Posted by Book Mavens on February 14th, 2013
Title: The Fear Index
Author: Robert Harris
Publisher: Knopf, 2012
Summary/Review: If you like to read about the stock market,financial markets worldwide, and are concerned about the gyrations in the markets caused by computers using mathematical formulas for lightning fast trades (Remember the flash crash?) then this work of fiction is for you.
Dr. Alex Hoffmann, the main character, is a mathematical genius and is obsessed with artificial intelligence. When he is unable to continue his work at CERN(due to a mental breakdown), he turned to the development of a form of artificial intelligence, VIXAL, that utilizes a set of algorithms to buy and sell financial instruments based on what in reality is known as the VIX or volatility index, otherwise known as “the fear index”. The computers monitor events worldwide, and when the sense “fear” they will buy or sell — depending on the situation. Dr. Hoffmann and his hedge fund company become ultra-rich and everyone is very happy with the working of VIXAL– until events start to go terribly wrong – starting with an intruder at Hoffmann’s home.
At the beginning of each chapter there is a quotation from Charles Darwin’s Origen of the Species– a work about evolution and natural selection. At first you may not make the connection between the twists and turns of the plot and the quotation, but as you near the end of the book you realize WHAT has been evolving right under the nose of Dr. Hoffmann.
Recommended by: Sue Z, Reference Librarian
Who will like this?: Those who are interested in Artificial Intelligence and its impact on human life. Those who are looking for a thriller with lots of twists and turns.
If you like this, try this: If you liked Robert Harris’ writing, he has a number of other books such as “The Ghost” and “Lustrum”. If the topic of Artificial Intelligence interests you, try the classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur Clarke or “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov.
If you are trying to break into the science fiction genre, try the classic “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card or “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. More recent science fiction includes the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins or “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth.
If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and to place a hold!
Tags: 2012 Releases, Artificial Intelligence, Finance, Geneva, Switzerland
Posted in Fiction, Popular, Science & Math, Science Fiction & Fantasy | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on February 7th, 2013
Title: Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers
Author: Ray Negron and Sally Cook
Publisher: Liveright, 2012
Summary/Review: If you read this book, not only will you learn the incredible story of Ray Negron who was “nabbed” by former Yankee owner George Steinbrenner (“The Boss” of the Yankees) you will also be transported into the inner sanctum of the Yankees and Yankee stadium, home of the most storied and decorated sports franchise of all time. Ray Negron became a Yankee batboy when he was caught spray painting, or tagging, the wall of Yankee stadium. As “punishment”, Steinbrenner had him work off repainting the wall by becoming a batboy with all the menial tasks assigned a batboy. He became so beloved in the club house that he stayed with the team and professional baseball his entire career. You will read inside stories about Yankee greats from Mantle to Jeter, championship seasons, runner up seasons, and all the ways Negron and sports page heroes actually do give back to their communities. I recommend this book to all sports enthusiasts–especially the Yankee faithful (and you know who you are!)
Who will like this book?: Someone who loves Yankees, baseball, or sports in general
Recommended by: Mark Z, guest reviewer
Think this looks like a book you’d like to read? Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2012 Releases, Sports, Yankees
Posted in Non-Fiction, Sports | 1 Comment »
Posted by Book Mavens on January 31st, 2013
Author: Richard Ford
Publisher: Ecco , May 2012
Summary/Review: Dell (the narrator) and Berner Parsons are ordinary fifteen year old twins living a somewhat isolated life with their parents in Montana circa 1956. Their father has failed at a number of ventures in his life but has oddly always envisioned himself as a successful bank robber. So being a little short on money, he decides to carry out a plan and takes their mother along as his accomplice. They are undetected for a little while, but one day the police finally come and take the parents away to jail, leaving the brother and sister to fend for themselves. Mrs. Parsons, fearing they would be caught had arranged for a friend to look after the kids, but by the time she shows up, Berner has left for California on her own. So she drives Dell to Canada to be taken in by her brother. The brother turns out to be not at all what he first appears to be and when the reasons he is in Canada become evident it provides a twist in the story. Amazingly, Dell never assigns blame or feels anger and continues to believe that both his parents, though misguided, did truly love him and his sister. What happens in this novel is very unpredictable and leaves you wanting to read more to see what finally happens. There is some foreshadowing as Dell alludes to events which he has not yet related, but you don’t see how can occur until they unfold. The themes of crossing all sorts of boundaries and the force and effect of corrupt acts make this a thought provoking and absorbing read.
