Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Giving Thanks: 2014 Edition

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, your friendly neighborhood Library bloggers are here to tell you what they're most thankful for this year ...


-- Orphan Black (BBC America)

Just what I needed -- another television show to obsess about. But once I got into it, there was no turning back for me with Orphan Black. This Canadian-produced show became a huge hit for BBC America in the spring of 2013. Actress Tatiana Maslany stars as Sarah, a street-wise single mother desperately attempting to get her act together so she can get her daughter back. She discovers that she is not as alone as she thought she was. After witnessing the suicide of Beth, a woman who looks exactly like her, Sarah finds that she is one of many clones who have been placed with a variety of families. And now, someone is trying to kill them off, one by one.

The show can be a little out there at times, but the heart of the show is about families and relationships. First off is Sarah's relationship with her daughter, Kira, and her foster brother, Felix. And then there are the other clones, each one more unique than the last. From hippy scientist Cosima to control freak Allison to trained assassin Helena, television has never really seen the likes of them before. The most amazing part of the show is the fact that Ms. Maslany plays every one of the clones. Sometimes it's easy to forget that they are not different actresses playing these parts. She is truly amazing.

So, for this wild and never-boring show, I am very thankful!

Click here to request Season One and Two of Orphan Black from the Catalog

-- The Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack

Guardians of the Galaxy was a lot of fun, but far from the best superhero film I've ever seen. However, I absolutely LOVED the soundtrack! These are the songs of my youth. I was pleasantly surprised throughout the entire movie with 70s hit after 70s hit blaring throughout the theater.

Listening to the soundtrack makes me so happy and takes me back to a much simpler time in my life, when all I had to worry about was whether I wanted to go out and play, watch TV or listen to 13Q on my brand-new clock radio. For the past several months, this has been my go-to music to cheer me up, help me to clean my house and to just pass the time.

My favorites are Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede, Fooled Around and Fell in Love by Elvin Bishop and I Want You Back by the Jackson 5.

For these songs, and the whole soundtrack, I am truly thankful.

Click here to request Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 from the Catalog

-- Comic Books

This past year, I rediscovered my love of comic books. Not that I was ever a huge fan of the genre, but as a kid, and even into my teens, there were several comic books that I liked. Of course, I loved to read just about anything, so it's really no surprise that the stories were more important to me than the artwork. While I can't remember every comic book that I read, I know that I liked a wide variety of them. One of my favorites as a teen was The Fantastic Four.

Now I'm mostly reading comic books with characters I already know from television shows (Doctor Who, The X Files, Sleepy Hollow). I've also been reading graphic novels like Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob, The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman and The Intergalactic Nemesis by Jason Neulander.

For rediscovering my love of comic books, I am thankful.

Click here to request The X-Files Season 10 from the Catalog

-- Honorable Mention: The Phryne Fisher Series by Kerry Greenwood

For finding a new mystery series to check out, I am thankful! Thanks, Ms. B!

Read Ms. B's review of this series here.


-- Interstellar (Directed by Christopher Nolan)

When I heard that Christopher Nolan -- one of my favorite filmmakers -- was doing a movie about space travel, I could not have been more excited. So when I say Interstellar exceeded my wildest expectations, that is no mean feat.

There's no need to spoil the plot; I've found that Nolan movies are at their most effective when the story beats and plot twists come as a surprise. What I can tell you is that, as a lifelong enthusiast for all things related to astronomy and space travel, watching Interstellar on an IMAX screen was the emotional equivalent of buying a first-class ticket on board the next space shuttle. This was the first film that made me feel just how overpoweringly vast, immensely lonely, and awesomely mind-bending space really is. The alien worlds were more alien, the cost to visit them more extreme. It makes for a story that feels like a true window into the possibilities of uncharted territory -- along with a great set of characters, a crackerjack plot, an emotional core that deeply resonates, and a fantastically sarcastic robot.

So, for a sci-fi film that gave my imagination a ride through the final frontier, I am truly thankful!

Click here to request the making-of book Interstellar -- Beyond Time and Space: Inside Christopher Nolan's Sci-Fi Epic by Mark Cotta Vaz from the Catalog

-- Eighteen Years of South Park

As often as not, I try to keep my affection for South Park under wraps. Convincing non-fans that this rude, crude, foul-mouthed, and all-around irreverent television show is anything more than its surface appearance can often prove something of a challenge.

