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 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 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 September 2012
Title: The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: Random House, 2012
Summary/Review: Julia is only eleven years old when the earth’s rotation begins to slow. “The Slowing” as it comes to be called, adds minutes to the days and nights. Scientists have no idea why it is happening or when it will end. Though fear creeps into the lives of people around the world, most adopt a “wait and see” attitude and try to adjust.
As the days grow from 24 to 26 to 30 hours long and longer, the slowing starts to take its toll. Gravity and the earth’s magnetic field are altered, wreaking havoc on wildlife and the food supply. Birds can no longer fly, ocean mammals can no longer navigate, and vegetation can no longer survive the long hot days and the long cold nights. People begin to suffer from gravity sickness and radiation poisoning and still the earth continues to slow. The title of this novel refers to the middle school years when bodies are changing and the adult you will become starts to emerge. For Julia, this “age of miracles”, with its typical dramas and hardships, comes with the additional stress of an uncertain future. Relationships are dissolving and people are taking more risks and making questionable decisions. It’s clear that life will never again be the same.
Though this may seem like a science fiction novel, the emphasis is clearly on the effect that the threat of extinction has on human relationships. Some relationships will become stronger and others will wither and die under the pressure of a crumbling future. “The Age of Miracles” is a wonderful debut novel; more than just a coming-of-age story but a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit.
Who will like this? Adults and teens looking for a moving story with unforgettable characters.
If you like this, try this: If you like the theme of nature-driven dystopias, try “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy or “After the Snow” by S.D. Crockett. For dystopias in general, try the wildly popular “The Hunger Games” series (Suzanne Collins), “Never Let You go” by Kazuo Ishiguro, or “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. For younger ones, “the Giver” is an excellent place to start.
If you’re more attracted to the teenage drama, try “Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, or “Catcher in the Rye”, J.D. Salinger’s classic.If you like the author’s voice, keep an eye out for more books coming soon, since this is Karen Thompson Walker’s debut.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
To check if this book is available and/or to place a hold, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog [link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2012 Releases, Coming of Age, Debut Novel, Family, Friendship, Survival
Posted in Fiction, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 23rd August 2012
Title: When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico Maine
Author: Monica Wood
Publish: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
Summary/Review: When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico Maine by Monica Woods is an endearing memoir told from the voice of a nine year old girl. It is 1963 and the family patriarch is felled by a heart attack on his way to work at the local paper mill. Left behind are a mother and her five children including a daughter with special needs.
The author writes beautifully of the bonds between families, neighbors and co-workers. Her Uncle Bob, a Catholic priest and her Mom’s youngest brother, does his best to be the man of the family even when he is so devastated by their loss. In this memoir you are transported back to the early 1960’s and what is was like to grow up during this time like reading Nancy Drew, and riding your bike all over town, and making up games with neighborhood friends. It is also the story of a mill town and what happens when there are union issues and when the plants are sold to outside entities that have no ties to the town.
Woods is a fiction writer so the book flows like a novel. Although the author writes from a nine year old perspective it is not saccharine and sweet; rather the narrative is reminiscent of a more innocent time. The title of the book is somewhat misleading since the reference to the Kennedy’s is that Jackie and her children lost their father and husband in the same year that this family suffers their devastating loss. This book is written with humor and love and is a touching story of healing and families.
Who will like this? Memoir readers, people who grew up in the 1960’s, people who appreciate good writing.
If you like this, try this: ”Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood” by Alexander Fuller, “The Tender Bar” by J.R. Moehringer,” The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls.
Recommended by: Claudia, Technical Services Assistant
Does this look like a book you would like to try? 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: 1960's, 2012 Releases, America, Family, Friendship, Memoir
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 12th July 2012
Author: Chris Cleave
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2012
Summary/Review: This wonderful new novel from the author of Little Bee arrives just in time for the summer Olympics and should definitely be put on your
list of great summer reads. Zoe Castle and Kate Meadows are stars in the world of professional cycling, and each are trying their personal best to make it to the 2012 games in London. When their coach, Tom Voss, learns of a change in the rules that will allow only one of them to compete in the Olympics, he knows that no matter what happens, one of his cyclists will be destroyed. In the years that Zoe and Kate have known each other, their lives have become intertwined in a very complicated way. Cleave has done a terrific job of revealing their stories in between exciting racing sequences that demonstrate how physically and emotionally debilitating intense physical training can be. Everyone we meet in
“Gold” is in the grips of a battle; whether it is 8-year old Sophie, Kate and Jack Argall’s daughter, who is fighting leukemia; Coach Tom, who must come to terms with his own failed athletic career and his love for his two athletes; or Kate and Zoe with their constant fight to compete and survive in sports, love and life. This is such an intense novel and it is so emotionally satisfying. It will be one of the best books you read this summer!
