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New Releases April 22-28

Baldacci, Binchy and Quick all have new releases this week. For the nonfiction, news anchor Robin Roberts recounts her life and battle with breast cancer in Everybody's got something.


4/20/2014 by Linda S Add a Comment Share this:

Staff Picks: World Book Night Titles

Have you heard of World Book Night? According to their website, “World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks” to people who don’t usually read. This could be people who don’t have regular access to books, but it also includes people who just don’t think of themselves as readers.

World Book Night began in the United Kingdom in 2011 and came to the United States in 2012. This is the Arlington Public Library’s first year participating as a book pick-up location. Last night, we hosted a reception where book givers could pick up their books. Next week, these book givers will go out into Arlington and give away free books to people who wouldn’t have had a copy otherwise. We’re excited to be part of this fun, community-building event!

If you’re interested in participating in World Book Night in 2015, book giver applications will open up this fall. Keep an eye on our website and social media for reminders and links as we get closer.

Each year, World Book Night works with publishers to create a list of free books to give away. You can see below that there are a range of titles to choose from. There’s young adult fiction, large print, novels in Spanish, non-fiction, current popular titles, and more classic works. Book givers pick their favorites from this list, so that they have a book that they’re excited to spread to other people. Keep an eye for book givers on the 23rd with these titles. In the meantime, check one out for yourself. Even if you’re not a book giver this year, you can spread a love of reading in the community just by talking about what you’ve read.

4/16/2014 by Allison Denny Add a Comment Share this:

Patron Pick: Justice for Sara

Ten years ago Sara was bludgeoned to death, her sister, Kat, cleared by a jury of her peers.  The killer is still at large, the case never solved.

Kat decides after all these years to go home, now a successful entrepreneur, planning to not only expand her bakery but to find out who killed her sister, Sara.  Questions surface as her reputation of long ago comes alive, the sheriff convinced at the time that she was guilty but only skimming the surface during his initial investigation.

Time had a way of settling this small Louisiana town into a state of complacency but Kat’s presence stirs up old suspicions and awakens past grievances.   New evidence forces the sheriff’s son to re-open this cold case, the investigation taking new turns and twists.   Old friends, relatives, neighbors, former boyfriends, and the former sheriff himself become fodder for questions.  To add to the confusion of events, Kat’s home is painted with graffiti, mysterious letters surface, and to add to the chaos, Kat’s home is burned, suspiciously resembling arson.

Fast-paced page turner, the story keeps the reader entranced, becoming an amateur sleuth while reading the story as the new pieces of the puzzle surface.  Well written, the author taunts the reader along the journey of discovery adding the flavor of romance to sweeten the mystery of whodunit.  

Written by Joy B., patron

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4/15/2014 by Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Books, Fiction, Mysteries

New Releases April 15-21

Nora Roberts takes on the world of high priced antiques with her new novel, The Collector.

4/14/2014 by Linda S Add a Comment Share this:

Patron Review: In Times of Fading Light

This story is about four generations of a German family, before, during, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The mini-snapshot images portraying individual family members highlights the remarkable transition Germany faced from WWII, the takeover by the Soviets, and the infiltration of communism.  It is clearly a difficult time as the East Germans attempt to live under the socialist dictates of the land.

This is a dysfunctional family’s attempt to adapt, to move forward, and then to accept or reject these changes affecting their lives.  The author uses the family members’ lives and their particular personalities to develop the story, each chapter dated to give the reader a perspective of the timeframe.   For example, 1 October, 1959, is devoted entirely to the patriarch, Wilhelm, and his 90th birthday.

This book was translated from German to English giving me, the reader, occasional difficulties with the translation.  German and Russian words are sprinkled throughout the story which sometimes necessitates re-reading a sentence for comprehension.  For me, this book was chosen because of its historical perspective, a time in history for which very little is written.  I was also impressed that the author had won 3 awards for this book.

The rough lifestyle pockmarked with translation issues, relationships soured by life, chapters that go back and forth in time, and characters embittered with negative attitudes makes this story a less than satisfactory read for me personally.

Written by Joy B., Lake Arlington patron

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4/12/2014 by Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Books, Fiction, Histories

Staff Pick: Oklahoma! by Rodgers and Hammerstein

Summary: In the turn-of-the-century Oklahoma territory on the brink of statehood, the story unfolds in peaceful Claremore.  Laurey and Curly fuss and fight and will not admit that they love each other. Ado Annie cannot decide between Will, a handsome rodeo rider, and Ali Hakim, a smooth, citified travelling peddler. Curly and Judd Fry, the rough-edged hired hand, struggle over Laurey's affections. All will be settled at the Skidmore social.

My thoughts:  This movie is a classic. The songs are catchy and memorable. There is a great deal of humor for all ages, but it's funniest if you are old enough to understand all the somewhat hidden jokes in, for example, "Pore Judd is Daid". This is definitely one of those sweet movies that's worth watching over and over. Added bonus: Shirley Jones and Gordon Macrae. They are the leads, and they are great singers. Ado Annie may not know how to sing, or pull off "I Cain't say No" in this, but that does not at all ruin the movie. My only real complaint is that the version on DVD is not the same filming as the old VHS I grew up with. The production company shot the movie twice to suit two different kinds of film, and the DVD version is not what I was used to. It's a small complaint though, and nothing if you've never seen the movie.

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This post written by intern Rebecca Bass.

4/9/2014 by Add a Comment Share this:

Book Club Pick: Fever

April Book Club choice

Mary Malone, a 17 year old Irish immigrant, heads out into the world to earn her way, cooking her passion. She is sent to nice homes where she has the opportunity to use her creativity to cook for families.  Energetic, fiercely independent, ambitious, never shying from what needs done, Mary will endear the reader from the beginning.    Early on in her career, she helps care for a very sick little boy with Typhoid Fever, his death haunting her throughout her lifetime. 

Mary meets and falls in love, the relationship one of dependency as she lives with an alcoholic who is unable to keep a job, Mary paying for the rent, utilities, and food.  They live in a large tenement house with bare necessities, only three pots for cooking.   She doesn’t complain, rather accepts her lot, even the lack of financial support, the failure of her lover to come home for days at a time, a burden she is willing to face head on.

Along the way, a “sanitary engineer” with the health department tracks her journey, Typhoid Fever seemingly following her footsteps, littering the path with death.  Finally, Mary is arrested and isolated on an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean for 29 years, her only friend a gardener.  Mary is not physically ill, but her body fluids indicate she is a carrier of Typhoid Fever!  Sadly, Mary is poorly treated by the sanitary engineer who seems to be on a vendetta to put her away instead of educating her.   

The author paints a grim picture of New York, a public health nightmare by today’s standards: refuse lines the curbs, by-products of animals litter the streets, and foul unimaginable odors pervading the senses.  It’s evident that a good deal of research was done to give the reader a sense of the grim state of New York in the early 20th century: factory work with long hours, poor pay, vendors’ food on the streets exposed to the elements without benefit of refrigeration, and the extreme poverty of the immigrants.

Mary is an amazing woman with strength, determination, and talent, but sadly, she was shackled to a worthless man, dependent on her energy to keep him adrift and then tethered to an island for the rest of her life because she was a carrier.   What a waste of a beautiful life!!   Because of the poor hygiene of the city, the sewer system affected the outbreaks of Typhoid Fever.  Mary would have been educated today to keep her hands clean, particularly after using the bathroom, and would be able to live her life, cook the food she loved, and have a productive life.  Well worth reading!

Written by Joy B., patron

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4/9/2014 by Add a Comment Share this:

New Releases April 8-14

A match made in heaven-Stone Barrington and Miss Julia take center stage this week. Lots of Hollywood types have new bios-Bob Saget, Rob Lowe and one about James Gandolfini.

4/6/2014 by Linda S Add a Comment Share this:

Book Club Pick: The Sandcastle Girls, by Chris Bohjalian

It’s 1915, and Elizabeth Endicott is in Syria with her father on a humanitarian mission. She’s just finished college, including a quick nursing course, and she’s eager to help people as the first World War spreads across Europe. She hadn’t expected to find herself a witness to the atrocities of the Armenian genocide, though. She befriends Armen, a young Armenian engineer still reeling from the loss of his wife and daughter. The two keep in contact after he joins the British Army in Egypt. They become each other’s solace in a world that can’t be understood.

The Sandcastle Girls is the story of Elizabeth and Armen, but it also follows their granddaughter Laura as she digs into her heritage. Laura’s story isn’t as epic as that of the war-swept lovers a century beforehand, but it is still a moving account of how the past can effect people in the present. This novel has lots of autobiographical elements, since Bohjalian is also of Armenian ancestry. Laura is initially reluctant to learn about her past. Her life in the present is satisfying, so why should she dredge anything up? It's after a friend shows her a photograph of her grandmother Elizabeth during the genocide that Laura's curiosity is piqued. Eventually she is driven to find out the truth about her family. I was interested to watch her passion and commitment grow.

If you read this book and want to talk about it, come to the next meeting of the Southwest Morning Reading Group! The group meets at 11 am on the second Wednesday of the month, in the Southwest Branch Community Room. The next meeting is April 9 at 11 am. The Sandcastle Girls is March’s book. Come discuss!

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4/2/2014 by Allison Denny Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Fiction, Book Groups

New Fiction April 1-6

Perennial favorites Mary Higgins Clark and Barbara Taylor Bradford have new releases this week!


3/31/2014 by Linda S Add a Comment Share this: