April 2016 Library Reads Picks

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
by Curtis Sittenfeld

“Love, sex, and relationships in contemporary Cincinnati provide an incisive social commentary set in the framework of Pride and Prejudice. Sittenfeld’s inclusion of a Bachelor-like reality show is a brilliant parallel to the scrutiny placed on characters in the neighborhood balls of Jane Austen’s novel, and readers will have no question about the crass nature of the younger Bennets, or the pride—and prejudice—of the heroine.”

- Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY

The Obsession
by Nora Roberts

“Readers who love romantic thrillers will be mesmerized by the latest Roberts offering. The suspense kept me up all night! Naomi Carson, a successful young photographer, has moved across the country and fallen in love. She thinks she has escaped her past, but instead finds that the sins of her father have become an obsession. The serial killer premise makes it a tough read for the faint-hearted, but sticking with it leads to a thrilling conclusion.”

- Marilyn Sieb, L. D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, WI

The Murder of Mary Russell: 
A Novel of Suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
by Laurie R. King

“Worried about Mary Russell? Well, you should be. She’s opened her door to the wrong man and deeply troubling secrets are set to tumble out, rewriting her history and putting herself and the people she loves in a dangerous spot. Once again, King spins a tantalizing tale of deception and misdirection for her readers’ delight and scores a direct hit in her latest Russell-Holmes mystery.”

- Deborah Walsh, Geneva Public Library District, Geneva, IL

‘Til Death Do Us Part
by Amanda Quick

“Gothic atmosphere meets tender romance in Quick’s latest Victorian era tour de force. Calista Langley asks crime novelist Trent Hastings for assistance in unmasking a twisted secret admirer that seems to have singled her out, and the two become tangled up in more than just an investigation. Quick perfectly balances setting, characters, plot, and relationship development–the end result being a story that will delight her legion of fans, as well as earn her new ones.”

- Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY

Lilac Girls: A Novel
by Martha Hall Kelly

“This is story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits: seventy-four women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Using alternating first-person narratives, the characters relate their experiences from 1939 through 1959. Drawing upon a decade of research, Hall reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck. More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women’s bonds can carry them through even the most difficult situations. Lilac Girls is a solid, compelling historical read.”

- Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts
by Joshua Hammer

“For centuries, Arabic manuscripts were collected by private households in Mali, particularly Timbuktu: gilded manuscripts painted with real gold, showing vibrantly colored illustrations of nature. These highly valued manuscripts were handed down within families who acted as caretakers. As radicalized Muslim leaders came into power, the manuscripts were seen as corruptions of true Islam, requiring intervention. History and adventure at its best.”

- Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, MI

Every Heart a Doorway
by Seanan McGuire

“What happens to children who find a doorway into a fantasy land, and then come back into the mundane world? It’s certainly not a happily ever after scenario for these children, but those that find their way to Eleanor West’s school are learning to cope. Shortly after Nancy comes to the school, a series of horrific events occur. It’s up to her and others at the school to figure out who is committing these atrocities. This book is so wonderfully written.”

- Jennifer Kelley, Kershaw County Library, Camden, SC

Best of My Love
by Susan Mallery

“Shelby has a plan to help herself overcome her relationship issues: asking Aiden to be her friend. Aiden agrees, because he realizes that he does not treat women very well and wants to learn how to treat them right, even though he doesn’t want to get married. The situation seems to work well for both Aiden and Shelby, until they realize they feel much more than friendship for each other. Mallery never fails to deliver a great story full of love and friendship. Another fantastic read.”

- Jenelle Klavenga, Marshalltown Public Library, Marshalltown, IA

A Murder in Time: A Novel
by Julie McElwain

“Kendra is a smart, confident protagonist who is familiar with the hustle it takes to stay afloat in a male-dominated profession. Thrown into a situation completely alien to her, she manages to assimilate to her surroundings, albeit roughly, while using her wits to catch a ruthless killer. She can be abrasive, and I found myself cringing, curling my toes, and muttering out loud. It will be fun to watch her mature in future books. McElwain has created a highly entertaining story.”

