Friday, October 20, 2017

Shrill by Lindy West

Quick, name a few role models you had growing up that you could both relate to, and see your self growing into their role. Now think about those role models, are they people you want to emulate? Are they people you can emulate? Are they reasonable? If not, can you (again quickly) think of more people closer to your self that look and have lives similar to yours? If not, welcome to Lindy West's world.

Shrill, Notes From a Loud Woman is a collection of essays that tell the story of journalist Lindy West's upbringing as a "big boned" kid who chose the worlds of fantasy over the real. Who did a presentation about her love for TV, specifically comedy, to the disappointment of a favorite teacher, who stood up for herself by claiming who she was, and who starting speaking up for those who might not be ready to stand up for themselves.

Funny and powerful, reading Shrill will both make you laugh and think. West is a writer and without knowing it you may have read her work for other sites. Recommended for readers who miss The Toast, check out Jezebel on occasion, and just want to read about someone who has stopped apologizing for who she is. 

Check out Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman @ the library!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mister Hockey by Lia Riley

Jed West never knows what to expect with sports reporter Neve Angel, however this one interview ends up with him reading at a library as a favor to her sister, Breezy. What he doesn't expect is the vibrant "Super Reader" to have a bit of a wardrobe malfunction, that leads him straight to her home, and further into her arms. While he makes is a rule to never date fans, how can this quiet book worm even know who he is, other than what her sister tells her?

Of course, Breezy is Jed's biggest fan. Not only is he the star of her favorite hockey team, he's the star of her wildest fantasies. So when she has to face him more than once in one day, each interaction more embarrassing than the last, she hopes her half lie about being a fan won't cause her too much trouble. Of course, neither expected to find more than a fling in each other.

Mister Hockey is a fun fast read, that throws you into the whirl-wind romance between a star hockey player and a librarian. There's no lack of heat between the two characters, and even they know it's more than just a fling. In the tradition of Susan Elizabeth Phillips Stars series, readers can only hope to see more of the Angel family and the sports starts they love!

Check out Mister Hockey by Lia Riley @ the library!

Friday, October 6, 2017

The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder

Family weddings tend to be perfect memories, preserved in photographs where we all put on our best smiles, for family and friends. Anyone involved in a wedding will tell you there is much more going on beneath the surface of those perfect family photos.

It starts with an invitation, and a guess at how much the invitations cost. Siblings Alice and Paul have always been a pretty united front against their half sister Eloise, a woman who lived a life of privilege and ease that made their middle-class American life seem so ordinary. Now Eloise is getting married, insisting that they come to England for the event, and showing them the life they could never achieve.

Paul is happily partnered with Mark, living in Philadelphia doing kind of controversial work, that most psychologists would kill to do. Alice is on the West Coast, sleeping with her boss, and a still bit lost after Mexico. Being forced to face their mother, and their half sister is enough to push them to breaking points they didn't know they had.

Written in the same dysfunctional vein as Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Cynthia D'Aprix-Sweeney's The Nest, you won't be able to look away from the train wreck of a family in The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Much like Jillian Cantor's other works of historical fiction, The Lost Letter, beautifully weaves together two stories of love and loss. One part of the storyline, set in 1938 Austria, follows the Fabers, a Jewish family trying to survive as the Nazis march into Austria. Patriarch Frederick Faber is a master stamp engraver making postage stamps for the Austrian government. When the Nazis institute antisemtic legislation in Austria, the Fabers are forced to leave Austria leaving young Kristoff, Frederick's non-Jewish apprentice, in charge. When one of Frederick's daughters refuses to leave Austria, and becomes involved with the resistance movement, Kristoff finds himself falling in love.

Fast forward to 1989 shortly before the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Katie, the daughter of an avid stamp collector is sorting through her father's stamp collection as her father suffers from the late stages of Alzheimer. When Katie finds a letter with a unique stamp on it she begins to journey into the past to uncover the story behind the unopened letter.

Cantor, much like she does in her other historical fiction novels, tells a completely captivating story. With seamless incorporation of historical events, Cantor alternates between characters with ease, perfectly blending the two time periods together.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by the Library of Congress

As librarians, we are quite often asked about the card catalogs our older patrons remember from their youth. While technology has completely changed the way one finds the books they're looking, the card catalog still lives on, just in a different format. The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures pays homage to those 3x5 manila-colored cards that we all love. Authored by the Library of Congress, with a foreword from new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, this book explains the origins of the card catalog, the information contained on those little cards, and just how important those cards were in the early days of libraries. The chapter entitled "The Rise and Fall of the Card Catalog" discusses the beginning of the demise of the card catalog following the use of punched cards following the 1890 census and how IBM revolutionized the way librarians cataloged books.

While the background information about the card catalog is interesting, perhaps the best part of this book is the rare photos the reader gets to see. Images of book cover art from Gone With the Wind, The Sound and the Fury, Snowy Day, and many others from the Library of Congress' collection are included. The original card is also included alongside the title. So just what happened to all of those cards? As this book notes, many of the cards have been used as art, jewelry, or collectibles. And those gorgeous wood card catalog drawers? Ask a librarian, chances are they can only dream of ever affording one.

This book, particularly of interest to librarians, would also be of interest to historians, bibliophiles, and avid library users. It's an interesting look at the roots of librarianship and provides a fascinating glimpse at what technology has provided us with.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

It's been twenty years since Kersti Kuusk has been to the Lycée, the prestigious boarding school she attended as a teen. Kersti abruptly left the school during her senior year after her best friend Cressida mysteriously fell from the balcony of her dorm. Cressida's fall was declared an accident, but Kersti refuses to believe it. When a mutual friend of theirs passes away and sends Kersti a strange letter, it leaves even more questions about Cressida unanswered.

Now a successful author, Kersti is invited back to the Lycée's 100th anniversary celebration honoring women who have made a significant contribution to the world. Kersti sees this as the perfect time to delve a little bit deeper into exactly what happened the night of Cressida's accident. When a secret letter and incriminating Polaroids show up at Kersti's hotel, she finally puts together the missing pieces of the puzzle. Just how far will someone go to keep the secrets surrounding Cressida's accident?

The Finishing School is told in alternating chapters between the present day and Kersti's school years leading up to Cressida's fall from the balcony. This technique is effective in that it creates tension and suspense, particularly those chapters that focus on Kersti's present day findings.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

Like her mother before her, Anna Forster was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in her late thirties. When her memory begins to rapidly deteriorate, Anna is moved to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility set up to help people who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's. Though she's reluctant to embrace her life at Rosalind House, Anna begins to befriend Luke, the only other person her age at Rosalind House. When the disease takes more of Anna's memory, she fights to hold onto everything she can, including her relationship with Luke.

Eve Bennett has suddenly become a single mother after her husband's death. Forced to provide for her daughter Clementine, Eve takes a job as the cook at Rosalind House. When she realizes Anna and Luke's relationship is what it is, Eve makes a daring move to make sure nobody has to be without the one they love.

Written in the style of Liane Moriarity, Sally Hepworth's The Things We Keep weaves together the stories of Anna Forster and Eve Bennett. These women are faced with their own difficulties, but ultimately help one another.