10 Books to Share with a Friend

by Donna Kafel and Deborah Hersh

July 30th is International Friendship Day.  Here are a some books that celebrate that special bond we have with the people we choose to have in our lives.

Image of itemThe Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler.  Camp Chippewa, 1962. Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan. Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and turns his father’s business into a highly profitable company. And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get-together with Nelson as Scoutmaster and Jonathan’s teenage grandson and daughter-in-law as campers the aftermath demonstrates the depths—and the limits—of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery.  This is a sweeping, panoramic novel about the slippery definitions of good and evil, family and fidelity, and the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships.

 

https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/4013181Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.  She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking.  Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions.  But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living.  And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

 

Image of itemThe Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder. Meet twenty-two ordinary guys who gather each fall to reenact what ESPN has called the most shocking play in NFL history: the November 1985 play in which Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins had his leg horribly broken by Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.  Over the course of a weekend we follow the men as they choose roles; spend a long night of the soul revealing their secret hopes, fears, and passions as they prepare for the game; and finally enact this strange and yet oh-so-American ritual.  This moving and very funny tale is filled with pitch-perfect observations about manhood, friendship and middle age.

 

Image of itemThe Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. The friendships endure through adulthood and into late-middle age as their lives alternately intersect, diverge and reconnect. Wolitzer explores the differences in their fates, in what their talents become and the shapes their lives take in this treatise on talent, fate, friendship, and the limits of all three.

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/4158604The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar.  This sequel to The Space Between Us continues the story of Bhima, now bereft of her position as servant in the present-day Mumbai household of Serabai Dubash and desperate to find some way to support herself and her granddaughter, Maya.  Bhima’s fortunes take an unexpected turn for the better when her path intersects with Parvati, a bitter, taciturn older woman. The two acquaintances soon form a tentative business partnership. As they work together, these two women seemingly bound by fate grow closer. Discovering her first true friend, Bhima pieces together a new life, and together, the two women learn to stand on their own.

 

Image of itemDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote tells the story of a Spanish gentleman who, obsessed with the chivalrous ideals found in romantic books, decides to take up his lance and sword to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked.  Seated upon his horse and accompanied by the pragmatic Sancho Panza, Don Quixote travels the roads of Spain seeking glory and grand adventure.  The adventures and friendship of this sane madman and wise fool has haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.

 

 

Image of itemLet’s Take the Long Way Home by Caldwell. In this moving and powerful memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gail Caldwell relates her mid-life coming-of-age story, and her extraordinary friendship with the author of Drinking: A Love Story, Caroline Knapp—fellow writers, AA members, dog lovers, and observers of life. In her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion and grief in this wise and affecting account about loving and losing her best friend.

 

 

https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3740964Leonard: My Fifty-Five Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner.  Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner first crossed paths as actors on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Little did they know that their next roles, in a new science-fiction television series, would shape their lives in ways no one could have anticipated.  Shatner tells the story of a man who was his friend for five decades, how they saw each other through personal and professional highs and lows as well as recounting anecdotes and untold stories of their lives on and off set.  Shatner also  gathered stories from others who knew Nimoy well, to present a full picture of a rich life.  As much a biography of Nimoy as a story of their friendship, this is a uniquely heartfelt book written by one legendary actor in celebration of another.

 

https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3756176The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude and Friendship by Katherine Towler.  The author reflects on her friendship with Robert Dunn, a brilliant poet who spent most of his life off the grid in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire expertly capturing the story of a rare individual who charted an entirely unorthodox life that challenged the status quo in every way.  This memoir of a shared journey and a portrait of an abiding friendship is also a meditation on what writing asks of those who practice it, and on the nature of solitude in a culture filled with noise and clutter.

 

https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/4121488Text Me When You Get Home: the Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer. “Text me when you get home.” After joyful nights out together, female friends say this to one another as a way of cementing their love. It’s about safety; but more than that, it’s about solidarity. This book is a mix of historical research, the author’s own personal experience, and conversations about female friendships across the country.  A celebration of the evolution of female friendship in pop culture and modern society.