- Randee J Bybee, Upland Public Library, Upland, CA

Tuesday Nights in 1980
by Molly Prentiss

“Following the lives of three individuals in New York on the cusp of 1980, this book was structured in such a unique and original way. Lucy is in her early twenties, experiencing life in a big city; James who after college finds himself the reigning critic of the art world and Raul, escaping the post Peron Dirty War in Argentina will find himself the art world’s new favorite; these three will find their lives entwined in many ways. A tragic accident will change all these characters and others close to them. This is a wonderful book that I wasn’t ready to finish.”

- Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL

April is National Poetry Month!

national poetry monthNational Poetry Month, which takes place each April, is a celebration of poetry introduced in 1996 and organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. The Academy of American Poets' website Poets.org serves as a hub for information about local poetry events during the month.

National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.

While we celebrate poets and poetry year-round, the Academy of American Poets was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and founded National Poetry Month in April 1996 with an aim to:

  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
  • encourage the reading of poems,
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
  • encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
  • encourage support for poets and poetry.

Participate in Poem In Your Pocket Day:

Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, people celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Poem in Your Pocket Day was originally initiated in 2002 by the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, as part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets made the initiative national, encouraging individuals across the country to join in and channel their inner bard.

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2016 will be held on April 21.

Download Poems for Your Pocket:
Join the celebration by printing one of the following poems from the downloadable Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF.

Poetry is best when shared, and Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect time to surprise someone with the gift of poetry.

Looking for inspiration to channel your inner bard with books about poems, poets, or writing poetry? Look no further than your local library! We have all the resources you might need, whether you want to enjoy a few poems, or write one of your own.

The Queens of the Adriatic

The library is hosting a program, Queens of the Adriatic on Sunday, April 10, about traveling to two beautiful European destinations nestled along the Adriatic Sea: the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, thought by some to be the next Riviera, and Venice, Italy. (Click here for details and to register.)

I have been dreaming of a trip to Croatia to see the beautiful country where my Grandmother was born, with a side trip to Venice, Italy.  The ancient and well-preserved medieval cities, sunny beaches, aqua sea, and countless resorts, coupled with a superb climate -- heaven!!

Whenever I start daydreaming, my first thought is… what can I find on this topic at the library? The library never disappoints in its ability to inspire me. I found many guidebooks, DVDs, and online resources, as well as an interesting memoir, music to get in the mood, and even some fictional books and movies set in the region to tide me over until I am able to book my trip. Here are a few of the titles about these “Queens” that we have at the library to get you inspired, too! Click on the title to see more information about each. 

 

1Frommer’s EasyGuide to Croatia [Book - Guidebook]
Inspirational, detailed, practical and cost conscious, this guide will help you determine what to see and do in Croatia.

2Rick Steves' Eastern Europe. 2000-2012. [DVD]
Visit Croatia and other Eastern European destinations with Rick Steves as your guide!

5Girl at war : a novel by Sara Novic [Book - Fiction]
This story tells the horrors of civil war in 1990s Croatia from a young girl’s viewpoint. She leaves to go to school in the U.S., then returns to Croatia after a decade away, hoping to make peace with the place she once called home.

7Love in Venice [sound recording (CD)]
Andre Rieu creates a sense of Italian atmosphere by highlighting the popular songs and dances of Italy.

4Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson [Book - Memoir]
Join this family’s journey to Croatia as they explore their roots and discover who they are and what really matters in life.

3Lonely Planet Croatia [e-Book - Guidebook]
A comprehensive guide including reviews of the best sights, places to stay and eat, cultural information, maps, transport tips and a few of the best kept secrets of Croatia. A valid AAPLD card number is required to use this resource.

6Venice & the Veneto [Book - Guidebook]
DK's insider travel tips and essential local information will help you discover the best of Venice and the region.

8
Summertime [videorecording (DVD)]
The story of a witty but lonely secretary (Katherine Hepburn) who takes a vacation in Venice, hoping to fall in love. She does - with a very handsome but very married Italian man.

mango
Mango Languages [Electronic resource]
Over 40 foreign languages to explore. Learn anytime and anywhere with remote access and FREE mobile apps!  A valid AAPLD card number is required to use this resource.

Are You a Music Binger?