But what started life as a rather simple animated television show (that is absolutely not intended for children) has grown into something more than a showcase for swear words and crude humor. Don't get me wrong; there's still plenty of that. But for years now, South Park has been used by its creators (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) to offer biting social commentary on a wide variety of issues --  politics, religion, freedom of speech, the environment, poverty, sexism, prejudice, and, at the core of it all, childhood.

South Park's continual ability to provide all that and more, while still telling good stories filled with irreverent humor, is an incredible feat. All the more stunning is their track record. As this year's eighteenth season continues, many of the episodes are on par with the best work Parker and Stone have ever done.

South Park can't last forever, but for now, it's going strong -- and, for that, I'm quite thankful!

Click here to request Season 17 of South Park from the Catalog

-- Loki: Agent of Asgard (by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett)

"You are your own worst enemy." The saying's a cliché for the best of reasons: it's so utterly true. For most of us, the person who holds us back from reaching our full potential is ourselves.

It's a concept that forms the backbone of the story being told in the pages of Marvel's new comic Loki: Agent of Asgard. If you've seen the Marvel movies, you already know that Loki is not only the kid brother of the heroic Thor -- he's also a jealous megalomaniac who is bent on conquest, revenge, and all your usual boilerplate bad-guy schemes.

... or at least, he used to be that guy. Now, after a rather complicated series of events, Loki finds himself on the path to redemption. He's got a fresh new outlook, and he's keen to do what he can to make up for his past ways. But there's a few problems along the way -- including an older version of Loki himself, traveling through time to lure this new and improved Loki back to his former ways.

It all makes for a unique, heartbreaking, and undeniably fun story that explores the struggle to keep the world from stuffing you into its own expectations of who you really are ... and what you have to do to find your own path to the truest version of yourself. It's a story that resonates with me more than any other comic I've ever read -- which, as a lifelong comics fan, is truly saying something.

With crackerjack writing and stunningly emotive artwork, it all makes me quite thankful for the Agent of Asgard.

Click here to request Loki: Agent of Asgard - Vol 1 from the Catalog

-- Honorable Mention: The Martian by Andy Weir

For introducing me to one of my new all-time favorite novels, I am thankful. Thanks, Tracy!

Read Tracy's review of The Martian here.

And, of course, Dancing Groot. Who isn't thankful for Dancing Groot?

-- Post by Tracy and Ms. B

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Staff Recommendation #35: More Neil Gaiman!

"[Gaiman] is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any media." -- Stephen King

I am a fairly recent fan of Neil Gaiman and have only read a few of his works, but he has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Actually, I was well aware of him for quite some time before I read any of his books. At some point I realized that I needed to stop planning on reading Gaiman and just do it. I'm so glad I did!

While I still have many more of his titles on my to-read list, here are a few that I have already read and have quickly become some of my favorite books. Enjoy!

-- Neverwhere (1997)

This was the first Gaiman book I ever read after a suggestion from a friend. She knew of my interest in parallel and alternate worlds and thought this would be a good way to start reading Neil Gaiman. Unassuming (and somewhat milquetoasty) Richard Mayhew helps a stranger on the streets of London one evening and his life is forever changed. The stranger, Door, takes Richard on an adventure through London Below. To reclaim his life, which mysteriously disappears after his first encounter with Door, he must accompany her on a quest to avenge her family's death. Traversing the long forgotten London, Richard discovers a side of himself he didn't know existed.

Request Neverwhere from The Catalog

-- The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds (2014)

The Truth Is a Cave In The Black Mountains is a short story first published in Stories: All New Tales in 2010. In August of that year Neil Gaiman read this before a sold out audience at the Sydney Opera House. Along with artwork especially created for the event, Gaiman was also accompanied by a string quartet. In 2014 the original artwork and the story were newly published. This short haunting story is a story of family, a search for a treasure and an otherworldly creature. I enjoyed it so much in book form that I also listened to the audio version, read by the author with the music used for the live performance. It's a fairy tale for adults.

