Staff Choices

Posted by lsears on 03/09/17
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Lillian Boxfish was always drawn to the thriving energy of New York City and to the lure of poetry and words; her imagination sparked by postcards her Aunt Sadie mailed to her when she was a child. She moved there as soon as she could despite her mother's disapproval. It is now 1984, New Year’s Eve and Lillian is an elderly woman in years but not in her outlook. She is planning to eat dinner alone, her son far away in Maine with his family.
 
As she walks across Manhattan on her way to accept a new friend’s party invitation, she meets several people along the way. Not every encounter is pleasant and she handles it in her direct, no-nonsense manner. Life in her beloved city is told through flashbacks. A journey from the Jazz Age to her work writing advertising for R.H. Macy to being a published author of poetry to her marriage and to her grappling to maintain her identity. 
 
Don’t rush through life seems to be the predominant message but the tone is a little bittersweet to me. I always like a strong female character in a novel who still has vulnerabilities. Her reminiscences reveal how much living can go on in one person's life.
 
Author Kathleen Rooney lives in Chicago, teaches at DePaul University and has written several books.
 
Fiction
Posted by ahenkels on 03/06/17
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Two by Two is the latest novel by Nicholas Sparks and to me, it did not disappoint. I’ve been a fan of the author since I was in middle school, when I first read A Walk to Remember and The Notebook.  When I picked up Two by Two, I expected something just like Sparks’ other novels, but this one was different for me.

The story is about Russell Greene, a 32 year old marketing executive who thinks he has it all. A beautiful wife and daughter and a great job. This is the story of how it all falls apart for Russ and how he pulls everything together. There is a little bit of everything in this story: love, second chances, betrayal, family values, and successes. It did take me a bit of time to get into the story, but once I was hooked, it was totally worth it. By the time I was halfway through the story, I could not put the book down. 

The next time you want to grab a book that will touch you in an unexpected way, check out Two by Two. You will not be disappointed.
Posted by Uncle Will on 02/22/17
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One of my friends in our Monday Mystery Discussion Group suggested I read Lock In. She said that it was both a mystery and a sci-fi novel; which in itself is novel. John Scalzi is the award winning author of the Old Man's War Novel Series:
Old Man’s War (2005)
The Ghost Brigades (2006)
The Last Colony (2007)
Zoe’s Tale (2008)
The Human Division (2013)
The End of All Things (2015)
Scalzi won the Hugo Award for his stand-novel Redshirts in 2013.
 
Lock in is a fast-read. It has a lot of dialog that is both witty and thoughtful. The main character, Chris Shane, is as unique a character that I have ever run across in literature. This mystery is a metaphor for future politics, race relations, science, economy, religion, and artificial life. I hope that Scalzi decides to write more books in this series since he only gets to describe the tip of the chunk of ice. 
 
 
Posted by bpardue on 02/21/17
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Guitar great Larry Coryell passed away on February 19. Through his early solo work on albums like Spaces and with his band The Eleventh House, Coryell was one of the core innovators of the jazz fusion movement, which merged jazz proficiency with the power and volume of rock and the cross-cultural influences of world music. His later work would turn more straight-ahead, but still commanded tremendous respect from jazz fans. For more of his albums, also check out hoopla.
 
Posted by lsears on 02/09/17
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Margaret Creasy has gone missing. Everyone liked her and everyone is worried. The summer of 1976 is hot and people are blaming erratic behavior on the weather, perhaps even her disappearance. Ten-year-old Grace attends church with a grandmotherly neighbor and decides that if she finds God she will also find Mrs.Creasy. She sets out to do this with her friend Tilly. Grace is the main narrator of the story but other neighbors’ viewpoints begin to add to our understanding that something happened nine years ago that has bound this block of neighbors together. Grace has a sweet naïve charm about her, always watching and observing the adults around her.
 
Another neighbor, Walter, has become a pariah. Is there something sinister about him or did the neighbors act without evidence? Is this life in a suburban neighborhood where they know each other too well or is there a bit of mob mentality involved?
 

The writing is lovely, I found myself re-reading sentences, light but direct, with humor interjected, and insightful despite a very serious incident/mystery that affects them all.

 
This is author Joanna Cannon's debut novel.
Fiction
Posted by Uncle Will on 02/08/17
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On Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 2-3:30 in the Cardinal Room I will be fortunate to lead the discussion of What's Better: Book or Movie.
    
That day's discussion will be Otto Preminger's film classic Laura starring: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, and Clifton Webb. The 1944 film was adapted from the sensational mystery, Laura, written by Vera Caspary in 1942. The film was nominated for 4 Oscars and won one for "Best Cinematography, Black-and-White."
 
Besides being clever, witty, engrossing, endearing, and inspiring, Caspary's novel was unique for the fact that her narrative was written in 3 different points-of-view. This proved challenging for Preminger's film adaptation. He hired 2 women and 1 man to write the screenplay, which also was nominated for an Oscar. The novel is only 197 pages and the film only runs 87 minutes; however, the end product in both is forever memorable.
 
