Monday, August 29, 2011

Bent Road

Welcome to the high plains of Kansas, where you can see for miles and nothing's as it seems.

After a 20 year self-imposed exile, Arthur Scott relocates his wife and three children to the Kansas farming community of his youth. Years before, his beautiful blond sister Eve died mysteriously and small town speculation cast guilt on her boyfriend Ray who, after Eve's death, married her sister. The locals' open curiosity and condemnation reduced him to an abusive drunk and the likely suspect when another local beautiful blonde girl disappears shortly after the Scotts arrive.

Neither pastoral nor sympathetic, the country and community portrayed in Bent Road by Lori Roy is pure Midwest gothic with danger and drama around every corner.

Find it at your Library.

Vicki Ann

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Post Brought To You By The Letter M, And The Number 3

It's true confession time.  I love my job as a librarian.  But, if by some remarkable chance, the folks from Sesame Street wanted to hire me, I'd move in a New York minute.  I was raised on this show, and I just never grew out of it.  The witty banter, the love of words and reading, numbers and letters, goofy puppets - what's not to love?  Imagine my delight when somehow, the DVD Best of Sesame Street Spoofs landed in my lap.  All the fun skits and songs, none of the boring videos of animals and large machinery. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Walking Dead, at Your Library

No question about it, zombies are hot right now. Here are a few notable zombie books I've read recently.

Ever since the first teenager walked the earth, adults have been the enemy. Now it's even more literally true, when a strange virus has turned everyone over sixteen into mindless cannibal monsters, leaving kids and young teenagers to fend for themselves in an increasingly desperate fight. It's not for the faint of stomach, but for those that like their zombie movies both gory and thought-provoking, The Enemy by Charlie Higson is a sure bet.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Haigh is for Jennifer

If you've missed reading any of Jennifer Haigh's 4 novels, you'll delight in discovering a new author for your literary fiction list. Hallmarks of Haigh's novels include beautiful language, unique multifaceted characters and the author's compassionate understanding of the complexities of family dynamics. Family in different shapes and guises forms the core of Haigh's fiction.

The Condition You'll first meet the McKotches, a large patrician Boston family, at The Captain's House, their usual summer gathering spot on Cape Cod. But this summer, the usual becomes anything but as family members watch Gwen, on the verge of adolescence, enter the water. Comparisons are inevitable between Gwen and her younger cousin but Gwen definitely looks younger. In fact, Gwen is diagnosed with Turner's Syndrome, a condition that will forever hold her in the body of a child. Gwen's condition is obvious but over the next twenty years other family conditions - less obvious but equally significant - financial, emotional and spiritual are masterfully brought to recognition.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sea Stories

It's August. It's hot. Let's face it, all of us in Tucson are dreaming about the beach... and when we say beach, we think beach reads. A beach read tends to hold the connotation of something light, something fun, something that probably falls into the guilty pleasure category you hide under your bed.

I've got another variety of beach reads for you: sea stories. Pirates and adventures and tales of the high seas! My one problem: I have so many favorite sea stories it was almost impossible to pick out one or two to highlight. But I love lists, so I am going to start a list of some of my all time favorite sea stories, and invite you all to keep this list rolling. If you are reading this from our library website, please click through to our blog page to add your favorite to our comment section.
  1. Piratica by Tanith Lee (as swashbuckling as it gets)
  2. The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman (for all the Gaiman fans out there)
  3. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Staff Picks

Check out what our staff enjoyed reading this month.

Betsey enjoyed The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt.  Holling is the only boy who doesn't attend religious instruction in school.  Instead he must stay in Mrs. Baker's class and read Shakespeare.  He must also deal with bullies, rats, and the school play. 

Heather liked Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.  The people on a small island must rely on all their ingenuity to communicate in an increasingly limited language when the goverment progressively bans letters from the alphabet.  As the letters are banned they also disappear from the book, with hilarious results. 

Maureen recommends Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee.  After the death of her estranged mother, who left Ohio years ago to live with her lesbian partner in New York City, seventeen-year-old Shawna tries to deal with her anger, her mother's other family, and secrets from the past. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I did not want to read this book. The book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, has a very cute name. Books with cute names just do not appeal to me. I like mysteries with hard boiled characters and plots that keep you on the edge of your seat. However, I needed a title to use for a book club, and it seemed like everything I wanted wasn't available. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is suggested for book club discussion groups. It was also a best seller, so I decided to give it a try.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poetry for Skeptics

Maybe you're not usually the kind of person who curls up with a mug of tea and a volume of poetry on lazy summer nights; maybe you haven't read many poems since your high school English teacher assigned something that just seemed long and confusing. If your conception of poetry primarily consists of dusty tomes filled with poems written by dead poets, or if your reading tastes veer towards thoughtful, well-written novels, you should stop everything, right now, and go find a book by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. His brand new collection of poems is called Horoscopes For the Dead, and the one before that is Ballistics. The poems in both these books (as well as his earlier titles) focus on everyday themes and are written in beautiful, clear verse. They are often funny, sometimes poignant, and never stuffy or standoffish. Billy Collins has a way of making the ordinary seem extraordinary--or at least worth noticing.  Full of contrasts, surprises, and vivid imagery, these poems should be savored in a hammock, on a porch, beside a pool--anywhere you can relax and allow the words to settle into your bones. These poems are the perfect cure for the midsummer blues.
~Queen of Books

Monday, August 1, 2011

Deaf Sentence

Poor Professor Bates! The hero of David Lodge's Deaf Sentence won't see sixty again and, in a synergistic purgatory that may seem familiar to aging boomers, he's uncomfortably sandwiched in between the needs of adult children, concerns about his ailing father, a domestic role reversal prompted by his wife's business, and an infirmity of his encroaching old age that drives the action of this hilarious novel: after years of swimming against the tide of hearing loss, Desmond Bates must accept the fact that he is all but deaf.

It's a problem, all right. Weary of the constant professional humiliations posed by his deafness, Bates throws in the towel and retires from his teaching position at a university in Northern England. But, retirement simply presents its own set of hearing challenges. Hearing aids provide little relief so he tends to just wing it in social situations. Pretending he can hear when he actually has no idea what's just been said is frequently funny and occasionally catastrophic,