Who will like this book: Someone who likes thought provoking fiction.
Recommended by: Jan, Administration
If you would like to see 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, Canada, Coming of Age, Crime, Robbery
Posted in Fiction, Literary, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on January 17th, 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 December 22nd, 2012
Title: Christmas is Here : Words from the King James Bible
Illustrated by: Lauren Castillo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2010
Summary/Review: Christmas is Here is a beautifully illustrated story for younger children depicting a live Nativity Event in a small town. The two page spreads show a family with their little dog walking through gently falling snow to the town green event. The little child peeps over the manger to see the sleeping baby portraying the infant Jesus. The story continues with the “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,” the beautiful story and words from the King James Bible. The illustrations end with families gathered under the softly falling snow singing carols and concluding on the final page with the family of Mom, Dad, baby and child and little doggie. This is a peaceful, beautiful family Christmas story.
Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a beautiful, soothing book to read to their children over the Christmas holiday. It makes a perfect bedtime story for those who are too excited to go to sleep.
Recommended by: Cheryl, Children’s Librarian
Tags: 2010 Releases, Children's, Christmas, Holidays
Posted in Childrens | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on December 14th, 2012
Title: Light Between Oceans
Author: M.L. Stedman
Publisher: Scribner, July 2012
Summary/Review: After surviving four years of war on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a position as lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. Although the island is completely isolated, a half-day’s journey from the coast, Tom begins to find peace after years at war. On his first shore leave he meets Isabel, a bold young woman full of life and joy. As the two fall in love and she agrees to marry him they both envision a life of beauty and adventure in the lighthouse. Years later, after the hardship of living in isolation and after repeated miscarriages and a still birth Isabel is no longer the joyful woman Tom married. Then one day a boat washes to shore carrying a dead man and a living baby, and Tom and Isabel make a decision that will carry repercussions for years to come. In their years of isolation and hardship they’ve lost sight of the lives they effect on the mainland.
This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The story is rich with emotions and you will feel yourself getting pulled in to their story. Would you make the same decisions? And once made would you stick to them no matter what? Tom is torn between what he knows is right and wanting to make Isabel happy after her years of heartbreak. Most stories have a clear picture of right and wrong and the characters you are pulling for. Although there is heartbreak in this story the resolution is honest and real.
Who will like this book? Anyone who enjoys historical fiction or is just looking for the best book written this year.
If you like this, try this: If you were pulled in by the intense plot, “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey deals with a couple facing a very similar issue. If you were more drawn to the writing, this is M.L. Stedman’s debut but keep an eye out for more from her in the future!
Recommended by: Linda, Circulation Assistant
If this looks like a book you would like to try, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available or place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2010 Releases, 2012 Releases, Australia, Family, World War II
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on December 8th, 2012
Author: By Amity Gaige
Publisher: Grand Central, 2013
Summary/Review: Erik Schroder is writing a letter to his estranged wife. It is an apology and an explanation as to why he felt compelled to kidnap their daughter. Writing from the correctional facility from which he awaits trial, Erik recounts his life and the choices he’s made that have brought him to this point.