The film's theme was written by David Raksin & Johnny Mercer. It's been recorded over 400 times. Johnny Mathis' version on his CD A Personal Collection: The Music Of Johnny Mathis is sweet. Hope to see you on March 26th.
 
Posted by Sltader on 01/27/17
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Graham Moore's page-turning legal thriller, The Last Days of Night, takes us back to the Golden Age of New York City.
 
In the late 19th century, as Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse began wiring America for electricity, the titans locked horns over which electrical standard would prevail—Westinghouse’s AC (alternating current) or Edison’s DC (direct current)—in a struggle that came to be known as the “War of the Currents.”

Moore tells the story from the point of view of Paul Cravath, the young attorney charged with defending Westinghouse against a potentially devastating one billion dollar patent lawsuit brought by Edison. The key to winning, Cravath decides, is to get Nikola Tesla—the quirky and elusive inventor —to invent a better lightbulb. This plan is met with many obstacles.

A devastating lab fire! An inexplicable disappearance! A beautiful diva with a mysterious past! An attempted murder! An electrocuted dog! This story has it all! The novel’s action takes place against a backdrop rich with period detail.

As Cravath embarks on his long-shot representation of Westinghouse, he begins to rub noses with the elite of New York society, including Edison’s investor J.P. Morgan and popular singer Agnes Huntington (who later becomes Cravath’s love interest). Everyone has his or her own agenda and no one can be trusted.  Cravath needs to figure out what motivates each player and how to be the best at a game he does not fully understand.

This is historical fiction at its best. The Last Days of Night - with its glowing, burnished book cover- informs, entertains, teaches and leaves a reader with much to consider. Eddie Redmayne has signed on to star as Paul Cravath in the 2018 release of the film adaption of the book. Last Days of Night shines brightly indeed.
Posted by bpardue on 01/26/17
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A team of chefs from the US have just won the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition for the first time ever. Andrew Friedman's Knives at Dawn (2009) recounts the 2008 effort to try and make the US team a serious contender in the annual event, despite never having finished better than sixth place. In her previous review of Knives at Dawn (print edition), mingh stated:
 
This is the story of what it took to compete with the tremendous dedication, creativity, and stress that comes with a competition of this stature. Andrew Friedman has access to all of the players involved and you read about the evolution of a dish from something plain to something magnificent.

A wonderfully engaging book about the haute couture of food competitions. If you like food challenge shows such as Top Chef, this may also pique your interest.
 
This edition is an eAudiobook, available immediately (no holds needed) through the library's subscription to hoopla digital.
Posted by ahenkels on 01/20/17
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As a fan of the Mortal Instruments series, I was excited to hear that Cassandra Clare would write another series in the Shadow Hunter World. The Dark Artifices series begins with Lady Midnight and Clare does not disappoint.

The story follows Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family. After Emma’s parents are brutally murdered, the Blackthorns adopt her.  She trains to be a shadowhunter alongside her parabati, Julian. When murders are happening throughout LA the same way her parents were murdered, it is up to Emma and Julian to solve the mystery. If they are able to solve this, then they will be able to have Julian’s older brother, Mark, return home after being captured by Faeries.

The Shadowhunter world is fascinating to me. There are vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and other supernatural beings and it is up to the Shadowhunters (humans with some angel blood) to protect humans from the supernatural world. Clare brings back characters from other series of the shadowhunter world and ties all the stories together. This book is a must read if you are a fan of Clare’s other books.
Posted by lbanovz on 01/17/17
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It’s now January, and we’re in the throes of winter. As the grey firmly sets in outside, I cannot help but dream of palm trees and white, sandy beaches. Enchanted Islands by Alison Amend is exactly the sort of novel you need as the thermometer hovers in teens. Based on the remarkable memoirs of Frances Conway, Amend has crafted a lyrical story that traipses from Duluth, Minnesota to the golden coast of San Francisco and even further out to the mystical Galapagos Islands.
 
We follow Frances as she grows up in the Midwest with her best friend, Rosalie, before the two girls’ lives take startling different paths. Rosalie becomes a socialite, while Frances takes a job working for Navy Intelligence as secretary in California. One day, at the age of 50, in the midst of WWII, Frances finds herself assigned to a new mission: marry Ainslie Conway – one of the Navy’s intelligence officers – and move to the Galapagos as his wife to spy on the Germans. Which sounds crazy, except for the fact that it really happened: the real Frances did marry Ainslie and move to the Galapagos, all on orders from the U.S. Navy. A completely incongruous couple, Frances and Ainslie settle (somewhat) into their life together.
 
Granted, Amend has taken liberties with the historical accuracy of the story, but it makes for a compelling read. The meat of the story is really Frances and Rosalie’s relationship, but I loved that Amend allows the Galapagos a life of its own, making it a central character in and of itself. Readalikes include The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, a beautiful historical fiction about a strong women that centers around nature, and Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, for its depiction of fierce female friendship.
Want recommendations on what to read next? Email advisory@ahml.info and we will be happy to assist you in finding a great book to read.
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
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