Tag Archives: Mythology

June 2017

june2017coverIt’s June! Summer is just around the corner! Grab a good read and enjoy the warm weather.

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

fromcradletostageFrom Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars by Virginia Hanlon Grohl, New Nonfiction 920 GRO

Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana, interviews other mothers of successful musicians and shares their stories. The mothers all have unique and interesting stories of raising children hit by the music bug, including Dr. Dre, Josh Groban, Kelly Clarkson, Mike D, Tom Morello, Adam Levine and more. The author is in a unique position to be able to relate to her subjects and she also shares her own stories of raising Dave. It is a thoughtful collection of short stories and a good read for anyone interested in today’s musical creators.

Melissa – Technical Services

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, Fiction Burnet

hisbloodyprojectIn a search through his family history, the author uncovers some documents relating to murder trial involving one of his ancestors. Roderick Macrae is the son of a crofter living in the Highlands of Scotland in 1869 and from the outset, we know that he is on trial for murder. He is an exceptionally bright young man, and we hear his side through his written memoir. We then hear other perspectives, and learn that each is in itself unreliable. The journey of the book is motive and state of mind. What were the real reasons for the murder? Is Roderick a murdering psychopath or a man pushed beyond his limits? Did he suffer a fit of insanity or is he wholly sane? The colorful characters help bring this book to life, and at least one is based on an actual historical individual: a prison doctor who specialized in criminal psychology. My favorite aspect of “His Bloody Project” is the deft manner in which Burnet presents each side of case; each tale is perfectly rational and yet they are mutually exclusive. This book is a thrilling tour through historical Scotland that offers much more than its description as “thriller” as it touches on class conflict and preconceived biases. The book earned a much-deserved spot as a finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

Pat – Circulation

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, Nonfiction 940.53 ACK

zookeeperswifebookWhen Germany invaded Poland, bombs devastated Warsaw, and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonia Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinski’s villa. They ended up saving the lives of hundreds of people.

Sometimes the text does get a bit bogged down in details but the bravery of these people is amazing and truly uplifting. A fascinating true story.

Chris – Circulation

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, New Fiction Gaiman and YA Gaiman

norsemythologyMuch like author Neil Gaiman states in his intro to Norse Mythology, my initial encounter with the Norse gods was through Marvel’s incarnation of Thor, the god of thunder. Getting myself wrapped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and being a fan of Gaiman’s easy-to-read but intellectual writing style, I had to check out this book. His experience in the fantasy genre and his previous works about gods and mystical creatures lend him to be the perfect candidate to bring some of these ancient stories back to life in a way only he can.

This is a collection of selected Norse myths mainly involving Odin, Thor, and Loki, the three figures with the most lore remaining. The book does a great job introducing these players and revealing their quirks. Gaiman wisely begins his telling with the very beginning–the creation of the gods and the Nine Worlds. He continues with their various exploits such as how Odin lost his eye, where Thor’s hammer came from, Freya’s wedding, Thor’s journey to Jotunheim, and his fishing trip. He appropriately ends the novel with Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. This is an excellent starting point for anyone curious about Norse mythology or anyone looking for a well-written collection of fantasy stories.

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October Picks

Welcome to a seasonably nice Autumn as we start October. Here are some things to check out between carving pumpkins, assembling your costume and consuming a large amount of candy.

Melissa – Reference

13151175“Niceville” – by Carsten Stroud – NEW FICTION: STROUD

Niceville is a quaint, Southern town full of history and old families.  The only thing “nice” about it is the real estate.  Niceville is mostly known for its uncommonly high number of random disappearances.  Everyone knows each other, which makes it all the worse during a disappearance.

After a young boy’s disappearance is caught by a pawn shop security camera, the town rallies to find him and aid his family.  After he is found under very mysterious circumstances and falls into a coma, his mother disappears and his father commits suicide, leaving the boy parentless.  Slowly, the truth emerges about the old Southern town.
 
The-Historian-Elizabeth-Kostova-abridged-compact-discs“The Historian” – by Elizabeth Kostova – AUDIOBOOKS: KOSTOVA
In reading “The Historian” the second time around, I find that I’m enjoying it just as much as the first time.  The book is a beautifully written quest that begins when a young girl finds a mysterious book in her father’s library.  She begins to learn of harrowing events of her father’s past, and thus of her own, and an evil hidden in the depths of history and legend.
Kostova takes readers all over the world with the characters in search of answers that several (and perhaps countless others) have died seeking.  The landscapes are breathtaking and the voices she gives the characters are eloquent and intelligent.  Much of the adventure takes place in libraries of old institutions, so there is nothing I don’t love about this. 
 
 Matt – Circulation 
American_gods“American Gods” – By: Neil Gaiman – FICTION: GAIMAN
There’s so much I like about American Gods, its hard not to write an entire paper about it. For those not familiar with the writings of Neil Gaiman I suggest starting here as he is in his element creating compelling characters in a world populated with new twists on old characters. The story begins with Shadow a recently released convict who finds out that his life outside of prison is just as bleak as it was inside. He unwittingly meets Mr. Wednesday who convinces Shadow to work as his companion in an effort to bring together the forgotten Gods of old to take on the new American Gods. 
 
Half of the fun of this book is trying to guess which mythology each character is from and is a very interesting take on the role of mythology in people’s lives and the stories we make real. I loved the characters and the plot had me hooked from the beginning, not to mention parts of the book occur in the “Little Egypt” region of southern Illinois and other roadside destinations in the Midwest. Read this now before the HBO series comes out and everyone has it on hold.
 
91qt73QkZqL._SL1500_“SHERLOCK” – Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman – DVDs: SHERLOCK
I have a big soft spot for British television and an even bigger spot for Sherlock Holmes, undoubtedly my favorite literary character of all time, so I’m a little biased when I say this is the best modern Sherlock Holmes to date. Cumberbatch’s Holmes is modern update using text messages, hacking techniques and, as always, cutting edge Science to solve crimes but still has his trademark incorrigable temperment and dark sense of humor. Dr. Watson is played expertly by Martin Freeman who brings a great deal of humor to Watson’s character and plays nicely off of Cumberbatch. The episodes are cinematic in scope and blend together many of Conan Doyle’s stories. A great series and I can’t wait for season 3.
 
Jacob – Circulation
 
devil-in-the-white-city-185x300Devil in the White City – By: Erik Larson – 364.152 LAR
Devil in the White City is a book about the Chicago’s World Fair of 1893. The author, Erik Larson, masterfully intertwines the true stories of Daniel Burnham, chief architect, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, serial murder, as they each use the Fair to gain international notoriety. This book is hard to put down and keeps the reader wanting more. A must read for any Chicagoland resident.
 
 
 
51tddaAA4WL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students who took Vegas for Millions – By: Ben Mezrich – 920 MEZ
Bringing Down the House follows a group MIT students who team up to beat the odds in blackjack. This book is for any gambler who has dreamed of finding a competitive edge or those who like an underdog story. This is a quick read that will surely entertain.
 
 
 
Thats all for now. Be sure to check back next month for new recommendations!

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