Category Archives: Suggested Reads

Supreme Reads

As the Senate holds confirmation hearings, legal issues and the Supreme Court are getting a lot of attention. Here are several titles you might find of interest:

ShowdownShowdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America by Wil Haygood    347.732634 HAY

Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court justice and one of the most important legal minds in American history.  Haygood is an award-winning author.

Notorious RBGNotorious RBG: the Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik B GINSBURG

An unprecedented look at a feminist pioneer and Supreme Court Justice and how she has changed the world.

 

The Case Against the Supreme caseagainstthesupremecourtCourt by Erwin Chemerinsky 347.7326 CHE

Chemerinsky, a constitutional scholar from the University of California, Irvine, offers an accessible, refreshingly candid, and no-holds-barred indictment of the Supreme Court.

 

Then comes marriageThen Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan  346.0168 KAP

Civil rights lawyer Kaplan, who argued the case before the Supreme Court, tells the remarkable story of the landmark case that was a victory for gay rights.

 

the-burger-courtThe Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right by Michael J. Graetz 347.7326 GRA

A Columbia Law School professor and a New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning legal journalist combine expertise to provide the best kind of legal history: cogent, relevant, and timely, given the focus on the Court’s role and power.

Sisters in lawSisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman 347.732634 HIR

An account of the lives of the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court and their fascinating relationship.

court and the worldThe Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities by Stephen Breyer  347.7326 BRE

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer looks at the work of the Supreme Court in an increasingly interconnected world in which the Court must consider issues that no longer involve just U.S. citizens and corporations.

Patron Picks

Looking for a new book to try? Some of your fellow patrons have taken time to stop by Reader Services and share about how much they enjoyed these titles:

What Angels Fear by C. S. Harriswhat-angels-fear

This is the first in a long series featuring Sebastian St. Cyr, son of an earl who becomes a sleuth when he finds himself the prime suspect in a horrible murder.  Set against the backdrop of 1811 London society, this well-researched historical fiction does have some violence, but is also filled with suspense, mystery and a bit of romance.

The Jealous Kind by James Lee Burkejealouskind

Burke’s writing is always great and this coming-of-age story set in Texas during the 1950s is not to be missed.

 

Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner  943.1552 WILfortyautumns

Readers of history will enjoy this page-turning memoir about generations of a German family torn apart during the Cold War. “It really helped me better understand my own family’s experience regarding the Berlin Wall and a divided Germany.”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval N. Harari 909 HARsapiens

“What a fascinating, provoking look at where humans have come from and where we are heading – in a very nice way, the author points out we are all filthy murderers!”

Books – Always The Perfect Gift

Image result for bow on book imageI can’t think of a more thoughtful gift to give someone you care about during the holidays (or anytime) than a good book. With a little thought and some helpful suggestions, a personalized selection of a few of the best titles from 2016 are just a blog post away. Click on any of the items listed below to access their catalog record, which includes a summary of the item.

For the CookThe Chef’s Library: Favorite Cookbooks from the World’s Great Kitchens

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For the Traveler (armchair, or otherwise)Complete National Parks of the United States (National Geographic)

For the RomanticMe Before You; After You (2016 sequel) by JoJo Moyes.

For the Tech-Driven Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

For the History BuffDevotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship and Sacrifice by Adam Makos; News of the World by Paulette Jiles

For the Popular Fiction ReaderSmall  Great Things by Jodi Picoult

For the Crafter – Supercraft: Easy Projects for Every Weekend by Sophie Pester

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For the Audio LoverA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

For the High School StudentAll the Bright Places  by Jennifer Niven

For the Literary ReaderEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave;         A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman

For the Self-Help Guru – Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle

For those who want to be amazed and inspiredWhen Breath Becomes Air  by Paul Kalanithi

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For the Middle SchoolerRaymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

For the Biography BuffA Life Well Played: My Stories by Arnold Palmer

For those in the mood for a Holiday Story – Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini

For the Comic Book JunkieBest American Comics 2016, Roz Chast, Editor

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Seasons Greetings!

 

 

 

Listen Up!

Grunt Hidden Figures A Gentleman in Moscow Journey to Munich Everybody's Fool

Looking for something to listen to over the winter holidays?  Here is a sampling of some of the best audiobooks of 2016.

Nonfiction

Grunt, by Mary Roach.  Bestselling author Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war. Narrated by Abby Elvidge.

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Narrated by Robin Miles.

American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin. The wild saga of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst.  Narrated by Paul Michael.

Fiction

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. From the bestselling author of Rules of Civility –a transporting story about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.  Narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith.

Journey to Munich, by Jacqueline Winspear. The 12th installment of Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series.  This time Maisie heads to Munich.  There will be Nazis.  Narrated by by Orlagh Cassidy.

Everybody’s Fool, by Richard Russo.  After 23 years, the author returns to North Bath, in upstate New York, and the characters who made Nobody’s Fool, a huge success.  Narrated by Mark Bramhall.

The Black Widow, by Daniel Silva. An international thriller that finds the legendary Gabriel Allon grappling with an ISIS mastermind. Narrated by George Guidall.

Memoir

Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight.  The Nike founder and CEO  shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic and profitable brands.  Narrated by Norbert Leo Butz.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer.  A refreshingly candid and raucously funny collection of extremely personal and observational essays.  Narrated by the author.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo   The Black Widow Shoe Dog American Heiress

 

When You Need a Bit of Whimsy

theyallsawacatLooking for something cheery and charming to read? Try my new go-to remedy: picture books! Now, I realize that some people have ample exposure to picture books thanks to children, or grandchildren or perhaps even your occupation. But some of us don’t cross paths with picture books as often and yet when I do, I usually find myself engrossed in the story AND the art. I also often find myself reading them aloud to enjoy the wonderful sensitsabooke of rhythm and wordplay.  They cover the gamut from whimsical to serious, but all will add a little inspiration into your day!