Soon after fleeing East Germany with his father, a young Erik made his first mistake, the ramifications of which were not fully realized until several years later. This lie, his invention of a new name and life history on a summer camp application seemed harmless enough at the time. Out of desperation to leave his German roots and Boston home behind him, Erik Schroder becomes Eric Kennedy. It is as Eric Kennedy, not Erik Schroder that he attends summer camp, goes off to college, falls in love and gets married. It is as Eric Kennedy that he kidnaps his daughter, but it is as Erik Schroder that he now sits in jail.
This is a moving and thought provoking novel that will demand discussion, making it a great choice for book groups. The moral and ethical issues that arise, as well as who may be Erik’s most sympathetic victim, are all fodder for a lively conversation.
Who will like this?: Someone who’s looking for a book that will cause a lively discussion.
If you like this, try this: “My Abandonment” by Peter Rock touches on this subject, though in a very dark way. “Room” by Emma Donoghue shows an alternative viewpoint, of the kidnapped rather than the one kidnapping.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if this book is available, or to place a hold on it! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2013 Releases, Crime, Family, Kidnapping
Posted in COMING SOON, Fiction, Literary | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on December 1st, 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 November 18th, 2012
Title: One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game
Author: John Feinstein
Publisher: Little, Brown, & Company 2011
Summary/Review: I don’t know how I keep encountering books like this one. John Feinstein, the incredibly successful sports columnist and author, takes the reader “inside”, way inside, the world of college and professional sports time after time. In this book, the author goes back to interview and to reexamine the subjects of some of his previous investigative books. You are reacquainted with Bob Knight (A Season on the Brink), Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus (The Majors), several Patriot League basketball players (The Last Amateurs), and many, many other internationally famous athletes. Feinstein’s genius for behind-the-scenes, unlimited-access sports reporting and writing allows the lucky reader first-person access to the heroes of just about any game to have watched from afar, your whole life. It’s no surprise that his books, both non-fiction as well as his novels, rise to the top, or very near the top of best-seller lists time and again.
If you enjoy sports of any kind, and are at all interested in the people behind the box scores and headlines, you will only be disappointed when you come to the end of John Feinstein’s latest investigative effort.
Who will like this book?: Those interested in sports, who are interested in getting a more personal look at athletes and sports reporting
If you like this, try this: Frank Deford is one of the more-famous sports writers, and has written a number of books that investigate the sports world. Additionally, the book “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” by by James Andrew Miller might be of interest if you’re looking for a book more focused on the world of investigative reporting when it comes to sports.
Recommended by: Mark Z, Guest Reviewer
Tags: 2011 Releases, Reporting, Sports
Posted in Non-Fiction, Sports | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on October 25th, 2012
Title: After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall
Author: Nancy Kress
Publisher: Tachyon, April 2012
Summary/Review: In 2035, the Earth as we know it is no more. An alien attack by the mysterious ‘Tesslies’ has devastated the planet, transforming it into a poisoned wasteland. A small band of humans have been culled to survive in The Shell, a futuristic shelter installed on the Earth’s damaged surface by the aliens. Damaged by radiation, the survivors are desperate to reproduce, thrive and restart the human race. In 2013, a brilliant statistician working for the FBI is trying to connect the dots between seemingly random kidnappings of young children and bizarre robberies occurring all over the East coast. All the cases, witnesses insist, end in a bright flash of light and the disappearance of the assailant and whatever they were taking. And in 2014, an undetected bacterium is slowly attacking plant life all over the planet.
Nancy Kress is an award-winning science fiction force and this book is a great introduction to her work. Told in the voices of Julie, the FBI analyst and Pete, a teenager born in the Shell, After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall weaves together three separate timelines that tell the story of the end of the world as we knew it.
Who will like this book? This short novel is a great choice for fans of dystopian fiction and ecological non-fiction. It is suitable for both adults and older teen readers. And with a surprising twist at the end, it’s not as bleak as it sounds.
If you like this, try this: “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman. “Eternity Road” by Jack McDevitt. “Life as We Knew It” by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
If you think you would like this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2012 Releases, Crime, Post-Apocalyptic, science fiction
Posted in Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »