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Category: New Materials
JANUARY 30, 2017
Just Finished Reading.......
Beatrice And Benedick by Marina Fiorato
I would have to say that this book must have been a very challenging piece to write. Considering that Beatrice and Benedick are iconic characters thanks to Shakespeare. Beatrice with her fiery wit and cheek and Benedick always trying to one up her. We all know the end but we almost know nothing of the beginning other than he once did want to marry her before the events of Much Ado About Nothing. The beginning is all this book entails. Beatrice is sent to her Uncles court in Sicily and it is there that Benedick appears on a journey with a Spanish lord. Beatrice and Benedick wage their love war as only they can, with their witty remarks and comments and all the while they are falling for one another. When slander makes their love turn sour, a beside himself Benedick sails away to England, Beatrice returns home as well. Only to be bombarded with a betrothal she does not want or agree with. Benedick meanwhile comes under attack on the ship and has to fight to remain alive, Beatrice must remain fighting to stop her arranged marriage. The story does not convene again until ten years have passed and they meet again in Messina, and well, you know the story from there. I thought it was a very enthralling romance read. Certainly difficult to create a story and events out of someone elses story. And Shakespeare is a very hard to please subject. I would recommend this book solely if you wanted a romance novel on a quiet night. Next book up will be Alexander Hamilton's biography by Ron Chernow.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This book is not for everyone. If you don't know anything about English history in the16th century, you might find it a bit confusing-lots of characters, references to past events, and a setting not only foreign in location but in time. Even if you love historical novels, this one does require a little work on the part of the reader. Mantel, a prize winning novelist in the UK, has taken an actual but little known participant in the Court of Henry VIII and brought him to life. Thomas Cromwell, great grandfather to Oliver Cromwell, came from very humble roots to become a key advisor to Henry VIII during a time of great change and turmoil for the monarch. The beauty of Mantel's writing is in her being able to make us react to Thomas as a real person. Her glorious prose allows us to enter the society where Cromwell, at least for a time, flourished, and to share the company of Henry and several of his well-known wives. This book is the first in a series of three. The second volume in the series, Bring Up the Bodies, is also available in both print at the library and as an ebook.
When the library put its catalog on line back in August, the procedure for access to our ebook collection also changed. All members got new library card numbers, and these are now what must be used to checkout the ebooks. Unfortunately, we had a little glitch with that in October when our service provider made some changes to its server. Everything is back to normal now, and we apologize for any inconvienience. If you are having problems accessing ebooks on frackvillelibrary.com or if your device is not working as it was before, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will respond with assistance. The image on this post is one of our latest additions to the collection, Hilary Mantel's award winning Wolf Hall, a masterful piece of historical fiction. It's checked out right now, but you can put it on hold and be next in line!
Longbourn by Jo Baker. Fiction with a historical background has been around since Sir Walter Scott in the late 18th century, and it never goes away. This book is one of the numerous Jane Austen-based novels sought out by fans, called Janeites, who just can't get enough of their favorite. Many of these are, unfortunately, not nearly as good as their inspiration, but I liked this one very much. It is really an original story, set against the background of Austen's most popular work, Pride and Prejudice. It tells the story of the servants employed by Austen's Bennett family. The housekeeper, Mrs Hill, and her staff of two maidservants, Sara and Polly, are the central characters of the book, and Baker gives us a completely different view of the famous household. When Mr Bennet hires a drifter as a footman, the life of Longbourn is suddenly turned upside down. This book really gives Janeites a new perspective on the original novel. It can also be very entertaining for those who have never read Pride and Prejudice, but like a story set in a different place and time. The novel is now available in our ebook selection.
Now that the bustle of the holiday season is over, I will try to get back to a better schedule for keeping you informed about library news. In the flurry of last minute buying of materials before the end of the year, we added two popular series to our collection of audio books on CD. The first is a very well-done version of Lord of the Rings narrated by Rob Inglis. I just loved going back to this epic story, and then rewatching the fabulous films directed by Peter Jackson. These are also available on DVD at the library. Also new to the collection are all seven of the Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale. His interpretation of the characters is perfect, as he brings to life all the detail of the books which the movies could not supply. Audio books make great listening in your car, as a bedtime treat, or while you clean or cook. Try one of these classics and enjoy a great 'reading' experience!
The Magician King by Lev Grossman. A writer and critic for Time magazine, Grossman has certainly got a way with language. This fantasy for adults has been compared to The Chronicals of Narnia and The Harry Potter Series, and it does deal with themes common to both. Quentin Coldwater, the main character of Grossman's previous novel, The Magicians, returns. He has become a King of Fillory, the imaginary land made real, when Quentin discovered that he had magical powers. But things are beginning to go wrong in Fillory, and needing a change of scene, Quentin sets out on a sea voyage which leads him not only back to Earth, but also to the End of the World. To me, this second installment seemed much more cohesive as a novel. It switches between Quentin's point of view and a flashback to the amazing journey of Julia, a friend from high school who was originally refused admittance to the magic school, Brakebills. Her struggle to find her way in the world of magic without much assistance is interesting and well-conceived. Quentin, however, remains the focus, and we can only hope that he will return for more adventures.