Not sure where to start? I know my colleagues in Youth Services would be happy to give suggestions in person, or you could look at their list of recommended picture books by topic. You could also take a look at the list of Caldecottiwantmyhatback
Medal Award winners and honor books
.  (Oh, and the three titles pictured in this post are ones I have enjoyed and would suggest.)

Unconvinced that picture books are the way to go? Take a look at this sweet video created in honor of November being Picture Book Month.

 

Already a hardcore picture book aficionado? Then perhaps you should be planning a trip to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (although it IS in Massachusetts, so pack snacks!)

Scary, But Not TOO Scary

For obvious reasons, this is the time of year readers who might not normally read horror find themselves ready to try out a frightening book.  That said, there are still those (like me) who don’t mind trying something a little scary – but we definitely can’t handle anything too dark or violent!

When I was getting my Library Degree (shout out to the MLIS program at Dominican University!) I took a “Readers Advisory” class that included a section on horror. I was SO worried about what I would have to read, but happily my instructor suggested a great book that she called “horror light.” I ended up really enjoying it, and since then I’ve passed it along as a suggestion to many others.

neverwhereThe book is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he is plunged through the cracks of reality into a malevolent world of shadows and darkness “under” the city.

It’s dark and atmospheric and creepy without being something that made me stay up all night with the lights on! In fact, several years ago I learned BBC Radio 4 had turned it into a radio play and made an effort to listen to the live broadcast online. (Note: sadly it isn’t currently available to listen to for free, but you can check out the cast and some clips on the BBC Radio website).

haunting-of-hill-houseLooking for another “horror light” idea?  Then I would also suggest trying the classic tale The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.  Not all modern day readers feel it is scary in the least, but I loved the slowly building creep factor and the many questions I simply could not answer as to who or what was truly haunted. By the way, if you would rather watch the story, make sure to get the 1963 film adaptation starring Julie Harris, titled The Haunting. (The 1999 movie is said to be truly terrible by anyone who has tried it!)

If you have a title suggestion for “horror light” please share it!

Celebrating Stephen King!

The world of horror would not s-lotbe the same without the one-and-only writer Stephen King. He, of course, is best known for such cult classics as Salem’s Lot, The Stand and The Shining. The author of some 57 novels—including eight under the pseudonym Richard Bachman—Stephen is also the author of 17 novellas, eight works of non-fiction, and 11 short story collections. He has written screenplays, anthe-standd dozens of movies and made-for-TV mini-series have been based on his work.

In addition to being a phenomenally prolific author himself, several of his family members are popular authors in their own right. Stephen King’s wife is writer Tabitha King, author of Pearl, The Book of Reuben and One on One. King’s sons are writers the-shiningJoe Hill and Owen King. Joe Hill writes horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction including the book Horns. Owen King is known for writing short stories. He also co-wrote Intro to Alien Invasion with Mark Jude Poirier and Sleeping Beauties with his father which will be released in 2017.

Not sure where to start with all these reading options? Here are some titles our staff have particularly enjoyed: Cujo, Salem’s Lot and The Stand (all by Stephen King) and NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.

Patron Picks

Looking for a new book to try? Here are three titles our patrons have enjoyed – so much so that they stopped by the Reader Services Desk to tell me about it!

If you enjoyartifacts mysteries filled with interesting details, Artifacts by Mary Anna Evans is the first in a “fascinating” series featuring an archeologist.

When it came out in 2003, Booklist said, “Evans introduces a strong female sleuth in this extremely promising debut, and she makes excellent use of her archaeological subject matter, weaving past and present together in a multilayered, compelling plot.”  Readers must agree as last year the ninth title in the series was published!

soundrelsMany people are familiar with the Star Wars movies, but did you know there’s an entire universe (heh) of books that have been written, too? A patron says Scoundrels adds “a new twist to the story we know” about Han Solo,  Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian.

For those who really know their Star Wars timeline, this takes place during the Rebellion Era (five years within the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).

 

sonic-windIf you’re looking for some interesting nonfiction, take a look at Sonic Wind: The Story of John Paul Stapp and How a Renegade Doctor Became the Fastest Man on Earth. The patron who told me about this said he wasn’t sure he would like it, but a friend recommended it and he couldn’t put it down!

Publisher’s Weekly said, “Adventure writer Ryan rescues the brilliant, obsessive John Paul Stapp (1911-1999) from obscurity with this lively biography.”

Road Trip!

It’s that time of year when folks are traveling. Even if your summer doesn’t involve getting behind the wheel, we have a list of books to give you that Willie Nelson, “on the road again” feeling!

MotherRoad  HelenandTroy  LongestRoad   BlueHighways

Novel Ideas May 2016

Novel Ideas book group met for the third time in May. Novel Ideas is the newest book group at St. Charles Public Library where participants are encouraged to share with the group titles and authors they are currently reading and enjoying. Our goal is that you walk away with your next great read!

Here is a sampling of new book ideas shared at the May meeting:

In the Name of Gucci by Patricia GucciGucci

The gripping family drama–and never-before-told love story–surrounding the rise and fall of the late Aldo Gucci, the man who is responsible for making the Italian fashion label the powerhouse it is today, told by his daughter, Patricia Gucci.

 

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevinfikry

When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.

 

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubicapretty

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

 

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flaggstation

Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her three daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle.  Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a shocking secret about her mother’s past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into
question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family and her future.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiffcleopatra

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

 

Novel Ideas will be held on the 4th Wednesday of every other month from 10:00-11:15 a.m.  Please drop in and discover your next great read!

2016 Novel Ideas Meeting Dates:

  • July 27
  • September 28