Tag Archives: dystopian

February 2021

It’s February! Fall in love with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi, YA Fiction Adeyemi

In the land of Orisha, magic has been completely outlawed. The king rules with an iron fist, and anyone caught with magical powers is sentenced to death. The race of the maji has been all but extinguished, but hope soon begins to arise. Seventeen-year-old Zelie is a maji, a strong one that has the power to change the course of history. With the help of her brother and a rogue princess, Zelie sets out to overthrow the monarchy and bring magic back to Orisha. Children of Blood and Bone is a powerful novel that speaks volumes to many different issues. It resonates with the fight against the social injustices that are occurring in our society today, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. It was also rightfully selected as a Lincoln Award winner in 2020.

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Jean – Reference

The Darkest Evening, by Ann Cleeves, New Fiction Cleeves

The latest in the Vera Stanhope series, this book is a wonderful escape to a mystery in the English countryside. Navigating a snow-storm in her trusty old Land Rover one evening, Vera comes across a car with its door wide open, and finds a baby still strapped in its carseat, with no mother in sight.  She brings the baby to the nearest house, which turns out to be a large, grand house called Brockburn, where a glamorous winter party is underway.  Unbeknownst to everyone, there are hidden relationships between the owners of the house, the guests, and the nearby neighbors about to be revealed.

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Theresa – Youth Services

Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, Fiction YA Shusterman

I chose to read this, as it is one of the Abraham Lincoln Award Nominees for 2021. Many would consider this novel to fall under the genre of science fiction or dystopian. Others lean more towards realistic fiction.  With all the droughts, forest fires, as well as instances where angry mobs have become violent in the news recently, the latter certainly rings true for me. When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this story of survival. The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of dont’s: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, and don’t take long showers. Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—are threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

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Fighting Words, by Kimberley Burbaker Bradley, Juvenile Fiction J Bradley

A victim herself, the author managed to successfully craft a novel for ten-year-olds featuring sexual assault, a suicide attempt, foster care, homelessness, and meth addiction. The story follows Della and her sister, Suki, who are wards of the state. For the first time in their lives they are finally safe living with their foster mother, Francine. As a court date approaches we learn what brought them to this point. A running theme in the story is we all have our own story that nobody else can tell. Another important theme is consent; nobody can do things to your body without your permission. Della, whose story is often filled with bad language, or “snow,” must find the courage to tell her story in order to let justice prevail. Although heavy topics are covered, this book, like the author’s previous titles (The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won), is sure to be noted as one of this year’s best. It is a 2021 Newbery Award contender, and deserves to be so.

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Margaux – Youth Services

What Color is Night?, by Grant Snider, Juvenile Fiction JE Snider

It’s hard to come up with a new take on the classic “colors” picture book, but this fits that bill. The titular question starts us off on a quest to see all the shades of “dark” that we see at night. Vignettes of night life and night animals feature throughout, finishing off with a dreamy warm sequence. I read this with my infant and she was able to stick with it, so I’d recommend this picture book for anyone who has young children.

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The Wanderer, by Robyn Carr, Fiction Carr

If you loved Netflix’s series Virgin River based on Robyn Carr’s bestseller, you’ll love this spinoff series. Cooper was just supposed to make a quick stop in Thunder Point to see to his late friend’s affairs, but when he realizes there is something suspicious about his death, Cooper decides to stay longer. Romance ensues, along with side stories that only a small town can offer.

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Andrea – Technical Services

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Fiction Shaffer

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

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Michelle – Administration

Doctor Who Season 1, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, DVD Dr. Who 2005 Season 1

This show has been on my watch list for years, and I finally started watching it. For anyone not familiar, Doctor Who is a long-running television staple in the UK. It was rebooted in 2005 (which is the season I’m referring to here) starring Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor. This sci-fi show is great for the whole family and follows the adventures of The Doctor and his companion as they battle aliens and other creatures through space and time. The show is smartly written and can be quite funny at times. A word of caution, the special effects most definitely show their age, though that only seems to add to the humor and the charm of the show.

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Cathy – Circulation

The Sandhamn Murders, starring Alexandra Rapaport, Jakob Cedergren, and Sandra Andreis, DVD Sandhamn Murders Season 1

I recommend The Sandhamn Murders series. Swedish subtitles but easy to follow.  Great scenery and likable characters.

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Joe Pickett Series by C. J. Box, Fiction Box

Nice western-set mystery series. Helps to read in order but not necessary. My husband loves them and the writing really helps the reader visualize being out west.

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Chris – Technical Services

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, by Tom Gauld, Graphic Novel Gauld (GRAPHIC)

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack distills perfectly Gauld’s dark humor, impeccable timing, and distinctive style. Arrests by the fiction police and imaginary towns designed by Tom Waits intermingle hilariously with piercing observations about human behavior and whimsical imaginings of the future. Again and again, Gauld reaffirms his position as a first-rank cartoonist, creating work infused with a deep understanding of both literary and cartoon history.

