The Last Original Wife

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Title: The Last Original Wife

Author:  Dorothea Benton Frank

Publisher: William Morrow, 2013

Summary/Review: If you are looking for a book that has a little romance, a lot of humor and takes you to Charleston, South Carolina then this book is for you. Leslie Carter is the last “original” wife among a group of couples that had gotten married and raised their children together. Now, whether by divorce or death, the husbands in the group have replaced their original wives with newer models.

Leslie’s husband Wes expects her to be grateful that he has kept her around. Leslie’s daughter is a single mother expecting her mother to be on call 24/7 to babysit. Her son is a hippy living in Asia trying to find himself while smoking a lot of pot. During a disastrous trip to Scotland with the “new” wives Leslie falls into an open manhole and no one misses her for 45 minutes. When she is stuck in the hospital in Scotland her husband leaves her there so he doesn’t miss his tee time. When she returns to the states, Leslie escapes to Charleston to spend time with her gay brother and reevaluate her entire existence. Once there, Leslie rediscovers herself and her passions –  including an old flame!

Dorothea Benton Frank has a wonderful writing style and opening one of her books you can feel the warm Charleston breezes, you can taste the cocktails and you can smell the sea air. Open the pages of this book and escape for a while!!

Who will like this book? Anyone who likes a good southern saga and a great beach read.

If you like this, try this: Dorothea Benton Frank has written over 14 books so if you like this one you will love all her other books too.

Recommended by: Claudia, Technical Services

If you think this could be your next read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!

Lexicon

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Title:   Lexicon

Author:  Max Barry

Publisher:  Penguin Press, 2013

Summary/Review: “Sticks and Stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” is basically a big, fat lie in the world of Max Barry’s Lexicon.    If a Poet tells you to go shoot yourself, you will.

Emily Ruff, a homeless teenager making money by hustling tourists, is one of the special few recruited to attend a very exclusive school where the students are taught to use words to manipulate the minds of others.  The best will graduate and become Poets.   Emily is already adept at the power of persuasion, a skill she’s had to develop to survive life on the street.  She is, however, lacking in discipline, wary of authority and absolutely ruthless in doing whatever it takes to survive.  Not surprisingly, Emily is tossed out of school but not before learning that everyone has a specific personality type and once you learn what that is you can control them with certain words.  And there are some words that are very, very powerful.

Wil Parke is the exception to the rule.  He is (almost) completely immune to manipulation by a Poet. Wil’s world has become a waking nightmare.  Strange men want information from him that he doesn’t have and they aren’t shy about hurting him to get it. He has vague memories of a happy life but can’t quite recapture them as he’s too occupied with not getting killed.

Will and Emily’s stories play out against a background of potential Armageddon.  An ancient symbol with the power to destroy has surfaced and the race is on to possess it.

Who will like this book: Readers who enjoy a fast paced science fiction thriller that keeps you guessing about who the real “bad guy” is until the very end.

If you like this, try this: Lexicon has been compared to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman;  NOS4A2  by Joe Hill and  The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Recommended by: Sue D’num, Technical Services

If you think this could be your next read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check availability and/or place a hold

 

World’s Strongest Librarian

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Title: The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

Author: Josh Hanagarne

Publisher: Gotham Books, 2013

Summary/Review: Josh Hanagarne is not your average librarian. He’s a 6’7”strongman, who lives each day battling with Tourette Syndrome.

What started out as twitches at an early age progressed into frequent harmful tics as Josh grew older. After he was diagnosed with Tourette’s, he tried several treatments that produced little results.

As Josh struggled attending classes and holding down jobs, you begin to wonder how this guy is ever going to make it in the world. His honesty hits home—whether he’s talking about what it is like to have Tourette’s, dating, marriage, having children, or questioning his Mormon faith. His certainty comes from the love and support of his family.

After Josh discovered that weight lifting provided some relief to Tourette’s, he begins experimenting with different strength building techniques. He is left with hope of getting his tics (and life) under some control. The way Josh challenges himself, whether with weights or by working in an environment that requires silence, is inspiring.

