Readers Guide


By Julie Forkner

June 12, 2017
June 5, 2017

May 29, 2017
May 22, 2017

June 12, 2017 

Eleanor Oliphant is blunt, awkward, and exceedingly earnest. Her life revolves around her accounting work, dinners of pizza and vodka, and weekly phone calls with her mother. When she meets the bumbling IT guy, Raymond, at the scene of an accident, she slowly finds out that life isn’t supposed to be isolating. For fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (YPF), Gail Honeyman’s laugh-out-loud debut novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (F) is as funny as it is painful, tender, and sweet.

Where Eleanor Oliphant survives by sticking to routine, Silicon Valley thrives on chaos. Tech entrepreneurs like the people behind Uber, Tinder, Airbnb, and Netflix have become wealthy by working well outside society’s normal operating procedures. In Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley (338.470), Silicon Valley wild child Antonio Garcia Martinez unveils how the increasingly abnormal evolution of Silicon Valley is invading and reshaping our lives.

Lisa Ko’s debut novel The Leavers (F) won the 2016 PEN/Bellweather Prize for Fiction. Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, is an undocumented Chinese immigrant who disappears from her job at a nail salon without the slightest clue to her whereabouts. A white couple, professors and thoroughly American, eventually adopt Deming, rename him Daniel, and move to upstate New York, where nothing is familiar and no ties exist to Deming’s old life. Set in both New York and China, The Leavers is an incisive look at borders, choices, and belonging. 

Kendall Francois killed eight women. He kept their bodies in his family’s home, where his mother, father, and sister were completely unaware of their existence. Claudia Rowe, a Poughkeepsie reporter, embarked on a five-year conversation with Francois, trying to understand why he did what he did. The Spider and the Fly (364.152) is the story of Rowe’s obsession with Francois and her need to understand the root of evil.

Retelling classical tales has become popular lately, from the Hogarth Shakespeare series where popular authors modernize Shakespeare’s plays to the trend in young adult literature of retelling fairy tales with a modern twist. Irish writer Colm Toibin tackles the Greek myth of Clytemnestra in his newest novel House of Names (F). Fear not, though. One of the best results of this retelling craze is that our modern authors can keep the drama, tragedy, and themes of the original story and leave behind the confusing names and sensibilities that no longer resonate with us. In Toibin’s voice, the old myths become less like school work 

and more like Game of Thrones.

When reading about murder, politics, and technology becomes too much and you just need to get away, Lonely Planet travel guides has written a guide for bike riding adventurers. Epic Bike Rides of the World: Explore the Planet’s Most Thrilling Cycling Routes (796.600) takes you on 50 routes in 30 countries from Australia to Bhutan. Including something for everyone from families with small children to Tour de France hopefuls to armchair travelers, Lonely Planet’s guide to cycling around the world opens the door to adventures you didn’t know existed.

Also at the library
     No Middle Name: The Complete Jack Reacher Short Stories (F) by Lee Child
     City of Friends (F) by Joanna Trollope
     Ominous (F) by Lisa Jackson

New Fiction on MP3
     4 3 2 1 (V AUSTP FTT A 78) by Paul Auster
     The Devil’s Triangle (V COUL DET A 99) by Catherine Coulter
     The Darkness (V ROBA DAR P 27) by Karen Robards

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June 5, 2017 

Lucy and Owen are tired of their cramped, hectic life in Manhattan. Following many others who have fled the city for the “easier” life in the country, the couple packs up their kids and are soon the proud owners of a hundreds-year-old house and seventeen baby chicks. They also find a kindergarten teacher transitioning from male to female, parents who sneak their children’s Adderall, and an experiment in an open marriage in The Arrangement (F) by Sarah Dunn.

Although the general perception of life on a Native American reservation is one of poverty and despair, David Hugh Bunnell’s firsthand experience on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation tells another story. In Good Friday on the Rez (978.390), Bunnell takes a 280-mile round trip journey from his home in Nebraska to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, where he meets his blood brother Vernell White Thunder. Through a combination of personal memoir and modern history lesson, Bunnell and White Thunder give reason to hope for the success of the recent cultural resurgence of the Lakota Sioux nation.

