South Branch Staff Picks Category: Adult

Books to read if you are soon going to be on island time

The Beach House trilogy by Mary Alice Monroe

All these books are set on the shores of South Carolina and interweave stories of family, love, loss, environmental causes (sea turtles), and friendship. Each can be read on its own or as part of the trilogy. However, for those who enjoy reading books in order, Beach House Memories is actually the prequel to The Beach House. The characters are richly developed and the books well researched, bringing these books to life for readers and engaging them with the story.

Any of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janet Evanovich’s number series features bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and her always entertaining sidekick Lula, along with a regular cast of characters including her fearless Grandma Mazur, on again/off again boyfriend Joe and the mysterious and sexy Ranger. Her misadventures in tracking down missing criminals and the comic and ridiculous situations she finds herself mixed up in with each book will not win awards for great literature but they are always entertaining and a great quick read for the beach or any summer getaway.

Anything by David Sedaris but especially….

David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection, Holidays on Ice, is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”). Be sure you are up for funny looks from strangers if you read this in public because this collection will make you laugh out loud for sure!

 

 

Books written by parenting bloggers and in particular,

The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life with Boys: Hilarious & Heartwarming Stories About Raising Boys from the Boy Mom Squad edited by Tiffany O’Connor & Lyndee Brown is wonderful collection of vignettes will make all parents of boys nod their heads in agreement and for parents of both boys and girls it will make you laugh out loud at the exploits and experiences narrated by this talented group of humorous parenting bloggers. A funny and heartwarming book.

 

 

 

For something a little more weighty yet still engrossing, try best-selling Spanish author Maria Dueñas’ first novel…

In The Time in Between, Sira Quiroga begins life as the daughter of a humble seamstress in Madrid, but bad luck, fate, and the  crooked path toward true love all lead her to a life of dizzying glamour, adventure, and high-stakes espionage. When she is abandoned by her lover in Morocco, she is forced to reinvent herself as a sophisticated dressmaker to the expatriate community during the Spanish civil war. Her work brings her into contact with powerful men, compelling women, and a man she believes to be a journalist and perhaps the love of her life. When the British government asks her to return to Madrid to spy for them, she reluctantly agrees, and in doing so becomes a heroine. The first-person perspective makes this long novel seem short, and the rich narrative includes many important figures and incidents from history.

They have THAT at the library? Cringeworthy book titles

  1. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

Although the title of this book makes it hard to imagine that it could be taken seriously, in The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning , artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. The idea is to clear out unnecessary belongings from your home before others have to do it for you.

  1. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

If you thought this title was going to be about farming, you would be mistaken. In this quirky book for pre-teens, author Kelly Jones tackles a serious subject. Sophie Brown has had a series of setbacks and finds herself feeling like a lonely outsider in a new town. Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer is as much a story of grieving and finding your place as it is about poultry.

  1. I Heart My Little A*holes

If you have not read the Baby Sideburns blog on parenting, you are in for a treat. And if you are a faithful reader of Baby Sideburns, you are also in for a treat. A collection of super funny, tell-it-like-it-is blog posts/articles on parenting: the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between.

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

If you didn’t think you could put swear words in a book title, think again. This book is author Mark Manson’s antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better.

  1. Book

So, when a book starts out with this in the following paragraph:  “So Ill give it to you straight. This book doesnt suck” you know it’s going to be entertaining, especially when it’s from one of America’s funniest actors/comedians, Whoopi Goldberg.

  1. Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome

Seeing the title of this audio book leads you to wonder if there is a new disease out there nobody has ever heard of. In fact, this audiobook by comedian Maria Banford highlights her talents using different voices and personas to share humorous stories and observations on her life.

  1. Boogers Are My Beat

If you go looking for this book the kids’ section of the library, you’re in the wrong place. The author, Dave Barry, does have a number of best-selling children’s books that he co-authored but this title is for adults and is a hilarious of collection of his nationally syndicated columns that appeared in newspapers throughout the US. We dare you to read it without laughing out loud!

Which Should I Get, the Book or the Movie?

One Shot vs. Jack Reacher
Both the book, One Shot, and the movie, Jack Reacher, are entertaining fast paced thrillers that will keep you glued to the page or the screen. But, for fans of the Lee Child series of Jack Reacher books, Tom Cruise does not make a very believable Jack Reacher, mainly because he’s way too short and not bulked up enough to fit the image fans of the book will have of this character. But he’s certainly cocky enough and if you haven’t read the books, you’ll enjoy his performance and will absolutely love Robert Duvall in the role of the gun shop owner, Martin Cash. Fans of the Jack Reacher books will most likely prefer the book over the movie, as I did, but the movie doesn’t disappoint so for a good escapist movie that’s sure to entertain, grab it next time you head over to the library.