-- American Gods (2001)

American Gods is one of those books I had been hearing about for years, but couldn’t tell you what it was about. Even when I got around to reading it I don't think I was still sure of what I was getting into. But boy was it worth it! American Gods is a great, big epic story of the gods of stories and myths that the many American immigrants brought with them when they landed in this country. It’s also the story of how we have forgotten many of them along the way. Shadow, just released from prison, finds out that his wife has just died in terrible car accident. He then meets Mr. Wednesday who gives him a job and exposes him to a world that he didn't know existed. Shadow then becomes entangled in the battle that has erupted among those forgotten gods with Shadow the key to it all.

Request American Gods from The Catalog

--Post by Tracy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Laughter: The Instant Vacation

Despite living in Pennsylvania all my life, I am not a winter person. Of course, I'm hardly alone in that: with below-average temperatures, and sunset falling around 5:30 p.m., it can be hard not to get a bit down as the winter season rolls in.

So what's the best way to beat the winter blues?  Laughter, as they say, can be the best medicine. Read on for some recommendations of my personal favorite comedies -- guaranteed to make the cold dark of winter seem just a little bit brighter.

-- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

"And there was much rejoicing." Arguably the funniest film outing from the Monty Python comedy trope, the movie's a loose retelling of King Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail. It allows for a marvelous collection of history-flavored skits that cover everything from witch hunts and Black Plague to sword duels and arranged marriages. There's also a song-and-dance number and a Trojan Rabbit. It's really not to be missed.

Request Monty Python and the Holy Grail from the Catalog

-- The Princess Bride (1987)

"Is this a kissing book??" In many ways, The Princess Bride has a similar flavor to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with the routines taking jabs at fairy tales (instead of history). But the story of The Princess Bride has a stronger structure and gets layered more deeply, letting most of the humor come directly from the characters. The fairy tale plotline is framed as a bedtime story being read by his grandfather to his under-the-weather grandson, giving an additional twist (and plenty of extra humor) to the set-up.

Request The Princess Bride from the Catalog

-- The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

"You threw off my groove!" Kuzco is a spoiled Incan emperor whose royal advisor accidentally transforms him into a llama. Teamed up with a good-hearted farmer (whose house Kuzco was was about to knock down to make way for his new palace), Kuzco has to learn how to find a little humility ... or risk remaining a llama forever. It would be a straight-up buddy comedy if not for the abundance of sight gags, sly references, and snappy dialogue -- making this unusual Disney animated movie a film that borders on satire.

Request The Emperor's New Groove from the Catalog

-- Galaxy Quest (1999)

"By Grabthar's Hammer ... what a savings." Jason Nesmith and his actor pals haven't had a real acting gig since the cancellation of their cult-classic sci-fi series Galaxy Quest. These days, they eke out a living with convention appearances and publicity stunts -- all the while growing increasingly frustrated with Jason, who seems to think he's really as important as his on-screen alter ego, Captain Taggart. But when a group of fans show up who turn out to be literally out of this world, Jason and his Galaxy Quest crew suddenly find themselves in the center of an intergalactic adventure that they're not quite prepared for. You don't have to be a Star Trek fan to appreciate this clear Star Trek satire -- but if you're a Trekkie, this is not one to be missed.

Request Galaxy Quest from the Catalog

-- The World's End (2013)

"Face it, we are the human race and we don't like being told what to do!" When Gary King was in high school, he and his four best friends attempted "the Golden Mile," an infamous pub crawl across their hometown of Newton Haven, England. Now, some twenty years later, Gary's decided to put the gang back together to complete the Golden Mile once and for all. But as it turns out, it's not so easy to go home again -- particularly when your hometown just might be the center of the upcoming alien apocalypse!  The trappings sound like a sci-fi take on The Hangover, but nothing could be further from the truth; instead, it's a delightfully quirky and surprisingly sweet movie that's all about growing up and finding your way out in the "real world" past high school.

-- Post by Ms. B 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Staff Recommendation #34: "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman

Coraline is best explained as a family horror story. By "family horror story," I don't mean it's a horror story about family -- although it certainly is that, too -- but rather that it's a horror story suitable for (older) children as well as adults of all ages.

It doesn't start out like a horror story. When we are first introduced to Coraline, her life is actually quite boring. She and her family have just moved to a new town, taking up residence in an ancient house known as the Pink Palace. They've got plenty of colorful neighbors, but no one that Coraline really feels she can be friends with -- and even her parents are too busy with their own tasks and concerns to pay her any attention.

