Library Staff Recommended Reading October 2014

Recommended Reading Archive

The coldest girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (YA)                                          

Just in time for Halloween, Holly Black’s requisite teen-vampire novel is a fitting read for October.  Black – a bestselling author of both middle grade and young adult books – and her vampires have much more in common with the likes of Anne Rice’s Lestat or Bram Stoker’s Dracula than the current beguiling yet ultimately innocuous iterations found in so many novels, movies, and television dramas.  Her vamps are mad, sophisticated, tech-savvy, and ruthless.  Further, Black also re-works many vampire-tale tropes, creating a mythology both distinctive and believable.  In this urban fantasy, “Coldtowns” have been created to house both the infected and vampires following a world-wide outbreak of vampirism.  However, the novel truly shines when it comes to the voice and development of its stalwart, female lead, Tana.  Twice touched by death, she is a girl bent on survival, cool-headed and practical in dire situations.  If you are looking for a spooky read by a proven storyteller, this is it!                                                                                                                     

~ Abby Landers ~

Somewhere safe with somebody good : [a new Mitford novel]

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon

Welcome back to the town of Mitford, N.C., where Father Timothy Kavanagh, his wife, Cynthia, and their friends have had their stories told in nine novels by author Jan Karon. In 2005, she thought the Mitford series was ending, and then wrote three books that took Father Tim and Cynthia to other locations. Now, they return home to Mitford, finding their way into new roles, taking new paths. The warmth, authenticity and faith remain unchanged. Reading the previous novels in the series would not be necessary but would add to the reader’s understanding and enjoyment.                                   

~ Nancy Arevalo ~

The squid and the whale

The Squid and the Whale (DVD)

Noah Baumbach wrote and directed this excellent semi-autobiographical film centering around two adolescents and the effects of their parents' divorce while coming of age in 1980's Brooklyn. Critically lauded upon its release in 2005, it went on to garner several major award nominations and wins. While typically seen as a comedy, and the film is acerbically funny, it is also very dark, as themes of jealousy, envy, and disdain reverberate throughout. Where the film excels though, is in depicting the evolution of how children view their parents, at first with steadfast admiration, eventually giving way to a fatalistic realization that one's role models do not always set the right examples.                                             

~ Noah Weckwerth ~

The Martian : a novel

The Martian by Andy Weir

A captivating and intelligent sci-fi read! Follow Mark Watney's story as a stranded astronaut who is inadvertently left behind on Mars to fend for himself. As he maintains his sense of humor, Mark records an audio log of his efforts to survive long enough to be rescued. He is able to re-establish communication with Earth, while dealing with such annoyances as only having disco music and 1970s sitcoms available to keep him distracted. I found the scientific situations fascinating as Watney has to put his botany and engineering skills to use in many life-threatening situations. In the meantime, NASA becomes aware that Mark is still alive and puts their team on developing his rescue plan, all while the world awaits news of his fate. A compelling read - right down to the last dramatic page. A well written mix of great character development and truly engaging science fiction.                                          

~ Paulette Brooks ~

The white princess

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (CD-Book)

This audiobook is a sequel to the book The White Queen. In The White Princess the life of the daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward the 4th is described. As in all Philippa Gregory books, the lives of the kings and queens of England are unfolded with all the pageantry and drama of the times. Elizabeth, the daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, was born during the relative peace following the War of the Roses. Born into the House of York, this Princess of the White Roses lived a happy and secure life until the death of her father. Once her father died, the two houses of the Roses started battling again for the throne. Elizabeth was offered in marriage to Henry Tudor (Red Rose family) to bring peace to England and an end to the War of the Roses. Elizabeth gave birth to Henry Tudor (King Henry VIII) and the beginning of the Kings and Queens of the House of Tudor.      


~ Milly Strawn ~

Dream dog

Dream dog by Lou Berger

With ingenious illustrations accompanying a humorous and heartfelt story, Dream Dog addresses the older child who still lives in a world of imagination but finds himself pulled by the world of practicality.  Little Harry wants a dog of his own in the worst way, but his father’s allergies are exacerbated by his job at a pepper factory so no dog will do.  A safer pet is offered, but a chameleon that changes color but doesn’t run or fetch ends up with the neighbor girl who cleverly places it on colored paper to match her outfit when she sits outside for high tea with her dolls.

Desperate Harry creates a “dream dog” for himself that soon becomes the perfect companion. “Waffle” runs, fetches and protects Harry without causing anyone to sneeze.  Proud Harry takes Waffle everywhere, and is all is well until Dad loses his job at the pepper factory, his sinuses clear up and he happily announces that Harry can now have a real dog.  

Children and adults will recognize the conflict between imagination and reality, authority and concern, and lovingly set limits and parental generosity. How Harry comes to appreciate a real dog and how he finally sets Waffle free will bring a tear to your eye and keep this book in your child’s memory for years to come.  

~Shannon McKeown ~

Everything I never told you

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Lacking all the tell-tale signs of a debut novel, Everything I Never Told You employs all the slight nuances and stunning depth of characters expected of a veteran author. Lydia Lee is the gifted middle sibling of an Asian-American family in the 1970’s, who is the only Asian in her high school aside from her brother, Nathan. While the family appears to function quite like any other, Lydia’s death turns their world upside down, as it becomes clear that the glue holding this unstable family together is now gone. Told by an omniscient narrator, the reader is able to explore the minds of Lydia’s family and friends, who all have their own story to tell about this girl who no one really knew. Each family member begins isolating themselves to seek comfort in solace while their family unit disintegrates when it becomes clear that Lydia’s death will forever remain a mystery. Marilyn Lee, Lydia’s mother, pushed her daughter to become the doctor she herself never became, while her father James continuously tried to make sure that Lydia is social and not encumbered by her Asian-American heritage. With these two powerful forces dominating Lydia’s life, she aims to please both her parents while sacrificing herself in the process. Secrets, isolation, guilt and infidelity trail in the wake of Lydia’s death, and this one family tries to fit the pieces together after they realize they only have one another left.                                                                                                                                                 

 ~Stefan Romero ~

“Staff Recommends” Compiled by Paulette Brooks


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