Saturday, April 28, 2018

Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir

 This brand new graphic novel is a must-read for anyone who loves museums, ghost stories, or creepy mental hospital lore.  Our protagonist is troubled yet persistent Cel, who takes a questionable job as an archivist at a medical museum after losing her long-time job as a library assistant due to a mental breakdown.  Even though no one ever seems to visit the museum, Cel is required to work outside opening hours (i.e. in the middle of the night) and is encouraged to live in the windowless basement apartment that used to house tortured patients.  Oh, and her boss is clearly hiding something from her.  Add in artifacts that move around when no one’s looking, mysterious writing on the walls, and a girl who keeps visiting Cel in her nightmares, and you have all the ingredients for a story that should only be read by daylight.

Despite its many elements of horror, at its heart this is really a story about a young woman’s reckoning with her own inner demons.  As our cultural conversation begins to include more and more about mental health, it’s interesting to watch the impact this has on all literary genres, including the graphic novel.  The minimalist illustrations are colorful and expressive; I’ll definitely be waiting impatiently by the next work by both author (Weir) and illustrator (Steenz).

Recommended by Sophie 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (Drama)

With some exception, Hollywood pretty much makes two distinct kinds of biopics. The first kind are the ones that almost seem obligatory –  movies about historical giants who did truly incredible things with their lives, incredible things that should be projected on the silver screen for the world to see. 

Then there are the ones about the others – your oddballs, your misfits – the characters that history books often ignore but are nevertheless important in the way our world is shaped. Professor Marston is certainly one of the latter folk. Outside of DC comic devotees and polygraph historians, William Moulton Marston is not a name people know. Marston is the creator of Wonder Woman, the most famous female comic-book hero ever, but did you ever wonder (pun intended) how she was thought up?

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a biopic unlike any I've seen in recent memory, intriguing, sexy and a unique story about what it means to love.  In the 1920's Marston and his wife Elizabeth work in the psychology department at Tuft's University where they meet undergraduate Olive Byrne, hired on to be Marston's research assistant.  The attraction between the three is like a lightning bolt and they soon strike up a polyamorous relationship.  But this is the 1920's, and they are shunned from academic society for their love. 

We follow Byrne and the Marston's through the years as they struggle to have a functional family unit all while keeping their arrangement secret from the world.  Marston uses these two strong women in his life as inspiration to create Wonder Woman (arguably one of the most recognizable superheroes of all time).

What stands out for me in this film is a story about three people trying to be in a loving relationship with one another in a world that's still not really ready for what is going on here. So, it was a romance film done differently, under a mask of  the drama and the biography( How very Superhero-like of them).

Recommended by Monica Shine

Click here to view in the catalog.

She Persisted: 13 American Women who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton

Just in time for Women's History Month comes Chelsea Clinton's "She Persisted", a picture book which features 13 amazing American women who dreamed big, reached for the stars and cemented their place in history.  The women featured in this book belong to all races, creeds and professions and have done some truly inspirational things.  

Against all the odds, women like Harriet Tubman, Clara Lemlich, Virginia Agpar and Claudette Colvin never took no for an answer and are now celebrated as trailblazers who all are equally deserving to grace these pages.  The illustrations by Alexandra Boiger are beautiful and poignant as well and will keep even hold the pickiest reader's attention. 

This isn't just a book for girls, but for everyone who ever had a dream.  To open doors, children need to know there are others who have opened doors and we can now step through. 

Recommended by Monica Shine

Click here to view in the catalog

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Black Witches are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends.

Three Black Witches, all fair to be seen
two to devour
and one to be queen

So begins the wonderful YA book “Three Dark Crowns” by Kendare Blake.  And with an intro like that, who wouldn’t want to keep on reading?  The whole story is just so delightfully creepy, intense, and yet somehow super emotional. The story starts with during the Ascension Year, when the three sisters will display their powers and then have exactly one year to kill the others for the crown.
Our three dark queens are:

Katharine the poisoner, but her gift is seemingly weak. She doesn't have the ability to survive any poison like she should, so she's been steadily poisoned throughout her life in order to build an immunity.  The last three queens of her land have all been poisoners so she feels a steady pressure to uphold that legacy at all costs.

Mirabella is an elemental, meaning she can control the elements.  She is by far the strongest of the three sisters and many have been touting her as the next queen.  However, she is by far the most soft hearted of the sisters.  She mourns the loss of her sisters at a young age, but does she have what it takes to ascend to the crown?

Arsinoe is a naturalist whose gift is pretty much nonexistent.  She is supposed to be able to control what happens in nature (harvests, animals, plants etc.) but struggles to find her way and is constantly frustrated by her lack of a gift.  Is she a lamb to the slaughter, or is there more to her than meets the eye?

It’s impossible not to get engrossed in this lush, vivid story.  You think you know which queen you will side with, however, you have no idea.  Happy reading!

Recommended by Monica Shine

Click here to find in the catalog.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

Ursula lives life after life with subtle changes taking place during each one. Some of her lives are long and some are very brief. It gave one a lot to think about, especially about time and choices. Many may wonder about their own lives and the choices they have made and how things might have been different if an alternate course had been taken. Reading this book about Ursula allows one to see the repercussions of making different choices and how that changes things in one's life. This book is ripe with well-developed characters and an intriguing storyline which could easily be bungled in a less accomplished writer.  Atkinson takes the reader on a journey which seamlessly goes from a quiet country home, to London at the height of the Blitz and even to Berchtesgaden and Hitler’s inner circle.  This book isn’t about death, but more about life.  About our possible paths, about family, about history, and about ripples and traps and the horrors of war. 

Recommended by Monica Shine

Power (Season 1)

Dark, sexy, thrilling, and completely bingeable are words I would use to describe the first season of Power.  James St. Patrick AKA Ghost has risen from running the streets to being a premier nightclub owner in New York.   He has a beautiful wife, a penthouse and his club caters to the Manhattan elite.  However he has one dirty little secret; he may dress and act the part of the respectable businessman but has a double life as one of the city’s biggest drug kingpins.  He and his partner, Tommy Egan (played by the scene stealer Joseph Sikora) try to balance their struggle to keep their street business thriving while maintaining the fa├žade necessary to keep under the radar of the police.  As if this wasn’t enough, enter Ghost’s old High School sweetheart, Angela, a US District Attorney investigating drug crimes.   What follows is a whirlwind of twist, turns and love triangles.  So basically, great TV!

Recommended by Monica Shine
Click here to view in the catalog.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Staff Favorite Books of 2017


Our expert staff take a look back at the year and share their favorite titles.  Click on the links below the images to view the item in our catalog.

HARDCORE TWENTY-FOUR                            BEARTOWN                                     THE GLASS CASTLE
by Jeannette Walls                                           by Frederik Backman                                  by Jeannette Walls   

 WHEN ALL THE GIRLS                      THE DEMON CROWN                         THE HATE U
HAVE GONE                                                                                                                     GIVE
by Jayne Ann Krentz                                          by James Rollins                                         by Angie Thomas

A LONG WAY HOME                           JANE, UNLIMITED                         A MAN CALLED OVE
by Saroo Brierley                                              by Kristin Chashore                                  by Fredrik Backman

 PLEASE DON'T TELL MY                                     DRAFT NO. 4: ON                                     NEW YORK 2140
                                                                                                          THE WRITING PROCESS
Hoopla Audiobook                                             by John McPhee                                         by Kim Stanley Robinson

by Judy Blume                                                 by Tana French                                                     by Grant Ginder