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August 21, 2017

Comfort Reads: Mac & Cheese for the Soul

Filed under: best books,Favorite Books,Jane Austen,Reading life — rmlblog @ 8:26 pm

These days I’ve found that I’m having trouble reading books that get my “fight or flight” system going, even though the book may be well-written (Try Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais; I’ll read it when things have calmed down.) I think I am just overloaded with the events in the news. However, I never stop reading; I just turn to my comfort reads.

Comfort reads are very personal. No one can really recommend to you what you would consider comforting. Many times it has to do with something in your childhood. In my case, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is on my list because my father brought it to me when I was sick.

Others include:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Jane Austen
  • Harry Potter
  • PG Wodehouse
  • Louise Penny
  • Many of my fantasy authors (Hobb, Sanderson, Kay)
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Patrick O’Brien

I’ve been collecting many of these authors in audio so when my eyes go I can still listen.

There is an blog from Australia about the site’s staffs’ comfort reads: https://www.readings.com.au/news/our-best-comfort-reads

What are yours?



July 27, 2017

Book Related Birthday Trip

Filed under: audiobooks,best books,Reading life — rmlblog @ 9:43 pm

I was listening to a podcast (http://modernmrsdarcy.com/what-should-i-read-next/) that makes book recommendations based on 3 books the guest likes and 1 the guest doesn’t. One guest was planning a trip for her 50th birthday. She lives in San Francisco and was going to go to 10 bookstores in 10 towns as she made her way to San Diego. Her plan was to buy 5 books at each store so that she’d have 50 books by the end.

This got me thinking. 1) I don’t need 50 more books in my house and 2) which of my books do I count as the ones I want to reread as I get older.

I love fantasy and reread several of my authors: Stephen Donaldson, Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavriel Kay, JK Rowling, Robin McKinley and Tolkien. I don’t think I’ll be rereading Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series mainly because I haven’t finished the last two books in his 4th trilogy. I don’t think I’ll reread Sanderson’s 10 volume set that he’s working on now, but I might reread some of his others. I reread Kay and Rowling regularly either in book or audio. I love Tolkien in audio and will probably relisten.

I also love mysteries and Agatha Christie and Louise Penny are on my reread lists. I’ve been slowly accumulating Christie’s novels.

I relisten to Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey and Maturin series often as well.

What would you collect if you were going to make a 50th Birthday trip? It could really be anything! 50 skeins of yarn and visit yarn shops. 50 bottles of wine and visit vineyards. 50 vinyl records.

June 29, 2017

Parallel Narratives: Which are your Favorites?

Filed under: best books,Reading life — rmlblog @ 2:21 am

Parallel Narratives is a description of those fiction books which tell two (or more) stories that end up intersecting. Usually this involves something that happened in the past that the characters in the present are trying to decipher. Secrets abound! Many current popular novels are using this format. The books are almost always interesting because of the history involved.

Here are some suggestions:

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana Rosnay
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Muralist by Barbara Shapiro
Legacy by Katherine Webb
The Muse by Jessie Burton
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
Orphan Train by Christina Baker
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason
God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai
The 47th Samurai by Stephen Hunter
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Sound of Glass by Karen White
Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
The Good Goodbye by Carla Buckley
All the light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Lost Constitution by William Martin
The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

January 25, 2017

Blind Date with a Book is Back!

Filed under: best books — rmlblog @ 8:11 pm

blind date with a book2Last year we introduced the “Blind Date with a Book” display at the library and it was a big hit so, of course, we have brought it back. The books this year again have all gotten an “A” rating on the blue slip we put in the back of the book. Most of this year’s dates are from 2014-2015 with some returns from last year.

The books are being covered so you won’t be judging the book by its cover and labeled with a brief description of what kind of “date” you might expect. Inside each book is a pink review slip. When you have read the book, fill out the slip and put it in our Blind Date Review box for a chance to win a prize.

Of course, you don’t have to finish a book you take — you can walk out on the date by just returning it to the library. We’ll be able to tell whether you’ve already read the book when you check it out if you have charge history on your account. This way you won’t get stuck with an old date.

January 2, 2017

Best Books of the Year 2016

Filed under: best books — rmlblog @ 7:30 pm

The “best books of the year” lists have again been published. The winner by a long shot is Underground Railroad by Colin Whitehead. It is a very long book so allow yourself plenty of time to read it.

I have made a booklist of the titles that have been put on at least 5 lists for fiction and 3 lists for nonfiction. Tell us what you think.

We will again be having our Book Pot Luck on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, this year on Feb. 4, at 11:30 am. Participants will be recommending their favorite books to each other.

dark-matterMy personal favorites this year were Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter, a sort-of science fiction book, but really a character-driven thriller and a book I read in pre-publication format and will be on my book discussion list next year, Will Schwalbe’s Books for Living.

The other favorites I had — at least as I rated them on Goodreads — can be divided into a few categories.

Books we read for book discussion: The Story Hour by Thirty Umrigar, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard, The Muralist by B. Shapiro, Best Boy by Eli Gottleib, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.

Fantasy Books (my personal favorite genre): Mistborn : A Secret History and War of Kings, both by Brandon Sanderson; the Harry Potters I reread this year; The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett.

Classics: Night by Elie Wiesel and Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.

And others: The Couple Next Door (the next Gone Girl) by Shari Lapena; Shrill by Lindy West; Carla Buckley books Deepest Secret and The Good Goodbye; John Lewis’s March series; Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.

And, of course, Louise Penny’s newest Three Pines mystery, The Great Reckoning. As always with this series, start with the first book, Still Life.still-life

I’d love to hear about your favorites for the year and consider joining us for the Book Pot Luck. Contact me by Jan. 20 with your recommendations so I can order copies for people to borrow that day.

February 23, 2016

Goodreads Groups and the Library

Filed under: audiobooks,best books,Reading life — rmlblog @ 12:58 am

Many library patrons have signed up for Goodreads.com which is a book-sharing, book recommendation, and book list storing site. Members can search for book suggestions based on what they have read previously, or search by genre or author. There are also Goodreads Groups. I have just joined one for Terry Pratchett readers. There is a book suggestion each month and a place to comment about it.

I wonder if anyone out there would be interesting in starting a couple of Goodreads groups for the library. We could have a group that shares good audiobook titles and voice talent. Another could be for good OverDrive books. Let me know if you would be interested and I’ll set it up.


January 27, 2016

Blind Date with A Book

Filed under: best books,Reading life — rmlblog @ 10:46 pm

blind date with a book2Last February I was over at Rehoboth’s Blanding Free Public Library and noticed an interesting display. There were a number of books wrapped in brown paper with writing on the outside giving a sort of teasing description of the book inside the wrapping. The display was titled “Blind Date with a Book.” It turned out to be a nationwide library display, usually for the month of February. So why not us, I thought.

As we were shifting the fiction this summer, I found that there were quite a few books that had received A’s on the blue rating slip in the back, several of them books I hadn’t read. It dawned on me that this would be a great source of books for the Blind Dates. With the help of the staff I have been collecting a list of books that received A’s and chose around 50 of them for the display. Then I checked on Goodreads.com to make sure the books seemed okay with their readers as well. For the nonfiction books, I picked books that were popular with our book discussion groups over the past 16 years or were popular with staff members.

Here’s how the Blind Date works.

  1. In February the main display near the elevator will be filled with books covered in brown paper.
  2. On each book is a short teaser description to let you know what you might be in for if you take this book home.
  3. You check the book out as usual. There is a duplicate barcode on each cover.
  4. Your job is to wait to unwrap the book until you get home and to give it a chance. It might not be something you normally read, but you might still like it.
  5. If you don’t care for the book after about 50 pages, don’t feel you have to finish it. After all, not all blind dates work out. Just bring it back.
  6. Each book has a pink review slip in it. Please fill it out and put it in the Review box at the display (or give it to a staff member.) Put your name and phone number on it for a chance to win a prize at the end of the month.

November 24, 2015

Read Another Life: Explore Biographies

Filed under: best books,Reading life — rmlblog @ 12:42 am

big biog2

Biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are probably one of the most popular categories in nonfiction. There is even a Pulitzer Prize just of this category of writing. We have moved the 920s (which is their Dewey Decimal number) to the shelves in the Reference area near the computers.

Many biographies are long — but that makes them perfect for long winter nights. New biographies we’ve acquired this year include:

Here some suggestions from 75 Biographies to Read Before You Die:

You can also subscribe to our LibraryAware newsletter, Biographies and Memoirs. Here’s the latest issue.

April 24, 2015

Ready for an Adrenaline Rush?

Filed under: best books,Favorite Books,Psychological — rmlblog @ 2:32 am

Thrillers are the biggest sellers in the publishing industry. for thriller blogThe latest “hot” title is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; a few years ago it was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Not all thrillers are equally thrilling, however. I’ve found that thrillers that are parts of a series — think most of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, Michael Connolly, Lee Child — lack that “anything can happen” feel because you know the main character at least will survive.

The scariest thrillers are the stand-alone titles. You have no idea who will survive until the end (Girl on the Train) or who is the bad guy and who just appears to be (Before I Go to Sleep.) John Grisham is good at this. I recently listened to The Firm for a legal thriller discussion; I had no idea who would survive.

I’ve created a book list of some of the recent Stand-Alone Thrillers and the May book display at the library will be thrillers.

Let us know which ones gave you the chills!

December 29, 2014

Helping You Find the Books You Like

Filed under: best books,programs,Reading life,romance books — rmlblog @ 8:40 pm

There are so many new books coming out each month that it is hard to choose what to buy for the Library and hard for you to decide what to read. We have some new activities going on that should help you.

Romance Reader Survey: Throughout the month of January we will be surveying romance readers to help us choose the books they want to read. Paper surveys are available at the library and can be returned there. There is also an electronic survey that you can take.  We’ll be doing more surveys in the future.

New “1st in a Series” stickers on mysteries and fiction. When you start a new series, you probably want to start at the beginning. We have labeled many of the first books in a series with red stickers to help you find the series. We are also trying to buy the 1st book if we don’t already own it.

The Best Books of 2014 lists are available in two ways: one is as a newsletter and the other is on our Pinterest board. Both methods have links back to the Enterprise/SAILS catalog. You can comment on the books on the Pinterest board.

We always welcome your suggestions and your “reviews” on the blue slips in the books. It helps us give you more of what you are looking for.

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