 

 

 

 

 

TV Shows to Binge on Your Summer Vacation

By Spencer Stevens

Summer is here! If you’re looking for a TV show to enjoy, here are some suggestions.

FortitudeCool off with Fortitude, a thriller set in a tiny Norwegian research community as close to the Arctic Circle as people can live. A grisly murder rocks the town, and Fortitude’s residents question their trust in each other and their leaders.
Recommended for: Fans of Stephen King, atmospheric horror/suspense, and non-American TV.
Warning: Not recommended for the squeamish as this show features very graphic violence.
Status: Ongoing (Season 3, final season, in production)

Schitt$CreekLaugh till it hurts with Schitt’s Creek, a Canadian “riches to rags” comedy. The wealthy Rose family loses everything–except for the run-down town of Schitt’s Creek that they bought as a joke years earlier. The family now lives in a motel in town and attempts to reclaim their former glory.
Recommended for: Fans of family sitcoms and quirky comedies with the same tone as the works of Christopher Guest (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman).
Warning: This show includes strong language and lewd humor.
Status: Ongoing (Season 5 in production)

OrphanBlackAbsorb yourself in Orphan Black, a Canadian-American science fiction thriller starring Emmy-winner Tatiana Maslany. Orphan Black focuses on the women who are unknowingly part of a human cloning experiment and the organizations that continue to control and study their bodies.
Recommended for: Fans of science fiction thrillers and female-led dramas.
Warnings: This show features graphic violence, sexual situations, and strong language.
Status: Complete (5 seasons)

CrazyEx-GirlfriendSway to the music with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This series flips the sexist stereotype of the “crazy ex-girlfriend” on its head with its lead character, a successful lawyer named Rebecca who lives with mental illness. Rebecca decides to leave New York City and move to California after a chance encounter with her middle school summer camp ex-boyfriend. Every episode features one or two musical numbers.
Recommended for: Fans of musicals and romantic comedies.
Status: Ongoing (Season 4, final season, in production)

Everything is connected in Dirk GenDirkGentlytly’s Holistic Detective Agency. Hotel employee Todd runs into Dirk Gently, a fast-talking British detective, and finds himself wrapped up in a chaotic quest to solve a bizarre murder. The duo take on the four members of the Rowdy Three, a woman who can’t die, and a sinister government agency trying to control people with extraordinary abilities.
Recommended for: Fans of science fiction, unconventional detective shows, and Doctor Who.
Warnings: This show depicts graphic violence and occasional strong language.
Status: Complete (2 seasons) but with a possibility of revival.

MissFisherTravel to 1920s Australia with Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Phryne Fisher, a private detective with a glamorous lifestyle solves murders plaguing Melbourne. She butts heads with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson and reflects on a tragedy from her past.
Recommended for: Fans of mysteries and period dramas.
Warnings: This show features violence and other adult content.
Status: Complete (3 seasons) with a made-for-TV film in production

TheKillingGet drawn into The Killing. Homicide detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder investigate the murder of a teenager in Seattle, Washington. The series features season-long plot lines rather than episodic plots.
Recommended for: Fans of mystery, police procedurals, and female-led dramas.
Warnings: This show features violence and other adult content.
Status: Complete (4 seasons)

TheAmericansSpy on The Americans. Elizabeth and Philip Jennings are your average 1980s suburban couple: they have two great kids, live in a typical house–and they’re Soviet spies. They grew up in Russia, learned the art of espionage, and now collect intelligence under a variety of aliases.
Recommended for: Fans of suspense, espionage, and family drama.
Warnings: This show features graphic violence, sexual situations, strong language, and other adult content.
Status: Complete (6 seasons)

Bonus!
 BuzzfeedUnsolvedLogo.jpgGet creeped out by Buzzfeed Unsolved, a free YouTube series starring two guys who love to talk about unsolved mysteries–both true crime and supernatural. The show is dark and disturbing, but the hosts, Ryan and Shane, have good senses of humor and try to find levity in the heavy topics. The Supernatural episodes generally feature paranormal investigations.
Recommended for: Fans of true crime, paranormal mystery, and paranormal investigation.
Warnings: This show includes strong language, discussions of difficult topics like murder and sexual assault, and occasional graphic imagery.
Status: Ongoing (several seasons uploaded per year)

All of these shows, with the exception of Buzzfeed Unsolved, are available at the Northborough Free Library or elsewhere in the C/W MARS Catalog. You can find Buzzfeed Unsolved on YouTube.

