Library Staff Recommended Reading April 2014

Recommended Reading Archive

The storied life of A. J. Fikry : a novel

The storied life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry is a lonely, disgruntled but well-read book seller. His wife who was the charm behind the East Coast island bookstore team has died in a car accident, leaving her husband to manage as best he can – which is not very well. The love of a little orphaned girl who is left in his children’s book section and the inspiration of a vivacious publishing rep slowly transforms his life. Each chapter is prefaced by A. J.’s reference to a piece of literature whose theme foreshadows events. As often as society names would be dropped at a cocktail party, plenty of other popular book titles are casually mentioned throughout. Charmingly literary and winsome, this novel is a delight to read!                                                                                                                                       

~ Paulette Brooks ~


Austenland (DVD)

Jane Hayes' obsession with Jane Austen is rather extreme, so a vacation in a community that recreates that era seems like a dream come true.  However, it is difficult for Jane to know what is real and what is part of the show which leads to some hilarious misunderstandings and just possibly a broken heart.  Based on the novel by Shannon Hale, this very funny romantic comedy pokes gentle fun at those of us who view Regency England through rose-tinted glasses. 

Note: Austenland by Shannon Hale (print or audio book) also available                          

~ Sue Daniels ~

The man in the Rockefeller suit : the astonishing rise and spectacular fall of a serial imposter

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal

Many may be familiar with bits and pieces of the sensational tale of notorious imposter and convicted murderer Christian Gerhartsreiter, a.k.a. Clark Rockefeller, but you might be interested to learn that Gerhartsreiter once lived in Elm Grove for a period in the early 1980s. In The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, Mark Seal has crafted an absolutely riveting account of a saga that must be read to be believed, and even then you still may not believe it. The narrative follows Gerhartsreiter's emigration from Germany in 1979, through his many identities and ruses, fooling even the most elite members of society, and ultimately culminating with his arrest for kidnapping in 2008, at which point his web of lies begins to unravel in spectacular fashion. This is non-fiction of the highest order, reading as well as the most thrilling of novels.                                                                                                                                                                                      

~ Noah Weckwerth ~

About time

About Time (DVD)

This DVD is a delightful story about a young man who learns a surprising secret on his 21st birthday. His father reveals to him that all the males in his family have the unique ability to Time Travel. The plot progresses as Tim experiments with his newly discovered talent, practicing his skills to get a second chance (or third or fourth) to “get it right”.  The movie is humorous, warm, and engaging, without violence or offensive language. It entertains, yet has a meaningful message that all of us can benefit from.                              

~ Milly Strawn ~       

Knit your own zoo : easy-to-follow patterns for 24 animals

Knit your own zoo: easy-to-follow patterns for 24 animals by Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne

Wonderfully creative knitting patterns enable the reader to knit up animals for around the house or as a gift for a special little one. As the authors say “These knitted animals in miniature are much easier to look after than the real things - they don't need feeding, they won't make a mess and they take up hardly any room!” I am having fun working on a zebra for my grandson and am enjoying the clearly. The hardest part was deciding which adorable project to start first.

~ Paulette Brooks ~


Frozen   (Disney DVD)

 A charming, new animated feature film for all ages. Set in a chilly Scandinavian wonderland, two royal sisters battle the elements to bring harmony and warmth to their frozen kingdom. I was impressed by the soundtrack, entertaining characters and fast-paced story. Not your traditional fairy tale, the film's value will appeal to a broad range of viewers.           

~Nancy Arevalo ~


Another take on Frozen.

There are two kinds of people in this world:  those who loved “Frozen”, the latest Disney animated production, and those who really didn’t care for it. From my perspective it is still a great movie, as it brings up a number of grownup issues in a form that is easily digestible by children, making it meaningful or entertaining for both.

Elsa, who was born with the power to create ice and snow, accidentally freezes her young sister while playing.  Although Anna is saved, her parents decide to isolate Elsa from the world until she “learn to control her powers”.  This is a classic example of parents trying to remedy the situation the best they know how, and as a result creating two completely miserable humans.  Elsa is taught to “conceal, don’t feel”; Anna is incredibly lonely after losing her only playmate. Anna’s fiancé, Hans, has his own sibling issues - he is the thirteenth brother, often ignored and bullied while growing up, without any prospects for the future; his need to fight for his own survival make him a more complicated villain. And speaking of families, it does not have to be organic to be real.  Kristoff is an orphan who was raised and truly loved by his adopted family of trolls, and that fact is reflected in his many positive character traits.

To summarize, what makes this movie good from an adult perspective is the fact that the characters are very human, with good and bad in all; most terrible acts do indeed start with good intentions yet cause damage to the instigator just as much as to the others, but the power of true love and forgiveness can save us all in the end.                                                                                                                                                   ~ Svetlana Foley ~

Death comes to the village

Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd


The first book in the new Kurland St. Mary Mystery series, it is a Regency-era English village mystery, set in 1816.  For the most part, this is ‘cozy’ read.  However, while trying to solve the mysteries of two missing housemaids, multiple petty thefts, and a possible murder, the rector’s daughter Lucy Harrington, and Major Kurland, who is recuperating from serious injuries at Waterloo, get involved in some less-than cozy, life-threatening situations.  This gently-paced story touches on the horrors of war, and illustrates both women’s and men’s tightly-defined roles in the gentry and the servant class during this era in history.


~ Sarah Muench ~

“Staff Recommends” Compiled by Paulette Brooks


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