The Greater Journey:Americans in Paris by David McCullough. If you have ever been to Paris, celebrated American historian, David McCullough's latest book will have you wanting to go back, and if you haven't been there, you'll want to go. During the 19th century American painters, sculptors, musicians, aspiring doctors, and statesmen travelled to Paris in droves, seeking inspiration from its fine museums and acclaimed schools. In spite of a very chaotic political climate, Paris had become a center for the very latest ideas and trends in the arts and sciences. McCullough has conjured up a splendid picture of the city through the eyes of these young Americans, but the real stars of the volume are the Americans themselves. Like characters in a novel, their stories are exciting, compelling, and many times, surprising. I lived for three years not ten miles from Cornish, New Hampshire, where American sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, had a home and studio. I never visited it, however, because I had no idea who Saint-Gaudens was, nor of his importance in the art world of his time. McCullough's style of writing is clear and well-organized, very easy to read for history. I especially enjoyed the sections about the young doctors who went to Paris to study. The history of American medicine owes a lot to the French! You might never get to Paris for real, but this book definitely takes you there for free.
Embassytown by China Mieville. Humans on a strange planet in the far distant future have forged a sort of alliance with the indigenous population, called Ariekei. In order to communicate with the creatures, pairs of Ambassadors have to be matched and trained to speak the Ariekei's unusual language. As you may have guessed this is science fiction, but it is also a book which challenges the reader to look at speech, communication, and writing in new ways. Mieville has created a world that takes a few chapters to absorb, but once you're there, the story effectively carries you along, and you find yourself rooting for his compelling heroine Avice to save her planet from destruction. Want something different? This novel is definitely that.
Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. The sentimental title of this novel is rather deceptive, although Campbell has managed to create a sort of fairy tale world set along an imaginary tributary of the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan. The novel's focus, a teenager named Margo Crane, has grown up with the river as her companion. She is more in touch with its moods than with any of the people around her. A series of family disturbances forces Margo to leave home and search for a new place to center herself. She is determined to live off the land, and as a crack shot with a rifle or a shotgun, that may just be possible. The voice of the narrator, as it speaks from Margo's viewpoint, is filled with the essence of the river and those who live along it. Some critics have compared Margo to Huck Finn, and there are some similarities, but make no mistake, this is a book about modern times, even though the characters sometimes seem as though they are in another world. Campbell has won several awards for her fiction, and I'm sure we'll be hearing more from her.
The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg. I picked this up in error as it is actually the second book in the series, but can easily be read on its own. Lackberg is another in the windfall of Scandinavian crime writers being translated into English these days. While not as cerebral a writer as Nesbo, as bleak as Mankell's Wallander, or as violent as Larsson's Millenium Series, Lackberg's prose is interesting and engaging to read. Her detective, Patrick Hedstrom, is a young policeman, about to become a father in this volume. When three bodies are found in a popular tourist area, Patrick is put in charge of the case, but he is plagued by a heatwave, a family feud, and a bunch of unwanted visitors at home. The translation of this novel seems a bit more straightforward and easier to read than some of the other writers in the genre. Try it, or choose the first in the series, The Ice Princess, also available at the library.
Thanks to a grant from the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation, the library will be expanding its audio book collection. A grant of award of $500 will be used to purchase 19 new audio books on CD with cases. These include favorites like Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Debbie Macomber. Popular titles such as Twilight, The Kite Runner, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are also included. Audio books add a new dimension to the activity of reading, and a popular with commuters, those with impaired sight, and other who, like me, enjoy the opportunity to listen to a book while driving, walking, or even lying in bed. These new additions should all be ready for borrowing by the end of August.
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo. In this second Harry Hole novel, Harry is caught up in two cases-a bank robbery ending in murder, and the mysterious death of an old girlfriend. Unfortunately, Harry was probably the last person to see the woman alive! As he tries to reconcile his grief for his lost partner, a disturbing period of amnesia, and the pleasures and pains of a new relationship, Harry is once again forced to make his own rules to solve the crimes, much to the dismay of his superiors. These books are like potato chips-you can't read just one! Try them now before they get even more popular, and you'll have to be on the waiting list.
.........The Wood Beyond by Reginald Hill. I read this Dalziel and Pascoe series mystery while I was on vacation. I found it very fitting, as I was in Belgium and in this story Yorkshire policeman Peter Pascoe is taken back in time and place to that very country. After his grandmother's funeral, he finds himself left with the job of distributing her ashes as requested in the will. This task leads him to information about his great-grandfather, a soldier who served in Belgium during the first World War. Hill's mysteries are always complex, and he likes to blend the intricacies of the case with the everyday events in the lives of the detectives. An attack on a research company by a group of animal activists, soon connects with Pascoe's personal research into his family history, You can find this book in paperback at the library, and we also have several other selections in this long-standing detective series.