Binge: a period of excessive or uncontrolled indulgence


Thanks to on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, binge watching television series (X-Files is my current binge) has become a cultural phenomenon.  Immersing yourself within the world of your favorite characters for hours and days at a time is the ultimate form of escapism.  Of course, this is nothing really new to book lovers.  The hazards of book binging have been
well documented here in previous posts.  But what about music?  Do you binge listen?

I do.  This past week, I have been binge listening to the music of The Ocean Blue.  (Here’s a taste of their music on Soundcloud)   If you're a fan of New Order, the Smiths, or R.E.M. you should definitely check them out.  After seeing the band perform live at Lincoln Hall to mark the release of their first three albums on vinyl, I have been about as earthbound as a lovesick teenager.  Discovering a new band a lot like falling in love, and I am currently in the Honeymoon phase.  Providing the soundtrack to this new romance are two music services every music binger should know.  Hoopla Digital and Freegal Music.

Thanks to the library’s subscriptions to these services, I’ve been able to saturate my soul with the sounds of The Ocean Blue.  Their first three albums are available to stream through Hoopla:

Available on Hoopla

Algonquin Library cardholders are entitled to 5 checkouts per month from this digital wonderland of content including music, movies, audiobooks and ebooks. Music albums check out for one week and may be listened to on computers, or streamed from smartphones and tablets using the Hoopla app.  Content may also be downloaded during the checkout period for offline listening.

Later releases including their latest full-length album, Ultramarine are available to stream or download through Freegal:

Available on Freegal

davyjoneslocker

waterworks

ultramarine

Freegal allows Algonquin cardholders to stream up to two hours of music per day through a web browser, or the Freegal app. Users also have the option of downloading up to 5 songs per week to keep permanently.

Have questions or need help getting started?  Stop by the library and we'll have you up and running in no time.  

So, are you ready to fall in love with a new artist?  Check out The Ocean Blue (or the thousands of other artists) available on Hoopla Digital and Freegal Music.  Your next musical binge begins here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick"), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.

st-patrick-picPatrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. He spent many years evangelizing in the northern half of Ireland and converted thousands. Patrick's efforts to convert, subjugate, and drive off the Pagans (specifically the Celts) were eventually turned into an allegory in which he drove "snakes" out of Ireland. (Ireland never had any snakes.)

Tradition holds that he died on 17 March and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland's foremost saint.

On St. Patrick's Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the "wearing of the green"). St. Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.

Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe (traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing), and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption.

However you choose to celebrate the holiday, here are some St. Patrick's Day related items from the library to help get you into the spirit!

March 2016 Library Reads

The Summer Before the War
by Helen Simonson

“Fans of Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand have reason to rejoice. She has created another engaging novel full of winsome characters, this time set during the summer before the outbreak of World War I. Follow the story of headstrong, independent Beatrice Nash and kind but stuffy surgeon-in-training Hugh Grange along with his formidable Aunt Agatha. Make a cup of tea and prepare to savor every page!”

- Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

Jane Steele
by Lyndsay Faye

“Jane Steele is a great read for lovers of Victorian literature who especially love their characters to have a lot of pluck! Jane Steele is the adventurous, irreverent, foul-mouthed broad that I so often loved about Jane Eyre, but in more wily circumstances. Remember that fabulous scene in Jane Eyre when she stands up to her aunt for the first time, and how you wanted to stand up from your comfy reading chair and cheer for her? Imagine an entire book just of those sorts of scenes. Absolutely fabulous fun!”

- Abbey Stroop, Herrick District Library, Holland, MI

The Passenger: A Novel
by Lisa Lutz

“This is a compulsively readable story of a young woman who has to keep switching identities and stay on the run. Is she a reliable narrator or not? What was the original event that sent her on the run? There is a lot of action and suspense as she tries to survive and evade the law while trying to keep her moral center intact. Unlike Lutz’s Spellman books, this reads more like a Charles Portis road novel, though considerably more serious and dangerous. Highly recommended.”

- Beth DeGeer, Bartlesville Public Library, Bartlesville, OK

Marked in Flesh: A Novel of the Others
by Anne Bishop

“In this thrilling installment, Bishop continues to explore the relationships of The Others and the humans who live at the Lakeside compound. Meanwhile, Humans First and Last organization has been making themselves known, after the attacks in the previous book that killed numerous Others along with their “Wolf Lover” friends, they are not backing down. Little do they know it’s not the Others humans need to be wary of but the Elders for which the Others act as a buffer. This is an excellent installment in the novels of the Others, exciting, heart-wrenching and suspenseful.”

- Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

The Nest
by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

“If you think your family is dysfunctional, move over, because here come the Plumbs. Suddenly faced with the dismantling of the nest egg they’ve counted on to solve their financial woes, the four Plumb siblings have to grow up, and fast. But though they all do some terrible things in the name of ambition, there’s something lovable about the Plumbs. You can’t fail to be moved by the beating heart of this novel, which seems to say that family, for good or ill, unites us all.”

- Mary Kinser, Whatcom County Library System, Bellingham, WA

Fool Me Once
by Harlan Coben

“Coben has made me lose more sleep over the years than all my other favorite authors combined. Joe Burkett has been murdered in front of his wife Maya. They have a two year old daughter who has a nanny. After the funeral, a friend gives her a picture frame that hides a camera so she can check on the care the nanny is providing her daughter. She watches the recording. Can she believe what she saw? Is she going crazy? Both? Buy a ticket for the coaster and find out for yourself. Keep your hands inside the car; it’s going to be a wild ride.”

- Lisa Sprague, Public Services Librarian, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, CT

The Madwoman Upstairs
by Catherine Lowell

“Meet Samantha Whipple, a descendant of the Bronte family, who arrives at Oxford to study literature, as her father did before her. She receives a copy of Jane Eyre – a volume that she thought was destroyed in the fire that took her father’s life. When a second Bronte novel belonging to her father turns up, she is convinced he has staged an elaborate treasure hunt for her promised inheritance. Enlisting the help of her sexy, young professor,Samantha sets out on a quest to find buried treasure and learns the value of friendship and courage along the way.”

- Kristen McCallum, Algonquin Area Public Library, Algonquin, IL

Because of Miss Bridgerton
by Julia Quinn

“This is the first in a prequel series to Quinn’s popular Bridgerton series, set a generation earlier.
Billie Bridgerton spent her childhood running wild with the neighboring Rokesbys, Andrew, Edward, and Mary. Now she runs the family estate for her father and still runs as wild as she can. The eldest Rokesby, George, never really approved of Billie, but when he rescues her from a roof they begin to come to a new understanding.”

- Mary Aileen Buss, Long Beach Public Library, NY

Dimestore: A Writer’s Life
by Lee Smith

“Evenly divided between a book about Smith’s process and her life, first as a Southern mountain child and, later, as the parent of a schizophrenic child, this book is interesting and compelling. Despite being surrounded by loving family and being blessed with an active imagination, Lee copes with a mentally ill mother. Later, her son’s mental illness and early death brings her to the breaking point but she is saved by her writing. This is a read-alike for Karr’s The Liars Club. It desperately needs a cinematic translation for it’s elegant and evocative writing.”

- Lois Gross, Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, NJ

All Things Cease to Appear
by Elizabeth Brundage

“When the Clare family purchases a ramshackle farmhouse at a foreclosure auction, it appears that all is well in their world, until George comes home one evening from his job as an Art History Professor at the local private college and finds his wife murdered and their three-year-old untended yet unharmed. Told through the eyes of the townspeople and the families involved, this is a gorgeously unsettling look at a marriage and what happens to a community in the process of change.”

- Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

Read the Oscars

Not able to watch the Oscars Sunday night?  No problem.  Just read them!  While it is not unusual for Oscar nominees to come from book adaptations, this year is unprecedented.  Six of the eight Best Picture Nominees got their start on the printed (or downloaded) page: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, The Revenant and Room.  You shouldn’t have trouble picking out one that sparks your interest as their subjects span many genres:  non-fiction, historical fiction, psychological fiction, romance, sci-fi, and western.  See our display for more Oscar book selections over the years.

February 2016 Library Reads

Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys

“Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful–a must read.”

- Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL

Black Rabbit Hall
by Eve Chase

“Young Amber Alton and her family adore Black Rabbit Hall, and the joy and peace it brings to them all. That is, until a tragic accident changes everything. Three decades later, Lorna decides her wedding must be celebrated at the crumbling hall. As the book moves between these two time periods, secrets slowly unfold. Perfectly twisty with interesting characters and a compelling story that kept me up too late.”

