Happy Monday! This week is all about connection. Recently, there was a meme going around that said, “Introverts check on your extrovert friends… they are not doing ok.” At first glance it made us laugh, but it is a good rule of thumb. We should be checking in on each other. Just because we are physically distant doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally distant. And for the most part the world has stepped up. People are reconnecting through innovative ways such as Zoom parties, apartment building sing-a-longs, and (gasp!) even good old-fashioned phone calls (talk about old school). It feels good to touch base with family, neighbors, and friends.
When talking with others, we know one of the top questions is, “What are you reading?” Luckily we are never without inspiration, thanks to all the wonderful Darien Library staff who have been sharing reviews on some of their favorite reads. We hope you enjoy.
I recently read the magical story, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on Hoopla! This classic novel does not disappoint; the writing is so beautiful that it reads like poetry. I loved this effortless and calming read, reminiscent of a fairy tale mixed with folklore. Those familiar with old Bible tales may find that this novel has an interesting take on many of them, something I did not expect but loved! I am personally trying to get through many classic books on Hoopla, and thus far, The Alchemist is one of my favorites. I would encourage anyone to read and be inspired by this brilliantly written story!
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle is a book that packs one heck of an emotional punch but in the best possible way. Danni is living her ultimate life. She just nailed an interview with one of the top law firms in New York City. She is living in her dream apartment. Best of all, she just got engaged to her longtime boyfriend. Everything is progressing exactly as planned...until the night she falls asleep and has a dream of herself five years in the future living with another man. She cannot stop thinking about this man even after she is fully awake. The nature of the dream will dramatically change the outcome of her perfectly planned life in ways the reader will never see coming. In Five Years is a cleverly written book about love, friendship and the unpredictable nature of life.
I’ve been reading Moonshadow by J.M. DeMatteis and Jon J. Muth. This epic fantasy graphic novel tells the life story of an unreliable narrator and the people he meets along the way. The most striking thing about this graphic novel is that every page is hand-painted. The artwork and story combine to give off Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland vibes. The cover does not exaggerate when it describes the book as, “A fairy tale for grown-ups.” I highly recommend this imaginative and beautifully illustrated graphic novel.
Note to Shelf, Jr.
We get a myriad of requests from patrons coming into the Children’s Library, but even in the few months I’ve been at Darien, I’ve noticed historical fiction is a definite favorite among our youngest users. This week, celebrate that love with a great new series of books that take on some of history’s most fearsome events - from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the sinking of the Titanic - through the eyes of heroines a lot like you!
The Girls Survive series features a range of titles geared toward kids 8-12 years old, and while any would make a great next-read for history buffs, I recommend starting with Mary and the Trail of Tears by Andrea L. Rogers. This title documents one Cherokee girl’s experience of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and according to Dr. Debbie Reese (founder of the website American Indians in Children’s Literature), it’s one of very few children’s books on this subject that’s actually written by an individual of American Indian descent. With lots of nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, Mary and the Trail of Tears offers a straightforward entry point into a part of history rarely discussed.
Note to Shelf, Teen
The Leaving by Tara Altebrando is an engaging, page-turning mystery that you don’t want to miss! On the first day of Kindergarten, six children went missing. No one knows where they went or how they were taken, and after years of hoping, the community has all but given up ever finding out what happened. Cut to…. eleven years later, when five of the kids show up seemingly unharmed but with no memory of where they’ve been. Everyone wants answers, no one knows who to trust, and the town must come together to discover what has happened to Max, the boy who never came home. Told from six points of view, the five who did return and Max’s sister, this fast-paced mystery is one of my all-time favorites! It will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time, and you’ll be guessing until the end.