Here we are: back into winter, back to the holidays, and onto a new year full of exciting possibilities. We hope you enjoy your holidays and time with family and friends. Here is a few things our staff enjoyed and we will continue to share what we like from our collection in the new year. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
Pat – Circulation
Sycamore Row – By: John Grisham – FICTION: Grisham
If you like A Time to Kill, you will almost certainly enjoy this book. Grisham uses the same characters for this story. It’s about a handwritten will by a man named Seth Hubbard done so the day before he hangs himself and whether or not the will is valid. This is a very thoughtful and engaging drama with a good story line.
Sue – Circulation
A Redbird Christmas – By: Fannie Flagg – FICTION: Flagg
I love most of Fannie Flagg’s books. This is one of my favorites. A wonderful read for the holiday season, it tells the story of Oswald, a man who receives a terminal diagnosis from his doctor in Chicago and goes to spend what may be his final Christmas in a small, rural town in Alabama. There Oswald becomes friends with people in the tiny community, including his next door neighbor Frances and the local grocery store owner, Ray, as well as Ray’s bird Jack, a cardinal that Ray took in as an injured fledgling who now lives in the store. Then a little girl named Patsy, neglected and abandoned, appears in town. Shy and physically disabled, Patsy develops a deep bond with Jack. When something disastrous happens, things look bad until a Christmas miracle heals the town. A sweet and inspiring story that will leave you feeling uplifted.
A CD of holiday music sung by Christian artist Amy Grant. It includes holiday classics such as “Silent Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, as well as more contemporary songs, including “Grown Up Christmas List” and “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)”, which is a moving song that took my breath away with its beauty the first time I heard it. Grant has a lovely voice and I enjoy her renditions of the holiday classics and especially like “Breath of Heaven”.
A nostalgic look at growing up in a Catholic family in the mid-1960s, reading this book reminded me of the movie “A Christmas Story”, based on Jean Shepherd’s book of the same name. The book describes the months leading up to Christmas in the Funicello family, as told by fifth-grader Felix, a distant cousin of Annette, who was at the height of her fame back then. Humorous and light-hearted, the book is fun and a tribute to a more innocent time in American history.
Melissa – Reference
Tim O’Brien has created a mystery unlike any other I’ve read. He has crafted two of the most complex characters I have ever had the pleasure of examining. A married couple retreats to a cabin in the Northern United States to reevaluate their lives and love. Naturally, not all goes as planned and readers are left to examine the evidence, the perceived evidence, and decide for themselves just what really happened in the lake of the woods.
I picked this up after finding myself wanting a light, easy romance (isn’t that what we all want?). Despite fulfilling that need, this book also has a very real focus on the complexities of love and all its forms. Emily, the main character, has worked herself to the bones at a NYC law firm to make a strong career while having a fun relationship with a doctor. Her life appears to be idyllic to many, though she discovers suddenly that it is anything but. For those looking for a fun read, this is a real treat because it is at times jaw-droppingly unpredictable, relatable, and even heart-wrenching.
Mary – Youth Services
Hannibal is not your typical, late-night American crime procedural. Based off the iconic Hannibal Lector Series of books, this psychological crime drama follows Dr. Hannibal, a criminal psychiatrist, culinary artist, and part-time cannibal. Unknown by the police as a direct cause of most of the area’s crime, Dr. Hannibal sets out in a small Minnesota town, along with a talented, yet disturbed criminal profiler, to uncover a series of bizarre crimes. Hannibal is unexpectedly humorous; it is disturbing as well as insightful into the ways it examines our fallible, yet complex human minds.
Some narratives cover difficult topics, while guiding the reader in the process of storytelling. The Bell Jar does not adhere to this convention. This semi-autobiographical and only novel written by Plath is unparalleled in its ability to make the reader feel what it is like to suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, or Depression. Told through the eyes of a fictional narrator, Esther Greenwood, the novel covers her descent into mental illness, while getting a taste of her illustrious new life in New York City. There are staccato bursts of honesty, desolation, and humor which make this novel unforgettably true to the topic it covers.
Having tea with Stephen Hawking is on the top of my bucket list. This is not a joke. Sadly this autobiography of Stephen Hawking is probably as close as I, or any of us will get to understand the personal life behind the brilliant physicist who changed the way we perceive the universe. Although this personal narrative is not quite “personal,” it is filled with humorous and compelling biographical details. Also, for us physics geeks, there are sprinkets of black hole talk, cosmology, and dashes of theory to keep us satisfied. The book, when reading it, feels as if you sat down at Mr. Hawking’s house, and he began to talk about his life, but went on a physics tangent. I found it charming.
Chris – Technical Services
If you are a fan of the Exorcist or Amityville Horror the new movie the Conjuring is for you. Be prepared for a good storyline and some very scary scenes. It will keep you on the edge until the end.
That’s it for 2013! Check back in January for another list of things to check out!