Daniel Magariel’s debut work is a searing powerhouse of a novel about divorce, family, and abuse. As the book opens, the father has won custody of the two boys and they are on their way to New Mexico to lead a new life. As the story unfolds, quickly and unsparingly, the father’s abuse becomes overwhelming and the boys complicity more complex. As the two brothers begin to protect each other, life begins to shift in One of the Boys (F). 

C. Nicole Mason was born in Los Angeles, California to a single, teen-aged mother in the 1970’s. Growing up surrounded by poverty, Mason didn’t realize the advantages other children had until she reached high school. As a precocious and blazingly intelligent child, she discovered that school was somewhere she stood out and could succeed, despite the odds against her. Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America (305.569) is her story of overcoming drastic circumstances to go from poverty in Compton to being the Executive Director of the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest.

Widowed Julia Alden has found a second chance at happiness when she meets James, a single father with a teenaged son. Julia’s own daughter, Gwen, is less than happy, to say the least, when James and his son, Nathan, move in. The depths to which Gwen will go to sabotage Julia and James are astounding and make Julia question if she can be happy or if she must sacrifice everything for her daughter. Francesca Segal’s The Awkward Age (F) shows that immaturity is not always the realm of the young and that family can sometimes take on extravagant definition.

Why do young women so often fall in love with troubled young men? Leigh Stein lived that very experience, moving to New Mexico with her boyfriend when she was in her early twenties. As Jason’s abuse grew more and more intense, Leigh’s sense of herself grew dimmer and dimmer. In 2011, after Leigh has finally left Jason, she received a phone call telling her that Jason had dies in a motorcycle accident. Land of Enchantment (362.829) explores both the social science behind addictive relationships and Stein’s own experience with honesty and humor.

Also at the library:
     Against All Odds (F) by Danielle Steel
     The Girl Who Knew Too Much (F) by Amanda Quick
     Any Day Now (F) by Robin Carr
     Vern Yip’s Design Wise: Your smart Guide to a Beautiful Home (747.000)  by Vern Yip
     Wired to Eat: Turn Off Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss and Determine the Foods that Work for
       You (641.563)
by Robb Wolf
     Kaffe Fassett’s Bold Blooms: Quilts and Other Works Celebrating Flowers (746.460) by Kaffe Fassett and Liza
       Prior Lucy

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May 29, 2017 

Heartbreak and humor often go hand in hand. When the three adult Westfall children come home to plan their father’s memorial service, they each have to confront their falling apart lives. While a hurricane rips apart upstate New York, the family discovers the darkest places of their past and the hilarity that comes with it in The Antiques (F) by Kris D’agostino. 

When we think about animal intelligence, dolphins and primates come immediately to mind. Few people think of the cephalopods – cuttlefish, squids, and most importantly, octopus, which regularly show signs of intelligence and reasoning. How did an animal that evolved through such a radically different line develop such similar intelligence to humans, who have a wholly different evolutionary path?  Peter Godfrey-Smith, a philosopher and scuba diver, tells a unique story of how nature became aware of itself in Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (612.800.)

Billy Brennan always loved food – the textures, the flavors, the comfort it brings. When his son, Michael, commits suicide, however, Billy can no longer find comfort in food, or anything else.  At four hundred pounds, Billy decides to start a public weight-loss campaign to raise awareness for suicide prevention. Set in rural Ireland, The Weight of Him (F) by Ethel Rohan is a poignant story of resilience by a bold new writer to watch. 

