Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is a fictionalized account of the love affair of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson. It examines their life in Paris during the Jazz Age as a part of the "Lost Generation." This included people like F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound. The marriage was quite unconventional (as most relationships were with this group of people), which lead to many challenges.

If you read this and enjoyed it, you might also enjoy these titles. And if you haven't read The Paris Wife yet, you might want to take a look at some of these while you wait for your copy to come in.

Biographies of Hadley Richardson
Hadley by Gioia Deliberto

Books about the "Lost Generation"

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
Hoping to honor his father and the family business with innovative glass designs, Louis Comfort Tiffany launches the iconic Tiffany lamp as designed by women's division head Clara Driscoll, who struggles with the mass production of her creations.

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Fact and fiction blend in a historical novel that chronicles the relationship between seminal architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney -- from their first meeting, when they were each married to another, to the clandestine affair that shocked Chicago society.

The Women by T.C Boyle
Recounts the life of Frank Lloyd Wright as told through the experiences of the four women who loved him: the Montenegrin beauty, Olgivanna Milanoff; the passionate Southern belle, Maud Miriam Noel; the spirited Mamah Cheney, tragically killed; and his young first wife, Kitty Tobin.

Gatsby's Girl by Caroline Preston
A historical novel based on the life and times of Genevra King, F. Scott Fitzgerald's first love and muse, which reflects on what her life would have been if she had chosen the writer instead.

The Master by Colm Tóibín
Nineteenth-century writer Henry James is heartbroken when his first play performs poorly in contrast to Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," and struggles with subsequent doubts about his sexual identity.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What to Read Next?

Trying to figure out what to read next? A bestsellers list is a great way to find new titles.

Every week, here at Monroeville Public Library, we post a copy of the New York Times Bestsellers List for our patrons to look at. While this is the best-known list, it is not the only one out there. There is the USA Today Best-Selling Books, Publishers Weekly Bestsellers, Indie Bestsellers from the American Booksellers Association and CBA Bestsellers from the Christian Booksellers Association.

So which is the best list for you? I'll give a brief description of what each has to offer, and then you can decide for yourself.

The list we post focuses on fiction and non-fiction in hardback, but they also include paperback, ebook, graphic novels and many other categories on their website. These lists are based on sales from a variety of vendors, including independent book stores, online retailers, newsstands, university book stores and even grocery stores.

This list is compiled from many of the same type of resources that the New York Times uses. The big difference in their list is that USA Today puts all the titles together in one big list, although it is possible to sort it by different genres.

It's very similar to the New York Times list but also includes best-selling audiobooks.

This list compiles the best-selling books as reported by independent book stores (yes, they still exist!). These are also broken down by adult or children, fiction or non-fiction and hardback or paperback.

These are the top-selling books as reported by Christian book stores. They also provide different types of lists -- including music and video, along with audiobooks.

These lists are all great ways to find that next book to read. Once you have picked a title or two, you can go to our website and search our catalog to request a copy. Since these are best-sellers there may be a long wait for some of these titles. But don't despair! Starting soon, we are going to post some "readalikes" -- lists of different book ideas that are similar to current best-sellers. But in the meantime, check out these lists and see what interests you. Happy Reading!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Staff Recommendation #3: "The Faerie Path" by Frewin Jones

"The Faerie Path" by Frewin Jones

Staff review by C.O.

At first, I thought this was going to be your typical faerie princess story -- where princess meets prince, princess loses prince, and then in the end the princess gets her prince and lives happily ever after. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn’t the case.

Anita Palmer was living the typical British teenage life, with school, friends, a boyfriend, and parents. But what she didn’t know was that she was in fact the Princess Tania, the lost princess of Faerie and the youngest daughter of King Oberon and Titania. On her 16th birthday, she finds herself in a boating accident with her boyfriend Evan, landing her in the hospital with no recollection of what happened. Evan has disappeared and a mysterious book is mailed to her. When she opens the book, she finds that the pages look empty ... but are they really? Believing that she is suffering ill effects from the boating accident, she hears a mysterious voice calling to her. What comes next is both exciting and frightening for young Anita -- when she finds herself in the land of Faerie.

While in Faerie, Anita meets Gabriel Drake, a man with power and evil on his mind. (He's also the man who brings through the fold into Faerie.) As Tania, she'd been engaged to Gabriel but had vanished on the eve of her wedding. She also meets up with the missing Evan, who's also in the land of Faerie -- and who has been working for Gabriel. She feels betrayed and hurt because she really believed the love shared between her and Evan was real. She doesn’t know what to think now.

Anita also finds out that she is one of seven daughters of the royal house. Each sister has different magical powers and Anita/Tania finds out that her magical power is the ability to travel between the two worlds. She meets her father, King Oberon, but finds out that her mother the Queen is dead. But is she? Something is fishy and Anita/Tania must find out what really happened.

The land of Faerie is nothing she could ever imagine, but she is torn between the love of her mortal family living in England and the duty she feels towards her Faerie family and the kingdom of Faerie. She has to make a choice, but what that choice will be has everyone guessing. The land of Faerie, the people she meets, the sisters she comes to love -- they all play a part in her decision. One thing she does know is the love she feels for her sisters: Eden, Sancha, Zara, Cordelia, Hopie and Rathina. One of them is harboring a dark secret which could tear the land of Faerie apart.

One of my favorite characters was Cordelia, because she shared a special bond with the animals, and they in turn were very loyal to her. When called upon, the animals were a great help in Anita/Tania’s quest.

I enjoyed the story of Anita/Tania and all that happens to her. Does she discover what happened to her mother, Queen Tantia? Does she fulfill her fate? Does she stay in Faerie or go home to her mortal parents? Come join me in finding out what happens to Anita/Tania as she follows her destiny.

Request "The Faerie Path" by Frewin Jones

Monday, June 13, 2011

Travel the World @ Your Library This Summer

Summer is one of our busiest -- and most favorite -- times of year here at the Library. Because summer is, of course, when we kick off what may be our biggest event of the year: MPL's Summer Reading program.

In recent years, this has become a program for people of every age, from our Read to Me Club for the youngest children to our Adult Summer Reading program. And of course there's our Summer Reading Club for older children and Teen Summer Reading for all our junior high and high school students.

Why do libraries hold summer reading programs? For kids, this is a no-brainer: studies have shown that student achievement test scores tend to decline over summer vacation. Good news, though: studies also show that reading over the summer break combats what some call the "summer learning loss" -- and even reading books that are pure recreational "entertainment," and not "educational," do the job.

For adults, summer can be a chance to catch up on your reading. Take a book with you on vacation to the beach or camping. Or, if you find yourself (as so many of us do!) only busier during the summer months, check out our brand-new Playaways -- portable, lightweight audiobooks about the size of half a deck of cards. (You just plug in your earbuds and go -- check out our last post for more information.)

Why else do Summer Reading?  Well, it's a great chance to become eligible for some great prizes! From sticker sheets to free books to t-shirts to gift cards to an iPod Nano (that last one is featured in the Adult Summer Reading program), we've got a great line-up of prizes this year -- including a special Family Prize for one lucky family (your family will be eligible if at least one parent and one child have signed up for the programs).

There's no "assigned" reading -- you can read whatever you best like (and audiobooks count)! Science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, historical fiction, romance, non-fiction, and even graphic novels and manga all count for the program.

So please stop by the Library or our website. Happy Reading this summer!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A New Audio Format at MPL - Playaway

Do you like to listen to audiobooks while you walk, clean around the house or on your drive to work, but are tired of having to change CDs? Here's the answer - listen to your next book on a Playaway!

What is a Playaway? It's a small device (half the size of a deck of cards) that comes preloaded with up to 80 hours of HD audio content on each unit. All you need is a battery and headphones and you're all set to listen to your favorite book! You can also listen to a Playaway in your car. If you have an auxiliary jack in your car to listen to your MP3 player, you can listen to a Playaway. It's that simple.

A Playaway is easy to use. It has clearly marked buttons which give you the ability to move back and forth within or between chapters and alter the speed of the narrator's voice. It even has an automatic bookmark feature that remembers where you left off. It's also lightweight - it only weighs 2 ounces!

Last Thursday we launched this new format at Monroeville Public Library to great success. Take a look at our Adult and Teen selections. There are several other libraries in the county that also carry Playaways, so if you don't see something that interests you in our list, you can always search the entire county for it. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment here or give us a call at 412-372-0500 ext. 4.