Posted by Book Mavens on 12th May 2013
Title: Beautiful Ruins: A Novel
Author: Jess Walter
Publisher: Harper, 2012
Review/Summary: A tour de force that crosses decades, continents, and genres. This was one of my favorites from last year. Big dreams, lost loves, a quirky and entertaining tale that skewers the Hollywood scene with many memorable characters. This roller coaster of a novel spans 50 years, opening with a mysterious woman in a boat heading towards an inn on the coast of Italy. The young innkeeper befriends the dying young starlet. The story fast forwards to modern times, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio back lot-searching for the woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier. As the plot twists, even a rakish Richard Burton enters the tale! This would make a great beach read-lyrical, heartbreaking, and funny.
Who will like this book?: Those who are looking for an interesting read that will grip them from the very beginning. Those who want to read about going into the unknown to see what life could be like!
If you like this, try this: If you’re interested in characters who leave on quests to see what may have been, try “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple or “Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce.
If you enjoyed Jess Walter, she has a number of other books including her newest “We Live in Water” or her previous novels, “The Financial Lives of Poets” or “Citizen Vince”.
Recommended by: Cindy B. Children’s Librarian
Are you interested in reading this one? Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available or to place a hold!
Tags: 2012 Releases, Adventure, Friendship, Italy, Relationships, Travel
Posted in Fiction, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 2nd May 2013
Title: Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Author: Therese Anne Fowler
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, April 2013
Summary/Review: The romantic and tumultuous lives of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald are vividly portrayed in this exceptional novel by Therese Fowler. Though Zelda and her family had misgivings about her marrying the young army lieutenant, she and Scott were married a week after his first novel, “This Side of Paradise”, was published. The couple’s rapid rise to celebrity status and the temptations that come with sudden fame and fortune led to lives that were full of great successes and even greater failures.
Dubbed “the first American flapper” by her husband, Zelda plays up the role and becomes the inspiration for many of Scott’s female characters. Life does not imitate art, however, in the lives of the Fitzgeralds’. From all outward appearances, Zelda and Scott seem like fun loving, carefree Jazz Age icons. Only those closest to the couple can see the toll that Scott’s excessive drinking and Zelda’s misdiagnosed mental illness is taking on their lives.
Struggling to find her own identity while her husband continues to manipulate her life, Zelda’s triumphs are overshadowed by her husband’s failures. This novel will draw you in from the start and never let go. Both irresistible and tragic, Fowler’s portrayal of Zelda gives us a new understanding of a woman, though on the edge of greatness in her own right, is never allowed to live up to her potential.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
Who will like this? Fans of historical fiction and anyone interested in life during the Roaring Twenties.
If you like this, try this: “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain or “The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin.
Think this looks good? Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!
Tags: 2013 Releases, History, Mental Illness, Relationships
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 11th April 2013
Title: The Storyteller:
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria Books, 2013
Summary/Review: This is a story about a young girl named Sage who is a baker in New Hampshire and the friendship she begins with a very old man. Sage is a lonely girl who has a very difficult time accepting her mothers death. She joins a group and there she meets Josef. They both have hidden secrets and scares both on the inside and outside.
As their friendship evolves Sage learns a very terrible secret about Josef that he has keep for 70 years. Josef then asks Sage for forgiveness and to help him die for what he did. Without giving to much away the story continues with Sage’s struggle with what she knows and what to do about it.
She finally confides in a Department Of Justice Attorney named Leo. The story then goes into great detail of a truly horrible thing that happened a long time ago. All the characters Sage, Josef her grandmother Minka and Leo come together with a surprising connection.
This story is very moving and educational in a lot of respects. You will not want to put it down because you need to know what happens to all the people in the story. The end has a twist that you will not see coming. I feel this is one of Jodi Picoult’s best novels, because she puts two unlikely characters together and it really works. Plus she put a lot of history in this book to. I think people who like drama, suspense, history and a little romance will like this book.
Who will like this book?: Adults or older teens looking for an emotional book that will leave you thinking.
If you liked this, try this: Jodi Picoult has a number of other books, including “The Pact” and “Nineteen Minutes”. You may also enjoy “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay.
Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation
If you think you’d like to read this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog, where you can check if it’s available and place a hold!
Tags: 2013 Releases, Relationships
Posted in Fiction, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 27th March 2013
Title: My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir
Author: Penny Marshall
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, 2012
Summary/Review: Penny Marshall reminisces about growing up in the Bronx, where she spent most of her time in her mother’s dance studio. She talks about her accidental introduction into acting and her later transition into directing. Her brother Garry may have initially opened the door for her, but Penny’s dedication and talent secured her place in Hollywood. Best known for her role on Laverne & Shirley and as director of Big and A League of Their Own, Penny gets up close and personal on her first marriage and entrance into motherhood, her second marriage to Rob Reiner, and relationship with Art Garfunkel (who knew?!). Surrounded by famous friends (Carrie Fisher and John Belushi–to name a few), Penny offers up many private and often humorous moments.
