Monday, October 20, 2014

Unrequited Love

Why are star-crossed lovers more satisfying than those happily-ever-afters? One author shares,

“I have to admit, an unrequited love is so much better than a real one. I mean, it's perfect... As long as something is never even started, you never have to worry about it ending. It has endless potential.” ― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

Some of the more memorable doomed lovers I've enjoyed are:

Lily Owens and Zach Taylor - Secret Life of Bees

Cassandra and Simon - I Capture the Castle

Henry Lee & Keiko Okabe - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Miles and Alaska - Looking for Alaska

Cathy and Heathcliff - Wuthering Heights

Got any to add the the list?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Big Library Read: Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

Sno-Isle Libraries is participating in a program offered by Overdrive, one of our ebook vendors.* It's called the Big Library Read. For two weeks ending on Oct. 28, SIL patrons will be allowed unlimited Overdrive downloads of Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes. No wait list = immediate gratification, and the opportunity to get all your friends to read the same book at the same time without any of those pesky trips to the library to pick up the physical book (or one of our awesome book discussion kits).

It's not just a Sno-Isle thing, either. There are library patrons all across the world who will be reading this book over the next couple weeks.

Here's the publisher description of Anatomy of a Misfit: "Narrator Anika Dragomir is the third most popular girl at Pound High School. But inside, she knows she's a freak; she can't stop thinking about former loner Logan McDonough, who showed up on the first day of tenth grade hotter, bolder, and more mysterious than ever. Logan is fascinating, troubled and off-limits. The Pound High queen bee will make Anika's life hell if she's seen with him. So Anika must choose--ignore her feelings and keep her social status? Or follow her heart and risk becoming a pariah. Which will she pick? And what will she think of her choice when an unimaginable tragedy strikes, changing her forever? "

Have a happy ebook club, and feel free to let us know what you think in the comments!

 *The other, of course, being 3M Cloud Library.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Funny Sci-fi

A few years ago I listened to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (because Wil! Wheaton! narrates it magnificently) and it hit just the right spot of humor, action, and irreverence. I've been looking for something that hits near that sweet spot ever since, and I almost don't want to read anything else at the moment. I rarely re-read these days, although I did frequently in my youth (certain Sweet Valley books became very battered), but Ready Player One has been revisited several times.

Recently I listened to The Martian, a first novel by Andy Weir and it rekindled my need for more of that same trio of qualities. Looking for something similar finally led me to John Scalzi, who's been one of those authors I've resisted reading for no good reason. I finally read Redshirts, which is nothing but a fantastic and loving send up of Star Trek, and while it didn't hold strong all the way to the end (it got a little too meta for my tastes), it was nevertheless a really fun read. Sadly, Cline & Weir have only published those titles, and now I'm resisting going on a huge Scalzi binge.

I've talked to a few colleagues about what other books should go into this tiny grouping. Terry Pratchett has been mentioned, and while he definitely hits the humor, action, and irreverence, that's fantasy, not sci-fi. I did enjoy the completely insane Mothership by Martin Leitcht and Isla Neal (pregnant teens in orbit around Earth? and they get attacked by aliens? yeah, I'll always be up for that), but that was almost too slapstick to really fit with the other three. Novelist indicates that I may like Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, so I have that on hold, even though it's fantasy.

Have you read anything that matches?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Question of the Week: What do you read that scares you?

To me, October is a horror-filled month full of scary movies and costumes, terrifying decor (i.e. entirely too realistic looking, over-sized spiders), and creepy sounds. It's one of my favorite times of year! In anticipation of this month I'd like to know, what do you read that scares you?

Here are a few books that have frightened me (they may not necessarily be considered horror novels) -

Faith: A Novel - John Love
Faith is the name humanity has given to the unknown, seemingly invincible alien ship that has begun to harass the newly emergent Commonwealth. 300 years earlier, the same ship destroyed the Sakhran Empire, allowing the Commonwealth to expand its sphere of influence. But now Faith has returned! The ship is as devastating as before, and its attacks leave some Commonwealth solar systems in chaos. Eventually it reaches Sakhra, now an important Commonwealth possession, and it seems like history is about to repeat itself. But this time, something is waiting: an Outsider, one of the Commonwealth's ultimate warships. Slender silver ships, full of functionality and crewed by people of unusual abilities, often sociopaths or psychopaths, Outsiders were conceived in back alleys, built and launched in secret, and commissioned without ceremony. One system away from earth, the Outsider ship Charles Manson makes a stand. Commander Foord waits with his crew of miscreants and sociopath, hoping to accomplish what no other human has been able to do - to destroy Faith!

The Reapers Are The Angels - Alden Bell
Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free. For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. 

Black Moon - Kenneth Calhoun
Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her. He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness. Chase and his buddy Jordan are devising a scheme to live off their drug-store lootings; Lila is a high school student wandering the streets in an owl mask, no longer safe with her insomniac parents; Felicia abandons the sanctuary of a sleep research center to try to protect her family and perhaps reunite with Chase, an ex-boyfriend. All around, sleep has become an infinitely precious commodity. Money can't buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it. However, Biggs persists in his quest for Carolyn, finding a resolve and inner strength that he never knew he had. Kenneth Calhoun has written a brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, strange, and profoundly moving.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Question of the Week: What do YOU recommend?

I suggest a lot of titles to customers, plus my family and friends, but I don't normally ask for recommendations (probably because I always have a tall stack of books waiting to be read). I'd love to hear from you. What have you recently read that was amazing? Shocking? Fun? Weird? Compelling?

Here are a few recommendations from me:

I recommend listening to the audiobook of The Glass Castle. I got so hooked while I was driving that I didn't want to get out of the car.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Books that You've Put Off Reading

We all have a stack of books, either physically or mentally, that we've meant to ready but have put off for one reason or another.  Recently someone told me about a great book that she'd just read and I responded, "I told you to read that over a year ago!"  It made me think of all the books that I've put off reading and then when I did read some of them, my whole reason for avoiding seemed rather misguided.  Here are some of my "put off" books that became favorites:

A.S. Byatt't Possession

The wonderful Evie kept asking me, "have you read it?", and finally, I caved.  Wow!

Louise Penny's Three Pines Mystery Series

Marie started me on these and although I couldn't begin until after Notables, it was worth the wait.

Connie Willis' Bellwether
A community reading event forced this one on me and I waited until I absolutely had to read it.  It made me look at science fiction in a whole new way.  And I read every word.

So, how about you?  What have you been putting off reading?

Monday, September 1, 2014

What’s your favorite book club pick of 2014?

OK, I admit that I’m not in a book club, BUT because I led one for 5 years or so, I still think about the “discussability” of a book when I’m reading it. I just finished The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (author of the memoir, The Color of Water : a Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, and 2 novels, Miracle at St. Anna, and Song Yet Sung).

The Good Lord Bird made me think about the real stories behind iconic heroes (it’s about abolitionist John Brown, who comes off looking like a nut case), and about bravery, about killing done in the name of religion, narrative point of view (the story’s narrator is a slave boy who is mistaken for a girl, and decides the mistake can work to his advantage), the use of humor in telling a tragic story, slavery and race.

I know some book groups are starting to line up their titles for 2015. What are your favorite discussion books so far this year?