Brown Bag and Friday Matinee

Help us kick off Black History Month!

For this month’s Brown Bag, Margaret Koch reviews Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup at noon in the community rooms.

“Twelve Years a Slave is the story of Solomon Northup, an African American who was born free in New York in the early 1800s. In 1841, Solomon Northup was captured and forced into slavery for a period of 12 years. “Twelve Years A Slave” is a captivating narrative of the life of freedom and slavery experienced by one African American man prior to the American Civil War. The book is detailed in its account of life on a cotton and sugar plantation and the daily routine of slave life during the first part of the 19th century.”

Light refreshments will be provided courtesy of The Friends of the Library

And please join us after the review for a matinee showing of Solomon Northup’s Odyssey. Comfy seating and popcorn will be provided in the Reading Alcove in the back of the library.


Based on the Book

Safe Haven releases Valentine’s Day and is absed on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Get yourself in the Valentine mind set by reading the book before catching the flick with your significant other or a group of your girl pals! Available in our collection under FIC SPA and on Overdrive as an ebook and audio book.

“When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.”

New Adult Nonfiction

Bookworm3Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: Explores the role introverts play in a world that is geared towards those who enjoy communicating with others and offers practical suggestions at how introverts can make sure their message is heard.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo: Examines and provides real-life accounts of urban poor families living in Bombay, India.

Pound Foolish by Helaine Olen: Reveals  the unethical machinations of the multi-billion-dollar personal finance industry and its false promises of quick and easy wealth, explaining how everyday investors are routinely misled by self-proclaimed money experts who exploit clients to increase their own wealth.

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens: As he battles esophagal cancer, author Christopher Hitchens reflects on illness and mortality.

In Honor of the Holy Spirit by Cash Luna: Designed as a guide to help the reader better connect with the Holy Spirit.

The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick: Guides the reader through a 40-day program designed to strengthen and enrich marriage.

The End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe: Will Schwalbe shares his experiences with his mother, Mary Anne, when they formed a bond through reading and discussing the books they read during the two years she was being treated for terminal cancer.

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives by Guy Fieri: Food Network star Guy Fieri takes readers on an American road trip, visiting diners and restaurants along the way and including recipes and historical information about each establishment.

Argo by Antonio Mendez: Relates the true account of the 1979 rescue of six American hostages from Iran. On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: Recounts the impact of her mother’s death on her life at age twenty-two and chronicles her experiences after she made the impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert all the way into Washington State.

Roxi Reviews

Roxi Wilkinson has graciously agreed to share some of her recent reads with us. The following review is part of an ongoing series of guest posts written by Roxi:

I am not going to give you a plot summary of The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid. Read the book before reading reviews or visiting with others who have read it since knowing too much would spoil the story for you. Before picking up the book, set aside 2 to 3 hours because once started you will not be able to put it down. This slim novel of 184 pages is too rich and intense to be much longer. I read the book and could not put it down. My family gathered for ‘family night video’. It took all of my adult maturity to put the book aside for the duration of the movie.

The narrator is a 25 year old Pakistani names Changez who is telling his story to an unnamed nervous American as they eat at a cafe in Lahore.
Changez is a Princeton graduate and recipient of financial aid. Immediately out of college he accepted a job at the high-powered financial firm of Underwood and Samson. He worked tirelessly, always achieving more than his American co-workers. Chargez also fell in love with the beautiful but terribly sad American, Erica.

Chargez was in Manila on September 11th when his view of the world changed forever.

Chargez’s dramatic monologue will affect you in many different ways that you will not soon forget.

Mohsin Hamid took 7 years to complete this masterpiece. He started writing before 9/11 and had 1,000 pages that he expertly reduced to the beauty of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. This treasure is such a treat as I tire of the shelves and shelves of books written by authors who spill 1 to 2 books out per year. They end up saying drivel about nothing in particular.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist would be a book club’s dream come true to discuss. Enjoy!


Book reviews may be shared with our readers by submitting your text via the contact form on this page.

APL Friday Matinee present Glory!

February is Black History month, and to get a jump start we will be presenting Glory tomorrow in the YA reading alcove at 1:00 pm.

“Loosely based on the letters of Union commander Col. Robert G. Shaw, this Academy Award-winning drama follows the first group of African-Americans to serve in combat during the Civil War — and shows how they helped turn the tide of the war.”

