Posted by Book Mavens on 17th January 2013
Title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Random House, 2012
Review/Summary: Harold Frye, recently retired, lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. They have settled into a mundane existence. Then one morning he receives a letter from an old friend who is dying. When he composes a reply letter and goes to post it, he becomes convinced that he must hand deliver it. Thus, begins his quest as he takes off in his tennis shoes to walk 600 miles, because he believes Queenie will live, as long as he walks. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another. Memories flood him of his wedding day, fatherhood and regrets and losses. Maureen reminisces too and finds herself missing him. This funny, poignant, charming story about an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey will move and inspire you.There also mysteries that will be solved about his friend and son. Fans of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand will embrace another hero in Harold Frye.
Recommended by: Cindy B., Children’s Librarian
Who will like this? Someone who recognizes that sometimes heroes come from the most unlikely of places. Anyone looking for a story about second – or maybe even last – chances.
If you like this, try this: “The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed out a Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson is also about last chances, and what we do with them. You may also enjoy “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonson.
This is playwright Rachel Joyce’s first novel, but was named as an Amazon “top book of the month”, so be on the lookout for more from her!
If you would like to see if this book is available, please visit our Fairfield Public Library catalog [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2012 Releases, Cancer, England, Family
Posted in Fiction, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 14th June 2012
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin, 2012
Summary: With patrons of all ages catching on to The Hunger Games, more and more ‘grown-ups’ are realizing that the world of young adult fiction is full of engaging stories, even for those who prefer to read ‘serious literature.’ Whether you are a long-time fan of teen books or just now discovering them, here is a tip: John Green just might be the best author writing for young people today. All of his previous books (including Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns) have been breathtaking achievements and his latest is no exception. Hazel was diagnosed with terminal cancer as a preteen but thanks to the intervention of an experimental drug regimen, she has survived against steep odds. But she has no illusions that her luck will last: She will never be cancer-free. Smart but listless, Hazel’s favorite thing to do is to reread An Imperial Affliction, an esoteric (and seemingly unfinished) book by an author who has dropped off the face of the Earth. At her cancer-kid support group, she meets Augustus Wheeler. And everything changes.
It sounds like the recipe for a sappy movie-of-the-week, but this story gets right to the heart of the matter: What kind of life should you build for yourself if you are on borrowed time? Like all of Green’s characters, these teens are not shallow caricatures of moody adolescence. They are clear-eyed, funny, soulful and above all, real. The Fault in Our Stars features young people forced to confront the big questions long before they should have had to and like the very best teen literature, it allows the characters to find the answers for themselves. Romantic and brutally honest at the same time, this book is not to be missed.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Does this look like a book you’re interested in? Visit the Fairfield Public Library Catalog to check availability and place a hold
Tags: 2012 Releases, Cancer, Family, Relationships, YA/Teen
Posted in Fiction, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 18th December 2011
Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick 2011
Summary: 13-year old Conor’s life is spinning out of control. His mother is dying of cancer, his dad has run away to America to live with his new family, he’s the target of bullies at school, his work-centric over-bearing grandmother has come to stay with the family, and now- a monster has shown up at 12:07 outside his bedroom window. The monster, disturbingly drawn in sharp strokes of black and white, will tell Conor three stories: and then? Conor must share his own story, the nightmare that has woken him from sleep and haunted his waking life. As the monster, a Yew tree in its current form, tells his three stories, Conor must gather the strength to tell his own story, one he’s never shared with anyone.
A Monster Calls is a book that can be read in one sitting, the story gripping and the pictures haunting. The Yew tree’s stories offer life lessons that most kids will learn eventually: that there isn’t always a good guy and a bad guy, that people can be both, and that sometimes sacrifices must be made for a greater good. Conor’s story itself, which the reader will experience glimpses of throughout the book, is not the one you would expect. The book deals with death well, offering stories of death in several different lights but also never downplaying how difficult both life and death can be. Apart from the Yew tree’s stories, additionally the topics of bullying, mental issues, and familial relationships is addressed. While older children will certainly be intrigued by the story, teens and adults will feel its impact more directly.
