Note to Shelf: New Year Edition

Happy New Year, everyone! The idea of embarking on a new decade has all of us at the Library aiming high with our New Year’s reading resolutions. Luckily for us, 2020 has already produced some great new titles like Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, and Brother & Sister by Diane Keaton coming out this winter. If you are not sure what to read, then check out our New and Coming Soon booklists for inspiration.

Amanda

Andrew Rea has a wonderful YouTube Channel,"Binging With Babish," where he showcases his cooking talents. Having been a viewer for years, I was excited when he released the cookbook Binging With Babish featuring more than 100 recipes, all inspired by food from film and television shows. This cookbook is created for foodies and film buffs alike.

Have you ever wondered how to make aglio e olio from the movie, Chef? Did you ever fantasize about eating confit byaldi from the memorable scene in Ratatouille? Andrew Rea has a knack for creating food that looks and tastes like it comes straight off the big screen. Having watched his process, I know that he retries his recipes until he is satisfied. I trust that each recipe is a masterpiece.

Andrew has a knack for breaking down recipes so that cooks--new or experienced--can follow along and create something delicious. Throughout the cookbook, the reader will learn about the history of food as well as fun facts, including issues that the author ran into while creating the dish and interesting tidbits about his life. These recipes are perfect if you are hosting a Game of Thrones-themed party or celebrating the conclusion of binging a television series.

Virginia

“The first time I found my sister dead, she was sixteen.” Long Bright River, Liz Moore’s newest crime novel, packs an emotional punch as she explores the relationship between two sisters, Mickey and Kacey Fitzpatrick. The novel is set in opioid-infested South Kensington, a blue-collar neighborhood of Philadelphia, where survival is taken to two different extremes.

For Mickey Fitzpatrick, our narrator, survival means becoming a beat cop and desperately trying to give her son a better shot at his future. For Kacey, survival is a day-to-day challenge as an addict, turning tricks to live and feed her heroin addiction. The sisters, who were once inseparable, now barely acknowledge each other’s existence, that is until Mickey stumbles upon the murder scene of a young addict. As Mickey begins her investigation into the murder, she discovers Kacey hasn’t been seen in months—and fears the worst.

To find her sister, Mickey is willing to risk it all. She dives deep into Kacey’s crime-ridden, drug-addled world, but what she finds is that the people she most suspects are actually the ones who need protection. This is a gritty and dark novel that not only deals with crime, drugs, and corruption but also tests the bonds of family.

Catherine

In The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante, teenager Marisol and her younger sister Gabi are fleeing the violence of El Salvador for a new life in America. However, their dangerous trip to the U.S. seems to be in vain when it appears their asylum petition will be denied.

Desperate for another chance to stay in the U.S., Marisol jumps at the opportunity to become a Grief Keeper—an experimental, last-resort treatment being developed for PTSD and severe depression—where a volunteer takes on someone else’s grief and donates their own serotonin to heal the person in crisis. If Marisol can be part of the experiment for a month, she and her sister will be granted asylum. But what if the weight of someone else’s grief is more than Marisol, who has experienced her own trauma, can bear?

This book is a perfect portrayal of the realities of grief, the modern immigrant experience, and sisterly devotion, all wrapped up in a sci-fi-esque YA novel.

Sue

Joker is a fascinating character study of Arthur Fleck, a mentally disturbed, misunderstood social outcast who is let down by the mental health system and his own mother. Fleck is elevated to the heights of a revered figure among the riotous criminals of Gotham City in Todd Philips’ latest take on the DC Comics villain, “The Joker.” The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck (aka Joker) who is mesmerizing in his portrayal of this broken man. The audience never knows what his character will do, say, feel, or how he will react to things happening around him. Joker is by far one of THE best films I have seen in a long time, and while there is violence, I still highly recommend this film.

Diane

Carolyn Roehm is one of my all-time favorite designers, trend-setters, stylists, and home decor authors. Although At Home in the Garden was published in 2015, her style has withstood the test of time. The book is oversized, but the content makes it worth scouring. Carolyn not only wrote the text, but she also served as the photographer for this beautiful book. I find I keep going back for inspiration to her images of simple, yet stunning floral arrangements, exquisite table settings, and gorgeous gardens.

In the Introduction, Roehm writes: "A garden is a place you venture into with hope, energy, excitement and the greatest of expectations." I think she has expressed perfectly the promise of a garden, and the book captures this sentiment from the first page to the last.

Note to Shelf, Jr.

Catherine

Go With the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann is a new graphic novel from the inimitable First Second comics. New kid Sasha experiences every teen girl’s nightmare when she gets her period for the first time --while wearing white pants, at a new school! Her new classmates Abby, Brit, and Christine rescue Sasha with some emergency period supplies, and a new friendship is born.

This small but ordinary crisis makes Abby realize that their school almost never has period supplies in the bathroom! She embarks on a campaign to convince educators at her school that more than half of the student body deserves better access to these much-needed period supplies and brings her advocacy-reluctant friends along for the ride.

Suitably illustrated in shades of red, Go With the Flow follows these friends and their newfound womanly woes, as they learn more about menstruation in their own lives and the lives of those around them.

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