So, I just finished reading “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber as an e-book. There is something so subtle and nuanced about this book as it seamlessly slips between the past and the present. The twist in this thriller is also so under the radar that it will haunt you and make you question your own judgment long after you finish reading it. If you pick this one up, don’t expect a dose of optimism, but rather the harsh reality of mental illness and those it affects. Lies, murder, and darkness–what more could you want in a psychological thriller?
I won’t get into politics here, but have you ever wondered why government officials and financial institutions are rarely held accountable for their crimes? Then, The Chickens*** Club by Jesse Eisinger is for you. If you’re offended by the star symbols, I’m sorry. Anyway, it’s a wonderful new book that we have at the library by a Pulitzer Prize winner. He talks about James Comey and a wide cast of characters we’ve all been hearing about in the news. It’s a fascinating read discussing the financial crisis, as well as other large-scale scandals. If you would like to place a hold on this book, click here.
On the completely opposite side of the spectrum is Richard Kadrey’s The Kill Society. This book is like a cross between Mad Max and Cormac McCarthy with a lot of noir themes thrown in for good measure. This book is a thrill ride until the very last minute and I had a great time with it. It’s available from your library as an e-book.
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.
- Wolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures by Ben Mezrich, George Church and Stewart Brand: This is a story about the scientists who are trying to bring the mammoth back to life; it breathes new life into the history of this spectacular creature.
- 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.
- Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy: An adventure story with deep characters and grim truths.
- 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.
- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: A suspenseful read full of pain, but also hope.
- 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.
- Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis: This is a cute little romance perfect for the beach!
I just finished “Miles, the Autobiography” and I have to say I loved it. Miles Davis is a figure not unlike those in the media today. His book is full of judgments and outright dismissals of other artists. If you can get past the general ‘meanness’ of the biography, I think that fans of Miles Davis will enjoy his take on the world.
Additionally, his feelings on other musicians have also been recorded during a series of blindfold tests that forced Davis to figure out who was playing and then remark on what he had heard. In one particular test, he said of Eric Dolphy’s “Miss Ann” that “nobody else could sound that bad!”
If you’re interested in Miles Davis or any other famous figure, let a librarian know. We have a rather expansive biography section full of information about your faves!
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 just finished a couple books and they were both awesome! The best part about these two books is your library owns them, so stop in and check them out or put them on hold today.
“A Face Like Glass” by Frances Hardinge: Everyone in Caverna is born with a blank canvas for a face and must be taught how to make expressions. Facesmiths are the professionals who provide the service of creating expressions for the people of Caverna. The problem with this service is that it costs money–the rich get to choose from an array of faces while those that don’t have financial resources get stuck with faces that have already been chosen for them such as expressions of subservience. This book is pure magic in both the craft of the writing, as well as the actual content.
“Bad Dreams and Other Stories” by Tessa Hadley: This short story collection gives readers complex characters and a sense of closure when each story is finished. I actually became attached to a lot of the characters here instead of forgetting them the moment I moved on to the next story. The connecting thread between these stories is self-reflection–each character goes through a deeply conflicting experience and must look inside themselves for the answers.
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.
I recently read All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. I absolutely loved most of it. It’s relentlessly hilarious with an incredibly unique concept. In the main character’s timeline, the world is almost perfect–technology has solved every conceivable problem that we have today. There’s just one problem that Tom still has–he’s lost the love of his life, but he has a time machine.
The worst thing possible happens: Tom ends up in the readers’ (our) timeline and he doesn’t understand our world at all. He has some big choices to make: stay here with the woman of his dreams or go back to a technologically advanced haven. I can tell you one thing: he doesn’t make it easy on himself.
My only issue with the book was that the story became a bit convoluted at times, but it continued to maintain my interest. I actually laughed out loud multiple times and truly enjoyed reading something so out-of-this-world.
This book is available at our library, so come check it out!