 

Howl's Moving Castle book coverHowl’s Moving Castle
Rumors and secrets abound in the twisted, magical world of Sophie, the sassy, self-deprecating young hat-maker who leaves her quiet life behind to unravel the complicated web of curses that have turned her into an old woman, rather prematurely. As beloved as the 1986 original by Diana Wynne Jones may be, all ages will fall under the spell the unforgettable characters in Sophie’s journey in the 2004 adaptation by director Hayao Miyazaki in the lush and colorful signature style of Studio Ghibli.

 

Bridges of Madison County
One of my favorite books is The Bridges of Madison County. The book gave a much more in-depth view of the relationship between Francesca and Robert, but the movie did a very good job of telling story as well. Of course, I will never read the book again without adding Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood’s face to every page!!! Though for sure I wouldn’t mind if Robert Redford played the role of Robert.

 

Everything Everything
Being a hopeless romantic, I could not help but add much more of my own emotions to every sentence of the book which made it that much more heartfelt. Even though the movie hit all the important parts of the story line, watching these two young adults fall in love against the wishes of a parent who wants nothing more than to keep her child safe leaves a lot less to the imagination. Whichever journey you would like to embark on, book or movie, you won’t be dissatisfied.

 

The Longest Ride

Hold on to your hats, as this book takes you not only through one journey but two. Pay attention as we rarely notice when people come into our lives who may change our future. Like many other movies, this one follows the book fairly well, but one cannot help but to read between the lines and allow our imaginations to soar, which is something that cannot be done when we sit in front of a screen.

 

Wonder

I enjoyed the Wonder book over the movie because I felt the movie missed many important details from the book. The movie felt a bit incomplete to me because of this. The book brought out more emotions than the movie did.

 

 

The Fault in Our Stars

The movie was just beautiful from beginning to end. It is always nice to see a love story play out on the big screen. I fell in love with the characters and the ending still broke my heart in the same way that the book did.

 

 

Thin 
Documentarian Lauren Greenfield offers a harrowing look into the lives of eating disorder patients receiving inpatient treatment in her documentary and photobook both titled Thin. As insightful as the documentary is, the photobook offers further interviews with both teens and adult women suffering from addiction and disordered eating. While it is a grim subject to cover, Greenfield’s photos and interviews display the full spectrum of emotions and challenges women face regarding their bodies and life as a woman.

Neruda

“Disappear? I’m not going to hide under a bed…This has to be a wild goose chase.”

More than 20 years before the election of Salvador Allende, and the coup d’etat that brought Pinochet to power, Pablo Neruda got a taste of the repression that was coming to Chile. The movie Neruda (2017) takes place in 1948, when Pablo Neruda (played by Luis Gnecco) was a popular poet and a beloved Chilean Senator, representing the Communist Party in Congress. When his political party is outlawed and Neruda speaks out against the president, he goes from days in the Senate and nights throwing raucous parties in his beautiful home, to reluctant fugitive. He finds himself pursued by the ambitious detective Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael Garcia Bernal). A writer himself, the young detective holds only contempt for the disgraced senator, inspiring him to dig deep into the details of Neruda’s life, and better understand his prey. As Peluchonneau circles closer and closer, the playful and irrepressible Neruda can’t pass up the opportunity for a good story, and starts leaving clues for the detective. You may lose sight of who is the pursuer and who the pursued, but never the weight of what is at stake. Will Neruda escape to exile in time, or will he be outplayed by the young man desperate to prove himself? Can the poetry that captured the hearts of people around the world reach this one detective in time to save his soul?

“¿Desaparece? Pero no me voy a esconder debajo de la cama….Eso tiene que ser una cacería salvaje.”

Más de 20 años antes de la elección de Salvador Allende y el golpe del estado que introdujo a Pinchet al poder, Pablo Neruda sintió en carne propia la represión que llegaba a Chile.  La película, Neruda (2017) tiene lugar en el 1948, cuando Pablo Neruda (el actor Luis Gnecco) era un poeta popular y un querido senador del partido comunista. Cuando se prohíbe su partido político y Neruda protesta contra el presidente, se convierte en fugitivo reacio, un cambio enorme de su vida anterior de senador celebrando noches de fiestas escandalosas. Se encuentra perseguido por un detective ambicioso, Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal). El jóven detective, que también es escritor, desprecia al senador desgraciado, lo cual le inspira a profundizar más en los detalles de la vida de Neruda y mejor entender a su presa. A medida que Peluchonneau se acerca más y más, Neruda, siempre juguetón e incontenible, no puede dejar pasar la oportunidad de crear una buena historia y empieza a dejar pistas para el detective. Es posible que te despistes y no sepas quién persigue a quién pero no te perderás la importancia de lo que se juega. ¿Se escapará Neruda a tiempo o le ganará el joven con tantas ganas de demonstrar lo que vale? ¿Es posible que la poesía que capturó el corazón de todo el mundo llegue a este detective a tiempo de salvar su alma?