But then Coraline discovers a tiny door in the wall, a door that takes her to a very different version of the Pink Palace. In this world, Coraline meets her Other Mother, a sweet and mischievous doppelgänger of Coraline's real mom. Unlike her real mom, though, the Other Mother always has time for Coraline, making up games and shows and favorite foods, all for Coraline's amusement. Even the neighbors are better.

The set-up is all very boilerplate, author Neil Gaiman's own fairytale version of Lucy in Narnia or Alice in Wonderland. But then the Other Mother offers Coraline a way to remain in this new, enchanting world forever -- and suddenly, Coraline finds herself no longer living in a dream world, but facing, and fighting, a monster.

The book was published in 2002, and went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella. It was also released as a film in 2009, directed by Henry Selick (the director behind The Nightmare Before Christmas), and it was as a film that I first experienced the story. It's not a bad place to start; the movie is both a gorgeously-rendered (and brilliantly-acted) film in its own right, while also being spectacularly faithful to the book it's based on.

But however you choose to approach the story, what makes it so special is not the spine-chilling horror elements in and of themselves. Instead, it is in watching Coraline find the courage, determination, and resourcefulness necessary to defeat the darkness. It transforms Coraline from a heartless horror story into a Hero's Journey about facing the monsters and finding your courage. To borrow the quote that opened the book, observed by G.K. Chesterton (as paraphrased by Neil Gaiman):

"Fairy tales are more than true -- not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten."

-- Post by Ms. B 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Eight Writing Tips from YALLFest 2014

This past weekend saw the fourth annual Charleston Young Adult Book Festival -- or YALLFest, as it's come to be known. Sponsored by the Blue Bicycle Books shop of Charleston, South Carolina, the event was a two-day spectacular of lectures and panels from sixty young adult book authors.

This Teen Services Librarian was lucky enough to attend the festivities. It was a great chance to delve into the latest teen reading trends and get a bit of an insider's scoop on up-and-coming projects. It was also a marvelous opportunity to hear all about the process of what each author puts into their writing -- how they find their ideas, portray their characters, and tell their stories to their audiences.

So read on for eight writing tips from the authors themselves. (And if you'd like to give their books a try, just click on their names for a full list of their titles in the Catalog!)

1. Don't write what you know -- write what you like. Don't worry about what genre it should be classified as, or what you feel you ought to be writing about. Just tell the story you want to tell. You'll figure it out:

"I know [my latest book, Atlantia] is science fiction because I did so much dang research on underwater cities and underwater welding ... that's not even in the final book." -- Ally Condie

"I just threw in everything I like [to read about]!" -- Alexandra Bracken

2. Let your characters do the misdirection for you. Trying to figure out how to write a juicier mystery, or add more plot twists to your thriller?  That's what untrustworthy characters are for:

"It's about misinformation. There's a ton of information [the characters] can access [in their technologically-advanced world], but a lot of it is lies. You can circumvent the power of the internet with misdirection." -- Kami Garcia

"Have your characters lie. It makes the scenes more interesting. Have them leave something out, and it makes the plot more interesting." -- Scott Westerfeld

3. Vary your characters. A diversity of characters makes for a more interesting story -- and that means diversity both of personality and of background:

"That 'too' is what makes a character. If we can't make a character too rude or too cold or too difficult, we'll have boring books. ... Make the character 'relatable' and 'believable' over 'likable.'" -- Leigh Bardugo

"There's not just one type of kick-butt heroine. It's just [female characters] with agency. Also, have more than one [female character] -- then you'll get different kinds of characters!" -- Leigh Bardugo

4. Write strong characters. And remember that "strong" doesn't just mean physically tough and unfailingly infallible:

"A kick-butt character is one who may not start with power, but learns to find strength." -- Alexandra Bracken

"Resilience: a character may temporarily fall apart, but then they put themselves back together and fix the problem." -- Sarah Fine

5. Don't let fame go to your head. If you make it to the big time, remember to stay humble:

"It was very demoralizing to do the red carpet next to [Bones actress] Emily Deschanel, who is thirty years younger and like six feet taller." -- Kathy Reichs

"I write with my mommy, I"m 36 years old. I'm the coolest guy in the room!" -- Brendan Reichs

