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Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’


Join the (Book) Club

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 4th, 2016
Join the (Book) Club Cover Image

One of my favorite books is Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik. I picked it up because the title made me laugh, but the story of five women who come together for three decades of book club meetings (and everything in between) is why it’s high on my recommendation list.

I love books about book clubs. In a way, they are two books in one. First there’s the story, then there’s reading about the books the characters read. More often than not, those titles end up on my future reading list.

I’ll admit, sometimes writing down the title and author is as close as I’ll ever get to reading the book, but there have been times I’ve seen it through. For instance, I read Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster after the characters in Heather Vogel Fredrickson’s Mother-Daughter Book Club series read it in Dear Pen Pal.

Luckily, I spent a semester studying Jane Austen in college, so when The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler was published, I didn’t have to worry about falling down the rabbit hole of new book titles.

Like actors who aren’t doctors in real life but play one on TV, I do not belong to a book club; I only readbook-club-kit about them. However, if starting a book club is something that interests you, ICPL has you covered. Our Book Club Kits contain 10 copies of books and discussion questions, all packaged in one canvas bag. Located on the first floor near the Help Desk, each kit can be checked out for six weeks.

Video Staff Picks: Doggies!

by Bond Drager on December 29th, 2015

We hope you enjoy this video of a few staff with their favorite furry friends, plus books.

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Fiction

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 23rd, 2015
ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Fiction Cover Image

Once again, ICPL staff have combed through their 2015 reading logs to select the books they especially loved for our end-of-the-year Staff Top Picks lists.

The nominations were divided into eight categories: fiction; young adult; children’s; mystery; science fiction/fantasy; biography/memoir; nonfiction; and graphic novels. The only rule was that the book had to be released in 2015; books released in hardback in 2014 and paperback in 2015 were disqualified. Any book that was nominated by more than one staff member made our 2015 Best of the Best list.

We’ll share our 2015 Best of the Best titles on the last day of the year. Until then, here are the Library’s picks for top fiction books for 2015. Keep checking back to see what made the cut in our other categories.

ICPL’s BEST FICTION BOOKS OF 2015fiction

  • Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
  • A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
  • The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
  • The Whites by Harry Brandt
  • Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
  • Descent by Tim Johnston
  • Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
  • Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link
  • All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews*

* This title had a limited release in 2014. It wasn’t available at the Library until 2015, which is why it’s included on our list.

What was your favorite fiction read of 2015? Did it make our list?

 

Inspiration for your fiction

by Melody Dworak on November 17th, 2015
Inspiration for your fiction Cover Image

NaNoWriMo is more than halfway over. Looking for inspiration to get you past writer’s block? Consider consulting dictionaries and encyclopedias on specific subjects.

Last week, someone stumbled upon our encyclopedias on the short Reference shelves on the second floor. He wondered if we had anything like that for sci fi/fantasy mythology. He was curious as to where storytellers got their information about the strengths and weaknesses of monsters.

Lucky for him, he was talking with someone who’s been reading a ton of fantasy fiction this year. I have read the accounts of countless vampires, ghosts, werewolves, fae, demons, witches, trolls, shape-shifters—you name it!

I got him the book How to Kill a Vampire as a place to start. As we were talking about what his goals were for finding books like this, it struck me that he had a great idea: use these kinds of books to inspire and research your fiction writing.  Read the rest of this entry »

What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time

by Melody Dworak on October 30th, 2015
What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time Cover Image

Okay, I’m using the term “read” here liberally as I’m really listening to her audiobooks. But the sentiment is the same: after a long aversion to mainstream romance and mystery, what do Janet Evanovich’s stories have for me?

Caving in to one of OverDrive’s auto-generated recommendation that I should try out Wicked Business, I listened to a sample of the book and discovered a familiar voice. Lorelei King, talented performer of my beloved Mercy Thompson series, reads Evanovich’s Wicked books too. I have really enjoyed King’s tender interpretation of the Mercy Thompson books–she has whisked me up in wistfulness before–so I was tickled to find that her voice narrates more stories in our collection. (You never think to search by reader, do you?)  Read the rest of this entry »

Haunting Tales

by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on October 29th, 2015

Nowadays, it seems like horror equals gratuitous gore, especially in movies.  These stories, to me, are the ones that are truly horrible.  They strike to the primal core and are remembered decades after reading.

