Fiction

Thank You, Mr. Falker

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Patricia Polacco

If you haven't been introduced to Patricia Polacco this is an excellent beginning.  Her picture books are a bit longer so they are found in the juvenile section.  They are wonderful for the older child who wants a bit more depth but still enjoys wonderful illustrations.  As a mom, it is bittersweet to have children reading chapter books on their own.  Patricia Polacco's books are a great transition for me, as well as my boys. 
 
In Thank you, Mr. Falker, Tricia, who grew up loving books  is excited to begin school and learn to read for herself.  As the story continues school becomes harder and harder, reading becomes a form of torture.   Not only that, but because of her inability to read her self esteem suffers and she is teased by classmates.   Not until she is in 5th grade does Tricia encounter a teacher who recognizes Tricia has been cleverly faking her reading ability.  Over the course of a few months Tricia's reading ability blossomed  and she was able to read a precious book her grandfather had given her years before.
 
This is a beautiful story with wonderful illustrations for any family story time.

Cindy A., Circulation

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Falling Hard

Thursday, July 29, 2010
B.A . Charnitsky

When Francine Spenser’s  plane crash lands in the mountains, the young business woman must find a way to not only survive, but also  save the pilot too.  She becomes very resourceful over the course of their ordeal.  This story was written by a local author from Pinckney.  It is a predictable love story, well written and a quick easy read.



Jan H., Technical Services

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Every Last One

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Anna Quindlen

This is a moving story of a family and a shocking act of violence.  Mary Beth, the mother, is the main character and you get to know her and feel her emotions as she mothers a depressed son and two other teenagers plus their friends.  her love carries her through her days and her grief makes her stronger.  I felt very strongly for this character.



Sue N., Youth Services

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A Good Fall

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Ha Jin

A book of short stories seems especially suited to summer reading.  Ha Jin's stories in A Good Fall have a common theme - the experience of Chinese immigrants adapting to life in America.

 
The stories are set in Flushing, New York, which is a flourishing  community of newly arrived Chinese people.  We see the resourcefulness and determination of the new arrivals as we read about their triumphs in overcoming the barriers of language and customs.
 

The author, Ha Jin, won the Nation Book Award for a previous book of fiction, Waiting.



Catherine T., Reference

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The Cider House Rules

Thursday, July 29, 2010
John Irving

I have a "love/hate" relationship with John Irving.  I've read several of his books.  I love some (The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany) and I hate some (The Hotel New Hampshire, A Widow for a Year).  Cider House Rules falls into the "love" category.

This is the story of an OB doctor who runs an orphanage and performs abortions on the side ("I deliver babies and I deliver mothers") and the orphan he loves more than all the others, Homer Wells.

If you've never seen the movie version of The Cider House Rules, it's worth checking out.  Michael Caine won the academy award for best supporting actor for his portrayal of William Larch, saint, ether addict and abortionist, as well as an an academy award for John Irving's screenplay.   Toby McQuire does an admirable job of portraying one of my favorite fictional characters, the somewhat sad, but always useful, Homer Wells.

Kathleen M., Administration

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Twenties Girl (Book of CD)

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Sophie Kinsella
Lara Linton never knew her great-aunt Sadie until she started demanding her necklace at her funeral, and Lara was the only one hearing the 105-year-old, now a ghost. Despite coming off sounding like a lunatic, Lara stops the funeral and tells Sadie she'll look for the necklace. But finding the necklace is just one of many things for Lara to deal with, one being, keeping Sadie happy. This is another laugh out loud book by the author of the Shopaholic books.
 
Doris, Reference
 

I am the Messenger

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Markus Zusak

Sometimes, books are so wonderful they deserve to be read twice. I am the Messenger is one of those special books. Without a doubt, it is one of my all time favorites and I will never tire of rereading it. Ed Kennedy is not special in any way. He has no talents. He has no girlfriend. The only thing he has is a smelly, coffee drinking dog named The Doorman. When Ed spontaneously stops a bank robbery, his life abruptly changes. Suddenly, he is receiving playing cards in the mail with clues that Ed needs to riddle out all alone. The clues lead him to different missions around his neighborhood that redefine how Ed views himself.

 

The different messages Ed delivers are thrilling and often beautiful. At the end of the novel, it becomes clear that Ed isn’t just the messenger…he is also the message.



Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Be Mine

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Laura Kasischke

A Valentine’s Day note left for middle-aged community college teacher Sherry Seymour sets in motion a tale of obsession that will keep you reading long after you should have gone to bed.



Seymour tries to guess who sent the note and ends up in an affair with an unlikely lover. Kasischke is especially good at describing everyday life and the boredom that compels some to self-destruct. 



Chelsea-based poet, author and University of Michigan professor Laura Kasischke is known for her spell-binding cautionary tales of ordinary people caught up in lives of deception. Be Mine, located on the Staff Choice shelf, is no exception. Don’t hope for a happy ending for the characters, with Kasischke's stories you’ll find yourself relieved that they're not you.



Cyndi L., Reference

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A Reliable Wife

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Robert Goolrick

This book has more twists and turns than a barrelful of snakes, more than a box of screws, even more than an old country road.  The plot appears simple. It's the turn of the 20th century.  Hunkered down in (frozen) northern Wisconsin, wealthy, widower Ralph is looking for a wife.  He places an ad in the newspaper.  He choses one response out of the many the "honest woman".  She arrives on the train. They live happily ever after.  (If you've read the book, this is where you LAUGH OUT LOUD!)

Two thumbs up! Recommended for book clubs - reader's guide included.  PS If you are considering building a cabin up in the frozen white north, read this book first!  Keep a winter place somewhere sunny!

Donna O., Reference and Technical Services

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Slaughterhouse Five

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Kurt Vonnegut

Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time. This means that throughout the course of the novel, the events in Billy’s life are completely jumbled and confused. At one moment, Billy is being transported on a hectic railway to a Prisoners of War camp in Germany. At the next, he is being chartered to an optometry conference decades later. The time travel in this book made it very unique.

Another unique aspect to Slaughterhouse Five, is the fact that some of Billy’s memories take place on another planet entirely. Billy swears he has been kidnapped by aliens resembling upside down toilet plungers, and taken to a planet called Tralfamadore. There, he is exhibited in a zoo and mated with movie actress.

The perception of time in this book is probably the most interesting part. Tralfamadorians view life in the fourth dimension and explain their way of thinking to Billy. Earth is the only planet that entertains the idea of free will.

This book is entertaining and an extremely quick read. I certainly recommend it to anyone interested in history or time travel.

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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