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Reviewed by: Allison S.

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don't You Cry book coverIs she REALLY missing? Did something HAPPEN to her? Where IS she?

These are the questions that you will ask yourself over and over as you read Mary Kubica’s psychological thriller Don’t You Cry. Set in Chicago, the author keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to discover what has really happened to Esther Vaughan. What would you do if your roommate went missing without a trace? After finding a strange handwritten letter written by Esther, her roommate Quinn starts to suspect that there is more to this mystery than meets the eye.

If you liked this book, don’t forget to read Mary Kubica’s national bestseller The Good Girl. Other similar psychological thrillers are Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Reviewed by Jessica E.

gone girl book cover the good girl book coverCover of The Girl on the Train

Cupcakes de la PRIMROSE BAKERY

¿Le encanta la repostería pero no tiene mucho tiempo? ¿Le da pánico recetas de muchos ingredientes y veinte pasos en las instrucciones? ¿Busca una forma simple de hacer cupcakes pero no le gusta usar las cajas de pastel? Pues, no busque más. El libro de cocina Cupcakes de la PRIMROSE BAKERY es el libro de repostería de cupcakes para Usted. Con listas razonables de ingredientes de cosas que se pueden encontrar fácilmente en cualquier supermercado, instrucciones simples y claras y grandes fotos en color de cupcakes que se pueden decorar (mayormente) con decoraciones sencillos como fruta o adornos que se encuentran en la mayoría de tiendas de manualidades, este es el libro de cupcakes para llevarse a casa.

Si le gusta la repostería, aquí hay más libros que le podrían interesar. Búsquelos aquí en la biblioteca.

Galletas deliciosas – 50 recetas fáciles e irresistibles

cake keeper Cakes

 

paso>a>paso repostería y panadería

 

 

Reviewed by Rachel L.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao) by Junot Díaz is a fascinating mix of genres and styles, combining fiction, non-fiction, history, science fiction and fantasy that reflects the extremes and absurdity of life under the regime of the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the country with extreme cruelty from 1930 until he was assassinated in 1961.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao tells the story of multiple generations of the León and Cabral family and the fukú, or curse, that followed them from their grandfather’s generation to the present day. The story focuses on Oscar, an aspiring writer whose love life is non-existent and who aspires to lose his virginity in an attempt to prove to himself and the world that he is a true Dominican male. The story shifts back and forth between the present and the past, with multiple literary and historical footnotes for those unfamiliar with science fiction-fantasy and/or the history of the Dominican Republic. The story of Oscar and the fukú that follows his family is a fascinating story on its own, and interwoven in the history of the DR, the story draws the reader in even more, as the personality and outrageous acts of violence committed by Trujillo seem even more like they should be a work of fiction than the story of Oscar’s family itself.

In spite of its complexity, the essential story is easy to follow and draws you in with sympathetic, complex characters. You find yourself turning the pages, waiting to see what catastrophic event will fall over the family next and hoping that by the end, somehow the family will find a way to finally rid itself of the fukú, as the DR finally rids itself of Trujillo.

If you like this book, you might also want to try How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez or Por estas calles bravas by Piri Tomas.

Written by: Rachel

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La breve maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao por Junot Díaz es una mezcla fascinante de géneros y estilos que combina la ficción, la no ficción, la historia, la ciencia ficción, y la fantasía y refleja lo absurdo y extremo de la vida bajo el régimen del dictador de la República Dominicana, Rafael Trujillo quien gobernó el país desde 1930 hasta que fue asesinado en 1961.
La breve maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao cuenta la historia de múltiples generaciones de la familia León y Cabral y el fukú, o maldición, que les siguió desde la generación de su abuelo hasta el momento actual. La historia se centra en Óscar, un aspirante a escritor, cuya vida sentimental es un fracaso y que aspira a perder su virginidad para probar a todo el mundo que es un verdadero macho dominicano. La historia alterna entre el presente y el pasado, con múltiples notas al pie de la página tanto literarias como históricas para los que no conocen bien la literatura de ciencia ficción o fantasia y/o la historia de la República Dominicana. La historia de Óscar y el fukú que le sigue a su familia es una historia fascinante en sí, y entremezclado en la historia de la República Dominicana, la historia capta al lector aún más, a medida que la personalidad de Trujillo y las atrocidades que cometió parecen más ficticias que la historia de la familia de Óscar en sí.
 