Evident throughout the pages are Josh’s love of reading and the importance of libraries in his life. He incorporates humor in his story where you expect to find none. This book not only motivates you to be a stronger person, but also to have compassion of those around you.

Who will like this book: Anyone interested in an inspiring story or those who want to know more about Tourette Syndrome.

If you like this, try this: “Always Looking Up” by Michael J. Fox or “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

Think that this book could be your next read?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!

Let Me Go

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Title: Let Me Go

Author: Chelsea Cain

Publisher: St. Marten’s Press, 2013

Summary/Review: “Let Me Go” is the sixth book by Chelsea Cain featuring Detective Archie Sheridan, journalist Susan Ward, and Psychiatrist Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen was a consultant for the Portland police on a case involving a serial killer. During the investigation, Archie had an affair with her but only to find out that she herself was the killer. Archie spent 10 days of his life being tortured by Gretchen, only to let him go. Gretchen is captured but soon after escapes leaving Archie always wondering when she will show herself again.

In Cain’s latest novel, “Let Me Go”, Archie is working on a case involving Russian drug lords, a dead DEA agent, and an undercover CI named Leo Reynolds, Susan’s boyfriend. While Archie attends a party thrown by Jack Reynolds, Leo’s drug dealing father, a murder is committed. Upon reviewing the property’s surveillance video, Archie discovers Gretchen in attendance.

Now Archie must find Gretchen who has abducted Susan all the while trying to solve a murder. With time running out, Archie carelessly and desperately seeks Gretchen’s help to solve the most recent crime so Susan can be released.

Who will like this book?: If you love repeating characters, fast paced stories, and devilish crime novels, this book is just what you are looking for.

If you like this, try this:Heartsick” (reviewed previously on the blog), “Sweetheart”, and “Evil at Heart”, the first three Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell novels by Chelsea Cain. Starting at the beginning of this journey between Archie and Gretchen will give the reader a greater insight as to their twisted and complicated relationship.

Recommended by: K.C., circulation assistant

Does this look like something you’d like to read? Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check its availability and/or place a hold!

Salt, Sugar, Fat

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Title: Salt, Sugar, Fat

Author: Michael Moss.

Publisher: Random House, 2013

Summary/Review: The most striking aspect of this brilliant investigative book is the seeming ease with which household name food manufacturing and marketing corporations manipulate the public into purchasing and consuming more and more foods which offer less and less nutritive value.  The author has gained access to food corporate scientists, business men, and advertising agencies who pull no punches explaining exactly how they hook us from the very earliest ages to crave that which we have been told is actually no good for us:  Salt, Sugar, and Fat.  These ingredients, which are less expensive and easier to use in the manufacturing process than whole natural nutritive ingredients, are the corner stones of many commonly purchased and consumed brand name foods. Specific brand names are given and you will be surprised how much sugar, salt or fat is in your favorite!   There is also extensive discussion of how easily we can all avoid enriching the peddlers of salt, sugar, and fat by simply spending a half hour a day thinking about what we are eating and preparing it ourselves.

Who will like this book?: Anyone who wants to know more about how companies market food to consumers.  Someone looking to become more aware about what they put in their bodies.

If you like this, try this: This is Michael Moss’ first book, but since he’s an investigative reports for the NYT  I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes out with another.  If you’re interested in the social commentary, try Malcolm Gladwell – who also writes non-fiction in such an interesting way you won’t feel bogged down with facts (ex: Blink, What the dog saw).  If you’re interested in making a life change, try “Four Fish” by Paul Greenberg (featured on our blog).  The “good food” revolution is still going strong, so there are plenty of titles to choose from if your focus is just healthier living.

Recommended by: Mark Z, guest reviewer

If this looks like a book you’re interested in, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold.

Poppet

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Title: Poppet

Author: Mo Hayder

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, May 2013

Summary/Review: A thriller set in and around a psychiatric hospital? Creepy cover? Sign me up!

