Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For December, we’re looking at an unusual, animal-centric memoir; a pulse-stopping suspense thriller; and a hilarious ode to the quirks of families.
Asking people about which book they’d select for the Great American Read has been an fascinating exercise in armchair psychology this past few months–at least for me. Some folks have an immediate answer while others take some real time thinking it through.
Put me down as one in the thinking category. I couldn’t even pick 1! I finally narrowed my picks down to 3, but that was only after coming up with some perimeters to consider and pondering whether or not it should reflect personal favorites or some grand statement about the best/most influential American novel and resonant themes in American literature. (Gotta put that English degree to work every now and then.)
But, truth be told, if I were just picking one book solely on personal enjoyment, it would probably have to be Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.
Everyone’s going back to school this month, so we figured we would too, with these books set in boarding schools and residential colleges.
I’m not sure what it is about boarding school stories, but they seem to really resonate with American readers, despite most Americans never having attended one. Perhaps that fact is the very thing that makes them so exotic and appealing.
I certainly am not immune! I strongly suspect that I would not have liked boarding school, but that didn’t stop me from working my way through and enjoying many a tale of rich people–or not-so rich people with a scholarship–having awkward adolescent experiences far from home.
“Campus confidential” is the oddly specific genre we are going for so be forewarned!
Thanks to Mary-Esther for helping me research this post!
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.
Off the top of your head, name a one word book title.
No cheating with Google or peeking at the nearest shelf of books!
I only torture you with this test because it actually took me an embarrassing amount of time to think of one word book titles when I first looked at the list of book challenges. My mind just completely blanked out and only could summon up very lengthy book titles.
If you are afflicted by a similar form of selective memory, don’t despair!
I’ve rounded up a selection of one word titles from recent books. As always, for more information on any of the books mentioned below, just follow this link to our online library catalog.
Here at the Berryville Library we’re looking forward to the 11th annual Books in Bloom Literary Festival on May 15th. You’ll get to mingle with famous authors and fellow book lovers. To prepare for Books in Bloom, we’ll be running teasers about the authors who will be giving talks. We also have works by all of this year’s Books in Bloom authors on display at the library. Read them now–meet them on the 15th!
Do you like true crime? Mysteries? Suspense thrillers? If so, you’re in luck because Books in Blooms will be featuring a few authors who publish in those genres. If you’ve read the blog for any length of time, you know that I really enjoy crime fiction, and I’m really looking forward to attending some of these sessions. We might run into each other!
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.