Blog Posts by Lucy S

Posted by Lucy S on 10/11/18
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Small mercies, sacrifice, strong will and clever deception fuel a young woman’s determination to aid her small French community in surviving enemy occupation during WWII. The Baker’s Secret is written with a new perspective. Author Stephen P. Kiernan shows how one person can make a far-reaching impact amid desperate circumstances. Even though this is a work of fiction, I could not help but be humbled about the arduousness, deprivation and oppression that people endure during war.
Posted by Lucy S on 09/07/18
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Who is Vera Kelly? A spy? A troubled, conflicted young woman seeking escape and adventure? While working at a radio station in 1960’s New York, Vera’s technical and bilingual skills become known and noticed by a CIA recruiter. Unaware of the political danger brewing in Argentina, she is sent there to radio surveil a high-ranking government official’s office. Another element is at the fore when the U.S. suspects Communism is brewing with young radicals at university. Vera takes on a new name and poses as a college student to try to learn about this undercurrent of unrest.
 
This is not a typical spy novel. It has a quieter tone, a slower build as a military coup is gaining strength around her with Vera caught in the middle. Betrayal, disillusionment and extreme measures come to light in author Rosalie Knecht’s well-written novel with historical fiction components. Readers who enjoyed The Alice Network by Kate Quinn might like to add this book to their reading list.
 
 
Suspense
Posted by Lucy S on 08/07/18
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Author Nina Willner is from a strong family. Forty autumns, forty years of an oppressive, ruthless regime that once in place, no one believed it would ever end. After WWII ended, communism took hold in East Germany; one war morphed into a different kind of war. Eventually, the Berlin Wall went up around the entire perimeter of the city. With such a constant state of fear, oppression, deprivation and suspicion, Nina’s grandmother created a safe haven in their home, a family wall.
 
Many of us watched on television as the Berlin Wall fell. Nina’s perspective and her family’s first-hand accounts make this story come alive as quite a history lesson. This memoir provides an intense, unique portrait of life behind the Iron Curtain.
memoir
Posted by Lucy S on 06/04/18
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The economy is fragile and the employees within the Human Resources Department of Ellery Consumer Research are feeling the effects. Someone has been fired and some may not be performing up to their ability but the department manager’s loyalty to her staff is never in question. This Could Hurt is less about the work these individuals are tasked with doing and more about human interaction and personalities.
 
When a traumatic event occurs, everyone in the department must decide what they are willing to do – follow in the footsteps of their mentor or step aside. To what lengths will they go?
 

Anyone who has worked in a large corporate environment or even any work environment may recognize elements of these characters’ behavior. Some instances might make you smile such as when you read about a secret office hideaway equipped with a few spare necessities on an empty floor or when you can cheer someone making a stand against stereotyped bias.

 
Author Jillian Medoff has captured a snapshot of a workplace filled with good dialogue, acts of friendship and compassion along with some flawed moves and decisions.
 

The audiobook version has a full cast that enhances each character’s narrative.

 
 
Fiction
Posted by Lucy S on 05/12/18
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This delightful little book is an ode to bookstores and to an old-fashioned method of communication. Michael and Hilary, a husband and wife team, opened an independent bookstore in 2013. On the shop’s opening day, the couple set out a manual, non-electric, carriage-return style typewriter loaded with a sheaf of paper. Soon, the clacking sound of the keys striking the platen could be heard.

Notes From a Public Typewriter is a collection of the comments left behind by customers. Some were gibberish, but among the remarks are maxims, whimsies, playful notes, somber expositions, edgy witticisms, sharp observations, random thoughts, anonymous musings and heartfelt reflections.

This book will appeal to those who learned how to type on a manual typewriter (and know what the term “return” means) and to those looking for a feel-good quick, light read.
Posted by Lucy S on 04/19/18
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Impressed by author/poet Rudy Francisco when I recently saw him perform on a television talk show, I immediately sought out a print edition of his work. At only 95 pages long, Helium exhibits a lot of impact in a spare amount of words. It is an observation of life, of what he sees around him and of what he has personally experienced. Some topics are painful, some are humorous, some I can relate to, and some I gained insight into a different perspective. Helium is a showcase of words and language.