If you liked this, try this: Teens and adults will enjoy Siobhan Dowd’s stories such as “Bog Child”. The story was inspired by an idea by Dowd, who passed away before the work was completed. Middle grade children seeking information about death may try “The Naming of Tishkin Silk”, which deals with losing a younger sibling.
Recommended by: Lauren, Technical Services Assistant
Tags: 2011 Releases, Bullying, Cancer, Children's Books, Coming of Age, Nightmares, Teen Books
Posted in Fiction, Popular, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 21st July 2011
Title: The Weird Sisters
Author: Eleanor Brown
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011
Summary: Three sisters named after Shakespearean characters, Rose (Rosalind; As You Like It), Bean (Bianca; The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia; King Lear) are the daughters of Professor James Andreas, a lover of Shakespeare who answers their questions and offers advice in Shakespearean quotations. You need not be familiar with Shakespeare to enjoy this witty, clever novel, but it would make it more amusing. The sisters return to the family home in Barnwell, Ohio, ostensibly to take care of their mother stricken with breast cancer, but ultimately to deal with their own personal issues. Cordy is pregnant, broke and has nowhere else to go, Bean has been fired from her job in New York for embezzlement, and Rose is afraid her family will not survive without her full attention and involvement. Although the subject matter is serious, the book does have elements of humor as each sister is unique, funny and lovable in her own way. It does help to know – which is not clear at first – that the narrator is the voice and point of view of all three sisters. I am hoping for a second novel by this new and accomplished writer.
Who will like this book? Those who enjoy good modern fiction as well as stories of family life
If you like this, try this: The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst, Family Album by Penelope Lively, Rescue by Anita Shreve
Recommended by: Paula, Reference Dept.
Does this look like your type of read? Click here to enter our catalog and place a hold or check availability!
Tags: 2011 Releases, America, Cancer, Family, Shakespeare
Posted in Fiction, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 14th July 2011
Title: Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family – and a Whole Town – About Hope and Happy Endings
Author: Janet Elder
Publisher: Broadway Books, September 2010
Summary: Four year old Michael is desperate for a dog of his own. However, his parents stand firm in not bringing a dog into their fast-paced New York City lives. For years, Michael’s yearnings for a dog are relentless. When Michael’s mother, Janet Elder, is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, his parents decide that a puppy will be the antidote to help Michael get through the emotional turmoil which his mother’s illness will cause. Huck, a sweet, mischievous, red-haired toy poodle, joins the family and soon wins over the hearts of the Elder family. Janet’s cancer treatments are over and the family takes a vacation in Florida leaving Huck in Ramsey, New Jersey with Janet’s sister. The suspense begins when Huck slips through the backyard fence and runs away. The family is frantic and brokenhearted so they immediately fly back to New Jersey to begin the search to find their beloved pet. Huck is lost in unfamiliar territory facing the threat of wild animals, swamps, freezing temperatures and fast cars. Soon, the whole town of Ramsey, New Jersey learns about poor lost Huck. Touched by the plight of the Elder family, they join in the search to find Huck. This true story has a happy ending, but first you will read about the seemingly impossible mission of locating a tiny lost dog. This book is truly uplifting and inspiring because it brings total strangers together sharing compassion and love.
Who might like this: Anyone who loves animals, especially dogs
If you like this, try this: Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
Recommended by: Beverly, Branch Circulation Coordinator
Want to check this book out? Visit our catalog here to check availability and place a hold!