I loved that the audio book was performed by Penny Marshall, however, I wish she did less “reading her book” and more “telling her story”.
Who will like this book: : In addition to Laverne & Shirley fans, anyone with an interest in Hollywood stars or the seventies/eighties would enjoy this book.
If you like this, try this: My Happy Days in Hollywood by Garry Marshall or Bossypants by Tina Fey.
Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation
To see if this book is available, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog. We have it available in both audio and print!
Tags: 2012 Releases, Acting, Family, Friendship, Relationships
Posted in Audiobooks, Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 28th February 2013
Title: The Aviator’s Wife
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Publisher: Delacorte Press, January 2013
Summary/Review: This book tells the story of Anne Morrow from time she meets Charles Lindbergh through his death. Although she is the plainest and humblest of Ambassador Morrow’s daughters, Anne is the one who is swept off her feet by the dashing, great aviator. Their adventures and eventual marriage make for a compelling story. The book is aptly named because in many ways Anne gave up her own identity through her devotion to her famous husband. The tragedy of losing their first child and its effect on each of them is a key element. There are other hardships that Anne is forced to deal with including dealing with Charles’ odd behaviors and his constant absence, leaving her to raise her children virtually alone. Through it all, she maintains her pride and strength as she develops her own sense of self. One never knows what really goes on in a marriage, but this well researched fictionalized account will keep you turning the pages.
Who will like this book: Readers who like historical fiction or anyone looking for a good read. If you liked Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, you will enjoy this book.
Recommended by: Jan, Administration
Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if this book is available and to place a hold!
Tags: 2013 Releases, Charles Lindbergh, Family, historical fiction, Relationships
Posted in Fiction, Historical | 1 Comment »
Posted by Book Mavens on 21st February 2013
Title: Calling Me Home
Author: Julie Kibler
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2013
Summary/Review: A beautiful debut novel about the unlikely friendship between two women, the journey that brings them closer together, and a past of heartbreak and secrets. The novel is told in two voices, Isabelle and Dorrie, a very unlikely pair. Dorrie Curtis is a black single mom in her 30’s who happens to be the hairdresser for eighty nine year old Isabelle McAllister. Isabelle asks Dorrie to drop everything, leave her 2 children to the care of her mother, close up her hair salon and drive her from her home in Texas to a funeral near Cincinnati. Dorrie has no idea what is in store for them when they reach their destination. As the miles pass, both women share the secrets of their past. Nothing prepares Dorrie for the story of Isabelle. As a young woman, Isabelle fell in love with Robert, the black son of her family’s housekeeper, at a time when this was forbidden. The story of Isabelle unfolds in 1939 as a teenager with big plans for her future. That is, until she falls hopelessly in love with Robert. The romance between Isabelle and Robert is strictly forbidden by both families, and also very dangerous for Robert and his family. This was not a time where inter racial relationships were accepted. Isabelle tells her heartbreaking story to Dorrie hoping it will help Dorrie find her own way. Dorrie is struggling with her own feelings towards the new man in her life, afraid to open up her heart to love again, while raising her two children. Neither woman could imagine the impact this trip has on their lives and the bond that grows between them. This story is about falling in love, the deepening of friendships and the power of family, both good and bad, and the turbulent times of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. This is an unforgettable story.
Who Will Like this? Anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Readers who enjoyed “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. A great choice for Book Groups.
If you like this, try this: “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, “Three Good Things” by Wendy Francis, “Lost Art of Mixing” by Erica Bauermeister
Recommended by: Laura, Technical Services Department
To see if this book is available and/or place a hold, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog!
Tags: 2013 Releases, Friendship, Racism, Relationships, Segregation
Posted in Fiction, Historical, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 1st December 2012
Title: Forgotten: A Novel
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Publisher: William Morrow, An imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2012
Summary/Review: Emma Tupper’s mother passed away and leaves her a round trip ticket to Africa. Emma promised her dying mother that she would take the trip and not return for one month. However, Emma is a dedicated lawyer with a bright future at a big city law firm. Taking this trip means she will have to forfeit her partnership with the firm. When Emma’s boyfriend Craig offers to go with her on the trip, she tells him she wants to do this by herself so she can think about where her life is headed.
Emma becomes ill while on the tour in Africa. She is transported to a medical center to be cared for. While she is recovering, a massive earthquake occurs in Africa which leaves them without communication and transportation for several months. Because Emma’s illness was never reported to her tour guide company, her last known location was in the city of the earthquake, therefore, she was presumed dead.