So stop in, pull up a comfy chair, and enjoy the first in a chronological string of movies that will be shown based on Black History in the United States:

Glory – Friday, January 25th @ 1pm

Solomon Northup’s Odyssey – Friday, February 1st @ 1pm

Places in the Heart – Friday, February 8th @ 1pm

In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen – Friday, February 15 @ 1pm

The Help – Friday, February 22 @ 1pm

Based on the Book

The movie Lincoln has been making headlines with numerous Academy Award nominations. This movie was based on the books “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which is available in our collection at call number 973.7092 GOO.

We have also recently received a wonderful donation of books in memory of Judith Wilkie, many of which are about Abraham Lincolns and his life, most of which can be found at 973.7 in the history section.

New Adult Fiction

Bookworm3Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolano: Follows Amalfitano, exiled Chilean university professor and widower with a teenage daughter, as his political disillusionment and love of poetry lead to the scandal that will force him to flee from Barcelona and take him to Santa Teresa, Mexico.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher: Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own … his soul.

Nano by Robin Cook: Taking a year off from her medical studies and leaving New York City, Pia Grazdani accepts a job at Nanobots, a nanotechnology institute, where she is quickly warned not to investigate the other work done at the facility and not to ask questions about their source of funding.

The Black Box by Michael Conelly: Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots.Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off and never solved. Now Bosch’s ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence but personal and connected to a deeper intrigue.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich: After Geraldine Coutts is attacked on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, her husband Bazil, a tribal judge, tries to find justice for his wife, and their teenage son Joe tries to help his mother heal.

Breaking News by Fern Michaels: Teresa “Toots” Amelia Loudenberry decides to stay in Charleston, North Carolina, to care for her ailing housekeeper and also finds an opportunity to model for her friend’s new line of cosmetics, and at the same time she is planning her daughter’s upcoming wedding, her criminal ex-boss shows up.

Private London by James Patterson: Dan Carter, head of the London division of Private, the world’s most exclusive detective agency, must join forces with his ex-wife if he is going to save American student Hannah Shapiro from a threat that has stalked her for eight years.

Political Suicide by Michael Palmer: Supervising an unrepentant alcoholic doctor who has been implicated in the death of a powerful Congressman, Dr. Lou Welcome uncovers a wealth of incriminating facts that leads to a high-level conspiracy that places Lou’s life at risk.

Shiver by Karen Robards: A pretty single mother supported herself and her son as best she could by repo-ing cars. When she hooked her junker of a tow truck up to a BMW the last thing she expected was to find a beaten, bloody man in the in the trunk–or to be catapulted into a terrifying fight to survive.

My favorite reads of 2012

While I didn’t get as much reading in last year as I would have liked, I did read some wonderful books found here at the library. This is the curse of the librarian – no matter how much I read, the list of books I want to read is always longer. But it’s a new year, and with that my goal is to read at least two books a month, some of which I’ll share with you next week. Today, I’d like to share the diamonds in the rough from last year. These can all be found in our stacks.

JanuaryJanuary First: a child’s decent into madness and her father’s struggle to save her by Michael Schofield (618.92 SCH)

Michael Schofield’s memoir recounts the early years of his daughter January’s life, when her violent and consuming decent into mental illness results in the final realization that she suffers from severe schizophrenia. Her parents are then forced to find a way they will be able to coexist with January as a family while keeping both her and her brother safe from her delusions.

I could not put this book down, and I read it in one setting. This is an incredible tale of a family who was pushed to the brink and despite all odds were able to pull back. January’s story will stay with me a long time.


Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (FIC WAR)

Poetic in her metaphors and voice, Jesmyn Ward delivers the impoverished south to the feet of Hurricane Katrina with so much grace and literary poise that readers will embrace the encroaching destruction with open arms.

Set on the Gulf Coast in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi during the ten days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, readers find themselves introduced to the Batiste family, the poorest of the poor black families living on land that has become a haven for broken down cars and discarded appliances. The widowed alcoholic father known as “Daddy”, the graceful and athletic oldest brother Randall, the gritty dog fighting Skeet and his pit bull China, and curious seven-year-old Junior are all drawn to life through the narration of Esch, a promiscuous fifteen-year-old girl who finds herself pregnant and without hope. As the storm approaces, it becomes evident that their love and need for each other is the only thing that enables them to survive, not just the storm, but every day.