6. Don't worry about the movie. For writers and readers, it's important not to worry about the film version too much:

"Fans think they want it just like the book, but that doesn't work." -- Gayle Forman

"The book will always be there for you to experience. I look at the film as a way to experience the book again in a new way." -- James Dashner

7. Let yourself write how you write. Everyone has a different method that works for them:

"I'm a Seat-of-the-Panters; I write by the seat of my pants. About halfway to two-thirds of the way through, I have a panic attack [trying to figure out what happens next]. Then I stop and outline the rest of the way backwards." -- Scott Westerfeld

"I do a very detailed outline during revision." -- Alexandra Bracken

"I cannot outline. I always fail. For [one book], I wrote 17 outlines. Number 16 was called Help Me, Jesus. Number 17 was called Jesus Can't Help You." -- Libba Bray

8. Don't preach, just tell. 

"I think our job is to pose questions. Part of the challenge of the reader is to make up their own minds." -- Leigh Bardugo

Hollywood Squares -- Author Edition

-- Post by Ms. B

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Five Reasons Why Percy Jackson Tops Harry Potter

Teens with magical powers, surrounded by fantastical monsters and sinister bad guys, who are on a quest to save the world. The description is equally fitting -- for both J.K. Rowling's famous Harry Potter series, and for Rick Riordan's bestselling Heroes of Olympus books.

You don't have to be a fan to know that Harry Potter is a boy wizard who attends a magical boarding school called Hogwarts and finds himself locked in battle with the evil Lord Voldemort. But you may not have heard of Percy Jackson, star of both Percy Jackson and the Olympians, as well as the follow-up series Heroes of Olympus. Percy thinks he's just a normal kid -- that is, until he discovers his dad is actually one of the mythical Greek gods (Poseidon, to be exact.) In between his normal mortal life, and his time at Camp Half-Blood (training to be a demigod), Percy always seems to find a way to get into trouble -- and to save the world while he's at it. At least he's got a good sense of humor about it all ...

After releasing five books in the original Percy Jackson series, author Riordan went on to write a sequel series, Heroes of Olympus, which introduced an even greater threat than anything Percy had ever faced before. Luckily, this time, Percy has a whole bunch of new characters to help him out!  The final book in the series, The Blood of Olympus, was released just a few weeks ago, and I found it to be a fantastic, heartbreaking, wholly satisfying ending to the story.

I may be a long-time Potter fan, but I know where my loyalties lie. Read on for a highly subjective list of why the Percy Jackson series may just top that boy wizard ...

-- Hogwarts vs. Camp Half-Blood

Sure, Hogwarts has a lot going for it. Magical staircases, classes in spell-casting, ghost professors, and fantastic extracurricular activities like Quidditch and the Yule Ball.

But Camp Half-Blood -- the summer camp where young demigods go to train their skills and hone their powers -- is nothing to sneeze at, either. There's an archery field, a sword-fighting arena, a fantastic armory, and a dining pavilion that always has your favorite foods on hand. And if you need to travel, you can always borrow a pegasus -- or even the mechanical dragon, if Festus is feeling up to it.

But to me, the appeal of Camp Half-Blood is that campers remain there only for the summer -- giving the demigods a chance to put their skills to use in the real world. As demigod Annabeth Chase observes:

"At camp you train and train. And that's all cool and everything, but the real world is where the monsters are. That's where you learn whether you're any good or not." 

-- Houses vs. Cabins

Are you brave like a Gryffindor, or cunning like a Slytherin?  Smart like a Ravenclaw, or loyal like a Hufflepuff?  There are four different House dormitories in the Harry Potter books, and each student is selected (or chooses for themselves) which House they'll join when they first arrive at Hogwarts. Part of the fun of the Potter books is watching each character be Sorted into their respective Houses, and imagining which House you might be if you were in their shoes.

But on the whole, I prefer Camp Half-Blood's method, where campers are assigned to the cabin of their godly parent. The reason is simple: your Olympian cabin has nothing to do with the type of person you are. No one is divided up into groups based on a single personality trait. Instead, campers share cabins with their brothers and sisters -- while deciding for themselves what kind of person they're going to be like. And while there's still some competition from cabin to cabin, the lack of prestige for any one cabin makes it easier for the whole camp to band together when the chips are down.

