From Page to Screen: The Girl on the Train

Rachel Watson has, to put it mildly, seen better days.

An unstable alcoholic who is prone to blackouts, she no longer has a husband, job, or home. Instead, she’s reduced to living with a friend and spending her days riding the train because she has nothing better to do with her time. She distracts herself by watching a couple who live in a house next to the railway track.

As she rides by every day, she crafts a story in her head about this seemingly perfect couple. She gives them names and occupations and hobbies. And, yes, that’s as creepy as it sounds. This unhinged respite from her own troubled life is shaken one day when she rides by and sees something that shatters the illusions she has created in her own imagination.

Even more worryingly, she learns soon that the woman who lives in the house has disappeared. Rachel starts to suspect that she may know more about the case than she realizes, but she can’t remember anything. Complications ensue.

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Oddly-Specific Genres: Exploring the Fjord Side

Happy New Year and welcome to the first installment of our new monthly series, Oddly-Specific Genres!

Last year, we hosted the 2016 Library Challenge, which was pretty intense. This year, we decided to take a more relaxed approach and are instead inviting you to step into a new genre in 2017…or really 12 new genres, one per month. And we don’t want people to get bored so we’ve come up with sub-genres, or perhaps sub-sub-genres (what I have termed “oddly-specific genres”) to tempt you to take that plunge. The library will be displaying books in that month’s Oddly-Specific Genre each month, and I will be highlighting some here and on our Facebook page. Read along with us and let us know with your comments on the blog or on our Facebook page. Prizes will be in store for those in the Berryville area that conquer at least 10 of these this year!

As winter begins to take hold, there is no better way to start off than with an escape to the fjord side…yes, you guessed it, Scandinavian murder mysteries, aka Nordic Noir (which just happens to be one of my personal favorites.) I’ve talked about my love for Scandinavian fiction here before, but what I love about the books in this genre are their highly atmospheric settings and their psychological insight. Most of the authors I’ve read in this genre are skilled at combining police procedurals with thrillers, and even though these books can be fast-paced, they also tend to be more character-driven than a lot of other mysteries.

With that being said, let the Scandinavian crime spree commence!

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Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen (2015)

the-fishermen

In the mid-1990s in Akure, Nigeria, 9-year-old Benjamin lives with his 3 older brothers, 2 younger siblings, and his parents. Their lives are going smoothly enough until their father is transferred to another city for his job at the national bank. He doesn’t want to uproot the family, so they stay in their home, and the boys develop a love for fishing at the local river. One day, a local mentally-ill homeless man, who some consider a prophet, predicts that the oldest brother will be killed by one of his siblings. This prophecy destabilizes the family as the oldest brother becomes paranoid and withdrawn and his mother and younger siblings are hurt and confused by his rejection of them.

But is the prophecy true?

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book That Scares You

BOO!

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to scare you.

Well, maybe just a little.

More directly, I was going to recommend some books so you can scare yourself, if you’re in the mood for it and want an early start to Halloween. . . .

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Ask the Blogger: Death Note/Shaman King

To manga or not to manga.  For me, it was a big NEVER, until last week.  I know this may be an inflammatory statement on my part, for some of you.  But it is the truth.  I had never read any manga and had never really wanted to read it.

However, a few months ago when I was at Books in Bloom, some of our teen volunteers were taking a break at my table, and I made them give me reading suggestions. Bradley told me I needed to read Death Note, and Dustin recommended Shaman King to me. I finally got around to reading their suggestions, and I’m happy to report that my introduction to manga was an enjoyable experience. (Thanks for the great recommendations, guys!)

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Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne

Dolores Claiborne

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.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Mystery or Thriller

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.

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