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November 2020

It’s November! Give some thanks and enjoy our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Swamp Thing, starring Crystal Reed, Andy Bean, and Will Patton, New DVD Swamp Thing

Sci-fi and DC Comics fans alike will rejoice after watching the masterpiece that is Swamp Thing. In the small town of Marais, Louisiana, a mysterious disease starts to spread throughout the swamps, infecting the residents at an alarming rate. CDC doctor Abby Arcane returns to her hometown to investigate, but what she finds is not what she expects. With the help of biologist Alec Holland, Abby discovers that there is something alive in the swamp, something that is bringing death and darkness to Marais. But there is also something good, a lifeforce that has created the creature Swamp Thing. Together, Abby and Swamp Thing must solve the swamp’s mysteries and fight the darkness before it takes over the town for good. I was absolutely addicted to this show. It is the perfect combination of sci-fi and horror. The story draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very last episode. It’s definitely a must-see.

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Chris – Technical Services

Vienna Blood, starring Matthew Beard, Juergen Maurer, and Charlene McKenna, New DVD Vienna Blood

From the screenwriter Steve Thompson (responsible for Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch), comes a crime drama set in 1907 Vienna, Austria and brings together a police detective inspector with a doctor to investigate unusual murders. Engaging!

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Chris – Circulation

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, Fiction Morris

In this tragic, true account of life as a prisoner, there is love. Put into camps and stripped of your cloths, your life, your dignity, life goes on in the most horrible ways and finding ways to survive is just a daily task.  Two prisoners, one given the task to tattoo your given number on your arm, finds love with one he has scarred.  In this busy, instant gratification world, this story will remind you to step back and see the sunrise likes it’s your last.

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Michelle – Administration

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, by Suzanne Collins, New YA Fiction YA Collins

This book is a prequel to the Hunger Games series and follows a young Coriolanus Snow (the villain of the original trilogy) as he navigates life in the Capitol a decade after the war. The 18 year old Snow becomes one of the first mentors in the 10th Annual Hunger Games and becomes entwined with the tribute from District 12, to whom he is assigned. This book is not only the origin story of the future President Snow, but it is also an origin story to the Hunger Games as well. In their 10th year, the games are a drab affair that no one wants to watch. It becomes part of the mentorship mission to create more interest in the games. As with her other books, Suzanne Collins has written a fast moving story that you don’t want to put down. I was drawn in from the beginning and couldn’t wait to find out what happened. Of course, the movie rights were already sold before the book was even released, so you can expect to see it on the big screen sometime in the future.

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Killing Eve Seasons 1-3, starring Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw, DVD Killing Eve

One of the TV shows that I binge-watched during the pandemic is Killing Eve. I had heard great things about it for years and I must admit, it was not what I expected. It follows the story of an MI6 agent and the female assassin she is tasked with finding. The two become entangled in the most imaginative ways. For a show about a murderer, it is surprisingly bright and funny. It’s the perfect show to watch if you are interested in criminal mysteries, but are tired of all the darkness. It stars Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw, and was created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the creator and star of Fleabag) and has been nominated for numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Line Tender, by Kate Allen, Juvenile Fiction J Allen

One summer in Cape Cod, tragedy touches young Lucy Everhart’s life for the second time. But when the support of her best friend is the thing that she has lost, how will she cope? While trying to navigate the confusing waters of her grief, Lucy makes deeper connections with the people around her. Part coming-of-age novel, part exploration of grief, this story is the definition of a tear-jerker. Try this on Audio like I did, and you’ll find yourself crying while trying to make dinner (blame it on the onions)—we own this audio title on the Libby app. This middle-grade read is a must for anyone who likes The Fault in Our Stars or any other “sad book.”

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Warcross, by Marie Lu, YA Fiction Lu

In this sci-fi alternate reality, Warcross isn’t just a game, it’s a vital part of life as Emika Chen knows it. In fact, she makes her living hunting down rogue Warcross players for the police. When her hacking abilities throw her center stage during the global Warcross championships, she suddenly finds herself in the game in a whole new way. If you loved Ready Player One’s global videogame vibe or just want to find yourself immersed in a new reality, this is the book for you. Once again, I’d recommend the audiobook which we do own on the Libby app. However, if you want to go analog you can always check out the hardcover of Warcross and the sequel, Wildcard, at the library.

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Jean – Reference

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig, New Fiction Haig

Have you ever wondered what your life would have been like if you had made a different choice at any point?  This is a lovely novel in which the main character, Nora Seed, is slogging through life because at every step of the way, she has chosen not to take any risks, nor follow any dreams or talents, and is now filled with so much self-disgust and regret, that she just wants to end it all.  In a twist of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, she is offered an alternative life (or rather, lives) to resolve those regrets.  Within a simple story, the author writes beautifully about struggling with depression and regret, and finding the way to living a meaningful, happy life.

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Running is My Therapy : Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, Ditch Bad Habits, and Live Happier, by Scott Douglas, Nonfiction 613.7172 DOU

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the lockdowns, I have taken up running for my mental health.  As someone who has always been active, and swims laps daily, I realized that being outside and moving during the lockdown was essential to my physical and mental well-being during this difficult and challenging time.  This book was a great reinforcement of the benefits that being physically active brings to alleviate anxiety, stress and depression.

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Nancy – Reference

Strange Planet and Stranger Planet, by Nathan W. Pyle, Graphic Novel Pyle

If you need a dose of whimsy, this is the ticket!  Strange Planet is a New York Times bestseller and a great escape!  I became a fan instantly!  Check out the back cover for a taste of what to expect. The sequel is just as good!

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October 2019

october 2019It’s October! Check out our Staff Picks for some good tricks and treats!

 

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

bastille doom daysDoom Days, by Bastille, New CD 781.66 Bastille

Bastille is back at it again with their third album Doom Days. The songs on this album continue to have the same haunting yet beautiful sound that the previous albums do, but the album itself is set up in a new way. Doom Days tells a story, and all of the songs are connected to each other. It takes place over the course of one night at a party, the first song starting at 12:15am, and the last song starting at 8:34am. The party takes you through an emotional whirlwind of euphoria, helplessness, hope, madness, and relationships on what seems like a night that the world is ending. One of the best parts of the album is that every song is relatable. They encompass raw human emotions, and remind us that when we feel hopeless in a world full of chaos, we can always manage to find things that give us joy.

Chris – Circulation

vietnamese foodVietnamese Food Any Day : Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors, by Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen, Nonfiction 641.59597 NGU

Author Andrea Nguyen came from Saigon with her family at a young age. She had to learn to adapt in America, its food in particular, without the same Asian influences. Her mother had to improvise some of her recipes with American ingredients, shopping at several grocery stores to get it right. She tried to keep them true to their culture and taste combining the two. This book is exactly that. I found the flavor and the ease of each recipe to be tasty and simple, finding all the ingredients for an authentic Vietnamese meal. The soups are my favorite and having meals under 60 minutes even better ….yum.

Michelle – Administration

the instituteThe Institute, by Stephen King, New Fiction King

Stephen King’s newest novel follows the story of a boy named Luke who was kidnapped from his home in the middle of the night and taken to the mysterious Institute. There he meets other children with special abilities. Why have they been taken? What does the Institute do with these special children? King unravels this mystery and keeps you turning the pages, eager to find out how all these pieces come together. Stephen King has proven, once again, why he is one of the best writers out there. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good thriller with a twist.

Chris – Technical Services

the testaments.jpgThe Testaments, by Margaret Atwood, New Fiction Atwood

Some books you slowly saver, this one I devoured! I could not read it fast enough. It filled in the back-stories of the characters in The Handmaid’s Tale. I would definitely read them in order. Revenge is sweet, but you must have patience.

 

 

 

 

Melissa – Technical Services

salem's lot‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King, eBook on OverDrive

There are a few newcomers in the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot: a writer revisiting his hometown, and two new businessmen who open an antique shop. All three are there for one reason: the Marsden House. It’s an old, abandoned home that once belonged to a mafia hitman, which has stood empty for decades since the owner murdered his wife then turned the shotgun on himself. The writer, Ben Mears, is drawn to it after a terrifying experience in the house during his childhood that won’t subside. The two antique dealers are actually vampires hoping to take up residence in the Marsden house and infect the town. The story begins when two young brothers take a shortcut through the woods, and only one comes out. King’s talent for setting an eerie scene in a small town is perfect for fall.

Hubbell – Circulation

the hot zone.jpgThe Hot Zone, starring Julianna Margulies, Noah Emmerich, and Liam Cunningham, New DVD Hot Zone Season 1

Ebola bad, Julianna Margulies good. She plays Army scientist Nancy Jaax in charge of studying infectious diseases in 1989. The Hot Zone shows what happens when everything goes wrong and an endemic strain of ebola threatens to begin spreading domestically within in the US. Flanked by her army officer husband (the awesome Noah Emmerich), Dr. Jaax realizes before anyone else that a strain of ebola from Africa being tested on chimps is extremely virulent and uncontained. What unfolds is at least one monkey kidnapping, near-disasters in haz-mat suits, and paranoid lab techs infecting themselves. In the end, with the help of her estranged mentor Wade Carter (played by Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham), Dr. Jaax confronts the bureaucracy in an effort to expose the country’s vulnerabilities. The six-episode series is loosely based on Richard Preston’s nonfiction work and is anchored by solid performances from the leads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April 2018

april2018It’s April! Spring into the new season with one of our Staff Picks! April 8-14 is also National Library Week, so show your local library some love by stopping in for special activities!