Who will like this?: Those who are excited for the Olympics, and want to get warmed up. Anyone looking for an intense book that deals with sports, friendships, and the human
If you like this, try this: If you liked the author’s style, try his other- “Little Bee” or “Incendiary”.
If you’re more interested in the cycling aspect, Lance Armstrong has a number of biographies including “It’s not About the Bike” and “Every Second Counts”. Tim Moore’s book “French Revolutions” shines a more humorous light on the topic.
Recommended by: Mary, Reference Librarian
Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if this book is available, or to place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2012 Releases, Friendship, London, Olympics, Survival
Posted in Fiction, Popular, Sports | 1 Comment »
Posted by Book Mavens on 7th April 2011
Title: These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira, January 2011
Summary: Though Allison Glenn’s parents considered her their golden child, they soon learned that no one is perfect. Allison deviated from the plan-she fell in love, had a secret affair, and started to enjoy life-until her grades slipped and her parents stepped up the pressure. That was six years ago. Nine months after ending that affair and hiding her pregnancy, Allison was accused and convicted of drowning her newborn daughter. Allison has spent the last five years paying for that crime in Cravenville prison. Released early for good behavior, Allison is now 21 years old, living in a halfway house, and working part time at Bookends, a local bookstore owned by Claire and Jonathan Kelby. It is clear to Allison that her parents want nothing to do with her; her younger sister Brynn isn’t taking her calls either. Brynn just wants to forget that awful night when she helped her sister give birth on the bedroom floor. She thinks of that baby all the time-being taken away by the swift current of the Druid River.
Twenty one year old Charm Tullia is a nursing student who frequents the Kelby’s bookstore. She has been taking care of her beloved stepfather, Gus, who is dying of cancer. Claire sees how difficult it is for Charm and the two have become friends over the past few years. Charm always asks about the Kelby’s five year old adopted son Joshua when she visits the store. As an infant, Joshua had been abandoned at a local fire station under the “Safe Haven” law and Claire and Jonathan adopted him soon after. Charm has a special interest in Joshua that the Kelby’s don’t know about.
This is a cautionary tale of the danger that comes with expecting perfection, from yourself or others, and leaving no room for failure. It is a riveting and fast paced story in which the greatest parental love has nothing to do with biology (the biological parents here leave much to be desired), but with the character and heart of the people who step in to take over where others have failed.
Who Might Like This?: If you like characters that stay with you after you’ve finished the book, and if you liked Heather’s last novel “The Weight of Silence”, I think you’ll like this one as well.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
Think this looks like a book you’d like to read? Click here to visit our catalog and check the availability/put a hold on it!
Tags: 2011 Releases, Adoption, Crime, Family, Friendship
Posted in Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 31st March 2011
Title: The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
Author: Walter Mosley
Publisher: Riverhead Books/Penguin Audio, 2010
Summary: Ninety-one-year-old Ptolemy Grey is struggling putting his thoughts into words, functioning in daily life, and remembering his past. He knows that he has something to offer his family, if only he can recall what needs to be done. After his great-nephew Reggie, the only one who looked after him dies from a drive-by shooting, Ptolemy spirals further downward. He meets Robyn, a seventeen-year-old family friend (more mature than her years) who not only cleans up his cluttered house and takes care of Ptolemy, but provides light in his tunnel of darkness. Unsure of her agenda at first, she proves more trustworthy than his family. Their bond is that of two lost souls that have found each other. After Ptolemy makes a deal with the Devil (a doctor who supplies him with experimental medicine that helps him regain his memory in exchange for his life), he starts to resemble the man he used to be. Ptolemy has always lived his life through the words and advice of his deceased childhood friend and mentor Coydog; their times together now become more vivid. We see how friendship, love, family, race, and aging affected his life. By stirring up many painful memories, Ptolemy starts reconnecting pieces of his past to the tasks he needs to fulfill. There were moments in Ptolemy’s life when he regretted that he did not do something else, but in the end, he was able to take matters into his own hands. For those who enjoy audiobooks, Dominic Hoffman lends a strong voice to this story.
Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation
Look like something you’d like? Visit here to put a hold on the book, or here for the audiobook. The link will bring you to our catalog.
Tags: 2010 Releases, Family, Friendship, Love
Posted in Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 24th March 2011
Title: Night Road
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, March 2011
Summary:As a self-described helicopter mom, Jude is involved in every aspect of her children’s lives. Her husband Miles, and twins Mia and Zach would say she is too involved. Jude is especially concerned with Mia and her inability to make friends and fit in with her classmates. Popularity comes easily for Zach, however, which makes Mia feel even worse about herself. On the first day of school at Pine Island High, Mia finally makes a friend. Lexi is a new student and struggling with problems of her own when the two girls meet. Although Mia warns it will be “social suicide” for Lexi if she were to be seen with Mia, Lexi disregards the warning and the two become best friends. Lexi is welcomed into the Farraday family by Jude who sees the wonderful changes in Mia since she and Lexi became friends. As Mia, Zach, and Lexi go through high school, Jude wonders what she’ll do with herself once the twins go off to college. She has been so wrapped up in the lives of her children that she has forgotten who she is. When an unthinkable tragedy occurs, Jude’s love for her children and her ability to separate herself from their lives is put to the test.
Gripping and realistic, this novel was hard to put down. It is fast paced and well written and will resonate with adults and teen alike. Kristin Hannah is a fantastic story teller.
Who would like this book: Fans of Kristin Hannah; anyone who likes fiction with great characters. Teen and adults will enjoy this.
Recommended by: Sue B, circulation coordinator
Think this looks like a book you’d enjoy? Click here to enter our catalog and place a hold!
Tags: 2011 Releases, Coming of Age, Family, Friendship, Motherhood, Survival
Posted in Fiction, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 10th February 2011
Title: One Good Dog
Author: Susan Wilson
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, March 2010
Summary: “One Good Dog” is One Good Book!! If you enjoyed “Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, then you will really enjoy this book. The story begins with Adam. Adam is a very rich and powerful executive that has it all, including 3 houses and a beautiful wife and daughter. Adam is not a very nice man to the people that work for him or those that he feels are beneath him. One day he receives a message from his assistant Sophie to call his sister. Unbeknownst to his staff, Adam’s sister has been missing for years. When he tries to ask her about the message, Sophie ignores him which sends Adam into such a rage that he strikes her. He is then escorted out of the building and fired. Adam’s court appointed punishment is a year of community service at a men’s homeless shelter. He is appalled to have to do this!! It only gets worse from there, as his wife divorces him and his daughter refuses to have anything to do with him.
On the other end of town, there is a group of boys who organize illegal dog fights in the basement of their house. This were we first meet Chance. Chance tells his story about life as a fighting dog confined in a cage in a cold dark cellar, only to be let out to fight to the death. This is all he knows. When police raid the house and all the dogs are taken, Chance gets away for a little while only to be caught again and taken to a shelter and caged again. At least the shelter is warm and light, but fighting dogs are rarely adopted and most are eventually put to sleep
As time goes on Adam starts to enjoy going to the homeless shelter every day and begins to realize that all people deserve to be treated with respect. He befriends one man named Jupe who owns a dog named Benny. One day Jupe is taken to the hospital and Benny goes to the animal shelter, where he meets Chance. Benny becomes Chance’s mentor. When Adam visits Jupe in the hospital all the man cares about is his dog. He asks Adam to find Benny and take care of him until he gets out of the hospital. Adam’s visit to the animal shelter leads him to the dog he names Chance. He and Chance become the best of friends and Chance eventually helps Adam come to terms with his difficult childhood-they are both fighters who have had to overcome tragedy and abandonment in their lives. Even if you are not an animal lover, you will enjoy this book. “One Good Dog” depicts the lives of two fighters, one human and one dog, and the challenges they are forced to overcome to live better lives.
Recommended by: Virginia, circulation assistant
Does this look like a book you’d like to read? Click here to visit our catalog and place a hold!
Tags: Dog Fighting, Dogs, Friendship, Mentoring, Survival
Posted in Fiction | No Comments »