Cask cover.phpLet’s start with my favorite from the master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe:  The Cask of Amontillado (1846).  It’s a short story of revenge mixed with wine – one that rarely ends well.  It’s told from the viewpoint of the “villain” who is specific with many details except for a definitive reason for his grievance.  The ending is not nice but what really gives me the chills are the false displays of friendship.

Beach cover.phpI first read on On the Beach (1957) by Nevil Shute when I was a teenager.  It was still the Cold War and as a fan of Tom Clancy, I thought “Aha!  Here’s what happens if Jack Ryan does not save the day.”  After World War III, the radioactive fallout has not yet reached Australia but it’s on the way.  The survivors know they only have months to live and act accordingly.  I highly recommend this book as own it and have read it multiple times since then.

Lottery cover.phpThe Lottery (1948) by Shirley Jackson takes place in the center of a tiny village.  It’s small enough that everyone knows each other’s name and most of their business as well, very much like where I grew up.  This short story develops quickly, interspersing character introduction with descriptions how the lottery works.  By the time the winner is revealed, it’s completely different from the idyllic beginning.

Algernon cover.phpI read Flowers for Algernon (1959) by Daniel Keyes once long ago and never again.  That’s not because the novel is awful (it’s brilliant!) – it’s because the story line is so plausible and that is terrifying.  It’s written in diary form by Charlie Gordon, a man with low IQ, as progress reports for Dr. Strauss.  The doctor performs an experimental operation on Charlie to increase his intelligence like Algernon, the lab mouse.  The changes are gradual, yet noticeable, and Charlie shares them all with the reader.

Game cover.phpLastly, you know that short story about that guy on an island that hunts other guys?  Most people say yes but can’t remember the title or author.  Thanks to the magic of the internet, I plugged the above phrase into a search engine and voila:  The Most Dangerous Game (1924) by Richard Connell.  That plot may not seem like much but consider that it was written almost 100 years ago and is still a popular basis for both books and movies.

Thanks for letting me share some scary stories with you.  Happy Halloween!

Hopping on the Express Shelf Express

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 6th, 2015

I am reading Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. I’m enjoying it immensely, but unfortunately it’s due on Friday and I still have 200 pages to go.ExpressShelf-SocialMedia

Did I mention that there are 23 holds on the Library’s eight copies?

I may finish by Friday, but what if I don’t? Do I keep the book over the weekend and pay a late fine? Do I return it and hope I remember where I left off when my hold comes up and I check it out again? Do I break down and buy a copy of my own?

The correct answer is none of the above.

I found a copy on the Library’s Express Shelf. I returned my copy of the book and checked out the Express book. Now I have 14 days to finish my book, while freeing another copy for someone on the holds list. Everyone is happy.

Be sure to check our Express Shelves, located on the first floor for fiction, second floor for non-fiction. The book you’re waiting for might be there waiting for you!

Oh, and if you do check out an Express Shelf copy and know you’ll finish it in two weeks, go ahead and take your name off of the holds list for that title. You’ll make tons of strangers happy!

 

Reading another person’s letters …

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 1st, 2015

An upcoming episode of On Air: The ICPL podcast will feature a Favorite Book segment.

Not books.

Book.

It isn’t easy choosing a favorite book. I have tons of favorites from various stages in life, but there is one title that remains my hands-down favorite: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

84, Charing Cross Road details the 20-year friendship between Hanff, a writer living in New York City, and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co., antiquarian booksellers in London. This lovely non-fiction book is an epistolary book, written entirely in the pair’s letters. (It was later turned into a stage play, TV play and a movie, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.)

I love epistolary novels – books written as a series of documents, such as letters and journal entries. There’s realness with this genre, even in fiction works. Reading something private instantly makes the reader part of the character’s personal life.