Enjoy your binge!

7 Books and 1 Film for Jewish American Heritage Month

by Deborah Hersh

Shalom.  May is Jewish American Heritage Month.  Here are some works by Jewish Americans showcasing the many ways that Jews have contributed to American history, culture, and society.  You can also find more great reading recommendations from The Jewish Book Council.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2529514All Other Nights by Dara Horn. Passover seder is forever changed when Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, is ordered to murder his own uncle, who has been plotting an assassination attempt against President Lincoln.  The situation becomes even more morally challenging when Jacob is subsequently directed to woo and then marry the daughter of a Jewish businessman, who is a suspected Confederate spy. . Horn reveals an relatively unexplored aspect of American history—the role of Jewish Americans in the Civil War—and delivers a novel rich in human emotion and ambiguity.

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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.  In 1939 New York City, Joe Kavalier, a refugee from Hitler’s Prague, joins forces with his Brooklyn-born cousin, Sammy Clay, to create comic-book superheroes inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams.  Chabon explores the depths of the human heart and celebrates the healing properties of escapism in this funny and profound tale of exile, love, and magic.

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/medium/r/4090126Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul by Naomi Levy.  Inspired by the famous correspondence between Albert Einstein and a grieving rabbi bestselling author and rabbi Levy presents a profoundly affecting exploration of the meaning and purpose of the soul. Spiritual seekers of any faith could find guidance and comfort in these woven stories of love, loss, suffering, and success.

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/medium/r/876711Emma Lazarus by Esther Schor.  Lazarus’ reputation rests on one poem, “The New Colossus,” affixed to the base of the Statue of Liberty.  Poet Schor reveals Lazarus as a prodigy who briefly became the protege of Ralph Waldo Emerson and later corresponded with Henry James and Robert Browning.  A champion of Russian Jewish refugees, despite being a member of the highly assimilated Sephardic aristocracy, and a Zionist before Zionism existed.  In this engrossing and persuasive assessment, one may come to agree with Schor that Lazarus “invented the role of the American Jewish writer.”

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/medium/r/3474601The Last Flight of Poxl West a novel by Daniel Torday. Poxl West has just published a memoir of his experiences as a Czechoslovakian Jewish refugee who became an RAF fighter pilot during World War II. His nephew, Elijah Goldstein, basks in the reflected aura of Uncle Poxl’s success.  This story unfolds in the alternating voices of Poxl and Elija and is a riveting and uniquely told portrayal of a Holocaust survivor’s experiences.

 

 

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQBbsGOz7qpFcoS3YrG__cGTsAR1Ic0H-ANIIcmntjT9nW0lLEsNemesis by Philip Roth. Set in 1944 Newark, devoted playground director Bucky Cantor, sidelined from the war due to his poor eyesight, watches in horror as the city’s polio epidemic begins to ravage the children on his playground.  This novel is a thoughtful examination of the toll guilt takes on the psyche, and the futility of raging against God or Fate.

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/medium/r/3655661Notorious RBG: the Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik. This eponymous and humorous book about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), affectionately known as the “Notorious RBG.” provides biographical information and pays tribute to Ginsburg’s Supreme Court opinions, with special attention to her famous and influential dissents.  The authors insert cartoons, photos, poetry, and even opera lyrics into the narrative and successfully situate RBG’s work within a larger historical context, illustrating her central role in advancing equal rights for all.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/medium/r/2699769 Jews and Baseball: an American Love Story. A film by Clear Lake Historical Productions, produced by Will Hechter and Peter Miller, directed by Peter Miller, written by Ira Berkow.  This documentary film traces the Jewish involvement in the history of the sport from the game’s earliest days, through the tumultuous war years to today’s All-Star games. By analyzing various stages in this history, including how the legendary Sandy Koufax pioneered rights for players and Hank Greenberg’s support of Jackie Robinson, the film demonstrates how Jews shaped baseball, and baseball shaped them.

7 Space Operas to Read While Waiting for Season 3 of The Expanse

by Deborah Hersh

Like Star Trek and Babylon 5, The Expanse is an entertaining television space opera full of adventure, space warfare, chivalric romance and conflict between opponents with advanced abilities and sophisticated technology.  You can check out the seasons 1 and 2 on DVD.  Season 3 begins on April 11th on the SyFy network.

In the meantime, here are 8 novels in space opera genre for you to enjoy – some older and some newer – all with large-scale adventure and even greater stakes:

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/4080942

Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren. The galaxy is mired in a cold war between two superpowers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth. Thrust between this struggle are Simon Kovalic, the Commonwealth’s preeminent spy, and Kyle Rankin, a lowly janitor on Sabaea, a remote and isolated planet. However, nothing is as it seems… This is a twisty SF adventure story full of surprises spies and off-world politics.

 

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Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh. In a futuristic world of cybernetics, two young friends become trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion, surveillance, programmable servants, a centuries-old ruling class, and an enigmatic woman who rules them all.  A 1980s SF classic set in Cherryh’s popular and prolific Alliance-Union universe.

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/1226749Fire Upon the Deep by Verner Vinge.  Thousands of years in the future, many races inhabit a universe where a mind’s potential is determined by its location in space, from super intelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these “regions of thought,” but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence. Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue mission, not entirely composed of humans, must rescue the family-and a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization.  This Hugo-award winning novel is a gripping tale of galactic war.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2299962Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.  When humanity reaches the stars, it discovers that it must defend its claim to new planets against alien races with similar expansionist tendencies. To ensure the expertise of its soldiers, Earth creates the Colonial Defense Force, an army of men and women otherwise classified as senior citizens, who give up their lives on Earth for an uncertain and perilous future among the stars.  Scalzi’s debut novel delivers a wry twist to military SF with an unusual cast of senior citizens as heroes.

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/723948Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton.  In the 24th century, human civilization has spread throughout the stars, making contact with a few peaceful alien species. When a research team launches a ship through a wormhole to investigate a planetary phenomenon warring alien races formerly trapped inside are freed and invade human space threatening the existence of all sentient life in the universe.  This epic SF adventure — complete with a large cast of characters, each with his own story — explores the human need to satisfy its unending thirst for knowledge.

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/4104415Red Peace by Spencer Ellsworth. Jaqi is a smuggler barely surviving on the edges of what remains of the interstellar Second Empire. Araskar is a hero of the resistance, which has recently toppled the Empire. Both are products of crossbreeding programs started by the Empire and stopped by the revolution. When Jaqi stumbles into possession of an artifact that the leader of the Resistance wants desperately enough to send his personal guard Araskar after, an interstellar empire and the fate of the remnant of humanity hang in the balance.  Ellsworth’s debut is an action-packed SF thriller that takes on a revolution in space and what comes after an empire falls.

https://bark.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/445785Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. Betan commander Cordelia Naismith and her planet’s greatest enemy, Barrayaran admiral Aral Vorkosigan, are stranded on a hostile planet by his enemies. When they survive the trap by fighting and working together, they must battle planetary political intransigence on both their worlds in order to have the future that they have earned.  Legendary SF novelist Bujold mixes quirky humor with action and superb character development in this massively popular SF mainstay of the Miles Vorkosigan Saga.

 

 

 

Just for Fun! Podcasts

By Spencer Stevens, Adult Services Reference Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator

Last week, we introduced some of our favorite literary podcasts. This week, we’ll be focusing on FUN podcasts! These are great podcasts to listen to when you’re looking to unwind, relax, and enjoy a story or two.

Image result for the adventure zone podcastThe Adventure Zone – If you like Dungeons & Dragons or enjoy fantasy adventure stories, we have a podcast for you. Brothers Justin, Griffin, and Travis McElroy team up with their father Clint to play Dungeons & Dragons across multiple campaigns, rotating characters and Dungeon Master. Hilarity ensured.

 

Image result for lore podcastLore – Fans of horror will enjoy this podcast. Lore tries to uncover the real origins behind legends, folklore, and supernatural stories and explore how they became etched in our culture. Some topics the podcast covers are vampires, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, ghosts that haunt lighthouses, and dolls with minds of their own. I don’t recommend listening after dark.

Image result for serial podcASTSerial – You might have heard of this podcast—it became one of 2014’s most downloaded forms of entertainment. The podcast’s host, Sarah Koenig, investigates a real murder committed in 1999, interviews people involved with the original investigation, and reassesses the outcome of the case.

 

Image result for welcome to night vale podcastWelcome to Night Vale – Radio host Cecil reports on day-to-day life in the mysterious Southwestern desert community of Night Vale, where mountains aren’t real and Lovecraftian monsters are as commonplace as cats. Each slightly off-putting episode focuses on a top story about this strange little town and the people—and monsters—who live there.

Image result for homecoming podcastHomecoming – With a star-studded cast including David Schwimmer, Oscar Isaac, and Amy Sedaris, it’s no wonder Homecoming was one of 2017’s most popular podcasts. This podcast is set in an experimental government facility where nothing is as it seems…

 

Image result for stuff you missed in history class podcastStuff You Missed in History Class – This is a great listen for history lovers. SYMHC explores lesser-known stories from our past, including the history of carousels and the 2,000-year-old legacy of crayons. Each episode presents a fascinating tale that, as the title suggests, you didn’t hear about in history class.

For every listener there is a podcast

By Donna Kafel, Reference and Adult Services Librarian

Sports, news, technology, fitness, investing, personal motivation, business ideas, meditation, science, radio shows, books—you name a topic, there is a podcast for it!

So what exactly are podcasts? Podcasts are audio programs that you can download from the internet and listen to whenever you want. As of April 2017, 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast. Until recently, most podcast users have been 25 or younger, but over the past year 25-54 year olds have taken the lead in podcast listening.  Many people enjoy listening to podcasts while exercising, doing chores, or commuting to work.

You can opt to listen to podcasts on your mobile device, tablet, or desktop computer. The following article “Everything You Need to Know About Listening to Podcasts, My Favorite Free Form of Entertainment” has simple instructions for finding, selecting, and listening to podcasts on your preferred device.

Over the next few weeks, the Adult Services staff will be sharing some of our favorite podcasts on various topics. Today’s podcast topic is near and dear—podcasts for readers. There are hundreds of book related podcasts out there —here are five that I recommend:

Literary DiscoLiterary Disco is “where books come to dance.”  It’s hosted by three book nerd friends, Julia, Tod, and Rider, who talk about fiction, nonfiction, children’s stories, and essays. They invite guests to select and discuss a book.

MashReads podcast logo

 

Not everyone has time to read full length novels so the MashReads hosts discuss everything: books, essays, comics, audiobooks, and more.
 

The Librarian is In podcast logo The Librarian is In features New York Public Library librarians Gwen Glazer and Frank Collerius. The two discuss the books they are reading, the literary zeitgeist, the world of libraries–and welcome special guests. Their banter is funny, passionate, and knowledgeable.

 

BookRiot The Podcast

Book Riot is a weekly talk and news show about what is new, cool, and worth talking about in the world of books and reading, brought to you by the editors of the Book Riot blog.

 

 

The Book Review podcast logo  The Book Review is hosted by New York Times Sunday Book Review editor Pamela Paul. It features interviews and conversations with authors.

Staff Picks for Best Read in 2017

Here is our annual staff picks post.  This year, we asked the staff to tell us about the last book that they really enjoyed.  Here is our shout-outs for our best reads of 2017.

