Monday, November 20, 2017

Local Author Book Fair

From the 1st--Authors' Day--throughout the month of November, celebrations for books and writing include Picture Book Month and National Novel Writing Month.  This year, the library will cap off the month with a Local Author Book Fair on November 30 from 6:30-8:30 pm.  It has been 14 years since the library hosted a similar event, and it will be good to get back to recognizing the work of our local writers.

Participants are invited to attend the evening which starts at 6:30 pm with a panel discussion by three noted authors who will discuss writing and publishing and follow with an audience Q&A.  They are
  • Bill Kauffman of Elba, who has written numerous books, a screenplay and is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and other periodicals; 
  • JoNelle Toriseva, a poet and writer who is the director of English and Communication Arts at Genesee Community College and leads the writers' group at the library; and 
  • Steven Huff, a native of Attica, who has written short stories and poetry and is the publisher at Tiger Bark Press.

At 7:30 pm, there will be an open house for local authors and a chance to purchase copies of their work.  In alphabetical order, authors include:
  • Larry Barnes with Ruth Andes - these two Batavia authors collaborated on a book called Genesee Community College: The First 50 Years, commemorating this institution's anniversary; in addition Larry has written several works of local history, including Batavia Revisited and History of Batavia: 1802-2015.  Please note:  that Larry will have books on display but requests that those interested buyers visit the Holland Land Office or Oliver's to purchase them
  • Marlene Burling of Batavia writes devotional books including Morning Meditations, A Daily Walk with God, and Grandma, Tell Me the Easter Story
  • Hollis Ricci-Canham of Albion writes about local history in Orleans County and will have her newest book Mom & Pop Farming in Orleans County
  • Kathryn Donahue of Batavia whose first novel, a contemporary romance called The Dog Walker's Diary, was published this month to a starred review in Publishers Weekly
  • Linda Fix of Corfu writes romantic mysteries as Miranda Fix  and will have copies of Alchemy's Fraud and Hippocratic Fraud for sale
  • Lynda Gaetano of Batavia and Austin, TX writes historical fiction including Up South, Spring; Up South, Summer; and Up South, Autumn
  • Thomas McFarland of Albion writes historical fiction, including Rivers to Cross and Donnybrook
  • David Neth of Batavia writes fantasy, superhero fiction, and holiday romance.  His list of books includes A Christmas Reunion; Fuse: Origin; The Full Moon; The Harvest Moon; The Blood Moon and others; The Art of Magic and Snow After Christmas
  • Judi Piscitello of Batavia whose book My Most Wondermous Crepen: Blind Faith, Music to God's Ears is a memoir
  • Rick Pryll of Charlotte, NC is originally from Batavia.  He writes fiction, short stories and poems.  His titles are Displaced; WALLOW; and The Chimera of Prague
  • Pam Reed's self-help book is Taming Your Toddler (& Yourself!). Pam lives in Byron.
  • Diane Rivoli of Rochester writes literary fiction and poetry.  Her two books are License - A Novel and Every Moment Is a Poem, Every Poem a Song
  • Linda Schmidt of East Bethany writes non-fiction about her community in the following books: Bethany, 1800-1900: The Poor House and the People; Bethany: the Poor House Revisited; and Bethany: The Town & the People
  • Lisa Ann Scott of Batavia writes children's fiction.  Her books include School of Charm; Back on the Map, and the Enchanted Pony Academy series published by Scholastic
  • Laura Shortridge's non-fiction title is called Unipreneur: How to Live Your Passion in a House Full of Dream-Killers. She is from Albion.
  • Rob Thompson of Attica writes non-fiction.  His books include two titles about a local, unsolved crime--Linden Murders: Solved and The Twisted Tree: the Final Word on the Linden Murders as well as This Is Mauthausen about a World War II concentration camp
  • Jennifer Wood (representing the late Denniston Wood) has a work of Christian fiction called Held by the Lamb
  • Kristina Yadloczky of Batavia (writing as Kristina Adair) writes young adult fantasy with her book Foreign Wrath
  • Suzanne Zewan of Batavia writes historical fiction with her new book Shadow by the Bridge, a fictional account of the Linden murders.
The Open House is a chance to meet and discuss writing with local authors as well as to purchase copies of their books.  There certainly seem to be stories behind these books, like those "dream-killers" in the Shortridge household!

If you are interested in writing, please stop and talk to JoNelle Toriseva who leads the library's Writers' Group, which meets on the second Wednesday at 6:30 pm.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dig into the past for engaging mysteries

I have discovered that the readers in Batavia, while liking mysteries, tend to shy away from ones that are set in the distant past.  The Victorian era is fine, but anything prior to the mid-1800s is passed on by.  That's too bad, since there are some fine series to discover.

Gary Corby's newest--and 7th mystery--in the Athenian series is just out on the new book shelf.  This series started with The Pericles Commission and is marked by its fast-paced action, strong plotting and humorous characters.

The late Ellis Peters wrote an entire series about Brother Cadfael, a Benedictine monk in a 12th century abbey in England.  Cadfael entered the monastery later in life, so his worldly experiences give him broader knowledge and skill at solving murders.  Monastic life here is richly detailed. This series runs through 21 books, and it was made into a television series starring Derek Jacobi.

Ellis Peters is the pen name of Edith Pargeter (1913-1995), an English woman who is credited for popularizing historical mysteries.  She often wrote about the area near the Welsh border with England because it is the region she grew up in. 

 S.J. Parris' Giordano Bruno mysteries take place in 16th century England and are about an Italian philosopher who is recruited to spy for Queen Elizabeth I.  In Heresy, Bruno walks a fine line--hiding from the Roman Inquisition for his heretical views and going incognito into the Oxford University campus to suss out a Catholic plot against the Queen.  Murders, a beautiful but mysterious woman, truth and deception all add up to a sophisticated and thrilling mystery. 

One of the fun things about ancient sleuths is their need to rely on their wits rather than technological detecting. Have you discovered an intriguing mystery series set in the distant past?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The riches of May

Although I never have a problem finding something good to read, this month seems to be overflowing with appealing new books--based on reviews, blurbs, and covers.  Look at this cover for The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan--it just begs to be read.

But then there is this cover for Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  Don't let the rather drab design fool you--this story will knock your socks off! I read this book as an advance copy, and I couldn't put it down.  Eleanor Oliphant hasn't always been completely fine--or even close to fine, and debut author Gail Honeyman leads us on an amazing journey of transformation. A little bit like Don Tillman in The Rosie Project, Eleanor is outside the norm in her social relations, both lonely and awkward but also scarred inside and out. Her commentary on the world is often hilarious but reveals her deep isolation from others. Her developing relationships with others is touching, and the arrival of a cat provides comic relief. This is up-to-the-minute for the setting and definitely with a Glaswegian edge (the drinking!), and it is going to be a big hit with book groups.

Laura McBride's second novel came out the 2nd of May, and it is another book that you shouldn't miss.  It features the stories of four different women in Las Vegas who have all been to the Midnight Room at one of Vegas' older casinos.  'Round Midnight joins these stories in amazing ways.

Jo Nesbo releases a new novel this month in the Harry Hole (pronounced "hoo-la) crime series, shortly before a movie starring Michael Fassbender hits the theaters.  The Thirst is suspense fiction for readers who like their stories dark and gritty.  This is the 11th in the series; the movie is based on The Snowman, the 7th in the series, and is due out in October.

Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick is an awakening for the title character who discovers his teenage niece on his doorstep one morning.  This unknown person--Benedict and his brother Charlie have been estranged for years--turns his life upside down.

The library's book discussion just finished reading Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson.  One of the themes of the book is the challenge of dealing with a child who is (apparently) on the spectrum.  In  Benjamin Ludwig's new book, Ginny Moon, two adoptive parents help their teenage daughter with autism make sense of the world.  Called "quirky, charming...and poignant."

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Flight of Dreams

Given that I have avoided seeing the movie Titanic at all costs--I know how that story ends--it's surprising that I am so taken with Ariel Lawhon's novel, Flight of Dreams, about the final flight of the Hindenburg.  This is my second time through the book in preparation for the library's book discussions next Monday (April 3 at 6:30 pm) and again on the following Wednesday (April 12 at 8:00 am).