I recommend this title for those who like poetry and may be looking for a new voice or for someone who might like to try reading poetry again with a smaller work in honor of National Poetry Month. 
Posted by Lucy S on 03/08/18
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Rebirth is a novel of reconciliation and forgiveness. The book is not a memoir but is inspired by author Kamal Ravikant’s own experiences.
 
Amit is a young man who feels adrift after his estranged father dies. After fulfilling his father’s last wish to take his ashes to India, Amit takes some time away from work.

Troubled, Amit decides to walk the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain. This has been a trail for pilgrims since medieval times. One definition of pilgrim is one who journeys in foreign lands, a wayfarer. The route stretches over 500 miles and comes together at the tomb of St. James. Amit walks alone and with others he meets on the trail; almost all of them are trying to heal or to get away from life as it is.
 
I found this book inspiring as the people on the trail are actively seeking to come to grips with grief, to better understand themselves, to forgive, to find answers and to learn. At only 230 pages long, it is a quick read and, I think, can appeal to any reader. No need to be religious to gain insight from the book.
 

Those who read Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel may also enjoy Rebirth.

 
Posted by Lucy S on 02/21/18
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Yejide is a woman planning to travel back home to attend her father-in-law’s funeral. The story quickly jumps back to the time when Yejide and Akin are a newly married couple desperate to have children. Yejide is crushed when Akin’s family foists a new wife into their lives—in this story, this is permitted in Nigerian culture. Yejide herself grew up with four step-mothers but does not want to continue this tradition. Unsettling twists and turns reveal themselves when the chapters shift points of view for each main character. No one is quite as they seem and each are complicit in ways I did not expect.

Debut novelist Ayobami Adebayo has written a book about a family that covers multiple issues and a wide range of emotions: happiness, grief, hope, anguish, deception, naivety, loss, loneliness, mourning, compassion and new beginnings. Read Stay with Me if you would like a glimpse into another culture’s customs and discover that love and family are universal desires.
 
Stay with Me was shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and has a very satisfying, deserving conclusion.
Posted by Lucy S on 01/22/18
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The day after a woman has been mugged outside of her apartment building, Laurent is on his way to work when he finds an expensive handbag lying on top of a trash bin, minus its wallet. When he tries to turn it in at the police station, it is too busy for him to wait so he decides to take it home.

Determined to reunite the purse to its rightful owner Laurent sifts through the contents and finds a red notebook that only divulges her first name, Laure. Once Laurent realizes that he has crossed a line of privacy and propriety after he discovers where she lives, he retreats. Nevertheless, this is not the end of the story.

At only 189 pages, author Antoine Laurain's The Red Notebook is an enjoyable, charming, quick read; an account about how a brief moment of time can shift ordinary lives, leaving a door open to the future when these two main characters’ lives converge.

The book is set in France and translated from French into English.
Fiction
Posted by Lucy S on 11/16/17
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This is a peculiar story about a woman who has been gifted a tantalizing sourdough starter by two brothers who ran a delicious but illegal restaurant out of their home kitchen. Starter is a living thing and this one makes sounds as it ferments and gurgles in an almost melodic tone with a hint of gleaming light emanating from the brew. Each time the bread bakes a distinctive face appears on its crust. In her day job, Lois is a software engineer who programs robotic machinery and is now compelled to bake.
 
Veering away from the breadline, the book also brings up issues of following your own path in life, being creative, exploring the relationships you make and finding satisfaction in the work that you do.
 

An enjoyable, wholesome, quick read that just might make you hungry. Fans of author Robin Sloan’s earlier novel Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store and Brian Doyles’ Chicago will enjoy reading Sourdough.

 
Fiction
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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.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy