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Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

Springtime = bugs!

by Hannah Kane on April 2nd, 2014

Looking for your next weekend read? I have a great springy one for you. In Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, the end of the world is nigh. Austin Szerba, his girlfriend Shann, and his best friend Robby live in fictional Ealing, Iowa. The trio occupy themselves the same way most small-town 16-year-olds do — skateboarding, eating pizza, driving into Waterloo to see movies, and trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life.

But their world is turned upside-down when giant praying mantises rampage through Ealing. The big bugs are hungry — for PEOPLE. This tale of survival, friendship, identity, and growing up has a sense of Vonnegut-esque humor so fresh that once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Check out the catalog record here to learn more and place a hold!

Plus, it’s green. REALLY green.

Throwback Thursday…and a beer!

by Candice Smith on March 6th, 2014

So, this pBYOBookast Tuesday, I found myself wanting to discuss a good book and  have a nice beer. That happens to me often on Tuesdays…wait, what did you say? You too??!!

Well, you’re in luck! Get ready for B.Y.O.Book, the Library’s new books in bars book club. One Tuesday during each of the next three months we’re going to meet in a local bar, discuss some literature, maybe have a drink and meet some like-minded readers. First on the agenda is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It’s a long book, I know, but by now a lot of you might have already read it; if not, stop by the Reference Desk and grab a copy. Then, meet us on Tuesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. at the Sanctuary Pub.

To get started, here’s the blog I did about the book on January 15, 2010.

The English Major

by Brent Palmer on February 28th, 2014
The English Major Cover Image

I recently made a good find in the Book End: The English Major by Jim Harrison.  Although the title makes it sound like an epic love story set in colonial Africa, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s a true American travel story.

Harrison fans who love his character Brown Dog will identify with the protagonist, Cliff, who has same down-to-earth way of looking at things, a love of the Michigan outdoors and a cluelessness about women (that somehow seems to work for both of them).  Unlike BD, he was once a lit teacher with a love of books. But he became disenchanted with literature and eschewed the intellectual life for a pastoral one when his wife inherited a cherry farm in northern Michigan.

The story, which opens after his marriage falls apart, takes the form of a kind of travel diary.  Mourning the loss of his dog and his cherry farm (his wife sells it to a developer), he sets out for a cathartic road trip to visit every state.  Along the way, he hooks up with an former female student, reconnects with his son and has some raucous adventures with his fishing buddy.  As he winds his way across the west, he is forced to reexamine his life and marriage with honesty. Although Cliff doesn’t make it to every state, with some help from his ex-wife, he figures out how to put together a new life.

One More Thing by B.J. Novak

by Melody Dworak on February 27th, 2014
One More Thing by B.J. Novak Cover Image

Hi, guys. I made a Storify of people talking about B. J. Novak’s new book One More Thing. Long story short: I loved it, and others did too. Visit this —> Storify post <— to see the buzz this new book is getting.

Getting lost in Lost Lake

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 12th, 2014
Getting lost in Lost Lake Cover Image

I discovered Sarah Addison Allen’s work about five years ago, devouring her first two books — Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen — in just a few days. I had to wait for her to publish more, but my patience paid off with two more great stories: The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel and The Peach Keeper: A Novel.

I was not aware that Allen was set to release a new book in 2014, but when I did, I was thrilled to learn it was already out and the Library had it on stock!

Lost Lake is a story about people who are at a turning point in their lives, but are unsure of which way to go. It seems fitting that this group of misfits  have such ties to a run-down summer hideaway called Lost Lake.

Owner Eby Prim loves Lost Lake, but time has taken its toll on her and the cabins that used to house vacationing families. Restless, she agrees to sell the property, but her last summer takes an unexpected turn when her grand-niece arrives. Struggling with the death of her husband, Kate Pheris needs direction and her precocious daughter, Devin, needs to freedom.

Three generations of women, plus a scattering of supporting characters to add mystery, humor and depth, make Lost Lake a treasure worth finding.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

by Candice Smith on January 15th, 2010
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel Cover Image

Wolf Hall was recently named the winner of the 2009 Man Booker prize for fiction, and all of a sudden there were all these glowing reviews about a book I’d never heard of. Having finished it the other night, I can say they were spot-on!

Mantel re-imagines the court of Henry VIII, through the eyes and voice of Thomas Cromwell. Those of you who watch The Tudors are probably up on who Cromwell is. Many of you might have some sort of inkling of the statesman who made it possible for Henry to marry Anne Boleyn and helped dissolve the Catholic monasteries. (If you thought he was someone who caused a wee bit o’ trouble in Ireland, you’ve got the wrong Cromwell.) Cromwell is widely remembered for his calculating mind and ruthless ambition, but Mantel portrays him in full and he benefits from it. For sure, he’s all about the numbers, and knowing who owns what, and how that can help the king (and himself).  Here, we also see a man who is scarred by a miserable childhood, who loves his wife and children, who is fond of good food and culture, and who is loyal to those he serves.

One of the best things about this book is the feeling of ‘knowing’ that you get while reading it. Many events that are described have weight and a sense of direction–the moment Henry is told that the baby is not a boy, or when Cromwell first meets the young Jane Seymour–and they inexorably lead towards that day in Cromwell’s future that we already know about. Wolf Hall ends well before that moment, and I think it’s a testament to Mantel’s powerful writing that I was happy to not see the end of Thomas Cromwell.

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