Fiction

The Deep End of the Ocean

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Jacquelyn Mitchard

The Deep End of the Ocean was most certainly not a light nor uplifting novel, but its brutal honesty and richness were sometimes better.  Because I am only a sophomore in high school and have never been a parent, it was often hard for me to fathom losing my child.  The closest thing I can relate it to is when my pet turtle disappears in the depths of our fenced backyard.  I begin to feel nauseous when our search is unsuccessful and waves of guilt crash over me when I imagine him hungry or hurt.  The kidnapping premise of this book was hauntingly realistic, even to me.

When Beth departs for her high school reunion, her priorities are slightly skewed.  Caught in a hotel lobby with her former peers, Beth's 3 year-old son disappears.  At first, the search includes only the hotel, but when the police arrive and her child's small red sneaker is found, the abduction can no longer be denied.

I must admit that I began this book three months ago and didn't finish it until recently.  I read half, but the realistic plot and simplistic storyline didn't have me completely hooked.  I realize now that The Deep End of the Ocean is simply an excellent story about a family resisting destruction after the loss of their child.  The dignified writing style was my favorite aspect of this book, and reminded me that it's okay to just "read a good book."

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Frank Delaney

I have read some of Frank Delaney's previous novels and enjoyed them quite a bit, but I have to say it really took me awhile to get into this one.  The story centers around Irish vaudeville and politics in 1932.  When eighteen year-old Ben McCarthy's father uncharacteristically runs off with a traveling theater troupe, his mother sends Ben off to bring him home.  In the process, Ben falls in love with the same stunning young actress that his father has become involved with.  It soon becomes apparent that there is much more happening here than mere matters of the heart.  As political intrique shapes the course of events, Ben must grow up quickly if he hopes to rescue his family and avoid tragedy.  If you enjoy tales of Ireland, its people, and politics, you will probably enjoy this - but be prepared for a slow start.

Sue A., Reference

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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Stieg Larsson

This is the third is the Lisbeth Salander trilogy.  The second book ended as a cliff hanger.  How was she going to get of this one?  In this book, she is no longer a victim, but orchestrates her revenge...from first a guarded hospital room, where she is recovering from taking a bullet in the head and then a cell, where she awaits trial.  This is a satisfying read, but only if you've read the first two, because so much of her past is explained.  It ends by setting the stage for the next volume...too bad Larsson, the author, passed.... 
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0.9171.1989142.00 html

Could his life have been as exciting as Lisbeth's?

Donna O., Reference and Adult Services

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Old School

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tobias Wolff

I should have liked this book better – because I love the idea of it.The story takes place in a New England prep school during 1960.The narrator wants desperately to fit in with the other boys that attend this prestigious school and he accomplishes this by telling as little about himself and his life as possible.He is ashamed of his life outside of school.The school prides itself on its “literary connections,” and holds a contest each year for a meeting with a famous visiting author.Many of the boys aspire to write, and our narrator is desperate to win the final contest before his graduation and meet his hero, Ernest Hemingway.

I finished the book because I was curious about where our narrator ultimately might end up.It was quite a zig zag, as life often is.This book was definitely worth reading, but I must confess, left me somewhat disappointed.

Kathleen M., Administration

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The Bell Jar

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Sylvia Plath

A common theme among high school students is that classic books are dull or incomprehensible. This novel by Sylvia Plath defied all of these assumptions. Although it was written several decades ago, the language is easy to understand and the storyline is intriguing.

Sylvia Plath’s revolutionary character, Esther, isn’t insane at the beginning of the book. On the contrary, she is polite, brilliant, and has big aspirations. As the story continues, however, Esther’s plans are foiled and suddenly her appetite has disappeared along with her willingness to live. As her life continues, Esther slowly loses her sanity and experiences hopelessness and fear during her stay at an insane asylum.

The Bell Jar is a simple and poetic novel. Although it’s a classic, the themes are relevant today and I found it very comforting.

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Winter Garden

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Kristin Hannah

This is a fascinating book within a book, a story of the seige of Leningrad during World War II and the story of a mother and two daughters. Hannah excels at letting the reader into the life and minds of her characters and these two very different and estranged sisters try hard to get to know their seemingly cold and distant mother. I have to admit it is a tear jerker at the end but in a very good way.

Sue N., Youth Services

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Little Bee

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Chris Cleave
Little Bee is not her real name. She was from a small rural Nigerian village where she would have lived out her lifebut for events beyond her comprehension, much less her control.Cleave spotlights what others must endure. This is a fictional account (I hope it's not based on fact).I recommend this for book club, although the "beach scene" is brutal.
Donna O., Adult/Technical Services Librarian
 

Extreme Measures

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Vince Flynn

The theme of the book is the war on terror. It is an all too real portrayal of the private war we never hear about, unless something goes wrong. As I am sure you recall, right after 9/11 every American wanted the military and the CIA to protect us and didn't care how they did it. After a while, when we felt more comfortable about the threat, we began to express disdain for the methods, or extreme measures, that were used to fight this war. The storyline of this book is about this issue.

Mitch Rapp and Mike Nash are back together again to fight another battle. 2 terror cells had previously been exposed and caught. Torture had been used on those arrested in order to get the information that there is a 3rd cell already in the US and ready to attack. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee hauls Rapp in to testify in front of her committee. Sen. Lonsdale loves all the media attention she can get and is looking forward to publicly thrashing Rapp. However, before Rapp can re-appear at an afternoon hearing, he gets word that one of his people has been killed. This tells him that the cell is in D.C. and knows that he is hot on their trail. Before the day ends, bombs go off in 3 D.C. restaurants at lunch time and a somewhat successful assault is made on the National Counterterrorism Center. Could the attacks have been prevented if Rapp hadn't spent time preparing to answer questions from the Judiciary Committee? The unwritten answer seems to be yes.

My favorite quote is on page 245 where there is a discussion regarding whether certain Congressman are loyal to America in the war on terror. Mitch Rapp complains "they hold us accountable, but we never hold them accountable." I think this idea of Congressional accountability is something we need to seriously think about.

Extreme Measures is incredibly realistic and I highly recommend it.

Ray K., Administration

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After You

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Julie Buxbaum
After You

A rather quiet story that pulls you into the characters. Ellie goes to London to care for her murdered best friend's 8-year-old daughter. Her shakey marriage, the stress of losing her friend, and dealing with her spaced-out parents make for a complicated few months. It's a book about love, relationships, grief, and is a compelling read.

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Sue N., Youth Services

The Puzzle Lady vs the Sudoku Lady

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Parnell Hall ("includes puzzles by Will Shortz!")

How could you resisted the book jacket? I couldn't .. and I'm glad I didn't. "The battle of the century" .. "bestseller lists" .. "murder" .. "puzzles" .. Award winning Parnell Hall authors the delightful Puzzle Lady crossword puzzle mysteries. They read fast and fun ... and in the words of Booklist, "(they are) gosh-darned good."

Donna O., Reference and Technical Services

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