Monday, October 12, 2015

New adult fiction

Here’s what’s new in Adult Fiction at Peter White Public Library

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
This debut novel from author Bill Clegg is an emotional story of people connected through tragedy, coping with loss. The night before her daughter’s wedding, June Reid loses everyone she loves in a tragic accident; her daughter, her daughter’s fiancĂ©, her ex-husband, and her lover Luke all perish in the blink of an eye. Left with only the memories of her family and completely unsure of her final destination, June gets in her car and leaves her life in Connecticut behind. As more characters are introduced we discover they have also been touched by the same tragedy. Told from multiple points of view, Clegg does a fantastic job of demonstrating how terribly complex human relationships are while exposing the truths about the lives of June and the many people she encounters on her road to a new life.

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk
His stories have girt, they’re a little bit filthy, and they always have you questioning your sanity half-way through. If you’re a fan of Chuck Palahniuk you’ll likely be a fan of Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread, a collection of 21 of his most poignant short fictions. Be warned however, these really are stories that you can’t unread and there may even be one or two you won’t be able to finish.

The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil
The Great Glass Sea is a wild, dystopian epic of brotherly love set in an alternative future-Russia. After the Death of their father, twins Yarik and Dima, are sent to live on the farm of their uncle. As young men, the brothers find themselves working on Oranzheria, a large acres-wide sea of glass – the largest greenhouse in the world whose relentless growth is destroying the surrounding countryside and all that it represents.
Though it is not easy, life for the brothers is mostly good and uncomplicated, until a chance encounter with the reigning oligarch turns everything sideways. The twins’ deep, fraternal love is increasingly at odds with the unnerving forces of conformity and development, and each must choose where their loyalties lie.

Holy Cow by David Duchovny
Holy Cow is a smart and irreverent allegory about friendship, religion and humanity as seen through the eyes of a cow named Elsie Q. After learning what an industrial meat farm is, Elsie realizes that if she doesn’t escape soon she’ll be turned into ground beef patties just like her mother. So what’s her plan? Obviously her only viable solution is to travel to India, where cows are worshiped rather than slaughtered. Several other animals on the farm – Joe the pig, who refers to himself as Shalom, and a anorexic turkey called Tom - find out about Elsie's plan and decide to join her pilgrimage to escape their equally terrifying fates on the farm. These absurd animals don human disguises, practice walking on two legs and make their way to the airport.  
A sidesplitting piece of writing, this story pokes fun at just about everything and stretches the imagination to it’ silliest limits, making it a fun read for just about anyone.

The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant
The Jaguar’s Children is tense from beginning to end, likely due to the constant feeling of claustrophobia you’ll experience while reading. John Vaillant’s latest suspense novel focuses on the tremendous dangers of illegally crossing the border between the United States and Mexico. Hector and his friend Caesar, along with 13 other illegal immigrants from Oaxaca, are hidden in an empty water truck, risking their lives for their chance at freedom. But when the truck breaks down, the 'coyotes' seemingly abandon the group sealed in the tank for four days with little food and water. Using the cellphone of his unconscious friend, Hector attempts to reach the American number he finds in the phone but he has no way of knowing if his messages are getting through as the situation inside the tank becomes more desperate.

By Dominic M. Davis, Administrative Assistant

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Books about books

The 2015 One Book One Community program began October 1. To celebrate 10 years of our local community read, the committee chose Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. This 10th anniversary selection honors the long history of the book and takes the reader from a mysterious present day San Francisco book store and Google’s campus to Renaissance book printers and back. Clay, an out-of-work graphic designer, finds a job on the night shift at a San Francisco bookshop which soon leads him and several high tech friends on a quest to solve a centuries-old mystery involving codes, a medieval typeface, and the search for immortality. Mr. Penumbra’s is a fun and magical book wherein friendship, perseverance, intelligence, and imagination optimistically link old and new technology and speak to our desire for permanence in the digital age. Print and audio copies of this book can be checked out of your library, inter-loaned from other libraries or purchased at local bookstores.

Sloan will speak to the public at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20 in NMU’s Jamrich Hall Auditorium, Room 1100. Free admission. Other free activities include public book discussions at PWPL on Oct 6 and at Snowbound Books on Oct 19, and the Film “Her” at PWPL on Oct 12. Snowbound Books will be open for 24 hours Oct 19-20. Activities that night include a 1:00 a.m. visit from Sloan who grew up downstate and attended MSU. Visit and click on the One Book One Community link, visit, or call 226-4309 for more information.

One of my favorite stories about books is People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. This fictionalized history also explores the history of the book, but in this case, one particular book. In 1996, Hanna Heath, a young Australian rare-book expert, is called to analyze and conserve the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless and beautiful six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been rescued during the Bosnian war. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in the book’s centuries old binding, she reveals the book’s mysteries and exposes an international cover up.

Ander Monson, in Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries, considers the histories of books and their readers through traces of themselves left behind in each book such as comments in the margins, bits of paper, envelopes, and other artifacts. In college, we signed a slip in the back of a book when we checked it out of the library. It was exciting and felt a bit subversive to learn who had read this book before you did, to realize each book has a history of being read. Monson, originally from the Keweenaw and now teaching in Tucson, uses this communal experience of reading to reflect on life and literature. 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a sweet, sad and funny tribute to books and booksellers. A.J. Fikery decides to drink himself to death. His wife has died; his business is losing sales; and his 1st edition of Poe’s Tamerlane, Fikry’s retirement plan, has disappeared. However, when he finds an abandoned toddler sleeping in his shop and unwillingly discusses a new line of titles with a pesky book sales rep., he eventually discovers a second chance at love and renewed joy and humor in connecting books and people.

Michael Dirda, Washington Post book critic, shares joy-filled insights about books and reading in Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books. He writes conversationally of visits to used and rare bookstores and library book sales. His purchases inspire reminiscences of books and authors who have filled his reading life. He, too, shows how reading stories builds relationships between readers and authors and between or among readers, and how these relationships change and shape the reader’s life. One will be inspired to make a long list of books to read next.

Books in print format will never disappear. There are, after all, all kinds of readers, books and reasons for reading. However, John Palfrey argues in Bibliotech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, libraries must transition to digital formats if we hope to save libraries and through them, our democratic ideal. We all know that the ways in which we obtain and use information is rapidly changing and to keep up we have to know how to find and use digitized information. Palfrey, founding chairman of the Digital Public Library, believes that as we enter the digital world, libraries will be more important than ever as they continue to provide equal access to information and education, a safe space, free access to computers and the internet, and a sense of connectedness to the local community and the world beyond. He maintains that libraries will have to change their focus from traditional formats to a digital environment and ensure that digital materials and information are publically available to all people. Learn something about this transformation by attending a One Book One Community sponsored program, “24-Hour Digital Resources @ Your Library,” on Oct 13 at 7:00 p.m. in PWPL’s Computer Lab.

 --Cathy Sullivan Seblonka, Collection Development/Reference Librarian

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Titles from Children's Fiction Series

Fall is in the air and the children are back to school. Every parent is familiar with the homework reading time by now.  Often, when a child reads a good book, they would like the story to continue.  Series books are a great way to keep the child interested in reading.  Here are some fun new elementary level books from series to help transform required reading into “can’t stop” reading time.
Fans of Disney’s made-for-TV movie, The Descendants, will devour The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De la Cruz.  This novel is book 1 of the Descendants series.  Imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, the teenaged children of Disney's most evil villains, such as Maleficent, search for a dragon's eye--the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape.
Introduce your young reader the Anna, Banana books by Anica Mrose Rissi.  This illustrated chapter book series covers the joys and challenges of elementary school relationships.  The latest book is Anna, Banana and the Big-Mouth Bet.  After telling her dog Banana about her loose tooth and discovering that some of her friends do not believe in the Tooth Fairy, Anna makes an impulsive bet with a pesky boy who also has a loose tooth.  This book is the third book of the Anna, Banana series. 
Younger children most likely know Fancy Nancy from her fabulous picture books. When young readers are ready to move on, check out the Fancy Nancy illustrated chapter book series, where this most-glamorous girl continues her often over-embellished adventures.  The latest book in the Fancy Nancy chapter book series is Soccer Mania by Jane O’Connor.  As her third-grade class makes its selections for the "Graveyard of Boring Words" and learns about "superb synonyms," slow-footed Nancy enthusiastically plays on the soccer team, with the goal of just being mediocre, or maybe even a little better than average.
Is your child already in the Halloween spirit?  If so, check out Guys Read: Terrifying Tales, Jon Scieszka, Editor.  This is Book #6 of the Guys Read Library of Great Reading.  Eleven masters of suspense including Michael Buckley, Adam Gidwitz, Claire Legrand, Nikki Loftin, Dav Pilkey, and R. L. Stine have come together provide a bone-chilling collection of original ghost stories, perfect for reading under the covers with a flashlight on a school night and then scaring your friends' socks off at the next sleepover!
Big Nate is a much-loved graphic novel/comic book series of our middle grade patrons.  Aspiring cartoonist Nate Wright is eleven years old, four-and-a-half feet tall, and the all-time record holder for detentions in school history. He's a self-described genius and sixth-grade Renaissance Man who lives with his dad and older sister and enjoys pestering his family and teachers with his sarcasm.  Big Nate: Welcome to My World by Lincoln Peirce hits PWPL shelves this month.
Do you have an elementary-aged child? Does the child have a pulse?  If so, they know about Minecraft and probably enjoy it. Tear them away from watching Minecraft Youtubers and set this Minecraft novel in front of them to join Gameknight999's world instead.  In Saving Crafter: An Unofficial Minecrafter’s Adventure by Mark Cheverton, a book of the Gameknight999 series, Gameknight999's best friend in Minecraft is dying, and only the User-that-is-not-a-user can save him!  An artificially- intelligent virus as captured after an epic showdown on the shores of Minecraft. Gameknight999, having trapped the virus in an unlikely prison, saved the lives of his friends in the game and was finally able to return to the physical world. Everyone thought the Last Battle was over and Minecraft was safe, but they were wrong. Don’t understand any of this? Don’t worry; your child will get it.
--Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Graphic Novels

Little Nemo: Return in Slumberland
Written by: Eric Shanower
Illustrated by: Gabriel Rodriguez
Call Number: JGN SHA
Fans of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo are sure to appreciate Eric Shanower’s additions to this classic tale. King Morpheus is on the hunt for a new playmate for his daughter, the princess of Slumberland. Traveling into the world of the living, they find a new Nemo, though he’s not very happy about being transported night after night to a crazy, colorful dream land. Shanower, known for adapting the Wizard of Oz series and the Trojan War into comics, is an expert writer, adding to the already established world of Little Nemo, making him feel like a contemporary child. Artist Gabriel Rodriguez, whose work includes Locke & Key and adaptations of Clive Baker’s novels, has a very unique style. The saturated colors, intricate scenery, and thoughtful character design truly transports the reader to a dream world. For more imaginative dreams and a sense of nostalgia, Little Nemo is an excellent read.

Written by: Paul Tobin
Illustrated by: Coleen Coover
Originally published as a digital comic book, Bandette follows the thieving career of an acrobatic burglar known as Bandette! Described as a cross between The Adventures of Tintin and Nancy Drew, Bandette is a Euro-style comic featuring more narrative stories and fluid art than standard American comics. Set in picturesque Paris, Bandette relies on her Urchins and ally police inspector Belgique as she faces other thieves and villains like the Monsieur, Absinthe, Matadori and Il Tredici. While Bandette would never hurt anyone nor steal anything unjustly, from time to time, she does keep a token for herself. Paul Tobin’s writing is sharp and on point, exploring the whimsy of our teenaged protagonist while also creating complex stories. Art by Coleen Coover transports the reader to Paris; you can smell the pâtisseries and boulangeries, see the acrobatic skill of Bandette as she jumps from rooftop to rooftop, and feel the breeze off the Seine River. Bandette’s exciting capers are sure to be enjoyed by young and old alike.

Silver Surfer
Written by: Dan Slott
Illustrated by: Michael and Laura Allred
If you’re a fan of the television show Doctor Who, Dan Slott and Michael and Laura Allred’s run on Silver Surfer is the right comic for you. In the Silver Surfer’s latest adventure, Norrin Rad, former herald of Galactus, eater of worlds, discovers an Earthling has been taken to a distant planet and held hostage. After Silver Surfer defeats the planet’s ultimate foe and rescues Dawn Greenwood, they travel across the spaceways before returning to Earth. Much like the Doctor and his companion, the Silver Surfer and Dawn create a unique bond as they face cosmic challenges like the Never Queen and Galactus himself. Dan Slott is an expert of subtle comedy, and each issue of the Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood’s adventure teaches you about the worlds they both come from and how they reconcile their differences. Married art team Michael and Laura Allred transports the Silver Surfer to a galaxy filled with psychedelic colors, playful character designs and immersive planetary experiences.

Girl in Dior
Written and Illustrated by: Annie Goetzinger
French author/artist Annie Goetzinger’s latest graphic novel tells of the rise of famed fashion designer Christian Dior. A docudrama, Girl in Doir follows the life of Clara, a fictional fashion reporter, as she attends Dior’s debut fashion show. Her life is turned upside down as Dior takes her on as a model, and she learns the true value of fashion. There is no doubt that Dior forever changed the way women dressed. His revolutionary, progressive designs were inspired by World War II military designs and the floral fields of rural France. Another example of Euro-style comics, Girl in Dior creates sweeping illustrations with water color strokes and is rarely hindered by the 3 x 3 grid traditional to comic books. One of the added values of this book is the back matter; Goetzinger includes a timeline of Dior’s life, the name and duties of each of his over 1,000 workers, explanations of the fabrics he used, and the names of all his collections. 

Written and Illustrated by: Noelle Stevenson
Nimona is a wonderful coming of age story set in a futuristic fantasy world. Arriving at Lord Ballister Blackheart’s secret lair, Nimona is seeking a villain in need of an apprentice. A shape shifter, Nimona is eager to take vengeance to the next level against all the people who’ve tormented her for the sake of science. However, while she looks for the quick solution (death), Lord Blackheart teaches her the value of patience and the fine finesse of destruction. From author/illustrator Noelle Stevenson, author of the critically acclaimed series The Lumberjanes, Nimona explores taking responsibility for your actions within this fantasy world. The subtle mix of fanciful elements, like dragons, shape shifters and witches, along with technologies like video conferencing, refrigerators, and interdimensional orbs, makes this an engaging read. ‘Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism!’ is the motto of this book, and it lives up to that motto.

--Tracy Boehm, Technical Services Librarian