This morning we kicked off our 4th annual Adult Summer Reading program with Staff Recommends Goes LIVE! We talked about those books that we're most excited about hoping that we can assist our members in planning their upcoming summer (or anytime) reading getaways. On the panel were staff members Erica, Jen, Barbara M., me, Abby, Pat, Sally, Marianne, Janet, and Kate.
If you were unable to attend this morning, or if you want to refresh your memory of the few dozen titles mentioned, just click on the images below for our staff picks.
(Don't forget to stop by, sign up, and pick up your packet for Adult Summer Reading!)
When considering a series, the first thing most of us want to know is if the books must be read in order. We don’t want to come in the middle of a story arc or, worse yet, read the second book and love it but find we’ve spoiled the first novel for ourselves. I had no such trepidations when I picked up Tana French’s The Likeness recently.
I wish I had been a little more careful, because The Likeness was riveting and, I found out as I read, the second book featuring Detective Cassie Maddox. I’m currently reading In the Woods, Tana French’s debut mystery, but I feel the tiniest twinge of regret that I did not check more carefully before grabbing The Likeness.
Both books feature French’s gorgeous prose and complex characters. In the Woods focuses on Detective Rob Ryan, a murder squad rookie investigating a murder that takes him back to his own traumatic childhood. As a boy, Ryan was found bloody and catatonic in the woods while his two friends were never seen again. He and Maddox find themselves in the same woods twenty years later investigating a strangely similar case.
The Likeness follows Maddox six months after the events of In the Woods as she is drawn back into undercover work by a victim (who could be her twin) who is using the same identity Maddox used to infiltrate drug rings. She assumes the life of Lexie Madison and moves in with Lexie’s quirky, endearing circle of graduate students, joining their surrogate family and slowly uncovering the secrets of Lexie’s life and untimely death.
Although The Likeness can be read before In the Woods, one of the reasons I wish I had read them in order is French’s ability to weave larger questions into her compelling storylines. The Likeness is a wonderful mystery with plot twists and intrigue, but more than asking “who-dun-it,” it asks big questions about the importance of identity and personal history. Each character’s past is of critical importance and some of Maddox’s past is in In the Woods. Regardless of the order they’re read in, these are fantastic stories and not to be missed.
Thick envelope or thin? In...or out? For college seniors, it seems like their whole lives have been leading up to that crucial moment, when they find out whether the college of their choice has admitted them.
Novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz's new book Admission (yes, she's related to Helene Hanff of 84 Charing Cross Road fame!) delves into the world of a Princeton admissions officer who has a long-buried secret. A chance recruiting visit to an alternative school leads to a re-examination of her life to that point...and a decision that will change her future and life forever.
If the real behind-the-scenes world of college admissions fascinates you, this novel has plenty of detail and authenticity. An excellent companion read is Jacques Steinberg's The Gatekeepers, which follows several Wesleyan admissions officers and applicants for the Class of 2004. Either way, you'll discover the difference between early action and early decision, see how the admissions officers work together to "create" a class, and learn that baked goods won't help tip the scales in your balance (though they may be tipping scales upwards in the admission office!).
Born 150 years ago today, he was the creator of perhaps the world's best-known detective, Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle grew up in Scotland, earned his medical degree, and while trying to build his practice, dabbled in writing. The result was the unmistakable figure with the deerstalker hat and calabash pipe, the subject of four novels and 54 short stories, the epitome of cool logic and keen observation.
Later re-created on stage and screen, Sherlock Holmes remains Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's lasting legacy, but he also wrote science fiction, plays, romance novels, even poetry. He died at age 71 in East Sussex, England, having led a life nearly as adventurous and fascinating as that of his famous protagonist.
Today, we have the Sherlock Holmes canon of mysteries plus over one hundred years of research, analysis, and insight. Several recent biographies of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can be found in the Life & Times subject area ( or "glade") on the 2nd floor, and in-depth examinations of his most famous detective are in the Arts & Literature glade, just a few footsteps away. Join us in celebrating a century and a half of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his writings -- it's elementary!
Picture from Flickr user bcostin.
A 17-year-old girl living in West Virginia and her disabled younger brother. What stories lie trapped in the boy's head and how did all of the layers of their past combine to create their present? Jayne Anne Phillips slowly reveals long-kept secrets as new forces threaten to separate the brother and sister in this stunnning novel...a work of fiction that defies easy description but remains absolutely engrossing at every level.
We'll be discussing Lark & Termite on Sunday afternoon, May 17 at 2:30, and welcome your comments, insights, discoveries...anything you'd like to share about this book (even if you don't get to finish it in time!). Our Sunday afternoon book discussions are open to all and full of ideas for similar reads and great new authors. The facilitator is Jordon Pecile, who has taught at numerous colleges and universities, most recently the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He's been a favorite here for many years and always sparks lively conversations! This is our final spring session and promises to be a special one. Please join us!
One day last week I was looking for a good book to read. While browsing the Library's 7-day books, I began chatting with Pat and Jen, two members of the Darien Library's terrific Readers' Advisory team. Both women enthusiastically recommended Chis Cleave's new novel, Little Bee. Mr. Cleave's award-winning first novel, Incendiary, published in 2005, had somehow missed my radar, so I was not familiar with him or his books. I'm happy to say that my colleagues' recommendation was right on the mark. The plot revolves around the hot button issue of immigration and deftly exposes the many sides to this issue. The narration alternates between Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee recently released from a detention center outside of London, and Sarah, a career woman, wife and mother living in the suburbs. Through Little Bee, we come to know Sarah, Andrew, and Charlie, the British family whose lives intersect fatefully with that of Little Bee. I found the story engrossing and the characters richly drawn. If you enjoy thought-provoking, realistic fiction, Little Bee may be a good choice for you or your book club. But, if you're looking for something else entirely, have a chat with our Readers' Advisory team. They'll be sure to find something you'll enjoy!
Eighteen minutes that changed the world: it happened exactly 94 years ago today. Loaded with nearly two thousand passengers and crew members, the Lusitania left New York on May 1, 1915, headed towards Ireland. Just forty or so miles away from her destination port, she was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat and sunk 18 minutes later, taking the lives of more than half on board.
This remains one of the worst civilian sea disasters in history, and is widely considered the main reason the US entered World War I. Remarkably, there is still one living survivor of the Lusitania, American Audrey Lawson Johnston, who was three months old at the time and lost her two sisters in the disaster.
We have a wealth of Lusitania books here at the Darien Library, mostly in the Life & Times subject area (or "glade") on the 2nd floor. You can read about the events of May 7, 1915 in books like Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy, Seven Days to Disaster, or The Lucitania Disaster. For those interested in exploration of the ship's wreckage, an excellent resource is Robert Ballard's Lusitania: Probing the Mysteries of the Sinking That Changed History. Nearly 100 years later, the story of the Lusitania still resonates, and amazes.
We've seen a dramatic (and welcome) change of weather recently, going from overcoats and umbrellas to shorts and sandals in just the past few weeks. That means it's finally time to start thinking about summer activities like Little League, camping, boating and swimming, golf, tennis and horseback riding, even just taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
You'll find all of our books about outdoor activies - whether you're a spectator or participant - in the non-fiction section called Play. We've taken our books on coaching youth teams, the history of the World Series, college football, and other sports-related topics and created a browsing area, or "glade." We also tucked biographies of notable athletes and coaches, and hobbies (such as stamp collecting and crossword puzzles), on the Play shelves as well, so it's all within easy reach. Just follow the Dewey decimal numbers once you've found the glade!
The two Knowledge & Learning Services librarians who oversee Play are Blanche Parker (email@example.com) and Janet Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org). And although they rarely miss a hot new sports title, your suggestions are always welcome. Good sports can always be found in the Play glade at Darien Library.
As new ballparks for New York's two teams opened earlier this month, you can take an armchair tour of over 50 other major league baseball fields with The Ballpark Book. You'll see Wrigley's ivy up close, climb Fenway's Green Monster, bask under Dodger Stadium's palm trees, admire the Rocky Mountain skyline from Denver's Coors Field, ride the carousel while taking in a Tigers game in Detroit, and sample the tangy barbecue at Baltimore's Camden Yards.
With teams upgrading to new homes faster than we can keep track these days, there's plenty of nostalgia in these pages even though the book is only six years old. Half a dozen of the "current" ballparks depicted are already obsolete, including Old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York. They're joining a large section called "Gone, But Not Forgotten," where we can re-visit Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field in New York, Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, San Francisco's Candlestick Park, and many more (who ever thought that Houston's Astrodome would become a nostalgic icon?!).
Journey back to your own field of dreams, wherever it may be, with The Ballpark Book and play ball!