Patron Picks – End of Summer

Some more titles we’ve heard people talking about at the Reader Services Desk!

KindworthkillingThe Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is “un-putdownable” suspense – full of twists.

If you enjoy Science Fiction and you haven’t yet tried John Ringo, one patron enthusiastically recommends starting with Live Free or Die, the first in the Troy Trilogy.

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers by Hazel Gaynor is set in Victorian London. Patron felt it is not only really interesting, but “liked how all the characters intertwined.”

MermaidsinParadiseA 20-something patron gave a simple one-word description for Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet: “Hilarious!”

Ready to start a new atmospheric mystery series? We are hearing good things about the Ann Cleeves series set in the Scottish Shetland Islands. Start with Raven Black.

For those who enjoy memoirs, As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto: Food, Friendship, and the Making of a Masterpiece by Julia Child (641.5 CHI) is described as an “excellent, fascinating read.”

InthecompanyofLegendsOr, if you enjoy going behind the scenes of old Hollywood, try In the Company of Legends by Joan Kramer (791.43028 KRA)

And finally, if you’re just looking for a fun summer read, “try anything by Mary Kay Andrews! They are somewhat old lady, trashy books but hysterical!” Her latest is Beach Town.

Big Plans for Tiny Homes

Small House Clip ArtScaling back and living a simpler life remains a hot topic among readers. Tiny house living – residing in the smallest of homes – is another offshoot that some are taking to heart.

The Library has a growing collection of titles that are full of charming examples of, and stories about, taking on this adventure by challenging oneself to downsize, organize, and do more with less. Take a look at these inspiring reads and see if you aren’t also moved to “Go Small.”

Tiny: A Story About Living Small [DVD] ~ 640 TINCover image for

The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams ~ 640 WIL

Portable Houses by Irene Rawlings by Les Walker ~ 643.2 RAW

Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space by Kathryn Bechen ~ 648.8Cover image for BEC

Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter: Scaling Back in the 21st Century by Lloyd Kahn ~ 728.3 KAH

Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building and Living Well in Less Than 400 Square Feet by Ryan Mitchell ~ 728.37 MIT

Compact Houses: 50 Creative Floor Plans for Efficient, Cover image for Well-Designed Small Homes by Gerald Rowen ~ 728.37 ROW

A Little House of My Own: 47 Grand Designs 47 Tiny Houses ~ 728.37 WAL

Little House on a Small Planet: Simple Homes, Cozy Retreats, and Energy EfficCover image for ient Possibilities by Shay Salomon ~ 728.37047 SAL

Downsizing Your Home with Style: Living Well in a Smaller Space by Lauri Ward ~ 747 WAR


Magazines for Mystery Lovers

Standmag_Subscribe_IssuesA quick reminder that we carry several wonderful magazines filled with book reviews that avid mystery readers are certain to enjoy!

The Strand is a mystery-themed magazine with an illustrious history.  From 1891-1950 it was England’s most popular literary periodical…until low circulation closed it down. (Sound familiar?) Contributors included such literary giants as Dorothy L. Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, Leo Tolstoy, Agatha Christie, Rudyard Kipling, and H.G. Wells. However, the most prolific (and famous?) contributor was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In his autobiography, Doyle admits he created the serialized Holmes/Watson short stories to become established in The Strand.  The magazine was revived in 1998 as a quarterly publication and has been going strong ever since, finding a new audience of mystery lovers!

The other great magazine to check out is Mystery Scene. As stated on their website, “Established in 1985, Mystery Scene Magazine is the oldest, largest, and most authoritative guide to the crime fiction genre. Our lively, expert coverage ranges from past mystery masters to today’s top talents and tomorrow’s bright new stars. We report on novels, of course, but also films, TV shows, audio-books, kid’s mysteries, short stories, reference works, and much more.”

Both magazines can be found in the New Book area by Reader Services and can be checked out for a week at a time.

Summer at the Shore

Here are a few new 2015 releases if you are stuck at home this summer and dream of going on vacation to the shore.

summer1The Summer’s End

by Mary Alice Monroe


summer2Summer at the Shore

by V. K. Sykes



summer3The Summer of Good Intentions

by Wendy Francis


summer4The Guest Cottage

by Nancy Thayer


summer5Suddenly One Summer

by Julie James






Summer 2015 Grilling & BBQ Cookbooks

Grilling outside and barbecuing  is a favorite pastime for many Americans during the warm summer months. Here are some recently released cookbooks to make you the grill master of your neighborhood.