Everyone leaves a digital footprint. As we become a more technology based world, the amount of data we leave behind is staggering. From what you google to what you buy online, your internet activity leaves a goldmine of data for Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, an economist and former Google data scientist. Stephens-Davidowitz claims interpreting that data can reveal what people really want and what they really do. He reveals it all in Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (004.019)

Regardless of what the future holds, endless parties eventually get boring. Hubert, Seth, and their super-rich friend Natalie are bored with designer drugs and industrial raves. Ten years in the future, however, the world is a mess – refugee crises, climate disaster, and enormous class disparity have all taken hold and wreaked their havoc. When Hubert, Seth, and Natalie decide to walk away from it all they do what no one thought was possible – survive. Walkaway (F) is Cory Doctorow’s latest darkly humorous utopian/dystopian sci-fi thriller.

When Julius Achon was twelve, the Lord’s Resistance Army made him into a boy soldier. Escaping the LRA, Julian went on to become one of the world’s best middle-distance runner. When a devastating tragedy prevented him from competing in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Julius’s life was diverted once again, but this time he found his true calling as the director of the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund. John Brant’s new book The Boy Who Runs (796.420) is the story of this extraordinary life.

Also at the library:
     The Stars are Fire (F) by Anita Shreve
     Anything is Possible (F) by Elizabeth Strout
     The Forever Summer (F) by Jamie Brenner
     Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook (332.024) by Tony Robbins
     Ballplayer (796.357) by Chipper Jones
     Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life (941.085) by Sally Bedell

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May 22, 2017 

Hockey rules the day in Beartown. With the economy sliding and life getting much harder, the residents of Beartown turn to their junior ice hockey team for salvation. With the town pinning all their hopes on the hockey team, the boys are treated like celebrities and soon begin to show the stress of the pressure. When the manager’s daughter is the victim of a brutal attack, the hockey team, and the town as a whole, begins falling apart in Fredrik Backman’s new novel Beartown (F).

Richard Hines grew up in a coal mining town in England. Excluded from continuing with school, subject to the cruelty of teachers, and crushed by an unfair system, Richard found his place raising and training kestrels. With nothing to help him but ancient falconry books, Richard taught himself how to raise, tame, and train kestrels to hunt. No Way but Gentlenesse (598.960) is the story of how one boy, excluded from the world around him, found his own way through perseverance and gentleness. 

Fans of William Least Heat-Moon will not be surprised by the philosophical tone of his new book, but they might find a refreshing change in the author’s switch to fiction.  Celestial Mechanics: Tales for a Mid-Winter Night (F) is a tale of haunted love and the struggle to balance rationality and spirituality. When Silas Fortunato’s marriage begins to decline, three different, equally enigmatic, women draw him into a world where reality and dreams overlap.

you prefer your mind-altering experiences in concise, humorous, scientific explanations, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (523.010) may be for you. Explaining everything from the Big Bang to quantum mechanics to quarks, Tyson breaks these concepts down into short chapters meant to be digested over coffee or whenever you have a spare moment. Tyson has a unique gift for explaining complex subjects with clarity and wit. 

Where Neil deGrasse Tyson has a gift for concise explanation, author Sarah Baume has a gift for writing that makes the reader see and hear. In her new novel A Line Made By Walking (F), Baume takes us into the mind of 25-year old Frankie, a photographer failing in both art school and life.  Frankie retreats to her dead grandmother’s bungalow in rural Ireland and slowly begins to document the ways she is falling apart. Baume’s novel is a profound exploration of wildness, art, and mental illness.

Gabourey Sidibe was not aiming for stardom when she landed the leading role in Lee Daniels’ movie Precious, but being in the spotlight soon became home for her. Her new novel This is Just My Face, Try Not to Stare (791.430) is her memoir of growing up with a polygamous father in New York and her unconventional rise to stardom. Sidibe’s honesty, self-confidence, and intelligence are evident on every page, and her irreverent and unexpected take on the world is a welcome and much needed new voice. 

Also at the Library:
     Threads of Suspicion (F) by Dee Henderson
     Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies (M) by Ace Atkins
     No Easy Target (F) by Iris Johansen

Audiobooks on CD:
     St. Patrick’s Day Murder (V MEIE SPD W 72) by Leslie Meier
     Vicious Circle (V BOX VC C 39) by C. J. Box
     The Dead Zone (V KING DZ F 64) by Stephen King

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