Mo Hayder has outdone herself with her newest Jack Caffery thriller, Poppet. Psychiatric nurse AJ LeGrande believes that something, or someone, is causing some of the hospital’s least popular patients to cause themselves harm. When one of the survivors talks about “The Maude”, a dwarf-like creature rumored to be roaming the halls of Beechway High Secure Unit, AJ must get to the bottom of the strange goings-on before anyone else falls victim to the superstition. Detective Jack Caffery is called in to investigate and what he discovers will shock everyone.

If you’re looking for a great thriller that will keep you reading ‘til all hours of the night, you should definitely try Poppet. With twists and turns throughout, you won’t want to put it down until you finally find out what was really going on at Beechway.

Who would like this book?: Someone who’s not afraid of being afraid or creeped out.  Someone looking for a fast-paced book they won’t be able to put down.

 If you like this, try this: Mo Hayder writes a number of other books, some of which include Caffery.  If you were interested in the content, try Victor LaValle’s “Devil in Silver” or, for something less creepy, Dennis Lehane’s “Shutter Island”.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

Does this look like a book you’d like to read?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!

 

The Swerve

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Title: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

Author: Stephen Greenblatt (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini)

Publisher: WW Norton, 2012

Summary/Review: Stephen Greenblatt (Ph.D. Yale) is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and is a historian.  His most recent book ,winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for general Non Fiction, revolves around a Roman poem  by Lucretius entitled On the Nature of Things. The poem, startling even for its time, asserts that there are only atoms that make up this universe, and the matter and the recombining of matter is all accidental – there is no god who guides and plans our lives; no god that cares about our existence. This is a startling assertion: a very disturbing and very modern idea is postulated about 50 years BCE!

Greek papyrus, Roman papyrus and codex suffer:  the ideas of the ancients deteriorate during the middle ages due to book worms, deterioration of ink and paper, persecution by church officials who deem them heretical, and the general ravages of time.  Enter Poggio Bracciolini, a 15th-century papal emissary, scribe and book hunter, who found a neglected copy of On the Nature of Things in a German monastery, copying it and distributing it to his humanist friends, and thus reintroducing important ideas to the Renaissance and beyond, ideas that are even found in our own Declaration of Independence.  There is so much more to this book that I can tell you here – and not all historians agree with Dr. Greenblatt.  But this was a fantastic “listen” – the narrator is excellent.

Who will like this book?:  History buffs and philosophical thinkers.  Someone looking for a non-fiction read that will illuminate the history of thinking.

If you like this, try this:  If you enjoyed Greenblatt’s writing, he has a number of other books – many focused on Shakespeare.  If you’d like to go back to the basics, “On the Nature of Things” is readily available, as are multiple interpretations and writings about the poem.

Recommended by: Susan Z, Reference Librarian

If this looks like something you would be interested, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if the book or audiobook are available!

When She Came Home

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Title:   When she came home

Author:   Drusilla Campbell

Publisher:   Grand Central Publishing, 2013

Summary/Review:   Francine (Frankie) Byrne Tennyson stunned her family when she decided to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.  Frankie is a 25 year old married woman with a baby who is not even two years old.  Frankie’s husband believes her enlistment is because she is still trying to get her father to love her.  Frankie’s father cannot accept his daughter’s decision to serve in spite of his own career as a brigadier general.   Frankie comes back home after a tour in Iraq and finds that her husband is still harboring feelings of abandonment and their marriage is in jeopardy.  Her daughter is confused, alienated and being traumatized by bullies.  In therapy, Frankie begins to deal with memories of an incident in Iraq which has threatened to destroy her sanity.  In order to save everything in her life that is most important to her, she must face the toughest battle of her life.  This novel brings you into the heart, soul and mind of a very courageous woman.  You will celebrate her freedom of choice to make her own decisions.

