Thursday, December 16, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue

I was hesitant at first about reading Room. It seemed pretty dark, and even though I enjoy reading dark fiction, I thought it might be too dark, even for me. But it struck me as such an interesting story, so I downloaded it to my ipod and let the journey begin. Room is the story of a mom and her 5-year-old son Jack being held captive in an 11 x 11 foot space by a man Jack calls Old Nick. Ma and Jack live, eat, play, watch TV, and sleep in this room 24/7. Even though Ma tries very hard to give Jack a normal life under the circumstances, Jack begins to question what's beyond their room and Ma eventually tells him the truth. Room is not a depressing story, although if you you read between the lines of what Ma is saying to Jack, you can feel the horror of her situation. Room also offers a look into the love between a mother and child and the patience, strength and bravery it takes to live a life in captivity while keeping hope alive. Emma Donoghue stated that she was inspired by the true story of Felix Fritzl, a 5-year-old boy and one of seven children born to Elisabeth Fritzl. Elisabeth and three of her children were imprisoned for 24 years by her father in Amstetten, Austria between 1984 and 2008. This story created the spark to write the story of Ma and Jack. The Room is about "a boy's story of courage and love." Emma Donoghue

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Busy Moms' Book Club

The Busy Moms' Book Club group meets in Meeting Room B from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

The group will discuss Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker on Tuesday,
February 8, 2011 and Welcome to the Great Mysteries by Lorna Landvik on Tuesday,
April 12, 2011.

Please ask for a copy at the Adult Services desk on the second floor.
Strollers Welcome!

Mystery Book Club

The Mystery Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 1:30 pm in the First Floor Meeting Room. New members are always welcome. Books are located at the reference desk on the second floor. Please ask a staff member for a copy.

Here are the 2011 selections:

Jan 19, 2011 The Surrogate Thief by Archer Mayor

Feb 16, 2011 Manslaughter by Parnell Hall

Mar 16, 2011 Killing Floor by Lee Child

Apr 20, 2011 Faithful Place by Tana French

May 18, 2011 Murder on Gramercy Park by Victoria Thompson

Jun 15, 2011 The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

Jul 20, 2011 A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss

Aug 17, 2011 The Dead Cat Bounce by Sarah Graves

Sep 21, 2011 Booked to Die by John Dunning

Oct 19, 2011 A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

Nov 16, 2011 Body Work by V.I. Warshawski

Dec 21, 2011 A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry

Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Adult Book Club

Hi everyone,

Here is the list of the 2011 selections:

Jan 12 Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran

Feb 9 Bleeding Kansas by Sara Paretsky

Mar 9 Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Apr 13 Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

May 11 The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Jun 8 The Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber

Jul 13 Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg

Aug 10 The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Sep 14 A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

Oct 12 Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan

Nov 9 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Dec 14 Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler

The group meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the board room on the first floor.
New members are always welcome! Hope you can make it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time by Lisa Tracy is not the typical book I read on genealogy. I normally look for resources for finding ancestors, you know where they lived, who they married, how many children they had, what they did for a living. I willingly admit the words Pickle Fork did it for me. I had to read this book.
I have in my possession a number of heirlooms handed down through the years from my mother and grandmother. They are priceless in my eyes. I have even argued with my siblings why I needed to be the person to keep these treasures!
Look around your house, see what you have collected from relatives; a bible, photo album, quilt, jewelry, or perhaps your relatives home? Have you ever wondered how your parents or grandparents or another relative came to acquire these items? Why did they cherish the quilt? Was it handmade by another relative? Could it have been a birthday present, wedding present or a baby gift? What was the significance of the present?
I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. I can tell you who gave me my heirlooms, but I really can't tell you HOW my relatives acquired them in the first place. Typical of my genealogy research when one question is answered you have three more.
The story follows the author as she deals with her mother's death and handling her estate. Heirlooms that had been acquired over one hundred years ago, from all over the world, for several of the author's grandparents and great grandparents were stationed all over the world. There was so much furniture, china, dishes, etc., that needed to be gone through. What to keep, what to sell. More importantly, where did all of it come from? The family shares their stories and memories of these heirlooms and materials items that have for so long been in their family.
The author takes us on a journey of finding connections. Finding connections through the history of the items we collect and pass down to our descendants.
As an amateur genealogist who searches for family roots I would highly recommend this book. Through this book, I've discovered that there is much more to my family genealogy than the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins I search for. The whole story includes the heirlooms I been blessed to receive--handmade quilts, the photographs, the jewelry, the books and the history and stories each holds. Happy reading!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Triumph: Life After the Cult, by Carolyn Jessop with laur

Triumph: Life After the Cult-a Survivor's Lessons is the continuing story of Carolyn Jessop's life after 2003, when she escaped to freedom from an extreme Mormon sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. Carolyn shares with us the story of how she fought for and won full custody of her eight children, struggled being not only a single mother but also the only breadwinner of the family. She enrolled her children in public schools for the first time in their lives, where they could be exposed to an uncensored education. Her bestseller titled "Escape" is a reflection of her life up to that point in time
In April of 2008 she once again came into the public's eye. The state of Texas raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch where a child allegedly was being abused. Over 400 children were removed from their parents and their homes and placed in an unprepared foster care system. Carolyn still had many members of her family living on the ranch. She traveled to Texas to help educate the many social workers, attorney's, police officers, and foster parents on the complexities of the sect's faith and beliefs. She willingly counseled those who wanted to help by offering knowledge and experience in the thinking and beliefs of the members of the FLDS, especially those beliefs of the women and children who lives were most at risk.
Carolyn recounts the charges against many parents, the court battles, custody fights and the eventual return of the children to their parents. The system failures and the enlightenment to the public of this particular extreme sect of the FLDS. Even if you haven't read Carolyn's first book, "Escape", I would highly recommend reading "Triumph: Life After the Cult, a Survivors Lessons"!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Composed a Memoir by Rosanne Cash

I admit it-I am a huge fan of Johnny Cash, so it only stands to reason I would certainly check out his eldest daughter's musical talents and compositions. If you haven't listened to any of her albums or read any of her books you are missing out on some thoughtful and heartfelt stories. I love Rosanne Cash's albums, particularly Black Cadillac, King's Record Shop and her latest recording; The List.

Her newest book, Composed a Memoir is a great read! Not a typical biography by any means. Rosanne writes of her life, but not in a chronological order. She writes stories of her youth, growing up inside the Cash household. The impact her father's addictions and the breakup of her parents marriage had on her and her sisters. Trying to discover who she was and how she fit into this world. What direction did she want to move toward?
The part I found most compelling was how she came to be the terrific songwriter and singer she is today. She struggled with her self confidence in her ability to write a good song. She believed she wanted to be a good songwriter but on her own terms. The life experiences that inspired her to write beautiful songs of her family, her children, her parents, her marriages, and life gained her the recognition and the success as not only a singer but clearly the songwriter!

Check out this book you won't be disappointed and while you're at it, listen to some of her great music!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July and August Book Clubs

The Adult Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom.
On July 14, 2010 the group will discuss Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
On August 11, 2010 the discussion will be about The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.
The Mystery Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 1:30 in Meeting Room B.
The group will discuss Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben on July 21, 2010. On August 18, 2010 the discussion will be on Vanishing Point by Marcia Muller.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection

Those of you old enough to have watched Carol and the gang every week will take a trip down memory lane! When I discovered Carol Burnett had written another book, I couldn't wait to read it. "This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection" is just that. Laugher and reflection. Short little chapters that will make you laugh out loud. Carol talks about her love of "Nanny", her grandmother who raised her and their close relationship. She recalls her early days in Hollywood, how she moved to New York and struggled until she got her start in theatre and then television. After working on Garry Moore's Variety Show, she was offered her own television specials which eventually lead to her own comedy show. Who could forget the hilarious skits of "The Family", a totally dysfunctional family with Vicki Lawrence as "Mama, Harvey Korman as "Ed" and Carol as "Eunice" ? I remember laughing so hard when Tim Conway (who later joined the Carol Burnett show) would be in a skit with Harvey Korman and ad lib lines causing Harvey to lose it and break out laughing. Was it the writing or just Tim causing Harvey to lose it that made you laugh? Hard to tell.
Lucille Ball, Ray Charles, Jim Nabors, Carol Channing and so many more "famous" actors and performers graced the stage with Carol and simply created an hour of pure entertainment that you can't get today. Carol reminisces about her movie roles, my favorite one was Miss Hannigan in the film version of Annie.
Of course Julie Andrews is mentioned and Beverly Sills, both women who became close friends with Carol. I loved watching and listening to these women when they performed together.
We are reminded of Carol's personal life as well. Her marriage to Joe Hamilton, producer of the Carol Burnett show and television specials and their three children. Their unfortunate divorce and the death of their daughter Carrie. Carol found love again when she married Brian Miller in 2001. Congratulations!
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, 100%! Especially to those of us who grew up waiting for the Carol Burnett show to come on each week and allow us to smile, laugh out loud and simply be entertained for one glorious hour! Who could forget that closing song....I'm so glad we had this time together, just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say so long. Ahhhh....those were the good ole' days!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J. Fox

