Books we love

by: 
Kay, Golden Library

Is it our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable?  Although a negative path to happiness may seem counter-intuitive, British journalist Oliver Burkeman ends up making complete sense of the idea in The Antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking. You’ll enjoy the different perspectives Burkeman explores in each chapter, as well as his tone, which is not quite as snarky as the subtitle suggests but still humorous. Readers may also like his attitude, that of the guy who questions authority, and the wealth of information he delivers in the style of Malcolm Gladwell. From an interview with Eckhart Tolle to a visit to the Museum of Failed Products, Burkeman never fails to enlighten and entertain.

by: 
Kay, Golden Library

If you, like me, admire the many fine cookbooks the library purchases, but rarely find time to follow a recipe from one, consider taking a look at An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, a beautifully written and inspiring book by Tamar Adler. Read it whether you consider yourself a cook or not; you’ll find that you will look at cooking differently after you do. Don’t read it for the recipes, though it has many fine ones. Read it to remind yourself that eating healthy, affordably, and responsibly is what humans have been doing since ancient times, beginning with boiling water over a fire. Adler reminds us that feeding ourselves is an integral part of being human and well-worth a little time and effort to do it well. She also offers plenty of advice along the way, making this a practical book as well as inspiring.

by: 
Kay, Golden Library

In this wonderfully imaginative “memoir” by Matthew Dicks, Budo tells the story of his life with Max, an eight-year old boy on the Autism spectrum. Budo is Max’s imaginary friend and not only is he is clever in a way that Max is not; he has his own internal sense of self. He helps Max navigate home and school but lives in fear of the day Max no longer needs him. When a trusted adult takes advantage of Max’s naiveté, Budo knows he must step in to save Max at any cost.

Budo is a delightful narrator. One reviewer likened Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Room. I think if you like the worlds created by Jasper Fforde and J.K. Rowling, you might also enjoy Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend.

by: 
Rene, Evergreen Library

The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann is an interesting read. The main character, Emil Larsson, works in customs as a "sekretaire." In his private life, he becomes involved in card games at Mrs. Sofia Sparrow’s house. Sparrow runs gaming out of her home for the town's influential people. But are there more to the games? Mrs. Sparrow convinces Emil to let her do a prediction through her fortunetelling cards, drawing a set of eight cards called the Octavo. The goal of Emil’s Octavo is for him to find someone to love and marry. Mrs. Sparrow also draws an Octavo for herself. The characters bound to Emil and Mrs. Sparrow's Octavos intertwine with each other and with historical events. If you are looking for a novel that is a bit different, this may be the one for you!

by: 
Carol, Arvada Library

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Seventeen year old Evie O'Neill is sooo bored living in a small town in Ohio in the 1920’s. She is sure life is passing her by, so she spends her time defying her parents, drinking bathtub gin, and generally causing havoc. As punishment, her parents decide to send her to live with her Uncle Will, who is the curator of a folklore and occult museum known by all as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. Evie is thrilled with her “exile” to Uncle Will’s in New York City, and soon finds herself hanging out with a Ziegfeld girl, her piano player roommate, a pickpocket, and her best friend Mable. When Uncle Will is called upon to help with a series of occult related murders, Evie worms her way into the investigation. She soon finds that she knows more than she can say, without giving away her “special” supernatural talent. As she tries to help, she meets other 17-year-olds who all seem to have talents as well, and together they work to save the future from a great evil trying to come back from the past.

by: 
Veronica, Columbine Library

The Old Buzzard had it Coming by Donis Casey

An ugly abusive drunk is murdered, and Alafair Tucker is an Oklahoma farm mother who discovers an ability to figure out "whodunit," just when her family needs her help the most. 

This is the first book in a series of historical fiction novels by Casey set in Oklahoma in the years between 1912 and 1920.  Her work paints a vivid picture of farm life in this era, while entertaining us with a mystery that needs untangling.  The characters are homespun and hard-working, and some of Alafair’s favorite farm recipes are also included.

 

by: 
Judy, Belmar Library

The Light Between Oceans: a Novel by M. L. Stedman

In the aftermath World War I, Tom Sherbourne is still recovering psychologically from the war when he takes the job as lighthouse keeper on tiny Janus Island off the coast of Australia.  He hopes the solitude and steady job will help him recover from the devastating memories of the wounded, the dying and the killing.
He never expected a young woman from the mainland town to be attracted to him, let alone want to marry him. Tom and Isabel are deeply in love when they marry and settle on the remote island.  Life goes relatively well until she suffers 2 miscarriages and then a stillborn birth. Shortly after, a boat washes up on the shore and inside it Tom and Isabel find a baby girl and a dead man.  Undone from her losses, she begs Tom to let her have time with the baby before they notify the authorities.  Against his better judgment, he relents but this decision and subsequent actions will lead to a family and to a love that he never knew he could feel. It will also lead to his downfall and ruin.  This first novel brilliantly persuades us to suspend any simple judgments of how a good man could make such a wrong decision.

by: 
Jo, Golden Library

 The Mouse That Roared by Leonard Wibberley

The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny nation forgotten by the world, struggles to cope with a financial crisis and with the modern world. The humorous novels chronicling the Duchy of Grand Fenwick’s inventive solutions and international misadventures were written during the frigid depths of the Cold War.  The “Mouse” novels brought the welcome release of laughter to readers who were themselves trying to cope with frightening times. These satiric novels offer new generations of readers insightful, humorous views of life in a time of fear and international intrigue that still ring true today.
 Leonard Wibberley, a prolific 20th century Irish author, spent much of his writing life in the United States and his 100+ works included fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, short stories, articles and screenplays.  Wibberley is perhaps best known for his book The Mouse that Roared, the first in the satiric “Mouse” series. The book was later made into a motion picture starring Peter Sellers and Jean Seberg.
 In addition to printed books available for checkout from JCPL, some of Wibberley’s short stories and articles are available for reading online through JCPL’s Ebscohost database.
Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, children of Leonard, are also writers, and some of their works are available through JCPL.

by: 
Rene, Evergreen Library

I am currently reading the second book in the Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking. In some libraries this series is listed as teen fiction, but all three books are suitable for both teen and adult readers.

In the first book, Switched, Wendy Everly finds out she is not who she thought she was for most of her life! She finds herself in a strange and beautiful world, but she is not sure she wants to remain in that world and claim her legacy.

In the beginning of the second book, Torn, Wendy struggles with reconnecting with her mortal brother when evil forces catch up with her. Wendy is torn between two worlds. Which life will she decide to lead?

This trilogy concludes in the book titled Ascend, which I will be reading soon. These books are fast-paced and fun fantasy reads.

Have you read anything by Amanda Hocking? If so, what did you think?

What are some of your favorite fantasy authors?

by: 
Veronica, Columbine Library

With the new film about Lincoln hitting the theaters, Joshua Shenk's book, Lincoln’s Melancholy: how depression challenged a president and fueled his greatness gives thoughtful background on how Lincoln’s struggle with sadness made him a great president. Using thorough research from the past and tying that in with today’s medical knowledge about depression, Shenk convincingly argues that a major part of Lincoln’s greatness was thanks to the methods he used to cope with his illness. Famously, Lincoln used humor, loving funny stories, along with time for reflecting that served him well in navigating through America’s biggest crisis – the Civil War. Shenk uses Lincoln’s own words as well as his contemporaries’ accounts in this book, making it simply fascinating.

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