Here are some mini-reviews of the best new books at your library:
- Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero: This is the story about the kids from Scooby-Doo all grown-up. While this sounds like a bit of a silly idea, it is well-executed with some dark undertones.
- The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota: This is a book that challenges its readers to step into the shoes of another–in this case, take a walk in the lives of Indian migrants in Britain.
- Defectors by Joseph Kanon: This is a wonderful thriller and spy novel that is set in the early 1950s during the Red Scare. It was so gripping that it only took me about a day to get through it.
- The Child by Fiona Barton: The author’s previous book, The Widow, centers around a cold case–this book does as well, only this time, it involves the murder of a newborn. There’s a huge twist at the end that will leave you thinking about this book for some time to come.
- The Force by Don Winslow: This quote from NPR was so wonderful that I have to use it. “An instant classic, an epic, a…Wagner opera with a full cast and buckets of blood and smack and Jameson whiskey.” If that doesn’t sound awesome to you, then I don’t what to tell you.
- Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong (e-book): A book about dementia that’s sweet (but not too sweet) and relatable.
- The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss (e-book): Goss is drawing from Robert Louis Stevenson, H. G. Wells, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Mary Shelley in this story of friendship and history. Rather than being derivative, it’s actually quite insightful.
- The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman: This book is a testament to the power of reading. Literature vs. video games–who will win?
- Theft by Finding by David Sedaris: For fans of David Sedaris, this is like a glimpse into his mind–an all-at-once shocking and amazing place.
- Silver Silence by Nalini Singh (e-book): If you like paranormal romance, then this book is for you. There are changelings, humans, and a race called Psy who ward off all emotions.
After a week-long hiatus, we’re back! Here are some of the best new books at your library. This time, we’re focusing on e-books and e-audiobooks. If you’ve never used library e-books or e-audiobooks (and you’re interested in doing so), talk to a librarian today!
- Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession (e-book) by Alison Weir: I feel like I’ve researched everything there is to know about Anne Boleyn. This book was a breath of fresh air because it fictionalizes the drama of this era. Weir also writes non-fiction books about the English royals, so she knows her stuff.
- Black Mad Wheel (e-audiobook) by Josh Malerman: What I enjoyed the most about this book was Malerman’s prose. He’s very sparing in the use of his words, so in this way, they really pack a punch. This is a book by a musician–about musicians. A rock band is asked to investigate a strange sound in the Namib Desert of Africa during the early Cold War. What goes down during their mission isn’t quite clear at first, but I will tell you that the main character ends up in the hospital.
- The Heirs (e-book and e-audiobook) by Susan Rieger: A wealthy and powerful (and also dying) man is about to leave his five sons (and wife) without a father/husband. He may have also left a mistress along with other children. Read this for some high-brow drama.
- Spirit of the Horse: A Celebration in Fact and Fable (e-book) by William Shatner and Jeff Rovin: If you enjoy casually reading about horses, then this is the book for you. It’s clear that the author has a deep passion for the creatures while reading this book. Even though I think he could have used a better editor, it’s still fun to read the meandering thoughts of William Shatner.
- White Fur (e-book) by Jardine Libaire: People fall in love, make money and die in New York City in the 1980s. What’s not to love? Joking aside, this book was painful to read because it left nothing left unsaid. It’s beautiful and smart and I loved it.
I know a lot of people are watching Starz’s new TV show American Gods based on Nail Gaiman’s novel of the same name. If you’re enjoying the battle between old gods and new gods and the combination of mythology and modern fantasy, then you’re sure to like these other titles available at your library.
- “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Nail Gaiman: It might seem a little silly to put another Neil Gaiman novel on the list, but he mixes myths and gods into a lot of his work. In this one, an angel and a demon band together to stop the end of the world.
- “Autobiography of Red” by Anne Carson: This novel in verse takes Geryon (a winged monster who fights Herakles) and rewrites the character into a modern teen who falls in love with the Greek hero instead of being slain.
- “Mr. Fox” by Helen Oyeyemi: This terrifying novel blurs the line between fantasy and reality. A writer named St. John Fox struggles deeply with one of the muses in his books.
- “Grendel” by John Gardner: The author does a complete retelling of the Old English poem Beowulf from the monster’s perspective. Although this novel was published in 1971, it still holds up today.
If you’re interested in these or anything else, give your library a call!
In order to highlight some of the best and newest additions to the Jacksonville Public Library’s collection, the blog will have a regular curation of mini book reviews. If you’re interested in any of these titles, stop in or give us a call!
- “I’d Die for You” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Anne Margaret Daniel: This is a new collection of Fitzgerald’s previously unpublished or uncollected short stories. Not every story is destined to become a new classic. However, each story gives readers insight into the famed author’s psyche while trying to produce new work.