 The Call by Yannick Murphy (FIC MUR)

The Call by Yannick Murphy is narrated by a rural vet whose son has been precariously shot by an unknown hunter. As the boy lies in a coma, the man makes his calls and realizes it is most likely that, in his rural home of 600 or so people, his customers know who shot his son, causing him to become obsessed with uncovering the identity of the mystery hunter. All the while, he and his family continously sight an unidentified flying object, which becomes a beacon of hope during their time of crisis.

This novel was fresh and beautiful. The narration was original and the author was able to develop the characters with an ease and natural ability that few writers possess. Every sentence in this book seems well thought out and deliberate. In fact, certain passages can be taken for tiny poems. For example:

“What is taking place is as layered as something in nature. I won’t ever be able to figure it out. It is the pond surface rippling, the meandering grooves of bark on a tree, the tall grass and milkweed leaning over in a strong wind looking like a form of a man lying down on it, only there is no man.” (p. 220)


“WHAT THE COYOTES SAY: You have crossed over to where we live and now our howls could be the howls of your own heart you are hearing, or just us, our coats slightly ruffled from the November wind.” (p. 34)

I highly recommend this book. It would make a wonderful selection for a book club.

Tales from Lovecraft Middleschool #1 – Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman (JF GIL)

I read this story to review for the publisher, and move over Goosebumps – Lovecraft Middle School has come to town! As a librarian I couldn’t wait to get this book on the shelves! Not only does the cool morphing cover draw kids to the book, but the story is well written, the characters well developed, the plot moves at a lovely pace, and at the end of the book you’re ready for more.

This series opener sets the stage for an epic battle between good and evil fought out between parallel dimensions, and due to an unfortunate sideffect of the recycled materials used to create the new state-of-the art building, Lovecraft Middle School will be the battleground. I’m looking forward to the new and hideous characters that are sure to “cross over” in the subsequent books. Keep them coming! (The second installment will hit the shelves very soon!)

Heaven Looks A Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass (YA MAS)

“When 16-year-old Tessa suffers a shocking accident in gym class, she finds herself in heaven (or what she thinks is heaven), which happens to bear a striking resemblance to her hometown mall. In the tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Carol, Tessa starts reliving her life up until that moment. She sees some things she’d rather forget, learns some things about herself she’d rather not know, and ultimately must find the answer to one burning question–if only she knew what the question was.

Written in sharp, witty verse, Wendy Mass crafts an extroardinary tale of a spunky heroine who hasn’t always made the right choices, but needs to discover what makes life worth living.”



Roxi Reviews

Roxi Wilkinson has graciously agreed to share some of her recent reads with us. The following review is part of an ongoing series of guest posts written by Roxi:

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris is her third novel and what a beauty it is.

Framboise Simon, ‘Boise’, returns to her childhood village along the Loire River.  The locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the women held responsible for a nightmarish killing during the German occupation years ago.  Harris weaves her multilayer story with intense depth of character, dark foreboding, and twists and turns of surprise.  Boise inherits a scrapbook of recipes, herbal cures and newspaper clippings from her mother.  The recipes come to life and ultimately save Boise.  With the help of a childhood friend the key to the village killing is pieced together with clues found in the recipes and the tiny, scribbly writing along the margins of the scrapbook.

Five Quarters of the Orange is a compelling story.  One I could not figure out how it would end despite long moments of pondering.  Though it has a dark feel about it, I was warmed with the sweetness found in the rubble of war.  I was especially drawn to the idea of finding ones mother through her recipes as I love to cook and find solace in my Mom and Grandmother’s recipes written in their own handwriting.

I do plan to read Harris’ previous books, Blackberry Wine and Chocolat.


Book reviews may be shared with our readers by submitting your text via the contact form on this page.

Based on the Book

The Gangster Squad is being released in theatres and is a harrowing narrative of murder and secrets, revenge and heroism in the City of Angels. It is based on the investigative reporting in Paul Lieberman’s book The Gangster Squad: covert cops, the mob and the battle for Los Angeles, and chronicles the true story of the secretive police unit that waged an anything-goes war to drive Mickey Cohen and other hoodlums from Los Angeles after WWII.

This book is available in our collection at 363.2595 LIE