-- Camping vs. Adventure

Some Potter fans have argued that J.K. Rowling could've used a more forceful editor for the last few books of the series. While I don't think a book needs to be edited simply because it's long, I did find the pace to be dragging in a few of the later books -- particularly in the final installment of the series, where the high action and dire stakes were often interrupted by long stretches of pages of the characters hiding in the woods. (Really!)

While I've no interest in a story that is non-stop action and leaves no time for character development, I found the pacing of the Heroes of Olympus to be much more satisfying, always balancing the character with the action and, as often as not, intertwining them both to create more rewarding scenes. Characters in the Olympus books face off against a variety of challenges, often ones that are intensely personal, and come out of their battles changed as who they are. It makes for a more rip-roaring read -- and one that feels richer.

-- Epilogue vs. Epilogue

Not gonna spoil this one, for those of you who haven't read it. Let's just say that the sacrifice is a little more demanding in The Blood of Olympus than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I also liked the Olympus ending far better than Deathly Hallows. With Harry Potter, we flash-forward nineteen years and discover everything has been wrapped up, leaving little to the imagination. I far prefer the final chapter in Olympus, that, while answering some of our questions, still leaves us with a more open-ended ending that is far fuller of possibilities.

-- The Chosen One vs. Seven Halfbloods

It's not really fair to complain that Harry Potter is the star of the Harry Potter series. In fact, it's not really a complaint at all; Harry was always my favorite character of the series (well, apart from Professor Lupin), and it made for a more fun, more insightful story to spend our time from his point of view.

But in Heroes of Olympus, we are treated to not one, not two, but seven main characters (stretching to nine by the final installment of the series). And far from making the plotlines overcrowded, it instead offers a unique way of exploring the story, with each character possessing their own flaws, strengths, challenges, and triumphs. There's Frank, a guy who's big and strong but whose secret vulnerability leaves him struggling to find his path; Piper, who no one ever takes seriously (always hard to manage when your mom is Aphrodite), but who soon finds herself taking on challenges of sacrifice and self-discovery; and Leo, my personal favorite, the tongue-in-cheek mechanic who always finds a way to fix things -- even if it costs him.

These teens may be superpowered -- but, like Harry Potter, it's their all-too-understandable struggles to help each other, and find themselves, that makes the story utterly engaging and deeply worthwhile. So if you've already read Harry Potter, give Percy Jackson and his friends a try. You won't be disappointed.

Just watch out for the dragon.

-- Request The Blood of Olympus from the Catalog

-- Post by Ms. B

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November Library Reads

The latest Library Reads list is here and below are a few of the highlights. To see the full list click here.

Us: A Novel
by David Nicholls

“Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that makes you wish you could meet the characters in real life. This is the case with Us, the poignant story of a middle-of-the-road British family spiraling out of control, and one man’s attempt to win back their love. Quirky, delightful and unpredictable, the novel delves into what makes a marriage, and what tears it apart.”

Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover: The Fourth Rule of Scoundrels
by Sarah MacLean

“Having lost her innocence in a teenage love affair, Lady Georgiana is a social pariah. Trying to save the tatters of her reputation, she must marry and marry well. By night, she is Anna, the most powerful madame in London, and a powerful seductress in her own right. Will Georgiana succeed in re-entering society, or will her past catch up with her once and for all?”

Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble
by Marilyn Johnson

“Johnson takes a fascinating look at the field of archeology, profiling a number of archaeologists at work. She visits sites as diverse as an army base, Rhode Island, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Peru, but the best part of this book is learning about the archaeologists and their passions. A fun, interesting read that may cause an uptick in field school applications.”

Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

The Forgers
by Bradford Morrow

“Narrator Will and Adam Diehl have something in common: they are both forgers, able to produce and sell authentic-looking inscriptions of Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry James’ books. When Adam is found bludgeoned and missing his hands, Will is inevitably drawn into the murder investigation. The clues and horror mount until realization bursts upon the reader at the end.”

Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

Mermaids in Paradise: A Novel
by Lydia Millet

“This delightful book starts out as almost chick-lit, turns into a fantasy adventure, then leads into an underdog heist. The tone reminds me of Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, with just enough absurdity in a tropical location to keep you on your toes. Protagonist Deb’s husband, Chip, is a total babe (in a nerdy way) and her BFF, Gina, is the best kind of snarky. A highly entertaining read!”

Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA

--Post by Tracy