I admit it. I have enjoyed all three of the books Michael J. Fox has written. I have laughed and cried while reading his words of optimism, hope, and the real world of "life".
This year I have two sons who graduated from 8th grade. True, they didn't graduate from high school or college where you hold your breath praying that she/he will make a really good choice to continue their education by attending a college or a trade school. After all, you WANT them to become responsible adults and pay taxes right? They have to continue their formal education to get there right? Hmmmm...
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, Michael shares his success stories and his failures. From the time he is in elementary school (and hates most of it) until he leaves in the middle of high school he knows he wants to be an actor. He wants opportunities that he believes he can only get here in the United States. With his parents approval (and monetary support) he sets off on a path that brings success but hard times as well.
The story touches on his television and movie career. Michael discusses his relationships with his family and friends and he doesn't shy away from discussing his relationship with alcohol and Parkinson's disease either. Life lessons. Sometimes it is what it is. Just accept it and move on.
We all know we make our own choices-the good ones and the bad ones. Yes, sometimes we repeat those bad decisions a few times before we learn, that's a life lesson. Accept responsibility for them and move on. Life lessons, real life experiences are what we learn from. Enjoy the moment, learn the lesson and move on, there is more to learn!
This book is only one hundred pages long and is really a quick read, one you will enjoy. If you haven't read Michael's other books; Lucky Man or Always Looking Up, I highly recommend those as well. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May Adult Book Clubs

The Adult Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. On May 12, 2010, the club members will discuss Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. The story of a retired judge and his orphaned grandaughter living in the Himalaya.

The Mystery Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. The club members will discuss The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten on May 19th. 2010 . This true story begins when a poor Chicago boy is forced to provide for his family after his father abandons them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I recently had the opportunity to listen to this book that came highly recommended to me by one of my co-workers who owns a dog (or two). Living with children and three dogs myself, I wanted a great book to listen to on my way back and forth to work. I was not disappointed.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, narrated by Christopher Evan Welch, was one of the BEST books I have listened too! The story is told from Enzo, the dog's point of view. Enzo is the constant companion of Danny Swift, a stock car racer. The story begins when Enzo is a puppy and how he and Danny form this lifetime commitment to each other through thick and thin. While Danny is at work, he leaves the television on the Weather Channel to keep Enzo company. Enzo believes that is when he first developed his thirst for knowledge. In time, Danny marries Eve and life gets a little complicated for Enzo, sharing his time with Danny with Eve. Before long a baby girl, Zoe, joins the family. Enzo loves Zoe and Zoe loves Enzo. The family is happy and life is great. That is, until a fatal illness attacks Eve. Unfortunately, the story gets very real now and life is a horrible struggle for Danny. He loses Eve, he is unjustly accused of a terrible crime, and to make matters worse, he temporarily loses custody of his daughter Zoe. Danny and Enzo maybe knocked down, but they live by the motto "There is no dishonor in loosing the race, there is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose." Danny fights his battles and wins. Enzo must fight his battles as well, painful joints, poor eyesight, tiredness, and old age. He realizes his time on earth is almost up and he is determined to come back---in some form, to rejoin Danny and Zoe. Check out this great book or the sound discs and discover the relationship between man and his best friend....a dog!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui. Many of us, myself included, take for granted the rights and privileges we have living here in the United States of America. I have a voice and opinions that when I feel the need and the appropriate time, I use without hesitation.

This true story takes place in Yemen, in 2008. Nujood, a little girl of ten years, loves to play with her brothers and sisters, go to school, draw with colored pencils, play hide and seek with her friends, and enjoys eating chocolate. Isn't that what children are supposed to enjoy doing? Not so in Yemen. Child marriages and child trafficking are common occurrences.