Tags: 2010 Releases, Adventure, Cancer, Dogs, New Jersey, Survival
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 22nd October 2010
Title: Let’s Take the Long Way Home
Author: Gail Caldwell
Publisher: Random House, 2010
“It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.” So begins Gail Caldwell’s devastatingly beautiful memoir about her soul-deep friendship with writer Caroline Knapp, who died from lung cancer at the age of 42. It is a true privilege to bear witness to the relationship that develops between these two women. It’s seems as though they were twins, separated at birth, twins whose lives had unknowingly taken eerily similar paths – successful writing careers, alcoholism, canine companions, a love of watersports – only to be reunited in a friendship that completes them both.
At the heart of their friendship are the dogs, Lucille and Clementine – it’s during hours-long walks through the woods with them that Gail and Caroline begin and build their relationship. It’s not hard to believe, then, that Caroline’s spirit is summoned when the woods become a dark place during a particularly terrifying event for Gail and Clementine, coming to their aid.
Whenever we open our hearts to love, we know that we’re also making ourselves vulnerable to the pain of loss. The story of this “pack of four” is an elegant reminder of why we take the plunge again and again.
If you like this try: “Drinking: A Love Story” and “Pack of Two” by Caroline Knapp
Tags: 2010 Releases, Cancer, Dogs, Friendship, Outdoors, Women
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | 1 Comment »
Posted by Merry Mao on 26th August 2010
Title: Intimacy After Breast Cancer: Dealing with Your Body, Relationships and Sex
Author: Gina M. Maisano
Publisher: Square One Publishers, May 2010
Summary: This book is misnamed – more appropriately it is about LIFE after breast cancer. You finish all your surgeries and treatments and then the doctors leave you alone – very alone. Ms Maisano is a two-time breast cancer survivor who is wonderfully upbeat about telling other survivors to LIVE their lives, not to remain in “cancerland”. She offers tips on lymphedema, skin care, dealing with side effects of various medications, adjusting to the physical new ‘you’, and how to prepare yourself physically and emotionally for intimacy.
Recommended by: Lauren, Reference Dept.
Tags: Cancer, Health, Survival
Posted in Non-Fiction, Self-Help | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 17th September 2009
Author: David Small
Summary: David Small grew up in a cold house, with distant, nearly silent parents. He was born sickly – and as was par for the course at that time, his radiologist father gave him plenty of x-ray treatments to strengthen his lungs. When a growth developed on his neck, his parents thought little of it. Four years later, he finally had surgery to remove an aggressive malignant tumor. But no one told young David what was wrong with him, or why he was now voiceless.
That Small grew up to be a renowned artist and picture book illustrator (Imogene’s Antlers, So You Want to Be President?) seems miraculous, given the circumstances of his childhood. In this boldly designed, unforgettable graphic memoir, he pulls no punches. But what elevates this book above and beyond the popular ‘terrible childhood’ subgenre is his refusal to reduce his family to caricatures. A story of family horrors shown through the eyes of a young, creative child, Stitches will make an impact on all who read it.
Who will like this book?: Readers who like redemptive stories about painful childhoods. If you or your children have enjoyed Small’s award-winning picture book illustrations, you will be fascinated by his life story.
If you like this, try this: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Why I Killed Peter by Olivier Ka. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Tags: 2009 Releases, Cancer, Coming of Age, Detroit, Mental Illness
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Graphic Novels | 1 Comment »
Posted by Merry Mao on 7th April 2009
Title: The Leisure Seeker
Publisher: William Morrow, January 2009
Summary: The Leisure Seeker isthe second book by Mr. Zadoorian. He wrote Second Hand,which was an ABA Booksense 76 selection, a Barnes & Noble Award Finalist, and the winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award.
This book is a charming little read about an elderly couple who flee across country against the wishes of doctors and family members. It starts off a little roughly but soon the reader is engaged in the adventure of a couple married sixty years who are determined to visit Disneyland one last time. There are no real surprises along the way save for some nice words of sentimental wisdom. Nevertheless I did find myself rather moved. The end of the story has a twist but not altogether unexpected.
Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian
Tags: 2009 Releases, Alzheimer's, Cancer, Dementia, Elderly, Marriage, Travel
Posted in Popular | 1 Comment »