Mary S. suggests Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Anderson. “A very funny portrayal of the everyday occurrences that plague us.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chelsea L. says, “My more recent favorite graphic novel is The Flintstones by Mark Russell. It is remodeled for the 21st century, hysterically funny, and grown-up version of the quirky Flintstones and their town of Bedrock.”

 

 

 

 

Anthony A. suggests Blankets by Craig Thompson. “At once powerful and tender, this beautifully rendered autobiographical coming-of-age epic graphic novel grapples with the intense emotional transformation of a young man experiencing first love, disillusionment, spiritual awakening, and the growing realization and acceptance of all the things that are beyond his control.”

 

 

Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke is the suggestion of Jenny M. “While there were moments where I could see myself so vividly in Radtke’s memoir and it felt strange to see pieces of me on someone else’s page, this was also an impressionable exercise in peeking into seeing how someone else comprehends and makes sense of life.”

 

 

Mary D. suggests Grandville by Bryan Talbot, saying, “Grandville is a steampunk, Victorian noir, suspenseful graphic novel full of anthropomorphic characters and beautifully drawn artwork.”

 

 

 

 

 

Claire B.’s favorite is Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown. Claire says, “I thought this book was beautifully illustrated and a thorough, fascinating explanation of what happened in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.”

 

 

 

 

David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp follows a middle-aged teacher and architect who relocates from New York City to Midwestern small town. John M. recommends it “because of the elegant way form mirrors theme throughout.”