Book Buzz: Mythological Fan Fiction, Dysfunctional Childhoods, and Literary Cookbooks

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For June, we’re looking at a reworking of the myth of Circe, an ultimately triumphant memoir about a difficult Idaho childhood, and a literary-tinged Victorian cookbook.

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I, Tonya (2017)

I Tonya

During her career as a figure skater, Tonya Harding attracted attention for her impressive athleticism, as well as for her blue collar background and tumultuous life off the ice. But her career ended when her personal life collided with her professional career, and her main rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was assaulted by Harding’s ex-husband’s associates. Last year’s Tonya Harding biopic, I, Tonya, purports to deliver up a black comedy about her life.

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Old Favorites: Great American Read!

Great American Read

We’re focusing on newer books, movies, and television shows for 2018, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely ignoring old favorites! After all, what’s that saying–what’s old may just become new again (or something like that)?

I usually use this feature to commemorate a special event in literary history, but this month is going to be a little different!

I am very excited to announce that the Berryville Public Library was one of only 50 libraries in the nation chosen to receive an ALA programming grant for PBS’s upcoming Great American Reads series.

As you can imagine, we were all very excited to win, but we’re even more excited about the programming we have in store, courtesy of the grant!

Now, you might be wondering exactly what all this means or even what it has to do with our regular Old Favorites feature.

In case you haven’t yet heard, the Great American Read is a PBS series that is intended to get Americans reading, talking about reading, and–ultimately–voting for their favorite book. One hundred books were selected for Americans to vote on, and the list includes everything from classic old favorites to more contemporary new favorites and genres that range from literary fiction to romance to mystery to horror to Westerns. You can view all the books here.

The first episode premieres tonight on PBS and is intended as an introduction. Then, through the summer, people will be able to read books on the list, discuss those books, and start voting for favorites. In the fall, the show will return to PBS with episodes examining themes in the book. The series finale will culminate in a reveal of the results of the voting. For more information, check out their website.

However, in the immortal words of the late, great Billy Mays, “But wait there’s more!” While we’re engaged in the Great American Read voting, we’re also going to be hosting a Great Berryville Read to see what Berryville’s favorite book is.

We’ll be updating you more on both the Great American Read and the Great Berryville Read as time goes on, and we’ll be using the blog to share people’s favorites and to review books from the list.

One of the first things on the agenda is sharing our “first favorites.” Those are the books that, as soon as we look at the list, we automatically think, “Oh I’d vote for that one.” I have 3 and will be revealing them next month in a review of one of them.

But in the meantime, what’s your first favorite? How many books have you read on the list? Will you be tuning in and voting? (We sure hope so!) Tell us in the comments!

Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

Growing up in the Great Depression in a houseboat on the Mississippi River isn’t easy, but Rill Foss and her siblings know no other life. And despite the hardships, the life they do have with their parents and each other is exciting, loving, and even magical, at least to hear her father’s stories. That life comes to a grinding halt when the siblings are abruptly separated from their parents and sent to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. At the time, the orphanage was seen as a place for wealthy, prominent couples to acquire orphans from “good” backgrounds. But it’s now well-known as a nightmarish place that kidnapped poor children and adopted them out.

Interwoven with the story of the Foss family is that of Avery Stafford, a contemporary woman from a prominent South Carolina political family. Despite her ostensibly happy life as a successful prosecutor with a promising political future, she is troubled by the poor health of her beloved father and grandmother and her own uncertainty about her future. A chance meeting at a photo op in a nursing home unnerves her, piques her curiosity, and leads her onto a collision course with the Foss family’s tale. . . .

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Book Buzz: Mysterious Tea Cakes, Ill-Fated Arctic Expeditions, and Tasty Bread Recipes

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For May, we’re looking at a story of a mother and daughter long separated,  a really cold camping trip, and an ode to bread. . . .

In honor of the upcoming Books in Bloom festival, each of the books we’re profiling is also from a Books in Bloom author. It’s not too late to check out a copy and read it just in time to meet the author in person at Books in Bloom on Sunday, May 20th, at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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It’s That Time of Year Again!

Books in Bloom

Make sure you pencil in Sunday, May 20th, 12-5 p.m. on your calendar! That will be the 13th Annual Books in Bloom Literary Festival at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. You can rub elbows with some of your favorite authors, get signed books, and hear the writers give talks on everything from the inspiration behind their books to writing tips to readings of their work.

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Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016)

Dawson City

Dawson City is a remote outpost, deep in the rugged Yukon and not far from the Arctic Circle. Nevertheless, it was a veritable boomtown in the late 1800s and early 1900s after gold was found there. At its peak, tens of thousands moved to Dawson City in the hopes of striking it rich. As with most boomtowns, though, the town’s fortunes waned, and it now has a population of only about 1,000. Dawson City might have just been a footnote in Gold Rush history if it were not for the treasure trove of silent films found there in the 1970s, long forgotten.

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