Five Book Friday!

Holy cow, it’s cold!  You know what that means, beloved patrons–it’s getting to feel a lot like Blanket Fort Season!  So get ready, start stock-piling pillows and snacks, and get that list of books that you’ve been putting off during the chaos of the year, and get ready to snuggle in.

If you’re casting about for just such a book for your blanket fort, while not check out some of these books that have braved the cold and made it on to our shelves this week.  It’s nice and warm here in the Library, and we’re more than happy to help you find your perfect Blanket Fort read!

Nightblind: If you want a perfect wintertime read, then Ragnar Jonasson’s series (translated by Quentin Bates), featuring Icelandic police officer Ari Thor, is a perfect choice.  In this second book in the series, Ari Thor is continuing to make a home in Siglufjörður, an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.  He hasn’t had an easy time of it, and as a result, his relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.   These books are delightful,  oddly funny, insightful, slow-burns that so beautifully capture a sense of place that you will be immediately transported to the stunning, alien, homey little village.  It’s also an ingeniously structured mystery, which earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who noted in their review, “Jonasson plants clues fairly before a devastatingly unexpected reveal, without sublimating characterization to plot.”

The Sun and Her FlowersRapi Kaur’s first book of poems held a position on the New York Times’ bestseller list, a wonderful statement about the fierce power of her work.  This second book is vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing, honoring one’s roots, and rising up to find a home within yourself.
Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, this is poetry unlike anything you’ve grown accustomed to reading, and has made poetry lovers out of the most confirmed prose devotees.  The Economist agrees, cheering “Rupi Kaur reinvents poetry … (she) is undeniably equipped with the poet’s ability to articulate emotions that readers struggle to make sense of.”

It Devours Any fans of This is Nightvale–the book or the podcast–are going to love the new addition to this remarkable world.  Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.  The NIght Vale world is nothing if not weird, but that weirdness allows authors Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor to play some really big questions and ideas, and to explore not only their world, but the bigger issues at play with fun-loving freedom.  Booklist loved this book, saying in its review, “With a gripping mystery, a very smartly built world (a place similar to our own world but at the same time distinctly other), and a cast of offbeat characters, the novel is a welcome addition to any library’s SF shelf.”

Enchantress of Numbers: a Novel of Ada Lovelace: A lot of people know about Ada Lovelace, but few people know the person behind the myth, and sometimes, fiction is the best way to explore historic characters fully.  In this novel, author Jennifer Chiaverini is the kind of stilled, insightful author who can present Ada to us in all her complexities.  The only daughter of Lord Byron, Ada’s mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination–or worse yet, passion or poetry–is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes. When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize that her delightful new friendship with inventor Charles Babbage–brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly–will shape her destiny. Intrigued by the prototype of his first calculating machine, the Difference Engine, and enthralled by the plans for his even more advanced Analytical Engine, Ada resolves to help Babbage realize his extraordinary vision, unique in her understanding of how his invention could transform the world. All the while, she passionately studies mathematics–ignoring skeptics who consider it an unusual, even unhealthy pursuit for a woman–falls in love, discovers the shocking secrets behind her parents’ estrangement, and comes to terms with the unquenchable fire of her imagination.  This book is getting named as a ‘best of’ from a number of sources, and the USA Today waxed eloquently about it, saying, “Cherished Reader, Should you come upon Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini…consider yourself quite fortunate indeed…Chiaverini makes a convincing case that Ada Byron King is a woman worth celebrating.”

Peabody: 100 Years of a City in the Making: It’s finally here!  The commemorative volume of Peabody’s centennial and first hundred years is available here for you to check out.  Take a look at the city as you know it…and see what now-familiar areas once looked like in this beautiful illustrated volume!


Until next week, beloved patrons–Happy Reading!

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