- Deborah Margeson, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On: A Novel
by Debbie Macomber

“Leanne and her daughter-in-law Nichole both leave cheating husbands to start over. They learn that it is never easy and that hardships abound, but they meet many wonderful people on their way to happily-ever-after. Believable characters and an enjoyable story made this perfect for relaxing reading—definitely one of Macomber’s best. An excellent choice both for long-time fans of the author and for those who have never read her novels.”

- Linda Tilden, Cherry Hill Public Library, Cherry Hill, NJ

Be Frank With Me: A Novel
by Julia Claiborne Johnson

“Meet Frank. Frank is an odd 9-year-old boy who has a higher IQ than Einstein’s and dresses as if he were on a movie set in the early 1920s–and he is someone with whom you are sure to fall in love. Frank’s reclusive mother is an author whose publisher has just sent Alice Whitley to serve as an assistant and ensure the next book is completed. The relationship between Frank and Alice is magical. Readers will devour this book and want more. Just magical.”

- Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library,Commerce Township, MI

Flight of Dreams: A Novel
by Ariel Lawhon

“Flight of Dreams chronicles an author’s imagined scenario on the ill-fated last flight of the Hindenburg, which was shrouded in mystery. Lawhon does a masterful job by giving meticulous detail of the ship and delving into the lives of many of the characters on board. I read with mounting dread and intensity as the storyline of the disaster unfolded. Historical detail and wonderful storytelling make this a must read for historical fiction lovers.”

- Kristin Fields, Farnhamville Public Library, Farnhamville, IA

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
by Mona Awad

“Everyone loves Lizzie–she is the confidant, the late night go-to, and she is always there and hungry for attention. Lizzie becomes even more obsessed and needy when she no longer feels insecure about being overweight and it becomes painfully obvious that she will always feel bad about herself. It is a candid and sad look at how we mistreat people with different body types.”

- Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

Fighting Dirty: An Ultimate Novel
by Lori Foster

“What. A. Ride! I absolutely loved this book. I loved finally getting Armie and Merissa’s story. I also enjoyed being able to go back and revisit past characters and getting to know future ones! The story was fast-paced and dreamy. Armie’s fight with himself over his emotions wasn’t drawn out, nor did it get tedious to read. All around, this book was an absolute pleasure, and I can’t wait to read more from Foster!”

- Jessica McCroskey, Holston River Regional Library, Johnson City, TN

Find Her: A Novel
by Lisa Gardner

“WOW. Find Her is intense. Those initial pages are a testament to the strength of Lisa Gardner’s writing. I had to know what was going to happen! At times it was so bleak and dark, and yet I still had to know what Flora and Stacy were going to be doing. A very suspenseful, twisty, unpredictable page-turner.”

- Allie Williams, Parnell Memorial Library, Montevallo, AL

The Opposite of Everyone: A Novel
by Joshilyn Jackson

“Fans of Jackson’s Someone Else’s Love Story will be pleased to see William’s acerbic friend Paula take center stage. A successful divorce lawyer, Paula’s carefully constructed life starts to fracture when family secrets come to light, forcing her to try to come to terms with the power of her story to hurt and heal, and a growing need for family connections. A wonderful cast of offbeat, memorable characters make this book a winner.”

- Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

The Girl in the Red Coat
by Kate Hamer

“There is not much more terrifying than losing your child. There’s the terror, the guilt, and then the relentless and unending chasm left behind by your child. I am grateful to not know that pain, and yet what Beth, the main character of this book, went through, resonated with me. I have had so many things on my to-do list, and yet I found myself delaying laundry and dusting and research so that I could find out how this story would unfold.”

- Kim Dorman, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ

2016 Grammy Awards

Don't forget to tune in to CBS at 7pm on February 15th to watch the 58th Annual Grammy Awards! Must-see performances include James Bay, Tori Kelly, Andra Day, Sam Hunt, and my favorites, Carrie Underwood and Ellie Goulding! 