- “Anything Is Possible” by Elizabeth Strout: As with other works by Strout, it’s hard to quite tell if this is a novel or a collection of short stories. Either way, each chapter or story is connected by common themes. Strout’s newest book is well-written and examines ideas like class (as in working-class etc.), insecurity, and forgiveness. Don’t miss out!
- “The Pearl Thief” by Elizabeth Wein: I am reviewing a novel for young adults because both adults and teens alike enjoy reading them. This book is published by the same author as Code Name Verity. However, you do not need to read the previously published novel to understand and enjoy this new one. It’s both a murder mystery and a coming-of-age story. The thing I loved most about this book was the main character–she’s witty and real.
- “House of Names” by Colm Toibin: This book is quite tragic… Characters are thrown into dungeons and the amount of violence that occurs is quite staggering. However, the violence isn’t gratuitous. With Toibin’s adept writing, the characters are alive with depth. This book doesn’t quite seem like Toibin’s other work, but it is a great book on its own. I was sitting on the edge of my seat as I turned every page.
- “The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore: This book is all about workers’ rights. The women Moore writes about died from the radium they were exposed to while working for dial-making factories. The women’s lives were painful and tragic, but their legacy has paved the way for the protection of workers today.
- “The American Spirit” by David McCullough: This collection of speeches is tied together by the theme of history. McCullough is synonymous with expert as he has won 2 Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his previous work. These speeches instill a much-needed hope at a time of unrest on both sides of the aisle.
- “Shattered” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes: This book explores the ins and outs of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. Ultimately, it looks at what went wrong and tries to make sense of Clinton’s shocking loss last November. This book is the first word on 2016, but it most certainly will not be the last.
- “The Shadow Land” by Elizabeth Kostova: In Kostova’s third novel, she returns to Eastern Europe–Bulgaria. The author has spent much time in this country as this is where she met her husband. The novel starts in 2008 with the main character teaching English in a new country and quickly turns into a mystery to figure out the life of a man named Stoyan Lazarov. Kostova has managed to make another masterpiece so check it out today!
- “The Upside of Unrequited” by Becky Albertalli: This new young adult novel explores all the challenges and beauty that comes with new love. This book is super fun with a cast of characters that will keep you entertained. Try this one out for a summer beach read!
- “Richard Nixon” by John A. Farrell: This biography turns Richard Nixon into a human with depth and feelings. However, it doesn’t let Nixon off the hook for the corruption of his presidency. The book also brings previously unknown details to light from diaries and reports that were recently discovered. If you’ve ever been curious about Nixon, the man, this book is for you.
What is a cult novel? A cult novel is one in which a rabid group of fans swears it’s the best book of all time. I’m sure there are better definitions, but that’s what I’m going with.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger: Everyone knows this classic, but it used to be super underground in the 50s. In fact, it used to be the most banned book of all time after it caught on with the youth!
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac: Reviewers around the time this book was published weren’t too keen on this novel, but it has become an essential book for those who like to wander a little bit more than average.
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: Sadly, our culture tends to revere authors and other artists when they die too soon or before their work becomes famous. That’s the case with this novel. There are a huge number of cult fans who will swear this is the funniest book they’ve ever read.
- Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis: Another funny one! A cult novel written by a cult author about a cult!
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse: Thinking about travelling to the Himalayas? You should probably read this book.
- Dune by Frank Herbert: This book has the most intense fan-base I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t read this amazing piece of science-fiction, I’m here to tell you that you probably should.
- Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein: The main character was raised by aliens. Need I say more? Oh, it has also been very influential in the realm of science-fiction.
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Teenagers love this book because it follows around a group of college students–it’s both successful and culty (is that a word?).
- House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski: A lot of people hate this book with extreme passion, but a lot of people also really love it. This is one of those books that had a cult following online before it was officially published in print. The mystery, as well as the stark differences in opinion regarding its literary merit, will make this a cult novel for years to come.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig: This book was rejected by more publishers than any other bestseller. While this book is kind of kitschy at this point, it is still incredibly popular.
- Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski: Everything Bukowski has ever done is culty. I personally think his work can be hard to get into, but not everyone agrees.
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: While there have been questions about the author’s homophobia, many fans still champion this book quite fervently.
- Generation X by Douglas Coupland: This novel is responsible for coining its namesake. What do people born after 1960 think? I don’t know; read this book.
- The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk: The first book by Pamuk where we really get to witness his chops as an author.
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace: Everyone I’ve every known that has read this book likes to act like they’re better than the people who have not read it. Ah well.
- Kindred by Octavia Butler: Everyone who reads this author falls in love with her!
- Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann: This novel is seen as the ‘girl’s’ version of Catcher in the Rye and was self-published before it was picked up by Random House years later. Sounds like the makings of a cult novel!
All of these books are available at the Jacksonville Public Library. Let us know if you’re interested in any of them.