Posts tagged with "Fiction"

Posted by meyoung on 04/08/16
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I'm not going to lie to you. When I picked up this book, I wasn't expecting to like it at all. The cover looks like a light, fluffy, love story. The description on the back makes it seem like love ever-lasting. Basically, it looks like something that would make me barf. After sitting down for more than an hour with it, I realized that I just couldn't put it down. A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka is a beautifully crafted book following two time periods.

While the story does, in fact, include love, it is so much more than that. One story gives us the worries, horrors, and anxiety of WWII. One story gives us a coming-of-age tale in New Poland almost 50 years later. Pasulka examines how the past shapes who we are today by gracing us with the life of grandparents and the life of a granddaughter.

Pasulka does a wonderful job creating characters that are so tangible, so real. Her description of setting is deep without it masking the story line. The addition of Polish words is a nice reminder that the characters speak Polish - and a great additive to their personalities.

Brigid Pasulka is a local author and will be visiting the library on April 26 from 7-8:30PM for an author panel discussion.


Posted by mingh on 08/13/11
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Bed is the story of two brothers growing up in England. The oldest brother, Malcolm, takes to his bed at the age of 25 and allows himself to grow to morbidly obese proportions from being overfed by their mother. The youngest brother tells the story. It is hard not to focus on the oldest brother's decision. But Bed is really a story of what love means.
Late in the novel, Mal tells his brother that love is a continuum with a romantic giving end and an opposite end of destruction. The youngest brother is deeply in love with a woman, Lou, who can only think of Mal. She sees how her father is being destroyed by her mother's lack of love. Lou can't see how the youngest brother can help her.  The younger brother watches his family decline until he is finally able to escape to America with Lou. They leave as friends but soon become much closer.
 After many years, he returns to find that his brother has grown so large, 1300+ pounds, that his skin has become enmeshed with the linen of the mattress. Mal's body has become part bed and the bed a part of his body. He finds his mother happy to have someone to take care of and his father engaged in working on a contraption that will allow Mal to leave the house.
This book is dark and filled with depression although not in itself depressing. You will keep reading to find out if this growing horror of a situation will resolve itself. This book will make you think long after it is finished. What is love? And what does it mean to sacrifice?

Posted by meyoung on 02/05/16
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Ever since I was young(er), I've loved suspense stories. I've loved the twisted, psychological thrill of basically anything from Criminal Minds to reading about the Stanford Prison Experiment (which is now a movie that I highly recommend). It's no surprise that Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Haeberlin, a book about a lone survivor of a serial killer caught my eye.
16-year-old Tessa Cartwright is found among the remains of other women. She has very little memory of how she got to be buried alive, let alone about the circumstances leading up to this finale. Tessa Cartwright is the sole survivor of the Black-Eyed Susans, rightly named due to the array of black-eyed susans around the grave. Her testimony is what lands a man in jail and sentenced to death.
Almost 20 years later, with the death clock looming, Tessa isn’t so sure the right man is sitting in the cell. After finding the infamous flowers planted beneath her bedroom window, she has her doubts. We soon see that Tessa has a lot more secrets than she's letting on.
Julia Haeberlin takes us through the psychological journey in two different timelines. We follow the therapy and development of young Tessa, as well as the adult Tessa. The slow-building tension is beautifully done and left me falling off the edge of my seat. While some may compare this to Gillian Flynn, Haeberlin is in a league of her own – excellently executed. Once you notice things don’t quite add up, this book is hard to put down.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/14/12
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Our Book Discussion Collection is highlighted by Anne Harmel in this podcast about AHML's book sets for checkout. We have twelve copies of  The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler and you can get a book bag to take them home. Book discussion books have a six week checkout instead of four.

Posted by LucyS on 08/21/16
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Britt-Marie hasn’t spoken up for herself in decades, losing her self-esteem along the way. This is a sweet story of an older woman with rigid habits, uncomfortable in social situations, who can’t abide clutter, but grows to learn how to make decisions for herself. It is almost like a delayed “coming-of-age” tale. The writing style is simple, clear and depicts exactly what it might be like inside her mind. She returns to work after pestering an employment agency staffer into finding something for her even though it will be temporary. The inhabitants of a very small town, especially the children, grow to care for her and respect her and she begins to feel the same way for them.
My favorite quote from Britt-Marie Was Here can be found on page 262: "That is the reason why passion is worth something, not for what it gives us but for what it demands that we risk." Fans of author Fredrik Backman’s other work, A Man Called Ove, will enjoy this story with a woman in the lead role.

Posted by Trixie on 11/04/14
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“I’m a gamer and I kick arse. No, seriously. I organize a guild online and I’m looking for a few of you chickens to join me.”
In Real Life is a coming-of-age graphic novel that opens with Anda’s birthday. She’s a gamer girl who just moved to a new town and is trying to figure out where she fits in. Enter Liza McCombs – she heads an all-girl guild in Coarsegold Online, a massive multiplayer roleplaying game. Not only does the game provide a place for Anda to explore her identity, but it also allows her to investigate socioeconomic issues around the world and close to home.
Cory Doctorow knocks it out of the park in his debut graphic novel! He highlights complex topics like gold farming, economic inequality, and labor rights all with a feminist message.
Jen Wang’s illustrations are stunning. Real life characters are juxtaposed with their online avatars and in some panels the lines are blurred. The characters’ expressions are exquisite – they convey feeling and humanize the drawings. Her art is dynamic with perfect coloring.
I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. It’s a page turner and will pique interest in “real-life” issues.

Posted by Kelley M on 07/01/14
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The great thing about Dave Eggers is you never know what type of book you’re picking up.  All of Eggers’ plots, settings & characters are very different from each other.  His current book is no exception.  From the very beginning of the book, you are thrown into the situation. At first, you do not know where you are or who is talking, which makes sense for the situation.   The book is essentially the conversations between 30-year-old Thomas & his hostages.  The dialogue drives this story.  The main character, Thomas, kidnaps people that have had a significant impact on his life (and also someone he feels could have a significant impact on his future).  As you read this book, you start to question some of your own morals. 
It’s a quick read.  The audiobook is great, since different characters are played by different people, making characters very easy to keep track of.  If you don’t mind a little strong language, this is a very intense, thought-provoking read. 

Posted by Kelley M on 07/06/15
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Warning: Once you start reading this book, you might not be able to put it back down.  In just 177 pages, you will see the evolution of a family and a marriage.  However, you will never learn the main characters’ names.  The novel is written in short paragraphs, which drive you forward, as you think, “I could read a few more paragraphs…  My chores can wait.”
At first, as the reader, you will think the paragraphs are just short snippets of the life of the main character. However, you start reading these little philosophical blips that really get you thinking about your own life, in general.  This book came highly recommended by several people.  I originally saw the book on Your Summer Reading List: 70+ Book Picks From TED Speakers And Attendees.  After reading this book, it has become one of my top recommendations for summer reading.  It’s physically a small book, so it is also ideal for your summer travels, wherever they may take you.
This is the author, Jenny Offill’s, second adult fiction novel.  She also writes children’s books.

Posted by LucyS on 06/12/15
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Girl at war, girl caught in a war, girl scarred by war.
Ana Juric is just 10 years old when the winds of civil war blow into her poor but carefree life in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1991. She, her best friend Luka, and their classmates play war games until it becomes too real. Ana says, “We had the peculiar privilege of watching the destruction of our country on television”. When tensions escalate and essential services grow scarcer, Ana’s parents decide to send her much younger sister to America for medical care through a charitable organization. On their way home, a roadblock of soldiers stops the family. In a few brief minutes, terrifying and almost unfathomable to contemplate, the course of Ana’s life is forever changed. Years elapse and Ana is a college student in America but her painful memories cannot be suppressed; they shadow her and her relationships. She wonders if tragedy will always follow her as she watches the Twin Towers fall in New York City.
Sara Novic tells a fictional story of a young girl’s life upended by war, displaced by war, of loss and survival set in the very real conflicts of the Balkan/Bosnian civil war in the 1990's. She creates a strong sense of place, of home, of family, of hope, and of life forces that can’t be quelled. An interesting note when reading a brief bio by this debut novelist is that she is hearing impaired. Her voice in this book is loud and clear.

Posted by Elcin A on 01/12/18
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Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the award-winning novels Girl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in 17 countries.
Girl in Translation is a very fast- moving and inspiring story about a young immigrant, Kim Chang, who immigrated to America from Hong Kong with her mom. When Kim’s mother decides to move to Brooklyn in order to provide a better life for both herself and her daughter, she probably did not anticipate any struggles. Their struggles included difficulty with language, culture, and education. Kim devotes herself to her schoolwork in order to make a better life while she is growing up between two cultures.
This book gives you a different perspective. Enjoy!

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