GrillingGrilling: Mouthwatering Recipes for Unbeatable Barbecue

by Good Housekeeping Institute



Summer Cooking

Summer Cooking: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Picnics, Patios, Grilling and More

by Chicago Tribune



The Barbecue Lover’s Big Book of BBQ Sauces: 225 Extraordinary Sauces, Rubs, Marinades, Mops, Bastes, Pastes, and Salsas, for Smoke-Cooking and Grilling 

by Cheryl Alters Jamison


BBQ2Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers : An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a BBQ Champion

by Bill Gillespie


BBQ3Grill It, Braise it, Broil It, and 9 Other Easy Techniques for Making Healthy Meals

by American Heart Association



Ultimate BoBBQ4ok of BBQ

by Ashley Strickland Freeman



vegetarian grillingVegetarian Grilling : 60 Recipes for a Meatless Summer

by Karen Schulz

What the Staff is Reading

SilentSisterIf you like your summer reads to be intricately plotted, fast-paced mysteries with a good serving of suspense, try The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. When Riley returns to her hometown of New Bern, North Carolina, to clean out the family home after her father’s death, she gradually comes to learn that everything she assumed to be true of her family’s past is not what it seemed. What  is the real story behind her sister’s suicide twenty years ago? Dealing with family relationships and difficult choices, it should appeal to fans of authors such as Chris Bohjalian and Anita Shreve.

No1 ladiesAlso a mystery but with a totally different feel is The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. When this first came out  a number of years ago, I read it and did not see what all the fuss was about. But I was looking for a plot-driven story, and that’s not what this is. However, I recently reread it  and found it totally delightful. In searching for more of a plot, I somehow missed all of the subtle humor and atmospheric descriptions. Precious Ramotswe, a proud resident of her beloved Botswana, is a woman with a big heart and clever mind who establishes the first female detective agency in that country. Sometimes it pays off to give a book a second chance!

GravityofBirdsThe Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman is a slower paced but captivating debut novel. The intricate plot is told through the point of view of various characters, and alternates between the past and present. Two estranged sisters were painted by a now well-known artist decades ago. The painter kept one part of the triptych and now has hired a art historian and an art authenticator to sell the painting, but first the sisters must be located. An art mystery that evolves into a family history, this book would be particularly satisfying for readers of literary fiction who have an interest in fine art.

Gabi girlSeveral staff members have enjoyed the young adult novel Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. In fact, one even went so far as to say it was “the best book I ever listened to”!  In chronicling her senior year of high school, sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez touches on the subjects of  teen pregnancy, gays, and dysfunctional families. And  one of the important themes is body image. Yes, the language used includes lots of swear words, but incorporates some poetry as well.

yes pleaseFor those of you who enjoyed Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants, you’ll want to read Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. According to one staff member, this memoir is “even better,” and is filled with  lots of  material about the author, in the form of stories, thoughts, ideas, and even lists. Overall, it leaves you with the feeling that you’ve had a hilarious yet candid get-together with a best friend.




Summer 2015 Gardening Books

Ever wonder how to plan a hardy vegetable greenhouse garden or grow beautiful rose bushes? Then look no further as the St. Charles Public Library has the newest and hottest gardening titles to help you improve your skills. So, grab your favorite trowel, gardening gloves, and wide-brimmed hat and get ready to get your hands in the soil! 

Fine Gardening Grow Healthier & Easier Gardens: 698 Gardening Tips and Techniques


Learn the easy and efficient way on how to water, plant, prune, compost, and so much more!



The New Southern Living Garden Book : The Ultimate Guide to Gardening : 2,000 Full-Color Photos, 500 Garden Ideas, 8,000 Flowers, Vegetables, Trees and More


Discover the essentials of growing Southern gardens and develop skills to identify the South’s best plants.



 Water G

Transform an ordinary backyard garden into pure garden magic! This books details how to select, group, and cultivate plants required in the making of water gardens.


Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening: Expert Advice on How to Grow Vegetables, Herbs, and Other Plants


Discover the basics on what to consider when buying, laying the foundations for, and decorating your greenhouse — as well as how to plan and use one. Soon after you’ll be ready to explore the many types of vegetables and flowering plants that thrive in greenhouses.

Practical Rose Gardening: How to Place, Plant, and Grow More than Fifty Easy-Care Varieties

Rose Bush


This practical how-to guide will show you the basics of successfully growing healthy and beautiful rose bushes.


Prefer your gardening to be purely fictional? Enjoy this list of stories that take place in and around the garden, created by your very own Reader Services team!