Some of my favorite epistolary titles include Stephen Chboksky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (bonus: it’s also a banned 0504_i-will-always-write-backbook; perfect for Banned Books Week reading); Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell; and Where Rainbows End (previously published as Rosie Dunne) by Cecelia Ahern. Now, I have a new title to add to the list: I Will Always Write Back by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka.

I Will Always Write Back is the true story of two lives changed by a letter. Caitlin wrote to Martin as part of an English assignment, choosing Zimbabwe because she liked the name of the country. Her letter arrived with nine others, at a poor school with 50 students. Martin was lucky enough to receive one because he was the top student.

Caitlin and Martin had very little in common, but somehow they struck up a friendship that transcended their differences, eventually changing both of their lives. I Will Always Write Back is a great story of generosity, inner strength, and friendship. I could not put it down, finishing it in one afternoon.

I Will Always Write Back is cataloged as for ages 12 and up, but I see it as one of those books everyone should read, no matter if you are 15 or 50. It will make you smile, make you cry, and make you better for having experienced how truly amazing people can be.

God Save the Queen

by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on September 16th, 2015

QE2 Longest ReignA standard interview question is “Who would you like to meet and why?”  My answer for years has been Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – she has experienced many changes, both good and bad, and has conducted herself with dignity and aplomb.  On 09 September 2015, Queen Elizabeth surpassed the previous record set by Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch with 63 years and 217 days.  Like Queen Victoria, she is the only other sovereign to celebrate her 60th Diamond Jubilee.  This occurred in 2012 and many books and documentaries were released to celebrate that auspicious occasion.

Coronation cover.phpThe Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (2012) is an hour-long documentary that details everything from the planning stage through to the ceremony.  Since it was televised to the nation at that time, it is comprised of landmark footage plus interviews with actual participants.

Princess Elizabeth's Spy cover.phpShe is fictionalized in Princess Elizabeth’s Spy (2012) as a 14-year-old girl stashed away for safety, along with her sister, in Windsor Castle during World War II.  This book by Susan Elia MacNeal is the second in the Maggie Hope Mystery series.  Maggie is not happy to be posted as a tutor/babysitter, but when one of their group dies under mysterious circumstances, they discover a much larger threat.  “Lilibet” assists immensely in foiling the plot.

The Queen and I cover.phpIn The Queen and I (1992) by Sue Townsend, Queen Elizabeth’s “annus horribilis” becomes much more awful.  Due to a change in government, she and her family are forced to move into a council estate, basically a group of downtrodden duplexes.  The story chronicles their attempts to be “ordinary” people with poignancy and humor.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train cover.phpAlthough Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn was published in 2012, the events in the novel take place “several years ago”.  In a fit of nostalgia, the Queen decides to visit her old yacht Britannia, now retired to a berth in Leith, Scotland.  When members of staff discover she’s scarpered, they set off to retrieve her before the tabloids discover Queen Elizabeth’s disappearance.  It is a character study not only of the Queen but Britons of all sorts.

The Diamond Queen cover.phpLastly, I recommend The Diamond Queen (2012) for an intense, yet intimate, look at Queen Elizabeth’s life.  This three-part documentary follows her activities over a year and a half culminating in the 60th Jubilee festivities.  It also includes personal interviews with many other members of the royal family.

Like Halley’s Comet, take a moment to savour [sic] this once-in-a-lifetime event!

ICPL is on Goodreads

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 29th, 2015

Did you ever wonder what ICPL employees read in their spare time? Or perhaps you saw a patron with an armful of books and wanted to know what they were reading, but couldn’t think of a this-isn’t-strange-at-all  way to ask.recommendations

Our ICPL recommendation boxes have you covered!

We have four boxes located throughout the Library (first floor book return, Children’s Room self-checkout area, new nonfiction shelf on the second floor, and the Koza Family Teen Center) for you to share your book, movie and music recommendations. We go through the boxes regularly (sometimes people leave us drawings or notes that say how much the love the Library; we love those!) and post the recommendations on our patrons-suggestions bookshelf on Goodreads.

We also have bookshelves with ICPL employee recommendations and reviews on the popular reading site, so friend us, follow us, and let’s get reading!




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