What is so appealing about this story of disaster? 
  • The writing is beautiful.  An example is this passage about the zeppelin flying over the Atlantic Ocean: "The slipstream moves visibly along the structure like silver ribbons in the pre-dawn light.  The sky is a perfect soft pewter gray, and the water beneath them matches as though one is reflecting the other--bands of stratus above, calm sea underneath.  The ship glides elegantly between the two, its shadow a charcoal smudge on the gentle waves below."
  • The characters are complex.  Many lives are unfolded through the story, revealed through their actions, thoughts and conversations with other crew members and passengers.  
  • There is a lot of humor.  How else can you make it though a story of imminent disaster?  
  • There is even more suspense.  Each section heading begins with a countdown to the time of the explosion--"3 Days, 6 Hours, and 8 Minutes Until the Explosion."  The first sentence alludes to a bomb.  Several characters have suspect motives.  Other characters you come to love.  Who will survive?
  • The explosion of the Hindenburg is still being  studied, and Lawhon captures the intense mystery surrounding it.  How did it happen?  Did someone cause it to happen or was it an accident of the highly unstable hydrogen gas?
  • The Hindenburg is a story of remarkable luxury.  Tickets were incredibly expensive, and travelers had the very best of everything from a specialized bar and smoking area to attentive staff.  
  • There's a lot of history here, some of which we know, and some of which is surprising.  This is a novel, though, and you'll be searching for historic information when you finish.  (You may wait until you finish, because you are too busy racing through the pages to interrupt your reading.)
If I've talked you into reading the book, pick up a copy at the library's front desk and join us for one of the discussions! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Laura McBride has a new novel for 2017

     Laura McBride, whose novel We Are Called to Rise, captivated area readers in 2015 during the Tale for Three Counties event, has a new book due out in May 2017.  Like her first, this novel is also centered in Las Vegas.
     We Are Called to Rise was seemingly an odd choice for a one-book program that featured novels about small town life.  But, in reality, it expressed the strong sense of community that we have discovered in many of our past Tale picks, and it also was about a smaller neighborhood section of that city.  The book opened my eyes to a place that is generally misunderstood, and it highlighted the lives of people who might have been found anywhere in our country.
     I'm about halfway through the new book, and I can't put it down!  The pages keep flying by, even when it is past my usual time for bed.  I am fascinated by the characters, by the heart-aching loss of love experienced by each, and I can't wait to see how these disparate lives will intersect later in the novel--and I am sure that they will, based on how the story unfolds in We Are Called to Rise.
     Again, connections with other people are an important part of this story, and that includes relationships that are strong and ones that are broken.  What is the significance of the title?  I'm not sure about that yet, either, and I am curious to see how that plays out in the story.
     Look for the book in May--it will be on the library's New Book shelves. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

     Say what?  This Icelandic word (pronounced something like "yo-la-bow-ka-flowed") is the newest Christmas tradition at our house.  Click on the link above to see how one family started their tradition last year.  Our variation of it was a little bit easier, since the two librarians in the family oversaw the the purchase of highly recommended books for the others.  Wrap in red and white Scandinavian-style wrapping paper, add a piece of chocolate, and you have started a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition favored by the residents of one of the most literate countries in the world.
     Half the fun is discovering what book has been chosen especially for you, while the other half comes from settling in on Christmas Eve with a good book to read!  (along with that chocolate...)
     It's not too late to pull this together for this year, but if you plan ahead for next year, you could carry this out on a budget by shopping at the library's monthly used book sale.  And as mentioned in the article above, if readers in your house use the website goodreads, you could skim through their list of books "to read" to help with some suggestions.   Also, remember that the librarians at the reference desk are ready and waiting to make some reading suggestions.  If you know a book or two that were especially appealing to a particular reader, it is fairly easy to come up with a list of possible "read-alikes."  
     Hope your holidays include some good books! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I'm dreaming of ...

I'm dreaming of ... not a white Christmas (although that would be fine) but time to delve into some of the new Christmas-themed books at the library.

Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early looks like a fun mystery, especially since it's set in East Aurora, New York.  When retired police chief Hank McCall and his daughter Liz open up a new vintage toy shop, business takes an unexpected turn when a customer turns up dead in their shop.  Weapon?  A lawn dart!

Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries - Return to the Golden Age of mysteries for this collection of classic detective stories set in December.  Read stories by Dorothy Sayers, Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, and Margery Allingham.

Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier and others - The print copy is available along with a downloadable eBook from OverDrive (do you have the free app for your mobile device?).  Three mysteries by three authors all feature "killer cocktails."  It sounds like a glass of eggnog will be the perfect accompaniment to this title...

Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan - Junior Bender, burglar extraordinaire, is up to his eyeballs in shopping mall crime the week before Christmas.  This is for those readers who don't like their holiday fiction sweet and light!