While You’re Waiting for Girl on the Train…

Many weeks as a bestseller has placed debut psychological thriller Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins on everyone’s “Must Read” list. While you’re waiting, or even if you’ve already devoured a copy and are yearning for more fast-paced and compelling psychological suspense, the Library has some suggested titles to tide you over.

Never Look Away – Linwood Barclay Cover image for

Little Black Lies – S.J. Bolton

Don’t Try to Find Me – Holly Brown

The 19th Wife – David Ebershoff

Hausfrau – Jill Alexander Essbaum Cover image for Hausfrau

Losing You – Nicci French

The Secret Place – Tana French

The Other Woman’s House – Sophie Hannah

The Silent Wife – A.S.A. Harrison Cover image for

Into the Darkest Corner – Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey

The First Prophet – Kay Hooper

The Line Between Here and Gone – Andrea Kane

The Good Girl – Mary Kubica Cover image for

Defending Jacob – William Landay

Mystic River – Dennis Lehane

What the Dead Know – Laura Lippman

Dear Daughter – Elizabeth Little

Sister – Rosamund Lupton Cover image for

The Intruders – Michael Marshall

Reconstructing Amelia – Kimberly McCreight

Cover of Snow – Jenny Milchman

Jack of Spades – Joyce Carol Oates Cover image for

Where Serpents Lie – T. Jefferson Parker

The Expats – Chris Pavone

The Collector – Nora Roberts

Suspect – Michael Robotham Cover image for

Unbecoming – Rebecca Scherm

The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson

Caribou Island – David Vann

The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters

Under the Lake – Stuart Woods

Looking for more? Check out our “If You Like… Gone Girl” link.


150-Year-Old Newspaper Articles of Mark Twain Discovered

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) is one of the most celebrated authors of American literature, penning works such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Roughing It (1872), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court   (1889). These classic novels have become standard repertoire for students in middle and high school.

Huckleberry    Tom Sawyer    Roughing It    Yankee

Recently, some of Mark Twain’s 150-year-old newspapers articles have been uncovered by scholars at the University of California (Berkley). In 1865 and 1866, Twain wrote for the Territorial Enterprise newspaper of Virginia City, Nevada, where he was paid $100 a month for his labor. At the Territorial Enterprise, Twain wrote a six-day-a-week, two thousand word column about life in San Francisco. These letters were written early in his career when he was 29.

An additional document suggests that Mark Twain had tackled the idea of suicide. At the time of the letter being written, Twain faced extreme debt, frustration at his lack of career advancement, and struggle to find his writing identity. Fortunately for the literary community, Mark Twain developed his talents and went on to become one of the fathers of American Literature.

For more information about these recently uncovered letters by Mark Twain, please view the articles below.

Letter by Mark Twain Suggests He Once Contemplated SuicideTime

Lost Mark Twain Stories Recovered by UC Berkeley ScholarsLos Angeles Times

Mark Twain’s Suicidal Thoughts Revealed in Rare 150-year-old LettersNational Post

What the Staff is Reading

CloseyourEyesHoldHandsChris Bohjalian’s powerful new novel, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands will appeal to older teens as well as adults. Sixteen-year-old Emily is on the run, homeless after her parents are killed in a nuclear power plant explosion, an explosion that her parents are suspected of causing. She finds herself hanging out with a bad crowd, and yet becomes fiercely protective of a young boy who falls under her protection. As in other novels by this author, difficult subjects are handled with integrity and sensitivity.

SleepingDictionaryReaders of multicultural fiction will enjoy The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey. In this historical epic, attention to detail  and great character development make for a long but enjoyable read. It is the story of Pom, a young Bengali girl who loses her entire family in a tsunami in 1930. Her story of coming of age , reinventing herself and seeking personal independence is set against the stage of India’s independence movement. There are similarities to Memoirs of a Geisha as far as mood, and the story also makes a great book to listen to.

One staff member really enjoyed We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler,  but says it’s much better if  you don’t know what’s coming, so no spoiler alerts! The story evolves around a girl coming of age in an eccentric family.

IndomitableWillFor nonfiction fans, Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency by Mark Updegrove is a great book to listen to, as it includes historical audio snippets of LBJ speaking. The entire book was a real eye opener for one staff member, as she had previously associated LBJ mainly with  the Vietnam War. Instead, this book concentrated on the positive social reforms for education, civil rights, and health care LBJ achieved, as well as helping to understand the background of poverty he came from.

MenExplainAnother good nonfiction book is Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. In this collection of essays, the author examines what goes wrong in communications between men and women. The end results can be hilarious and there is a great deal of humor involved, although the book ends with a now-classic serious essay on violence against women.