Monday, December 12, 2011

December Update

If you are still looking for a few good books to buy as gifts for the holidays, there are plenty of "Best of 2011" lists out there and newly named award-winning books.
For Junior Readers - ages 8-12 the Connecticut Library Consortium has published a list that has been recommended by CT librarians. A few titles are: The Lone Wolf by Kathryn Lasky, Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Stuff That Scares Your Pants Off! by Glenn Murphy, Titanic Sinks! by Barry Denenberg, Alice-Miranda at School by Jacqueline Harvery, Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry and Close to Famous by Joan Bauer. The complete list will be available at the library for your perusal.
For Older Readers - The New York Times published their list of the top ten books for 2011 in last Sunday's Book Review. The fiction list includes The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson and The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. The nonfiction list includes Arguably by Chrisopher Hitchens, The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown, Malcolm X by Manning Marable, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman
Has anyone read any of those titles? Do you have any comments to share? We would love to know if they rank in YOUR top ten list for 2011.
With the American film version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo soon to be released, you will be hearing more about Swedish mystery writers again so it is worth noting that Jo Nesbo, one of my favorites, is releasing a new novel entitled The Leopard this week. If you read The Snowman and liked it, I am sure you will like this one as well.
Currently, I am reading The London Train - noted on some of the "best books" lists and enjoying it. Also, I am delving into the works of Haruki Marakami, the subject of a title article in The New York Times Magazine on October 23, 2011. His books are dense and I am not sure I am ready for his newest one at 900+ pages, but he is an incredible writer with a "fierce imagination".
Meanwhile, the morning book group will meet again on January 19th to discuss Waiting by Ha Jin, the 1999 National Book Award Winner and on February 16th we will meet to discuss Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear as we tackle the mystery genre for the first time. Please join us upstairs in the library at 9:30 A.M. Refreshments are served.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Update

September flew by, but I managed to get some books read in spite of that. I did finish Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, the National Book Award Winner. The Hartford Courant called it right on Sunday when they wrote, "Train Dreams" is a nuanced portrait of a day laborer in an earlier America and the quiet stoicisim that becomes his code." Don't look for a lot of plot or action, but the language is beautiful and the portrait of a man trying to cope with life in a changing world is poignant. It reminded me of the Pulitzer Prize winner of a year ago, Tinkers, by Paul Harding. That was also a small book (191 pages) that looked back on the life of a dying man. Both were meditations on life, love, and loss.
I also read Charles Fraziers' new book, Nightwoods: A Novel. Frazier is the author of the prizewinning novel, Cold Mountain. He revisits a rural, gritty setting in his new book though it is set in the 20th century. His characters are beautifully drawn and his book is suspenseful. However, I often got lost in all of his description. For example, in one sentence on page 99 he writes, "Daylight blared gritty through the opened door and cast a vampire-killing trapezoid onto the nineteenth-century wood floor, the splintery puncheons hip-wide and wrist-thick, cut from trees nearly two hunded years ago and made to last." I can recommend this book, but if you are not a fan of a lot of description you might find yourself skimming over entire paragraphs.
The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan is an interesting read. It is set in New England and traces the life of a woman from her early teenage years to her death in old age. She was the victim of sexual abuse and married an abusive husband. As a result of these experiences, she becomes a recluse, dependent on a caring priest for her contact with the outside world. It is a story of early wounds that never heal. Another interesting read is Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. Both of these books won the Kingsolver Award for books that have a significant political and/or social message. Mudbound is the story of race and vengeance and love and hate. Barbara Kingsolver herself wrote, "Hillary Jordan writes with the force of a Delta storm. Her characters walked straight out of 1940s Mississippi and into the part of my brain where sympathy and anger and love reside, leaving my heart racing. They are with me still."
My husband is currently reading and enjoying The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, just in time for the playoffs. It is a new baseball novel set at a small midwestern college. Critics think it is destined to become a new baseball classic. Stay tuned for the movie.
For now, I am reading A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster, for our October Morning Book Group and I plan to read Joan Didion's new book, Blue Nights. Didion's book is a follow-up to her book, The Year of Magical Thinking, and it details her reactions to the death of her daughter as well as the reality of growing older.
What are you reading out there? Let us hear from you.........Leisurely summer reading is over, but long nights for reading are ahead. Recommend a few new titles for everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Update

Sorry that I seemed to have let August come and go without an update.... and someone even sent a wonderful comment in - Thanks, Paul.
The selection for September's morning book group is City of Thieves by David Benioff. It is about two men caught in the Nazi siege of Leningrad during WWII. Coincidentally, a new book has been published entitled Leningrad: The Epic Sage of World War II 1941-1944 by Anna Reid. It is getting great reviews, though the story of what the Russians endured is horrific. I was first introduced to this subject when a fellow New Hartford resident recommended The Siege by Helen Dunmore to me. She said that it had a lasting impact on her. The Siege was published in 2002
If you like historical fiction, try some of the works of David Liss. He is a terrific writer and his titles, A Conspiracy of Paper, The Whiskey Rebels, and The Coffee Traders are exciting, informative, and absorbing. He has a new book out, entitled The Twelfth Enchantment, a Jane Austen-like novel, which I have just finished. While I did not enjoy it as much as his other works, it was still entertaining.
After I prepare my materials for the September 23rd book group, I intend to read a new book by Denis Johnson entitled Train Dreams. It is a novella, only 128 pages in length, and Amazon describes it as "an epic miniature, one of his most evocative and poignant fictions." The main character is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the 20th century - an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Johnson won the 2007 National Book Award for his book Tree of Smoke about a CIA agent in Vietnam during the years 1963-1970. Johnson is another bright spot on our literary horizon.
Finally, a few new books in the library: Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Full Black by Brad Thor, The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood, Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva, and a new book group favorite, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July Update

A few new books from the best seller lists are on order for the library and may already be in..........give Julie a call to check on their availability. The fiction titles are Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy and Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews. Summer Rental is the story of three friends in their mid-30s who spend a month on North Carolina's Outer Banks. The nonfiction books are In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and Demonic, the new Ann Coulter book in which Ms. Coulter compares the Democratic Party to the mob.
I am about to begin Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks' new novel. I read whatever she writes, but my favorite remains her first book, The Year of Wonders. Set in the Middle Ages during the plague, it examines how people are changed by catastrophe. My reading was sidetracked by another Jo Nesbo book, Nemesis, the discovery of another Swedish mystery writer, Lars Kepler, who wrote The Hypnotist, and a mystery thriller by Taylor Stevens entitled The Informationist. They were all suspenseful, innovative and absorbing. However, it is time to move on to other genres, and Caleb's Crossing will be next.
What are you reading this summer? Post a comment and let others know what you like and what you don't like.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June update

Here are some new suggestions for summer reading.............
The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo. If you liked The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you will like this book. It is set in Oslo, Norway and the mystery will keep you guessing about "whodunit" right until the end. Very suspenseful.
The Warmth of Other Suns is an excellent nonfiction choice for the summer. It details the cultural revolution in our country brought about by the migration of African-Americans from the south to the north from 1915-1970. It follows three people, who moved to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York- their reasons for leaving the south and the challenges they faced in the north. A fascinating, if at times, tragic story.
Two new nonfiction books which have people talking are 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart and In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. One details the events happening in our country the year before the civil war broke out, and the other is a tale of an American family in Hitler's Berlin during World War II. They are both on my reading list for the summer.
Another fiction title, which reads at times like nonfiction, is The Good Son by Michael Gruber. It is a story of a Pakistani woman who returns to her country from the U.S. only to be kidnapped by terrorists. Her son, who is a member of the special forces in the United States, attempts to rescue her. Very interesting insights into Muslim traditions and the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On an entirely different note.............If you have never read the Maisie Dobbs series of detective stories by Jacqueline Winspear, try them. She has a new one out this summer entitled, A Lesson in Secrets, but try to read the first one entitled, Maisie Dobbs, before reading others. They are fun mysteries set in England after World War I. Think Cherry Ames or Nancy Drew for adults.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Acquisitions

If you are looking for some of the newest fiction and nonfiction to hit the best seller lists, the library has some good ones for you. Recently acquired titles include the thrillers The Sixth Man by David Baldacci, The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark, Save Me by Lisa Scottoline, and Toys by James Patterson. Also, we have the much-awaited sequel to the Jean Auel series that began with The Clan of the Cave Bear, the The Land of the Painted Cave. If you are a fan of Jodi Picoult and read everything she writes, check out her latest, Sing You Home.

Our nonfiction selections include Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (which we also have on CD) and All That Is Bitter and Sweet, a memoir by Ashley Judd. A title mentioned in a previous blog entry, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson is also now available.

Check them out and post a review. We would love to hear from you.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Good Reads..........

What are you reading now? Can you recommend it on the "Bakerville Reads" blog?

I am reading Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver for the second time in order to prepare for the May 12th morning book group, and I am remembering why I liked it so much the first time.

I also just finished Elizabeth STreet by Laurie Fabiano. It is a novel about Italian immigrants in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. It is based on the true stories told by the author's family and is rich in detail about the plight of the people left behind in Italy and the difficulties faced by the new immigrants in New York.

Tell us what you are enjoying now. Summer is coming and people will want to stock up on good vacation materials.

My next book is going to be The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of American's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. It is a nonfiction book which documents the migration of African Americans from the South to the North from 1915-1970. I will post my impressions when I am done.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blog Update

Good Morning..... Our Bakerville Library blog has not been updated in some time. We hope to change all of that, and keep you current on new programs, new books, and new opportunities to volunteer in the "Best Little Library" in Connecticut.

Our programming committee has been hard at work this year, sponsoring a Pumpkin Painting event, a historic walk through Bakerville, a Winter Reading Program, a new morning book group, a gardening presentation and supplying our library with College Courses on CD. Ideas for next year are currently being discussed, and the committee would welcome your suggestions. What would you like to see at the library? Family nights? More story times? Lectures? Workshops? Please let us hear from you.

In the meantime, the next Morning Book Group will meet in the library on Thursday, May 12th to discuss Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams. Please join us; the group is open to all. Also, we will soon begin gathering books for our annual used book sale and Marketplace - always a fun day.

Good things are happening at The Bakerville a part of them.


We raised $2900 to help support the Bakerville Library.