Nujood is born in a small village called Khardji, with only five stone houses. No grocery stores, no barber, no doctors or even a medical clinic, not even a mosque. She was brought up to never question a man, not even her own brothers. She was never taught how to make a choice. Her own mother, uneducated, was married off at sixteen years of age and bore sixteen children, some of whom died in infancy. The family was large and very poor.

The family suddenly moved to Sana'a, a larger community with grocery stores, taxi's, schools, hospitals and police. For the first time in her life Nujood was allowed to attend school, which she loved! Then, without any warning, in February of 2008, Nujood's father told her he had some good news--she was to be married!

Nujood did not want to be married, she wanted to continue with school, play with her friends, and draw with her colored pencils. All she remembered hearing were the words her father told her older sister Mona, "one less mouth to feed". Within days she was put in a wedding dress too big for her small body, and married off to a man over thirty years old. A man who promised Nujood's father he would not have relations with her until she had reached puberty. After the wedding, Nujood, Faez-her husband, and his family returned to Khardji where they lived. Despite making promises to Ali, Faez did indeed rape and beat Nujood that very night.

Nujood went from being a little girl to a married woman overnight. Faez regularly beat her and forced himself upon her each and every evening. Nujood begged to return to her parents and her family.

After several months Faez agreed to take her back home for a visit. She pleaded with her family to allow her to stay home and get a divorce. Absolutely not, she would not dishonor and shame her family, she was married now. Nujood desperately plans her escape. One morning Nujood was sent to the store for some groceries when she took matters into her own young hands. She went to the courthouse and demanded to see a judge. She waited and finally was allowed to see a judge who listened to her problem, she was ten years old, married to a man who was over thirty, a man who regularly beat her and raped her. She wanted a divorce.

The media hears of her story. Newspapers and television personnel want to interview her and listen to her story. Nujood is assisted in her quest with the help of a woman attorney, extremely rare in her country and two judges. She has her hearing and is granted her divorce. However, because there are no shelters in Yemen for young girls, Nujood is sent back home to live with her parents and her family. Not exactly the best scenario.

This story is not over. Nujood is twelve or thirteen years old today! She continues to live with her parents, although both are ill. She and her younger sister have returned to school. In November, 2008, Glamour magazine named Nujood, the youngest divorcee' in the world, as one of their "Woman of the Year" recipients. As a direct result of all the media attention, this book was written and Nujood and her family are living a bit more comfortably today. This story is a very quick read and one I promise you won't be able to put down easily.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

April Book Clubs at the Library

The Adult Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room. On April 14, 2010, members will discuss The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Set in Nazi Germany, this story is told by Death. Death tells the story of Leisel, a young girl who steals books to help her get through the horrors of war.

The Mystery Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B. The group will discuss Still Life by Louise Penny on April 21, 2010. Set in a small Canadian village, a retired school teacher and amateur artist is found dead during deer season.
The Busy Mom's Book Club will be discussing Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin on April 12, 2010 in Meeting Room B. Set in 1897, three Swedish girls embark on a journey to America in search of a better life.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt

Birth. Death. Sorrow. Healing. Roger Rosenblatt's book Making Toast is his own true story, the story of the unexpected death of his one and only daughter Amy Elizabeth Rosenblatt Solomon. Amy was a daughter, sister, friend, pediatrician, wife, and mother.

Making Toast is the story of what happens to Roger, his wife Ginny, their sons; Carl and John and their families and of course Amy's husband Harris and their three children; Jessie, Sammy, and James, aka "Bubbies" after Amy's death.

Upon hearing the new of their daughter's death Roger and Ginny immediately rush to Harris and the children. To comfort and be comforted. Life still moves on. Everyone needs to be taken care of, especially the children. Roger and Ginny begin to "fit in" to Amy's and Harris's home. They adjust their own retirement plans and employment responsibilities to become child care providers, chauffeurs, cooks, tutors, room parents, and of course Grandpa, aka "Boppo" and Grandma, aka "Mimi". Boppo starts his day earlier than the others. He has mastered one household duty--making toast and eagerly offers it to those who join him in the early morning. The children attend school, after school play dates, sport activities, music lessons and more. Harris continues his medical practice as a hand surgeon. Boppo and Mimi and the rest of the extended family members adjust to life without Amy all the while keeping her forever in their hearts. They cherish the moments they shared with her.

Mr. Rosenblatt offers the reader a book that takes note of the minute, everyday life experiences that help us heal after suffering the loss of a loved one. Yes, there are a bad days. We wake up, have some "toast" and start a new day. A really good book!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Memory Keeper's Daughter By Kim Edwards

In The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, we see how one lie can alter the lives of many.