Six months later, Emma returns home to London. She soon realizes that her friends, boyfriend, and colleagues thought she was dead, and that her life has moved on without her. She has no money, no job and no place to live. Read about Emma’s struggles to get her old life back and follow her on her most important journey of self-discovery. This book does not have a predictable ending. The question is….if you had a chance to start over, would you take it?
Who will like this book: Those who like fast-paced contemporary novels.
If you like this, try this: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. Catherine Mackenzie also writes a number of other novels if you are a fan of the writing style.
Recommended by: Beverly, Circulation
If you would like to check if this book is available or place a hold, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2012 Releases, Adventure, Africa, Relationships
Posted in Chick Lit, Fiction, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 27th September 2012
Title: The Next Thing on My List
Author: Jill Smolinski
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books, Inc. 2007
Review/Summary: If you are looking for light-read with a good story, look no further than The Next Thing on My List.
Meet June Parker, single, in her mid-thirties, and the driver of the car that killed her passenger Marissa Jones. After the accident June discovers a list that Marissa made titled “20 Things to Do by My 25th Birthday”. In trying to figure out her own life, June decides to complete Melissa’s list for her. Some articles on the list, such as “go on a blind date” and “try boogie boarding” turn out to be total adventures. Other items, such as “run a 5K” and “pitch an idea at work” require more time and commitment. One of the most difficult challenges on the list is “change someone’s life”. As June becomes consumed with trying to change one life, she ends up changing several lives, including her own.
All in all, life shouldn’t be taken for granted. And yes, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort-zone to make something happen. This book is both inspirational and funny with characters you can relate to. After you finish reading it, you will want to start your own list.
Who will like this: Someone looking for a fun but thought provoking book. Someone interested in starting their own list!
If you like this, try this: If you’re into chick-lit, try anything by Elin Hilderbrand, who is known for her portrayal of women without being too fluffy, or “Bright Side of Disaster” by Katherine Center, a funny and light-hearted but still fulfilling book about love and losing it. If you like Jane Smolinski’s writing style, she has a number of other books both fiction and non-fiction.
If you’re interested in starting your own bucket list, there are a number of books out there about that on every subject- including a bucket list of books to read!
Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation Assistant
If you think you’d like to read this, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check if it’s available and place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2007 Releases, Adventure, Friendships, Relationships, Women
Posted in Chick Lit, Fiction | 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 Merry Mao on 28th June 2011
Title: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Publisher: Random House, March 2010
Summary: The dignified and charming Major Pettigrew lives in the small English village of Edgecombe St. Mary. He is a widower with impeccable manners, a true gentleman who seems to have stepped out of a Jane Austen novel. Major Pettigrew develops a friendship with Mrs. Ali, an educated, cultured, and thoughtful Pakistani village shopkeeper. They bond over the loss of their spouses and as their friendship develops they commiserate over their difficult relatives.
Pettigrew’s son Roger thinks his father is stuffy and does not approve of his friendship with Mrs. Ali. The Major feels Roger has no time for him and that “children were no sooner gone from the nest and established in their own homes….than they began to infantilize their own parents and wish them dead, or at least in assisted living.” Mrs. Ali is being pressured by relatives to give up her store to her nephew, who when told Major Pettigrew was taking her to a dance “looked at the Major as if he were a strange bug discovered in the bathtub.”
Written with wit and humor, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a charming, touching, endearing love story which will especially appeal to the reader who may enjoy an updated and light version of Jane Austen.
Recommended by: Paula, Reference Assistant
Summary: I fell in love with widower Major Ernest Pettigrew about six pages in! The story takes place in a quaint English village, where the Major’s brother’s sudden death and the propriety of a family heirloom spark an unexpected friendship with a local shopkeeper, Mrs. Jasmina Ali. His quiet world changes as he deals with his growing affection for Mrs. Ali (after all they share a love of literature), his yuppie, shallow son, and the various unattached ladies in the village vying for him. It is a charming and endearing love story. The Major’s wry, witty humor combined with his chivalrous old fashioned courtesy, yet sarcastic jabs about modern situations had me laughing out loud. There is a gentle humor and a quiet lovely rhythm with a romantic twist that will appeal to both sexes. I kept picturing Sir John Gielgud delivering the Major’s lines! Such a wonderful debut novel!
Recommended by: Cindy B., Children’s Department
Does this look like a book you’d enjoy reading? Click here to visit our catalog and place a hold or see availability!!
Tags: 2010 Releases, Debut Novel, England, Racism, Relationships, Widow
Posted in Fiction, Popular | No Comments »