Tigerlily's Orchids by Ruth Rendell. In Rendell's latest psychological thriller, she examines a group of dwellers in a suburban neighborhood. Stuart Font has just inherited a bit of money, and he uses it to buy a flat. He invites his neighbors to a party- a trio of college girls who share a flat, a woman who is trying to drink herself to death, a middle-aged bachelor, and even the building's handyman. The party is soon interrupted, however , by a man with a cudgel, who breaks Stuart's arm and threatens further damage. As the tenants begin to learn more about each other, secrets are revealed which soon lead to more frightening events in the housing complex. Dark and sinister, like all of Rendell's work, this novel deals with a familiar theme-seemingly ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. You can find this and more of her work at the library.
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo. O'blah mentioned this new author in her post a few weeks ago, and I got a chance to read the first book in the series. Well, it isn't really, but it is the first that's been translated into English from the original Norwegian. Nesbo's detective, Harry Hole, can be compared to many other work-obsessed detectives with lonely, troubled personal lives like Connelly's Harry Bosch or Wingfield's Jack Frost, but the similarities don't make him any less appealing. Nesbo has been acclaimed as the next Stieg Larsson, author of the Millenium Series, but Nesbo is actually a much better writer. The plot of this book is very complex and will definitely keep you guessing, but it is the wonderful characters that capture your attention. The library has five of the Harry Hole series just waiting for you to try.
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley. This is a very sweet, but quirky little novel with a 'detective' who is only eleven years old. Flavia de Luce lives in a big country house with her father and her two sisters. As the youngest, Flavia comes in for her share of being picked on by her siblings. She manages to overcome it by developing her interests in chemistry and observation of the various local characters. When a Gypsy fortune teller is attacked after the church fete, Flavia immediately begins collecting evidence and asking questions. Bradley, a Canadian writer, has set his story in England some time after the Second World War. It is the second in a series with more to follow. Also, it is a quite small book in size, so easy to carry in a handbag or totebag!
During the month of April we received several new DVD's of films that won big at this year's Academy Awards. These include Best Picture winner The King's Speech, and Black Swan featuring Best Actress winner Natalie Portman. The Fighter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, Inception, and The Social Network all received nominations and some Oscars as well. We are also expecting the new version of True Grit, being released soon. Come check out our collection and watch a movie for free.
In 2003, Khaled Hosseini, an Afghani physician, burst onto the bestseller list with his debut novel, The Kite Runner. Most who read it would probably say it was one of the best books ever. The story of Amir and Hassan, two young boys from different ethnic groups is as much a story of loyalty, betrayal, and forgiveness as it is about Afghanistan. In 2007, a film based on the novel was released, but it never made it big at the box office and has pretty much been forgotten. The library has recently added a copy to our DVD collection, and it is definitely worth a look. The scenery is breathtaking, the characterizations mirror Hosseini's literary creations, and the emotional intensity almost matches the extraordinary novel. If you have read the book, and woud like to revisit the story, or if you prefer a cinematic version to reading the book, give it a try. Please note, however, that much of the film is subtitled.
Bottled and Sold:Our Obsession with Bottled Water by Peter H. Gleick. I first visited California in the mid eighties, and I was amazed to find aisles of bottled water in grocery stores, and vending machines dispensing spring water. I thought this was a West Coast affectation, but in time, of course, it has become a nationwide habit. Gleick is obviously an advocate for drinking from the tap, not the bottle, and he has some very good arguments in his favor. See what he has to say about the safety, cost, and actual benefits of bottled water. You might be surprised. This book was purchased with a grant from the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation.
One of the latest acquisitions to our DVD collection is the Academy Award nominated film The Social Network, directed by David Fincher. The film tells the fascinating story of the creation and controversy surrounding the cultural phenomenon 'facebook'. Begun on college campuses, facebook began with young adults, but its popularity has since spread to all ages, including many baby-boomers. All of the characters involved in the drama are there-computer nerd Mark Zuckerberg, his friend and business partner Eduardo Saverin, the perfect-looking Winklevoss twins, and the somewhat sinister Sean Parker, founder of Napster. Writer Aaron Sorkin, of West Wing fame, and Fincher have turned a somewhat drab, upper crust story into something to which we can all relate. Check it out at your library.
Matched by Ally Condie. Futuristic fiction is all the rage with young readers these days, and this is the beginning of another very well-written series. Cassia Reyes has just turned 17 and is now ready to be Matched. Scientific methods will pair her with the perfect boy with whom she will start a new family. Everything in Cassia's Society is controlled-the work that she will do, the food that she eats, and of course, the man she will marry. As she proceeds through the much anticipated Matching procedure, however, things begin to happen that don't seem right, and soon she finds herself, for the first time in her life, making choices which she knows the Society would not sanction if they knew. This is a great book for teens, but I also enjoyed it as an adult. Condie's next in the series, Crossed, comes out in November, 2011.