Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Diverse Fiction

Looking to try something new? These books feature strong female characters and diverse situations. Head over to our Reader's Corner for more Feminist Fiction.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This is a story about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. However, when Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family's island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava's mother, the park's indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined story that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Reads

Need a quick read to get you into the holiday spirit? Try one of these!

A Quilter's Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini
In this Elm Street Quilters book, the quilting season kicks off the day after Thanksgiving. All the members gather to start making their holiday handicraft gifts for their loved ones. Master Quilter Sylvia invites her friends to sew quilt blocks to represent what they are thankful for. Each quilter shares her stories of gratitude. A popular series from a well-love author, this may be just the ticket for you!

Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier
A cozy mystery featuring the favorite amateur sleuth Lucy Stone. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, the part-time journalist covers a town meeting in which the town officials decide on whether or not to support the local Native American tribe's petition for recognition from the federal government, thereby moving forward plans to build a casino. When the casino land owner is later found dead, Lucy is on the case! A series continuation that will prove entertaining during a lazy moment over the holiday.

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne
A pair of mostly estranged sisters make plans to celebrate Thanksgiving together at older sister Frances' New England home. Family drama from the past remains hovering over the two parts of the family as they gather, and the tension comes close to a breaking point over the behavior of the sisters' impaired father. Not the most light-hearted choice, but for readers looking for a bit more gravity, this may be a solid selection.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Cozy Mysteries

Cozy mysteries are an ever popular bunch. Is it the titular puns? Is it that they are a "fun read" that still works your mind? In any case, a multitude of cozy mysteries are published each month, and our library system continues to collect books from many different cozy mystery series. Check these out!

For more information on cozy mysteries or to feed your addiction, take a look at this website!

Darned If You Do (A Needlecraft Mystery #18) by Monica Ferris. Betsy and the Crewel World Monday Bunch set out to solve the mystery of a man murdered in his hospital bed.

A Fatal Chapter (Booktown Mystery #9) by Lorna Barrett. When the president of the local historical society dies of suspicious causes, Tricia becomes determined to get to the bottom of why someone would want to kill him.

Peaches and Scream (Georgia Peach Mystery #1) by Susan Furlong. In the first Georgia Peach Mystery, Nola Harper must uncover why a businessman was murdered on her family's struggling peach farm.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Poolside Reads

Summer is the time to look for great poolside reads! Check out some of these books to keep you entertained in the heat!

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch. When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. It all started the previous summer, when the two men and their families vacationed together at Meier's extravagant Mediterranean home. The ideal vacation soon turned tragic, and the circumstances surrounding Ralph's later death begin to reveal the truth of what really happened that summer.

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. Polly Waterford comes to Cornwall to nurse a broken heart. Throwing herself into her favorite hobby with a passion, she's soon running a successful bakery. As Polly develops her baking skills, she realizes that sometimes bread really is life...and Polly is about to reclaim hers. Oh, and let's not forget the handsome local beekeeper.

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews. Greer Hennessy is a movie location scout who was blamed for a mishap on set. Now to redeem herself, she's tasked with finding the perfect beach town for a major blockbuster. Her search brings her to the perfect beachfront Florida town. However, her efforts are obstructed by Eben Thinadeaux, the town's mayor and an avid environmentalist who refuses to let an industry take advantage of his home.

Stop by the library to check out other awesome summer books!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Escape the Ordinary: Superhero Books!

Our adult summer reading program, Escape the Ordinary, is underway. While you can read any type of book you would like to complete the program, here are some on-theme recommendations!

Vicious by V. E. Schwab.  Ten years ago, Victor and Eli were college roommates researching EOs – those with ExtraOrdinary powers, and attempting to create such powers for themselves. Now Victor has just broken out of prison, and the two men will stop at nothing to eliminate each other. But which one of them is the hero, and which is the villain?

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn.  Celia West is the only daughter of Commerce City’s most famous superheroes. With no powers herself, she has been a kidnapping target of every wannabe supervillain in town since she was a teenager. She has tried to build a quiet life for herself outside with limited contact with her parents, but when their arch nemesis, the Destructor, is put on trial, Celia is forced back into the world of superheroes and villains.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by MichaelChabon.  If you want to keep with the theme this summer, but would rather read historical fiction than fantasy or science fiction, this Pulitzer-winner from 2001 is for you! No one in this novel actually has superpowers – instead it is the story of Jewish cousins who create the comic book hero the Escapist during World War II.  This exquisitely written book is by turns both laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly sad.

Do you have a favorite superhero novel?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memorial Day Reads

Did you know Memorial Day was started by the former Confederate States after the Civil War? It was a day set aside to decorate the graves of soldiers who had died serving their country. Each state picked their own day to honor the dead, but now it has become a federal holiday, always on the last Monday of May. We at the Bartow Library have compiled a list of books that tell soldiers' stories (under Military Reads), and you might want to check one out for the long weekend. Here are a few selections.

Redeployment by Phil Klay. This recent publication got a lot of buzz last year, and was up for numerous awards. It tells a few different stories of soldiers returning home from the horrors of war, and how they cope with the trials they experienced and how those episodes affect them now. Many are already calling it a classic in the war stories genre.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Published a few years ago, this satire focuses on the surviving members of Bravo Squad and become celebrated heroes going on a victory media tour to drum up support for the war in Iraq, meeting the Dallas Cowboys during one stop. We follow Billy Lynn as he struggles to cope with the loss of his fellow soldiers and the fame the rest of them got. Is being released as a film featuring Vin Diesel next year.

From Here to Eternity by James Jones. The title is probably more well-known as the name of an Academy Award-winning film starring Frank Sinatra, but the book came first! This book follows the lives of a few soldiers stationed in Hawaii leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor as they navigate their careers and love lives, and is a heralded exploration of military life. Regarded as one of the best books of the 20th century.

Thank a soldier this weekend!