South Branch Staff Picks Category: Fiction

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 I’ll give it to you straight. This book doesn’t 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.

Funny Girl

Funny Girl is a LOL-worthy collection of short stories by some of your favorite lady authors, arranged for your enjoyment by Betsy Bird. Think of it as a smorgasbord of scrumptious literary offerings by Raina Telgemeier, Shannon Hale, and other gals who are guaranteed to make you laugh. The great thing about this short story collection is that it has something for everyone. Looking for an essay on a germaphobic mother? Check out “One Hot Mess” by Carmen Agra Deedy. A goofy graphic short? Cece Bell has just the fix with “A Most Serious Recitation of the Poem ‘Trees.’” All of the pieces pack a punch to pique the reader’s interest while moving quickly so as not to lose it. Funny Girl is perfect for reluctant readers (or readers with a short attention span) and those who are already fans of the featured authors in the collection.

If you liked Funny Girl, then you’ll love Real Friends by Shannon Hale, Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon, and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

Reviewed by Anique A.

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

Creepy Pair of Underwear

They’re green, they’re sinister… and they’re underwear! Jasper Rabbit discovers the unspeakable horror of unmentionables in “Creepy Pair of Underwear!” by Aaron Reynolds. Devoted readers may remember Jasper Rabbit from his first book “Creepy Carrots!” in which Jasper encounters villainous vegetables. In his latest epic, Jasper is making a big-boy purchase of underwear with his mom when he finds the very cool, very creepy titular underwear. Jasper brings home a pair of the Frankenstein’s monster-inspired briefs only to discover a terrifying truth about them that is only revealed at night. Parents and caregivers will enjoy making the journey with Jasper as he searches for a solution to his underpants problem, and kids will love giggling at the juxtaposition between fear and underwear, the silliest thing they can imagine.

If you liked “Creepy Pair of Underwear!” then you’ll love the aforementioned “Creepy Carrots!” as well as “I Am (Not) Scared” by Anna Kang and “The Dead Family Diaz” by P.J. Bracegirdle.

Reviewed by Anique A.