Recommended by:  Beverly D., Branch Circulation Coordinator

Who will like this book?  It should have special relevance to military women and their families, as well as, those who seek insight into PTSD.

If you like this, try this:  Little Girl Gone also by Drusilla Campbell.  This author continues to portray strong women finding their voices.

Does this look like a book you’d like to try?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!

 

Still Alice

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Title: Still Alice

Author: Lisa Genova

Publisher: Gallery Books, 2009

Summary/Review: Alice Howland is a psychology professor at Harvard University with 3 grown children.  First, she can’t find her Blackberry, can’t quite remember names and blames it on stress.  But then one day while she’s jogging, she becomes hopelessly lost and can’t find her way home.  After a visit to a doctor, she’s diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and her life is changed forever.  But as the disease worsens and steals pieces of what Alice always thought of as herself, she discovers that she is made up of more than just her memories.

Lisa Genova, the author of “Still Alice” holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University.  She wrote the novel, which is her first, for a couple of reasons.   First, while she was in graduate school, her 80-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so she had a personal experience with the disease.  Second, as a scientist, she found that what was happening to her grandmother was fascinating and wanted to know more about it.  Her grandmother was in a pretty advanced stage of the disease, so she couldn’t really talk to her about it.  She knew that she needed to talk to someone for whom the disease was new, so she decided to focus on people who had early-onset Alzheimer’s – someone in their late forties or early fifties.

This dichotomy comes across very clearly while reading Still Alice.  While it is so hard to read about what Alice and her family goes through, it’s fascinating to read about the biology of the disease, how it develops, and some of the things that are being done to help treat people with the disease.  The book review that appeared in Booklist magazine states it best:  “Clearly explaining the testing, treatment options, and symptoms of the disease within the context of an absorbing family drama, Genova has written an ideal primer for anyone touched by Alzheimer’s.”

Who will like this?: While this book may be a difficult read for some, if you are looking for a deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s, or life in middle age in general, this book may be for you.  Someone who is interested in the medical facts of Alzheimer’s or related diseases.

If you like this, try this:  Lisa Genova has written additional books, including “Loving Anthony” (autistic son dies, two women become friends, husband of one having an affair) and “Left Neglected” (after a car accident, a young woman wakes up with a brain injury called Left Neglect – the brain completely ignores the left side of her body).

Recommended by: Mary, Branch Reference Librarian

If this looks like a book you’re interested in, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check its availability and/or place a hold

 

Dad is fat

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Title: DAD IS FAT

Author:  Jim Gaffigan

Publisher: Crown, May 2013

Summary/Review: Anyone who has children, has been a child or knows anyone with children will love this book. Jim Gaffigan, a stand-up comedian best known for his riffs on Hot Pockets,  has written a funny, honest look at parenthood.  He is the father of 5 children, all under the age of 9. To some of us that would be enough to strike fear in our hearts. Add into the mix that he and his family live in a 2-bedroom, 5-story walkup in the Bowery section of Manhattan and most of us would run screaming for the hills.  He credits his wife with being the one who holds it all together, but what comes through in the book is the wonderful partnership they have, collaborating not only on parenting but on his stage shows, movies and books as well.  His ability to laugh at himself, all while clearly adoring his family made it a great read. This was a wonderful book, a laugh-out-loud funny book.   Included in the chapters are drawings by his children, family pictures and floor plans that map out how to put 5 children to bed in a 2-bedroom apartment while still allowing for mommy and daddy time. Needless to say, it’s not easy!

Who will like this? Anyone who needs a good laugh, as anyone who reads the book will be able to identify with at least one chapter in it!

If you like this, try this:  If you’re interested in reading more about the lives of comedians, try Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang” or “Lies Chelsea Handler Told me”, or Ellen DeGeneris’ “Seriously…I’m Kidding”.   Another hilarious book you may like is Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened”.  If you’re looking for comedy, try anything by David Sedaris or Dave Barry.

Recommended by: Linda, Circulation

If you’re interested in this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold