Five Book Friday!

And a messy, snowy rainy, bleak day it is out there, beloved patrons!  But never fear, we are here, the heat is on, and we have books, cds, and films galore to help you deal with the weather, holiday stress, and visiting relatives.

Just as a reminder, the Library has scheduled a staff meeting on Monday, November 19.  The Main Library will be closed from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.  The South Branch and West Branch Libraries will be closed from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

Additionally, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, we will be closing at 5pm on Wednesday, November 21.  We will reopen on Saturday, November 24 at 9am.  We wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing you soon!

And now, on to the books!

FoeFans of Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things will be pleased to know his second book is out, and just as mind-bending and fascinating as his debut.  Set in the near future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company in the form of a synthetic replica of Junior.  But if you think the weirdness ends there, you haven’t read enough of Reid’s puzzling, eerie prose, and should pick this book up post haste!  Booklist gave this novel a starred review, cheering that “Reid is at it again, exploiting readers with plot twists, narrative unease, and explosive conclusions in his second novel… [he] has the rare ability to make readers both uncomfortable and engaged, and this drama will surely send them back to the beginning pages to track the clues he left to the surprise ending.”

In the House in the Dark: Local readers already have plenty of background for the setting and premise of this story, but the twists and turns it takes on its way to its conclusion are sure to keep even the most devoted scholar of witchcraft and Puritanism captivated.  The story opens in colonial New England, where an upstanding Puritan woman has gone missing.  Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.  On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees may be much closer than she ever suspected.  This is a story that beautifully blends Native American folklore with colonial myths into a wholly unique original tale that is as haunting as it is unsettling.  The New York Times Review of Books loved this story, saying “[Hunt] has fashioned an edge of-the-seat experience more akin to watching a horror movie…Darkness is everywhere. . . . So prepare yourself. This is a perfect book to read when you’re safely tucked in your home, your back to the wall, while outside your door the wind rips the leaves from the trees and the woods grow dark.”

InsurrectoArmchair explorers, historians, and fiction lovers alike will love this tale, which uses a modern premise to tell the tale of the Balangiga massacre in the Philippines in 1901.  Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. Chiara is working on a film about the events that transpired in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation American soldiers created “a howling wilderness” of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara’s film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator—one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher, creating a wholly unique narrative that sheds light not only on the stories we fear to tell, but on the way we construct history and memory.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this wonderfully inventive novel a starred review, describing how  “Apostol fearlessly probes the long shadow of forgotten American imperialism in the Philippines in her ingenious novel of competing filmmakers . . . Layers of narrative, pop culture references, and blurring of history and fiction make for a profound and unforgettable journey into the past and present of the Philippines.”

Death and Other Holidays: Marci Vogel’s debut novel has critics everywhere delighted, and the book has already been nominated for–and won!–several literary prizes.  Life is coming fast at  twenty-something April. All the heavy stuff of adulthood—including the death of a loved one—seems to have happened to her all at once, leaving her reeling, and challenging her wit and grit in ways she never imagined.  Over the course of a single year, we see her confront her fears and vulnerability, as well as find a deep well of strength that propels her forward.  This is a clear-sighted, enormously empathetic story that won a starred review from Kirkus, who called it a “beautiful book…The prose is stunning..a moving and graceful novella of overcoming sorrow.”

The Way of All FleshA fascinating historical mystery that has already earned a devoted following in the UK, this book blends fact and fiction into an intriguing concoction that readers are sure to savor.  We begin in Edinburgh, 1847.  Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson. Simpson’s patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognizes trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education. With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.  Ambrose Parry is the pseudonym of husband/wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and historian Marisa Haetzman, and their talents shine in what we hope will not be their last collaboration!  Publisher’s Weekly noted that “Parry provides a fascinating look at how medicine was practiced at a period when anesthetics were still not widely used or understood, as well as certain things that have changed little over time: mansplaining, the subservience expected of women of any social class, and religious leaders demanding their God-given right to control reproductive health. Readers will eagerly await the sequel.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

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