Readers Guide


By Julie Forkner

September 26, 2016
September 19, 2016
September 12, 2016
September 5, 2016

September 26, 2016 

Louise Penny, author of the Inspector Gamache series, has just published the twelfth book in the series, A Great Reckoning (M). When Inspector Gamache is given a map to celebrate the first day of his new job, an old mystery arises, drawing Gamache back into old territory. When a professor and mentor of a new homicide cadet is found murdered, he is also found with a copy of the same strange map. The mystery that unfolds entraps Gamache and leads everyone back to Three Pines.

James Bond is the stuff of flashy action packed thrillers. The inspiration for his character came from a real life spy by the name of Dusko Popov. Lawyer Larry Loftis has done a formidable job of documenting the double agent’s movements, almost day-by-day, in his new book Into the Lion’s Mouth The True Story of Dusko Popv: World War II Spy, Patriot, and the Real Life Inspiration for James Bond (940.548).  Eventually working for the US, Great Britain, and Germany simultaneously, Popov may have brought warning of the attack on Pearl Harbor to the US well before the event. Being a triple agent, however, does seem to have an effect on one’s credibility. 

The second book of Diane Fanning’s Secret City series is now available. Treason in the Secret City (M) begins in May of 1944 when Libby Clark is abruptly awoken to help a friend in need. Frannie has been charged with treason and Libby, a chemist working in Oak Ridge’s top secret facilities, agrees to help. As she uncovers treachery and corruption, Libby is entangled in a deadly mix of spies and collaborators. 

During Steve Gibbs’ 34-year career in security at Y-12 he saw many firsts – the first union labor strike, the first Tactical Response Team, the first antinuclear demonstrations at Y-12, and the first security breach. It is from this vantage point that Gibbs has written his memoir, Behind the Blue Line: Protecting Our Nuclear Weapons Complex (353.300). Timely and relevant, Gibbs’ memoir spans his career from his time as a guard with inadequate equipment to the current state of Y-12’s paramilitary security force. 

NYPD detective Dave Gurney is back in John Verdon’s fifth thriller, Wolf Lake (F). Four people in separate parts of the country have all committed suicide with the same knife after having the same dream. Can a nightmare be a murder weapon? Investigating the bizarre deaths takes Gurney into the darkest secrets of the federal government.

Regular NPR listeners will know of the popular Friday segment, StoryCorps. Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, has collected some of the most memorable stories from people finding their true calling. From the child of migrant farm workers who grew up to be a public defender to the woman in Little Rock who helps former inmates learn the skills they need to rejoin the workforce, these stories show that work can be about much more than just earning a living. Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work (907.200) is an inspiring call to your passionate side.

Also at the Library:
     Adam’s Image (F) by Debbie Macomber
     The Second Death” (M) by Peter Tremayne“The Jealous Kind (F) by James Lee Burke
     Cracking the Aging Code: The New Science of Growing Old and What it Means for Staying Young (612.670) by              Josh Mitteldorf and Dorion Sagan
     Now You Know Nashville (917.685) by Mason Douglas
     Essential Windows 10 (005.440) by Kevin Wilson

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September 19, 2016 

When Mrs. Creasy disappears, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly are determined to find her. Taking their cue from the local vicar, Grace and Tilly decide that if they can find God they can also find Mrs. Creasy and set out to scour the neighborhood for both. Grace and Tilly go door-to-door throughout their suburban 1970’s English neighborhood uncovering the mysteries in the lives of their neighbors and discovering everyone has something to hide. Fans of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie mysteries will love The Trouble with Goats and Sheep (F), Joanna Cannon’s debut novel.

Journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe is also known for his role of provocateur, and his new book The Kingdom of Speech (401.000) does not disappoint. Although speech is the subject of the book, Wolfe is really taking on the theory of evolution, Noam Chomsky, and Charles Darwin, himself. Challenging the theory of evolution, Wolfe claims that speech, not evolution, is responsible for humanity’s complex societies and achievements. With his usual wit and vivacity, Wolfe takes aim, and even if he doesn’t hit his mark, the verbal boxing match is worth the entrance fee.