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So Happiness To Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam by Karin Esterhammer. After job losses, the author and her family start over in a most unlikely place: a 9-foot-wide back-alley house in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s poorest districts, where neighbors unabashedly stare into windows, generously share their barbecued rat, keep cockroaches for luck, and ultimately help her find joy without Western trappings.

— “This writer shares her family’s non-tourist experiences in the ‘real’ Vietnam respectfully and enjoyably with dry wit and humor.”

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/1270769 When a beautiful woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage and a mysterious illness; while her husband, desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something more disturbing than murder may have occurred.

— “Dark & twisted – leaves you feeling haunted and disturbed for days.”

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/2470026Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.  The larger-than-life world of Olive Kitteridge, a retired school teacher in a small coastal town in Maine, is revealed in a series of luminous stories that explore her diverse roles in many lives, including a lounge singer haunted by a past love, a young man grieving over his lost mother, her stoic husband, and her own resentful son.

— “Awesome characters – this story has humor, sadness, tragedies, and joys.”

 

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Beartown by Fredrik Backman.  In the tiny forest community of Beartown, the possibility that the amateur hockey team might win a junior championship, bringing the hope of revitalization to the fading town, is shattered by the aftermath of a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized.

–“Sports themed, fast-paced, outstanding character development.”

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3318834A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. A curmudgeon hides beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior and a terrible personal loss while clashing with new neighbors, and a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship.

— “Loved the author’s sarcastic sense of humor and the way he revealed characters through flashbacks to past life events.”

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/4036247Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan.  When Loki prepares the Ship of the Dead to attack the Asgardian gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok, Magnus and his friends embark on a perilous voyage facing hostile gods and monsters to outwit their wily adversary.

— “Riordan adds a lot of humor into the fantasy plot-line, and the characters are interestingly relatable.”

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3697503The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman.  A forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro, the Father of Impressionism.

— “An enjoyable, intricate plot. Every time I thought I figured out where the story was going next, the plot took a dramatic turn.”

 

 

https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1370322077l/7991290.jpgThe Flowering of New England, 1815-1865 by Van Wyck Brooks. An analysis of literary talents like Emerson and Thoreau who came from and helped shape New England culture identity.

— “Interesting descriptions and observations on how the essential New England identity came to be.”

 

 

 

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Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan.  After moving to America, a shy and responsible older sister and a gregarious young sister who thrives in their new Boston home endure the long-term repercussions of a fateful decision when the younger sister becomes pregnant.

— “How the two sisters worked through their troubles made this story an enjoyable read.”

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/3814247Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.  On the island of Fennbirn, triplet sisters who each wield a coveted magic skill and claim an equal right to the throne must fight to the death when they turn sixteen for the title of Queen Crowned.

— “Interesting characters and a plot twist at the end. “

 

 

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Room by Emma Donoghue. A 5-year-old narrates the story of his life growing up in a single room where his mother aims to protect him from the man who has held her prisoner for seven years since she was a teenager.

— “An amazing story – heart-wrenching and believable.”

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/4026782American War by Omar El Akkad.  A second American Civil War and devastating plague in the late 21st  century forces a family into a camp for displaced people, where a young woman is befriended by a mysterious functionary who transforms her into a living weapon.

— “A scary real cautionary tale.”

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/866726Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. On a three-day journey through the snowbound Balkan hills, Hercule Poirot must weed through an array of international suspects to find the passenger who murdered an American gangster on the Orient Express.

— “Eccentric characters, a great setting, a gripping mystery, and the best twist ending ever.  A real page-turner.”

 

 

http://catalog.cwmars.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/1909879A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  The kingdom of the royal Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and the arrival of barbarian hordes.

–“I’m normally not a fan of fantasies but I picked up A Song of Ice and Fire at the urging of my son, who is passionate about Game of Thrones.  So glad I did as I easily became immersed in this saga of seven kingdoms, and the dynamic characters who jockey for power and occasional justice.”