Note To Shelf: March Edition

Spring is in the air, or should we say “spring releases?” Every week, the Library is receiving a slew of new books, audiobooks, and DVDs you won’t want to miss. For all of you planning Spring Break travel, stop by and check out the Library’s new “Read Well, Travel Light” Paperback Collection located next to the Welcome Desk.

Mallory

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister The Serial Killer was the reading palate cleanser I didn’t know I needed. Korede is a responsible, steadfast nurse. She warmly cares for those around her, whether they’re patients in her care or the beautiful, seemingly perfect sister she shares a home with. Ayoola, Korede’s younger sister, has one teensy tiny flaw-she murders her lovers for no apparent reason and without an ounce of guilt. As detectives start creeping in, will Korede’s loyalty (and deft cleaning experience) save them both? Wickedly hilarious, I was unable to put Braithwaite’s novel down. Set in Nigeria against the politics and justice system of the time, you’ll be swept away into the sisters' antics, rooting for them both.

Jill

Delia Owens first novel, Where the Crawdads Sing is a brilliantly written tale set in the low country along the North Carolina Coast in the 1960s. It’s the story of a young lady, Kya, whose mother abandons the family and leaves her to survive with her alcoholic father and older siblings. Eventfully, all of them leave the nest and Kya is left to survive on her own. Dubbed by the town as the Marsh Girl, Kya is befriended by two of the locals and becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. It’s a beautiful tale of isolation, survival, love, and betrayal.

Pat S.

For fans of Ruth Reichl, Save Me the Plums is the next installment in her memoirs after Garlic and Sapphires-which focused on her years as The New York Times restaurant critic. We pick up in 1991 when Reichl is 51, and having no magazine experience whatsoever, was lured away from The Times to the exalted position of Editor for the venerable Gourmet magazine. The storied owner of Conde Nast, Si Newhouse, convinced her that she alone could bring a magazine which had become staid, stuffy, and hopelessly out of touch into the 21st century-which she did brilliantly over the next 10 years. With wit and charm, Reichl shares stories about the people she encountered as well as highpoints in her tenure including publishing an edgy article by David Foster Wallace on the morality of boiling lobsters alive and using the Gourmet test kitchens to prepare and serve food to the First Responders after 9/11. Each chapter ends with a recipe which is described with all the artistry that only a food critic could impart. Warning: This book may make you hungry!

Barbara M.

I’ve recently read The Huntress by Kate Quinn. I wasn’t sure I was going to continue reading the book because the ending is fairly obvious from the beginning. Was I ever wrong! I’m glad I continued.

The story is told through three perspectives spanning two time periods, pre and post World War II. Ian, a British journalist and Tony, an American GI, meet in Austria after the war to work for an agency instrumental in tracking down former Nazis. They have chosen Die Jagerin or "The Huntress" as their next target. The Huntress is known to have brutally killed many people including children in Poland. Nina is part of a Russian women’s fighter pilot squadron who are known as “The Night Witches” because the Germans couldn’t hear them coming until after they had dropped their bombs. Jordan, an amateur photographer, lives with her widowed father in Boston and helps in his antique shop.

In the end, their stories merge beautifully to give a satisfying conclusion. It is an engrossing, well-written page-turner.

Marianne

I recently read The Court Dancer by Kyung-Sook Shin, who is considered one of today’s best South Korean fiction writers. Based on a little known but true story, this novel set in the late 19th century follows the final years of the Joseon Empire and the court’s premier dancer, Yi Jin. The story of an impoverished orphan girl who’s chosen by the queen to be a part of her entourage and who goes on to become a star performer at court takes us from the restrictive and traditional confines of the Joseon court, to the freedom and gay lifestyle of Belle Epoque Paris.

During Yi Jin’s performance of the delicate, traditional Dance of the Spring Oriole, a young French legate Victor Collin de Plancy, becomes besotted with her. Ultimately, they marry and return to France.

In Paris, Yi Jin is thrust into a world far removed from her own. She tries to assimilate into French society but is constantly beleaguered by nagging questions of who she really is and whether or not she is just another collectible in a country that is obsessed with artifacts from other civilizations. The climactic events of betrayal, jealousy, and the killing of the last Joseon empress had me glued to the pages.

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