It is 1964 and Dr. David Henry, an orthopedic surgeon, rushes his pregnant wife Susan to the hospital during a snowstorm. Susan’s doctor is stuck in a ditch and will not make it to the hospital in time, so David must deliver the baby. Susan delivers a beautiful, healthy baby boy. A baby girl is born soon after, and David notices right away that she has Down syndrome. He thinks this would be too difficult for his wife to bear so he gives his newborn daughter to his nurse Caroline and instructs her to take the baby to an institution for the mentally impaired. When Susan wakes from anesthesia, David tells her that their baby daughter died. Meanwhile, on her way to drop off the baby at the institution, Caroline makes a decision, one that will change all their lives.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

March Book Clubs at the Library

The Adult Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room. On March 10, 2010, members will discuss Oxygen by Carol Cassella. In this novel, Dr. Marie Heaton, a dedicated anesthesiologist, faces disaster when something goes terribly wrong in the operating room during a routine surgery.

The Mystery Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B. On March 17, 2010, members will discuss Savage Run by C.J. Box. Set in Wyoming, Game Warden Joe Pickett must investigate the murders of an animal rights activist, a writer, a congressional representative, and an environmental activist and his new wife.

All are welcome!

Stop by to pick up your copy at the Adult Services Reference Desk on the second floor.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Reading Club

Our first ever Winter Reading program, Chilly Reads, has begun! Pick up a reading log at the Adult Services Desk. Read 6 books and return it by February 27 to be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing. You may complete multiple reading logs. You can also enter online at the library website.

Monday, January 18, 2010

February Book Clubs at the Library

The Adult Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room. Members will discuss Howard's End, the classic tale of life in Edwardian England, by E.M. Foster on February 10, 2010.

The Mystery Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B. On February 17, 2010, members will discuss Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. Atwood reconstructs into fiction the true story of Grace Marks, the young Canadian housemaid accused of murdering her employer and his housekeeper/mistress in 1843.

All are welcome! Stop by to pick up your copy at the Adult Services Reference Desk on the second floor.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What I'm Reading Now: Drood by Dan Simmons

In Drood, Dan Simmons speculates about the last years of Charles Dickens’ life, beginning with the Staplehurst rail crash in 1865. In the crash, the train Dickens was traveling in fell off of a bridge that was being repaired. While he was unharmed, he never full recovered from the trauma of the incident. Since the accident, the only novel he ever finished was the already in-progress, Our Mutual Friend, which he rescued from the crash. His final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was never completed before he died, and has since become the inspiration for this and many other novels.

Drood is narrated from the point-of-view of Dickens’ real-life friend, author, and opium-addict, Wilkie Collins. Dickens takes Collins into his confidence to tell him about a spectral figure named Drood (who had been traveling in a coffin) that he spotted in the aftermath of the train crash. According to Collins, Dickens becomes obsessed with Drood. He ventures with Dickens into London's seedy underground in an attempt to find him, and to figure out what he was doing at the crash site.

As a narrator, Collins is delightfully unreliable. The reader never knows whether what he says is an accurate account of events, or one of his drug-induced fantasies. It is known that the real Collins suffered from paranoid delusions due to opium use.

Now, I’m not much of a Dickens fan, ever since I had to read A Tale of Two Cities when I was a junior in high school. But the speculative nature of the book appealed to me. Simmons doesn’t quite have the Victorian style down, so it’s not as daunting to a contemporary reader. In addition, not having read much Dickens did not hinder my understanding of Drood.

At 784 pages, this could easily become a doorstopper of a book, and the pacing at times is quite leisurely. However, you get pulled right in by the tension between Dickens and Collins (who clearly envies his friend's success) as well as by the mystery and intrigue surrounding Drood. If you're looking for a book you can sink into and stay for a while, give this one a try.


The Dickens work that inspired this novel is of course, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Also of interest is the short ghost story, The Signal-Man which was likely inspired by the Staplehurst train crash, and is probably based on the Clayton Tunnel crash in 1861.

Wilkie Collins' most successful novel, The Woman in White, is considered to be one of the earliest mystery novels.

The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl is a mystery about an American publisher who is waiting for the latest installment of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. After the man he sends to pick it up is murdered, he takes it upon himself to investigate the suspicious circumstances.