For a full list of this years Grammy Nominees, go to https://www.grammy.com/nominees

Nominated for Album of the Year
                Nominated for Album of the Year                Borrow it on Hoopla
Nominated for Best New Artist
Nominated for Best New Artist
Nominated for Record of the Year
              Nominated for Record of the Year              Borrow it on Hoopla
Nominated for Song of the Year - Girl Crush
Nominated for Song of the Year - Girl Crush       Borrow it on Hoopla
Nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album
Nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album
Nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - Sugar

January 2016 Library Reads

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel
by Elizabeth Strout

“Set in the mid-1980s, Lucy Barton, hospitalized for nine weeks, is surprised when her estranged mother shows up at her bedside. Her mother talks of local gossip, but underneath the banalities, Lucy senses the love that cannot be expressed. This is the story that Lucy must write about, the one story that has shaped her entire life. A beautiful lyrical story of a mother and daughter and the love they share.”

- Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
by Katarina Bivald

“Sara arrives in the small town of Broken Wheel to visit her pen pal Amy, only to discover Amy has just died. The tale of how she brings the love of books and reading that she shared with Amy to the residents of Broken Wheel is just a lovely read. Any book lover will enjoy Sara’s story and that of the friends she makes in Broken Wheel. If ever a town needed a bookstore, it is Broken Wheel; the healing power of books and reading is made evident by this heartwarming book.”

- Barbara Clark-Greene, Groton Public Library, Groton, CT

The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel
by Melanie Benjamin

“Benjamin transports readers to 1960s Manhattan. This story gives us the chance to spy on Truman Capote’s close friendship with Babe Paley and his society “swans,” and the betrayal and scandal that drove them apart. I loved the description of the Black and White Ball.”

- Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

Ashley Bell: A Novel
by Dean Koontz

“This is a thrilling novel that caught me by surprise. Bibi Blair was diagnosed with brain cancer and astounds her doctor by being cured the day after her diagnosis. Why was she saved? A girl named Ashley Bell can provide the answers she seeks. Reality and dreams mix together in this unique narrative. Readers will be compelled to rush through to get to the ending.”

- Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA

American Housewife: Stories
by Helen Ellis

“In a series of short stories, Helen Ellis picks up the rock of American domesticity and shows us what’s underneath. While it’s not always pretty, it is pretty hilarious, in the darkest, most twisted of ways. The ladies in these stories seem to be living lives that are enviable in the extreme, but then slowly, the layers are pulled away, and the truth is revealed.”

- Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain
by Bill Bryson

“A slightly more curmudgeonly Bill Bryson recreates his beloved formula of travel writing and social commentary. This book is a lovely reminder of all the amazing natural beauty and historically significant sites found in the United Kingdom. Even though Bryson extols the virtues of his adopted homeland, he never lets up on the eccentricities and stupidity he encounters. Bryson’s still laugh-out loud funny and this book won’t disappoint.”

- Susannah Connor, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ

The Things We Keep: A Novel
by Sally Hepworth

“A sweet story of love and loss set in a residential care facility. Two of its youngest residents, a man and a woman both diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, fall in love. Their story is intertwined with the stories of other residents and employees at the facility, including a recently widowed cook and her seven-year-old daughter. A moving and improbably uplifting tale.”

- Elizabeth Eastin, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, NY

Ornaments of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery
by Jane K. Cleland

“The Josie Prescott mystery series–featuring likable characters and fascinating facts about antiques–continues to please in this latest entry. Josie is dealing with her annual Christmas party while trying to unravel the mystery of a missing relative and the disappearance of two valuable seventeenth-century miniatures. A nicely twisted mystery in a fun and festive setting.”

- Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

Even Dogs in the Wild
by Ian Rankin

“Readers rejoice! John Rebus has come out of retirement. Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox are working an important case and ask for his help. Then an attempt is made on the life of his longtime nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty. Are the cases connected? A top notch entry in a beloved series.”

- Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC

What She Knew: A Novel
by Gilly Macmillan

“Rachel Jenner is out for a walk with her son Ben when, after allowing him to run ahead to a swing, he vanishes. The investigation focuses on Rachel due to her recent divorce, and as a result, Rachel becomes undone. This is a psychological thriller full of suspense that will have you guessing until the very end. When all is revealed, the characters and action of the crime will stay with you long after you read the final page. I recommend this book to every fan of the genre.”

- Annice Sevett, Willmar Public Library, Willmar, MN