A pesar de su complejidad, la historia básica es fácil de seguir y te capta la atención con personajes complejos que inspiran simpatía en el lector. Te encontrarás pasando las páginas, esperando para ver la próxima catástrofe que caerá sobre la familia y esperando que para el final, la familia encontrará como sea una forma de deshacerse del fukú, al igual que la DR por fin se deshizo de Trujillo. 
Si le gustó este libro, sugerimos también De cómo las muchachas Garcia perdieron el acento por Julia Alvarez o Por estas calles bravas por Piri Tomás. 
Por Rachel

March Graphic Novel Series (March: Book One, March: Book Two, March: Book Three)

March Book OneMarch book twoMarch book three

As you hear about marches and movements—large and small—happening all over the country, do you wonder how you fit in, what role you might play, or what difference YOU could make? Or maybe you already know: you are active in your community, and online, and you know how to make your voice heard! In either case, you’ll want to pick up these books.  Any non-violent movement in this country today is a “child” of the Civil Rights Movement, and it’s vital to know where we came from if we want to know where we’re going.

The March books tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s principally through the eyes of John Lewis. Today he’s a congressman for Georgia in the House of Representatives, but in the 1960s he became an important leader in the Civil Rights Movement. These three graphic novels are an innovative collaboration between John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, along with Nate Powell as the artist.

In this immersive vision of storytelling, we bear witness to the late-night strategy meetings, tense phone calls and legendary conferences, as well as the beatings, bombings, and other brutalities suffered by protesters. We are with John Lewis as he grows from joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in college, to preaching sermons and leading marches in the South, and later finds himself elected as the Chairman of SNCC in 1963.  He shares his multiple imprisonments, his dedication to stay nonviolent in protests, and challenges to keeping the movement whole.  Through John Lewis you get to know other key figures you may not have heard about before, and learn about the complicated relationship between the different organizations that guided the Civil Rights Movement. The whole story is beautifully juxtaposed with President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech in January 2009, such that when he says “I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors,” your heart breaks with the weight of those sacrifices (March: Book Two, pg 176).

Maybe I’m taking on too much by grouping these three in a review together—there’s definitely more than enough to talk about in every single one—but after reading the first, you won’t be satisfied until you’ve read all three!

In case you needed any more motivation to pick these up today…Maybe you’ve already heard about all the awards March: Book Three has won? How about: the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young-adult literature, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, and the YALSA Award for excellence in young-adult nonfiction!

What are you waiting for? Click on the links or pictures above and request a copy today!

Read-a-likes: Maus, Persepolis, V is for Vendetta

Written by: Allison

Hello, My Name is Doris

Hello My Name is Doris coverGidget’s all grown up in Hello, My Name is Doris, a goofy comedy starring Sally Fields. Doris is an eccentric older woman with a young spirit who lives on Staten Island with her cat and a house stuffed with, well, stuff. When an attractive young man starts to work at her company, Doris takes interest and finds herself stepping outside her shell and living the life she had always wanted. This movie is fun for millennials as well as a more seasoned audience.

If you liked Lars and the Real Girl or Florence Foster Jenkins, then Doris is sure to delight you!

Written by Anique

La Casa Chica

La Casa Chica coverLa Casa Chica by Mónica Lavín interweaves imagined or re-imagined stories into historical figures from the twenties to the sixties in Mexico. Notable figures such as Frida Kahlo, Conchita Martínez, Lupe Vélez and Emilio “el Indio” Fernández, who led dramatic and often turbulent public lives, are given a reimagined equally dramatic back story, based on, as the author says, “information obtained from various sources, including books, newpapers, magazines, conversations, Internet.” The author recreates their conversations, thoughts and feelings of their romantic lives using what is known about their lives and what she imagines could have happened in parallel. Often tragic and always fascinating, these are stories both about what was and what could have been and together they form, as the author herself points out, a portrait of the Mexico that was and is no more.
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La Casa Chica por Mónica Lavín entrelaza historias imaginarias o re-imaginadas a las vidas de figuras históricas desde los años veinte hasta los setenta. A figuras notables, tales como Frida Kahlo, Conchita Martínez, Lupe Vélez y Emilio “el Indio” Fernández, que tuvieron vidas públicas a menudo dramáticas y turbulentas, se les da una historia re-imaginada igualmente dramática, como nos dice la autora, “basada en información obtenida de diversas fuentes: libros, periódicos, revistas, conversaciones, Internet.” La autora recrea sus conversaciones, pensamientos y sentimientos de sus vidas románticas usando lo que se conoce de sus vidas y lo que imagina que podría haber ocurrido en paralelo. A menudo trágicos y siempre fascinantes, éstas son historias que tratan tanto de lo que fue y lo que podría haber sido, y juntos forman, como nos indica la autora, un retrato “del México que se fue.”
Written by: Rachel L.