Martha Andersson is bored with going to bed early and eating mushy vegetables. To cure her boredom, Martha decides to rob a luxury hotel. With several of her retirement home buddies, her capers quickly escalate into an art heist of epic proportions. Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg’s The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules (F) is a quirky and humorous look at life when you know that age is just a number. 

Alcoholism is a serious disease, but Amber Tozer manages to bring both humor and insight into her new book, Sober Stick Figure (362.292). Complete with her own stick figure illustrations, Tozer’s new book describes the comedian’s descent into and recovery from alcoholism. Highly relatable, Tozer’s memoir is ridiculous, kind, and wise, all at the same time.

What effect does entrenched corruption have on the brain? Dr. Michael Honig gives us his satirical take on that question in The Senility of Vladimir P (F). Twenty years from now, Vladimir Putin is languishing away with dementia in his presidential dacha. Surrounded by staff who are creatively redistributing his wealth, Putin is attended to by a personal nurse, the last loyal man in Russia. When a family tragedy forces him to find a large sum of money quickly, Nickolai must face the corruption all around him, and its source. 

The Mannings place as sports royalty is a given in Tennessee. Sports Illustrated writer Lars Anderson tells of the family’s struggles and successes in his book The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family. (796.332). Eli and Peyton are, of course well known, but their older brother Cooper was forced to leave football despite his immense talent when he was diagnosed with a rare spinal condition. Anderson gives this family its due in his light-hearted but thorough account of the Manning’s rise to fame.

Also at the Library:
     High Stakes (F) by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass
     Frostline (F) by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
     Downfall (M) by J. A. Jance
     Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (158.100) by Angela Duckworth
     The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life 613.000 by                  Rodney Dietert
     Yellowstone: A Journey Through America’s Wild Heart (978.750) by David Quammen

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September 12, 2016 

Science Fact and Science Fiction at the library

Don’t be misled by the fact the Sylvain Neuval’s first novel is considered science fiction. “Sleeping Giants” (F) might have iron giants, cosmic mysteries, and arcane symbols, but it is a fast paced thriller from the time 11-year-old Rose falls out of her window and lands in a disembodied, twenty foot metal hand until the very last page. Neuval’s novel almost didn’t get published. However, thanks to some self-publishing perseverance and an astute book agent, his novel is now available as well as being on its way to being a major motion picture. 

Few things are more misunderstood by society-at-large than radiation. Fear and misconception about radiation’s effects and powers abound. Timothy Jorgensen has attempted to address the common misinformation circulating about radiation in his new book “Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation” (539.200). Jorgensen, associate professor of Radiation Medicine, and Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program, at Georgetown University, addresses radiation at every level from the security scans at the airport to the effects of the Fukushima disaster. Anyone interested in radiation’s role in our lives will find this narrative of history and science a worthwhile read. 

Fans of C. A. Higgins will be glad to know the sequel to his novel “Lightless” (SF) is now available. When “Supernova” (SF) begins, Ananke, the once experimental military spacecraft, has been transformed by a rogue computer virus. With the power of a god and the temperament of a teenager, Ananke walks the line between human and machine. Althea, the ship’s engineer and last living human aboard, must step in when Ananke decides to seek out the person she assumes is her father, and one of the universe’s most dangerous terrorist. 

Published earlier this spring, “Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars (629.407)” begins during World War II with a group of brilliant women recruited to work for the Jet Propulsion Lab. Before the days of computers, much less supercomputers, these women calculated jet velocities and plotted missile trajectories with only paper and pencil. Nathalia Holt tells the story of how these women not only contributed to winning World War II but also how they came to work for NASA and myriad contributions they made and for which they are rarely recognized.

Orson Scott Card, along with Aaron Johnston, has a new prequel to “Ender’s Game” (SF).  In “The Swarm” (SF) the second Formic War is brewing. The first invasion of Earth was defeated by a coalition of international players, but now China has been scoured and Earth has reorganized for defense. As if invading alien forcers weren’t enough to contend with, ambition, politics, greed and self-interest are rife in the newly reorganized planet. “The Swarm” (SF) is the first in one more fine series from Orson Scott Card.

Between the misunderstanding of radiation and fantasy of cyborgs, technology’s effect on young people is an area ripe for speculation. Nicholas Kardaras, executive director of The Dunes, an exclusive rehabilitation clinic, and a Clinical Professor at Stony Brook Medicine, believes that the effect excessive screen time is having on children is very real and very dangerous -- as dangerous, in fact, as is cocaine. Kardaras warns that age-inappropriate exposure to technology can be the cause of multiple disorders such as ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression and psychosis. In “Glow Kids” (616.858), Kardaras’ warning is accompanied by brain imaging research and suggestions for how to break the addiction.

Also at the library:
     Rushing Waters (F) by Danielle Steele
     Apprentice in Death (M) by J. D. Robb
     Curious Minds (F) by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

     The Boss with Melissa McCarthy
     The Angry Birds Movie with Jason Sudeikis
     Allegiant with Shailene Woodley

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September 5, 2016 

Kevin Kwan’s first book, Crazy Rich Asians (F), will soon be a blockbuster movie. His second novel, China Rich Girlfriend (F),  has just come out and is just as big a takedown of ultrarich culture as his first novel was. Snarky and wickedly hilarious, China Rich Girlfriend follows the richest old-money families of Singapore, Hong Kong, and China through marriages, paternity claims, and an embarrassment of riches. Think of it as a modern, Asian Downton Abbey with a biting sense of humor.

There are those who are born into wealth, and those who create it themselves. Nike founder, Phil Knight began his shoe empire by selling running shoes imported from Japan out of the back of his Plymouth Valiant. Well-off enough to attend business school and a trip across Asia, Europe, and Africa, Knight’s memoir is not a rags-to-riches story, but it is an honest and humble telling of the failures and risks Knight experienced along the way to his current status. Shoe Dog (338.700) is the well-written adventure story of Knight’s unconventional path to success.

At twenty-six, Julia Greenfield is unexpectedly and quite by accident still a virgin. Having spent her college years solely focused on becoming an Olympic swimmer and her post-graduate days in the sterile quarantine of a non-descript suburb, Julia sets out to change her fate, choosing to move in with her Aunt Viv. To Julia’s chagrin, Aunt Viv, it turns out, is also a virgin. Undaunted, Julia moves through her new hometown with a hilarious view of her options and a searing critical commentary on society’s view of women and what it feels like to fear always being alone. Losing It (F)  is Emma Rathbone’s new novel. 

Beginning in the mid-19th century and continuing for another 100 years, more than 50 million people left Eastern Europe for other points across the globe. Many of them settled in America, and many more settled elsewhere. Tara Zahra, a professor of Eastern European history at the University of Chicago, has written a new book, The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World (304.870). Although Zahra does touch on the stories of the families who successfully settled in American, she focuses on topics less well-discussed when we talk about immigration. The effects depopulating a country has on its cultural identity, how family and gender roles are smashed apart by the effects of migration, people returning to their home country, and the always tense subject of Jewish emigration are some the topics Zahra delves into. With the migration crisis the world is facing today, Zahra’s book is a worthy read. 

When their inheritance runs dry, Fern and Edgar, along with their three children, have to face reality. But which one? Although Fern and Edgar profess to hold stridently anti-money ideals, each one scrambles for a foothold as their comfortable life slips away. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty (F) by Ramona Ausubel continues in the tradition of moneyed and eccentric New England families facing drastic life changes. Fans of Ann Leary, Jodi Picoult, and Elizabeth Stout won’t want to miss this one.

For hobby programmers, the Raspberry Pi Cookbook (004.167) has been updated to include the new models of Raspberry Pi and its ever expanding possibilities. With more than 240 recipes, this handbook offers detailed instructions on how to run this tiny computer with Linux, program it with Python, and how to hook up other hardware like Arduino and the Internet of Things. For intermediate to advanced makers of all ages.

Also at the library:
     Falling: A Love Story (F) by Jane Green
     Drawing Dead (F)  by Andrew Vachss
     Waypoint Kangaroo (SF) by Curtis C. Chen
     The View from the Cheap Seats (824.000) by Neil Gaiman
     The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (792.700) by Amy Schumer
     Growing up Gourmet: 125 healthy meals for everybody and every baby (641.562) by Jennifer Carlson

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