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

nomadlandNomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, Nonfiction 331.398 BRU

Retirement is often viewed as a time that is earned after one puts in a life-time of hard work, including idyllic views of selling the family home and traveling the country in a recreation vehicle. However, after the economic collapse in 2008, when many retirees lost their savings and many people found their mortgage underwater, living in an RV, car or van became a necessity after many walked away from their homes, no longer able to afford them, or able to sell them. Having little-to-no retirement savings left, these retirees find themselves traveling the country looking for temporary work in order to pay for gas and food. They are referred to as “Workampers” and corporations such as Amazon and large agricultural conglomerates have tapped into this alternative sub-set of the workforce by providing campground facilities surrounding their warehouses and farms. The work these seniors do is often back-breaking, low-pay, and often provides no benefits and few worker protections. It’s a fascinating, yet dire, look at a subculture of the labor force in America.

Hubbell – Circulation

artemisArtemis by Andy Weir, New Fiction Weir

Andy Weir’s second novel following his made-to-movie The Martian stays closer to home and follows the story of Jazz Bashara, a porter (and sometimes smuggler) working in the Moon’s first city, Artemis. Jazz is drawn into a mystery involving the city’s wealthiest resident, its government, and, most importantly, the unique mineable resources which make the entire endeavor profitable. Like in The Martian, Weir’s humor and down-to-earth, if not salty, dialogue shine in the rendering of the novel’s protagonist and we find her just as easy to follow as the mystery and intrigue itself.

Paula – Circulation 

dunkirkDunkirk, Starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy, New DVD Dunkirk

Dunkirk is the heart-pounding true story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers that were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during WWII. Surrounded by German forces, British and French troops desperately tried to stay alive while waiting to be rescued. The film is told in three separate timelines, each focusing on events that occurred on land, sea, and in the air. Nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, Dunkirk is an awe-inspiring and emotional film that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Pat – Circulation

glass castleThe Glass Castle, Starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts, New DVD Glass Castle

The Glass Castle is a biographical drama based on Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir. It depicts Walls’ real-life childhood spent squatting in homes and living in poverty.
Four siblings must learn to take care of themselves, as their free-spirited parents both inspire and inhibit them. On the way home from a dinner with her fiancé, Jeanette (Brie Larson) spots her parents, Rex (Woody Harrelson) and Rose Mary (Naomi Watts), digging through the trash. She then remembers her childhood, when she, her parents, and her siblings would go on the run every time her father lost a job, their lack of food, Rex’s drinking and the time she burned herself as a child while boiling hot dogs. She also remembers the wondrous times such as planning the “glass castle” that they hoped to build someday, or Rex letting the children choose their very own star as a Christmas present. Outstanding acting, the movie is a powerful story of dysfunction, abuse, and thriving against all odds.

Michelle – Administration

handmaids taleThe Handmaid’s Tale Season 1, Starring Elizabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, and Alexis Bledel, New DVD Handmaid’s Tale Season 1

Based on the book by Margaret Atwood, the show is a dystopian look at a not-too-distant future that could be waiting for us. Following a coup, America is ruled by a repressive, religious regime that has taken away the rights of all women. Due to environmental reasons, there are few women who are able to bear children. Those women have been collected and forced to become Handmaids. The show follows the story of one Handmaid named June and those around her. The book was written in 1985, but its themes are so relevant to the concerns in today’s society. The Handmaid’s Tale has received both Emmy and Golden Globe wins. Catch up now before season 2 begins on April 25.

Chris – Circulation

origin of symmetryOrigin of Symmetry by Muse, CD 781.66 Muse

Regarded by many as their seminal work, Origin of Symmetry put Muse on the UK’s map back in 2001. This is the album that would gain them genre labels such as progressive rock and space rock, which are accurate descriptions of the kind of music they made for this album. Their use of synths and electronic effects create an atmosphere of both hurtling through space and of gently floating wherever momentum takes you. Both of these feelings are present on “Citizen Erased” and “Space Dementia,” two of the progressive tracks on the album. Standout straight up alt-rock singles from this album are “Bliss” and “Plug In Baby,” the latter of which features one of the most iconic guitar riffs of the 21st Century. Muse expertly blends rock with classical, electronic, and progressive influences. This is an album not to miss if you have not heard it before.

 

 

 

 

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