Here at the library, we’ve been getting into the spirit of March Madness by making brackets, and that prompted me to start thinking about one of the 2016 Library Challenges: read a book that is over 100 years old. I suspect that for those of you who are participating–and even those of you who are not–reading that challenge either filled you with a palpable sense of dread or it made you positively giddy that you’d be revisiting one of your old favorites. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed from working in the library, as well as taking literature classes, it’s that there are two types of people in the world–there are those who love 19th century literature and those who do not.
When it comes to recommending 500+ page books, I decided to avoid what is perhaps the most obvious solution to the problem—19th century classics, which regularly top out at well over 500 pages. Instead, I decided to focus on much more recent books that qualify for this category, simply because I’m assuming many readers will already be familiar with a lot of those classics, even ones they’ve never personally read.
In conducting my research, I learned that many contemporary books that are this long fall into one of two categories—literary fiction or fantasy. And, sometimes, they’re literary fiction with fantastical elements or fantasy with literary elements. In any event, I tried to find a little bit of something to appeal to everyone.
As always, follow this link to our online catalog to learn more about any of these books or to place them on hold.
Dolores Claiborne is a hardworking, tough talking housekeeper for an elderly woman on an island just off the coast of Maine. She’s been accused of killing her employer by shoving her down the stairs, and Dolores has her work cut out for her, explaining why she is, in fact, innocent of that crime, though she readily admits she did murder her husband thirty years earlier. Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne is the protagonist’s chapterless confession of what drove her to murder her husband and also an explanation for why she didn’t murder her employer, Vera, despite having several good reasons for doing so.
[Usually blog posts are written by Shirley, Berryville’s library services associate, but today we have a special treat–a guest review written by Tiffany Newton, the director of the Green Forest Public Library. She’s reviewing Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore for us!]
“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines — it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.”–Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
Do you love books? Quests with wizards, rogues, and warriors? Do you love code-breaking? What about ancient conspiracies? Living Forever? Modern Technology? 3D Printing? Rock Climbing? Computer Animation? Late nights spent reading your favorite childhood novel? Audio Books? Knitting?
What do all those things have in common? Well, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan takes all those amazing things and mixes them into one page-turner.
Since the 1980s, people have been celebrating the concept of π–the mathematical ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, which is always a constant 3.14 –on March 14th. Sorry to subject you to math lessons early in the morning.
I’m not entirely sure what people gifted in mathematical ability do to celebrate Pi Day because I was an English/history major for a reason. But someone in my classes always brought a pie to class on Pi Day, so I was always a fan of this holiday. I’m not going to argue with any train of thought that results in free pie.
Since I can’t deliver a pie to you through the internet, I thought I might instead offer a list of suggestions for this year’s challenge to “Read a book with a number in the title.”
A quick answer to this question would be to just read one of the many books in either James Patterson’s Woman’s Murder Club series or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, both of which always feature numbers in the title.
However, there are a lot of other books in our system that also work for this category, so let’s explore a few of them. As always, if you’re interested in learning more about them, follow this link to our online catalog.
Last month, we debuted the “Ask the Blogger” series, in which I answer reader questions/review reader-recommended material. This post comes courtesy of Carol Ann, who suggested I review this recent movie because it’s wonderful but under-appreciated.
I actually remember seeing some advertising for this movie when it came out, made a mental note that I should see it, and then forgot about it until I read the request Carol Ann submitted. I’m glad she suggested it because she’s right–it is a great movie that more people should see.
I should probably preface this review by admitting that I am a devoted Sherlock Holmes fan. I’ve loved the character since I was a kid. In fact, I own several different editions of the complete works of Sherlock Holmes, and I’ve read all the stories twice–once in the order they were published and once in a sequence that someone proposed representing the chronology within the stories themselves. (I realize that makes me sound like a complete dork–and there’s some truth to that accusation–but it was actually an interesting experiment in watching a series evolve. I have no regrets.)
Tomorrow, March 8th, is International Woman’s Day, and we decided to celebrate by blogging about the challenge that asks you to read a book written by a female author.
Of course, we’ve already covered a lot of great female authors over the past couple of months, including but certainly not limited to Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Daphne Du Maurier, Barbara Kingsolver, and Margaret Atwood.
But I thought I’d use this blog post to be more reflective than usual and chat about some of my favorite female authors, though this list certainly doesn’t include all of them. As always, if you are interested in reading any of the books mentioned, just follow this link to our catalog.
Here at the library, we’re celebrating March Madness all month long, and I figured that’s the perfect time to present suggestions for the 2016 Library Challenge of reading a mystery or thriller.
Personally, I love a good mystery or thriller, and like anyone else who reads this genre, I have favorite authors and favorite series. (I have a pretty wide-ranging list of favorites, everything from light, classic British mysteries to darker American noir to standard police procedurals to amateur detective books to legal thrillers to psychological suspense thrillers. But my biggest soft spot is for Scandinavian murder mysteries, which I was introduced to several years ago. About the only mystery subgenre I don’t particularly care for is cozies, but even then, I sometimes read them.)
I realize, though, not everyone reads a lot in this genre and for those of you that do, you undoubtedly have your own favorite authors or series. For these reasons, I wanted to provide a selection of books that will appeal to you regardless of how much you read in the genre. To that end, I decided to focus on more recent books, either from this year or last year, and also to avoid books from long-standing series. All of the books below are either stand-alones or are intended as first books in a series, so that should make it easier to get into them, regardless of your own amount of reading in these genres.
As always, if you’re interested in any of these books, just follow this link to our online catalog, which will allow you to read more about them, check availability, and place items on hold.