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Staff picks November 2017

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Invention of Fire by Bruce Holsinger

London, 1886. John Gower, a friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, is summoned to investigate a mass murder within city walls. I like this series for its detailed and authentic history as well as a compelling plot. Recommended for fans of Alison Weir’s fiction and non-fiction books, and Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth.

 

 

 

 

Katherine

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1)
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The atmospheric writing of this book draws you into a magical world.  Set in medieval Russia, it is both fairy tale and fantasy.  Vasya, the main character, was deeply sympathetic. The story was very satisfying and nourished my soul.

For fans of: Fairy tales, historical fantasy, Naomi Novik

Already read it? Try: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

 

 

Sarah

by Kiersten White
And I Darken by Kiersten White

Looking for a book to keep you up late? Look no further (and it’s the first in a series!)

Set against the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century, this book re-imagines the infamous Vlad the Impaler as a girl, Lada Dragwlya.  The story traces Lada’s rise to power, the grittiness of her life as a young woman struggling with finding power in a world run by men, and her love affair with a powerful future-sultan. In addition to Lada, her brother Radu plays a central role. Lada and her brother Radu are extremely close but the trials of loving the same man (Radu’s closely held secret), and finding a place at court could break them. The book is packed with atmosphere, romance, political subterfuge, and intriguing relationships. I would recommend it for anyone interested in Transylvanian history, the Ottoman Empire, Dracula, and because of the intrigue, subterfuge, and romance…the Game of Thrones series.

6288Ann

A post-apocalyptic novel set in a bleak, ashy world. A story of love (and questionable hope) and the will to go on. Check this out if you liked Stephen King’s The Stand or Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It series.

 

 

 

12000020
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Kelly

Set in 1987, this story details the lives of two best friends living in El Paso, Texas. The two Mexican-American boys are Aristotle, who can’t swim, and Dante, who loves art. They become fast friends at the public pool, bonding over their ancient names. As they become closer, they meet the other’s family. Before long, Aristotle finds himself in a car accident, leaving him without use of his legs. At the same time he finds his best friend is moving away to Chicago. Aristotle ages, occasionally receiving letters from his friend that detail his biggest secret, one that could possibly get him killed.

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book reviews · Uncategorized

Katherine’s favorite YA books

In honor of Teen Read Week (October 8 – 14), I’ve decided to collect all my favorite teen reads we have at the Belmont Public Library! Ok, maybe not all of them, because that would be a lot, but here’s some good ones:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill: This book is pretty amazing. It wasn’t quite what I expected-I was expecting more of a kid’s book, and while it’s found in the children’s section, it reads like a YA fantasy. It’s not lightweight, the story is complex, and the themes are subtle. It’s the kind of book that at the end you want to cry a little, but not in a bad way, and just sit with it and absorb it. It’s about magic, and love, and loss. The story is nourishing and heartwarming. So glad I read this.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: This is a strong, powerful book, and the writing is excellent. The writing style and the emotional punch reminds of The Book Thief, although unlike the Book Thief it didn’t make me cry and feel all sad. Is it about sad, heavy stuff? Yes, but along with heartbreaking, The Hate U Give is also empowering and hopeful.
Also this is an important book, and more than just “timely.” I’ve seen this stuff on the news, I’ve read about the Black Lives Matter movement… but nothing else I’ve seen has brought the understanding and emotional connection reading this book does. This really just puts you there, puts you in her shoes, and lets you understand in a very personal, visceral way.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 (Harry Potter, #8)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling & Jack Thorne: I didn’t care that this was a script for a play and not actually written J. K. Rowling! I loved getting to read about the adventures of Harry’s children.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan: Rick Riordan is one of my favorite YA authors and this new series does not disappoint. Great for fans of mythology.  Full of magic and adventure! This stars Apollo… but transformed into a teenage boy.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Fairy tale science fiction! How cool is that? This stars Cinder as a cyborg and is loosely based of the Cinderella tale.  This is a very engrossing book – be prepared to stay up late one you start this!Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: This book was excellent! I am not usually a fan of werewolf stories, but this was a solid exception. The way the author evoked emotion and the feelings of falling in love were particularly compelling.

Some more of my favorites are:

Eleanor & Park

  • The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
  • Glass by Ellen Hopkins
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore

 

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · Uncategorized · what to read

Staff picks October 2017

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

radium girls
Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The Curies discovered radium in 1898. By World War I girls as young as 15 were working as dial painters – illuminating watch faces with the element to make them glow in the dark. In the 1920s and 1930s, the women reported unusual and troubling medical symptoms and began a long quest to get their employers, and the courts, to acknowledge their plight. Full of personal details, courage, and tenacity. This is an inspiring read.

For fans of: Compelling, dramatic, and haunting non-fiction.

Already read it? Try: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan, A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead, or Bomb Girls.

Katherine

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This book was pretty amazing. First off, it wasn’t quite what I expected – I was expecting more of a kid’s book. While suggested for grades 4-6, there’s more layers to get for those who are older. It’s not lightweight, the story is complex, and the themes are subtle. It’s the kind of book that at the end you want to cry a little, but not in a bad way, and just sit with it and absorb it. It’s about magic, and love, and loss. The story is nourishing and heartwarming. I’m not surprised it won the Newbury.
Recommended for middle school on up, including parents and adults who enjoyed Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. So glad I read this!

For fans of: Grace Lin, Chris Colfer, Naomi Novik, and lyrical, fast-paced fantasy fiction.

Already read it? Try: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman, or Nightbird by Alice Hoffman.

 

Kelly

abtrue
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This novel takes a very strong view on modern race interactions. The story is inspired by the true life of author Sherman Alexie. The main character, Arnold Spirit (a Native American who lives on a reservation) must take on a journey to a new school consisting of all white students. He has to face being a “traitor”, physical disabilities, racism, tribalism, poverty, and his father’s alcoholism all while trying to obtain a solid education. He has to learn to work with his hindrances and make new friends along the way. This dive into culture aids in deviating from the single story of Native people. This mature, coming of age story has deep roots in reservation culture and Native American traditions and tragedy.

For fans of: Culturally diverse, coming of age stories.

Already read it? Try: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Winger by Andrew Smith, or American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

 

Ann

i found you
I Found You by Lisa Jewell

A story of love and loss on many levels. Suspenseful and surprising to the end!

For fans of: Psychological suspense, Gothic fiction, suspenseful books with a strong female lead.

Already read it? Try: The Last Night at Tremore Beach bi Mikel Santiago, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, or In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

 

 

Sarah

born a crime
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, (a comedian and the host of The Daily Show), is the son to a Swiss father (white) and a Xhosa mother (black), this coupling rendered him a crime from birth. Trevor’s daily life included secret visits with his father, public outings in which they would walk close by together in a park but pretend not to know each other.

His trademark mischievousness, coupled with his bright, subtle, humorous, and intelligent commentary on the idiosyncrasies of growing up in a disjointed culture will transport you. Trevor’s inherited will of steel and fierce independence (courtesy of his mother), and his insatiable curiosity driven by intellect and enterprise (courtesy of his father) puts him in a variety of comical situations that he always seems to get out of.

An endearing, uplifting, and often surprisingly hilarious, (I was laughing out loud throughout the book), account of growing up in apartheid South Africa, overcoming adversity, and finding a way to make lemons from lemonade (Trevor-style) in any situation.

For fans of: Funny, candid coming of age stories, humorous family memoirs, and celebrity memoirs.

Already read it? Try: How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris, or Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris.

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Staff picks September 2017

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Meredith Martin Delinn needs a place to hide. Her husband was convicted of a Madoff-scale swindle and her world is crashing around her. Connie Flute needs to recover from the stunning death of her brilliant husband and the resulting estrangement from her daughter. Where better than beautiful Nantucket? Lifelong friends find that their retreat may offer second chances.

For fans of: Contemporary fiction featuring women’s lives and relationships.

Already read it? Try: Mary Kay Andrews, Jennifer Weiner, Barbara Delinsky, Nancy Thayer, or Anne Rivers Siddons.

 

Sarah

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

Leaving the comforts of home, Tilly Harper accepts a job as assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. Tilly’s chief duty is in minding and caring for the disabled girls and women who have accepted work assembling artificial flowers and are living in the company boarding house. As Tilly settles into her new home, she happens upon an abandoned diary leading her into the long forgotten lives of Florrie and Rosie, sisters separated during childhood. This novel is set in 1912 Victorian London and explores the lives of the wealthy and the destitute and is rich in period detail.

For fans of: Lush, atmospheric historical fiction.

Already read it? Try: Kate Morton, Diane Setterfield, The Cottingley Secret, Lauren Willig

Katherine

Walkaway
Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

Amazing and worthwhile, but not particularly easy to get through. There’s a lot going on here. It’s not the kind of book I’d think I’d like – technical, difficult, political. I don’t think you’d have much luck with this unless you’re internet/tech savvy. A lot of philosophizing, particularly of the social anarchist variety. His view of the potential world is so detailed, and so intricate, and so full of ideas. Very alt-2017; the diversity is diverse – ethnicity, sexuality, ideologies, theories, subcultures, you name it, it’s (probably) in here. The plot spans many years, and there’s a lot of main characters, but they are fully developed. Mind-expanding and inspiring.
For fans of: Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, Ursula K. LeGuin, and hard science fiction
Already read it? Try Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, Crosstalk by Connie Willis, or The Circle by Dave Eggers

Kelly

 

this is how we do it Matt LaMothe
This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt LaMothe

This story takes an innocent approach to the world around us. The cast of characters includes 7 young children from all across the world. These kids give a view into their day-to-day as they talk about what they eat, wear, do for fun, and more. This innocent description of life in other countries helps to break away from stereotypes on the people and conditions in different countries. Every child’s story is based on the lives of real children in India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Peru, Russia, and Uganda. This short read shines a light on the differences and similarities that these seemingly foreign nations have to the United States and other nations. This true to life children’s book shows that life doesn’t have to be fabulous or exciting in order to be important and influential.

 

For fans of: Cross-cultural studies, Sociology, Children’s non-fiction topics including world cultures, world religions, and multicultural literature.

Already read it? Try: Food Like Mine by Carrie LoveThe kids’ multicultural cookbook : food & fun around the world by Deanna F. CookCelebrate Diwali : with sweets, lights and fireworks by Deborah Heiligman and Vasudha NarayananGrowing up Muslim : understanding Islamic beliefs and practices / Sumbul Ali-KaramaliMeatless? : a fresh look at what you eat by Sarah Elton , Celebrations by Anabel Kindersley

Ann

Moto and Me Suzi Eszterhas
Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat’s Foster Mom by Suzi Eszterhas

Moto and Me is a  beautifully tender story of a year in a woman’s life fostering a serval. A wonderful story of friendship between species with breathtaking pictures!

For fans of: Both fiction and non-fiction featuring heart-warming stories of animal companions, animal rescue, and wildlife rehabilitation.

Already read it? Try: A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. ArnoldDog finds lost dolphins : and more true stories of amazing animal heroes by Elizabeth CarneyChaser : unlocking the genius of the dog who knows a thousand words by John W. Pilley with Hilary HinzmannThe good good pig : the extraordinary life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Staff Picks August 2017

 

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

By Any Name by Cynthia Voigt

An unconventional woman in the second half of the 20th century wins the love of an upper crust Naval Officer but not the respect and admiration of his family – to the frustration of her four daughters.

For fans of: Judy Blume, Emily Giffin, Elizabeth Strout, Lorna Landvik
Already read it? Try Fannie Flagg’s The All Girls Filling Station’s Last Reunion

 

 

Sarah

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Mae, a young 20-something, fresh out of college gets the opportunity of a lifetime to leave her less than thrilling job at the local utility company for an entry-level position in Customer Experience at a large social media company (which is a merged version of Facebook, Google, and Twitter). Newly empowered by the luxuries of working for a tech giant she is able to lift her parents out of medical debt and health burdens and is on an ever-improving career track. She makes lots of connections with people and becomes increasingly connected with the best and the brightest minds in the industry. Everything is going really great! Or is it?

A thought-provoking, morally-challenging take on what the balance is between bettering society, protecting privacy, and what constitutes real human connection.

For fans of: George Orwell, Cory Doctorow
Already read it? Try Purity by Jonathan Franzen or 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

 

Ann

Blankets by Craig Thompson

A beautiful story of growing up and all of the issues that entails. A moving, coming of age memoir.
For fans of: John Green, Nina LaCour, Gayle Forman
Already read it? Try: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi or This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

 

 

 

 

The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Katherine

This is a strong, powerful book, and the writing is excellent. The writing style and the emotional punch reminds me of The Book Thief, although unlike The Book Thief it didn’t make me cry and feel sad. Is it about sad, heavy stuff? Yes, but along with heartbreak, The Hate U Give is also empowering and hopeful. Also this is an important book, and more than just “timely.” I’ve seen this stuff on the news, I’ve read about the Black Lives Matter movement… but nothing else I’ve seen has brought the understanding and emotional connection that reading this book does. This really just puts you there, puts you in her shoes, and lets you understand in a very personal, visceral way.
For fans of: Markus Zusak, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds
Already read it? Try: March by John Lewis or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

 

Kelly (our new library page!)

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

This book is an enthralling continuation of the story of Percy Jackson. A newer cast of characters is introduced; Jason the boy who awoke with no memories, Piper his thieving girlfriend, and Leo their best friend and mechanical genius. These kids use their demigod powers to go on a quest to save the world from semi-immortal giants. Riordan’s sense of detail brings realism to every battle and step of their journey. As the first of the Heroes Of Olympus series, this story gives a powerful introduction to the rest of the books by switching the character’s perspective to a different character in every chapter.

For fans of: Fantasy adventure that is action-packed, fast-paced, and full of wit.
Already read it? Try: The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage or Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · Uncategorized · what to read

July Staff Picks

Intrigued by any of these?

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve one! 

Eileen

Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith:

The author of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency moves Jane Austen’s Emma to the present day, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the beloved classic. Much stays the same — Emma is still sure her understanding of any situation is far superior– while the details change– she’s home from university to launch her interior design business. McCall Smith does wonders fulling out the backstory and motivations of the characters while working within Austen’s plot. A substantial retelling: if you like this, try The Austen Project by Cathleen Flynn or Emma Approved, a YouTube series. There’s also the other books in the Austen tribute series: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield, Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, and Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid.

Ann

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki:

This was my first foray into graphic novels! This One Summer uses subtle details to tell a story about two adolescent girls over the span of a summer as they encounter some of the more complicated realities of life. This one will appeal to older Teens (and nostalgic adults) who enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels (Smile, Sisters, & Drama).

Sarah

The Last Dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde:

This book is for fans of Harry Potter, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and anyone who loves British humor. An unlikely orphan, who runs an employment agency for magicians in a land where magic is fading, finds out she plays a powerful role in the future of the last remaining Dragon and the undeveloped Dragonlands. Hi-jinx, quirky characters, and an obsidian-toothed Quarkbeast who eats everything, (including curried pancakes and the tableware they are served on), will take you on a wild romp through the UnUnited Kingdom, (strikingly similar to the United Kingdom), where magic is fading. The last Dragon is penned up on acres of land awaiting his death foretold by unreliable clairvoyants. Meanwhile, as the locals tailgate outside the border of the Dragonlands waiting to stake their land claims,  a battle for the Dragonlands is being prepared for by an unscrupulous King, Duke, a Superstar,  and a large corporation.

Katherine

Looking for Alaska by John Green:
An award-winning young adult novel of danger, vice, and first love, set at a boarding school.

Elizabeth

Les Misérables (DVD):

Les Misérables is a spectacularly beautiful movie adaptation of the epic musical that takes viewers on an inspiring journey with a man named Jean Valjean, or prisoner #24601, as he tries to make something out of himself after being imprisoned and escaping parole. The musical also captures the stories of the people around him and how their lives intertwine in 19th century France. The songs in this musical are award-winning and rightfully so because they are so moving and perfect. Even if almost every line in the movie being sung might seem to be a bit of an overkill, it’s still a gorgeous piece of cinema. Whether it makes you laugh, cry, or just feel inspired this is a movie that every person should have the good fortune of beholding.

 

belmont · Uncategorized

June 2017 Staff Picks

 

Eileen

984003

A Painted House by John Grisham:
It’s John Grisham, but it’s NOT a legal thriller. Luke Chandler, at seven, lives with his parents and grandparents in a little house that’s never been painted. In the fall of 1952, the backbreaking drudgery of cotton picking takes second place to strife among the sharecroppers – unexpected pregnancies and more than one violent death.
For fans of: Historical fiction, Southern fiction, Coming of age stories, and stories set in rural settings.

Katherine

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris:
I read this for a reading challenge item, “book by a celebrity.” I had been concerned whether I was going to come up with something good, but I wound up enjoying this a lot more than I expected to. It was a lot of fun. Neil Patrick Harris clearly really enjoys life. In fact, he enjoys it with gusto!
For fans of: Humorous non-fiction, celebrity memoirs, People magazine, Amy Poehler, and Amy Schumer.

Sarah

the bear and the nightingale katherine arden
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden:
The Bear and the Nightingale is a take on an old Russian fairy-tale set in 14th century Russia featuring Vasilisa the Brave. Vasilisa protects her village, and the tradition of honoring the spirits of hearth and home,  against an oppressive religious and political regime. As the spirits realize the old ways are under threat they start to retaliate. I loved this book for its old world flavor, the artfully depicted strong sense of place, and the enchanting story of a girl who stays true to what she believes is right and is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to defend it.
This is a great cross-over book and would appeal to older teens even though it was written for an adult audience.
For fans of lush, atmospheric historical fantasy, fairy-tales for adults, literary fiction, and mythology.

Ann

right behind you lisa gardner

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

A great on the edge of your seat story. This book will leave you in suspense until the end!

A fast-paced, suspenseful thriller for fans of JD Robb, Catherine Coulter, and Alex Kava.