Monday, October 27, 2014

The Author Next-Door

Did you know that a wealth of authors live in the Sno-Isle area? Meet the authors next-door and celebrate reading and community while learning more about some of the published authors who live among us. Participate in an interactive panel of authors who write for all ages on a variety of subjects, from children’s picture books to adult fiction and non-fiction. Books will be available for signing and purchase.

We'll also be highlighting participating authors on this blog with guest posts over the next serveral weeks. Whenever you see the badge to the left, you'll be hearing from on of our local authors. We're very excited to support and celebrate the artists in our community, and we hope you're excited to learn more about some of the people who make living in Snohomish and Island Counties special. 

Snohomish Library
Sunday, November 2, 2pm

Coupeville Library
Wednesday, November 5, 1pm

Freeland Library
Sunday, November 9, 2pm

Mukilteo Library
Sunday, November 16, 2pm

Stanwood Library
Wednesday, November 19, 6:30pm

That Book You Just Can’t Put Down

It is a delicious feeling to be immersed in a book that you can't put down.  It is even better when that book is part of a series and you know that you have many more enticing titles to look forward to.  Though you may read prolifically, it is a rare treat to come across a story that urges and compels you to stop all other distractions – work, play, electronic, etc. – and allow yourself the time and indulgence to become engrossed in reading. 
My first encounter with this phenomenon was as a child reading The Emerald City of Oz and the rest of the Oz series, by L. Frank Baum, quickly followed by the works of Laura Engels Wilder, Walter Farley, C. S. Lewis, Ursula Le Guin, and J.R.R. Tolkien.  I jumped from series to series, book to book, easily slipping into literary worlds with great pleasure.
As an adult, I am much busier and less able to find time for reading.  It is harder to shut out the world.  When I do find the time to read, interruptions and distractions are abundant and most books are put aside without too much thought.  Reading has become a “catch as you can” activity.  That being said...  Every once in a while, a story will come along and grab my attention, urging me to get lost in a book.  When I start to look forward to commuting to work so that I can listen to an audiobook or stay up all night in order to finish another chapter, I know that I am savoring a gem of a read – the book that I just can’t put down.  If I am lucky, it will be at least 600 pages long!

What are some of your favorite “can’t put it down” books?

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.