Posted by Book Mavens on 20th September 2012
Title: The Dog Stars
Author: Peter Heller
Publisher: Knopf, August 2012
Summary/Review: After a pandemic kills 99% of the population, a survivor tries to find some hope for the future.
Hig, along with his dog Jasper and fellow survivor Bangley, is living on a fortified compound in Colorado after a flu pandemic. Their safety is precarious and hinges on Hig’s piloting his 1956 Cessna to scout their area from the air, and Bangley’s uninhibited penchant for killing intruders. Though Bangley seems content with their situation, Hig can’t forget a radio transmission he heard 3 years ago coming from Grand Junction, and the hope that came with it. Hig must decide between his commitment to Bangley and the search for a better existence.
Powerful and beautifully written, Heller’s debut novel not only illustrates the horror and isolation that come with the near-annihilation of mankind, but the new bonds that are forged and the humanism that remains.
Who will like this book: Someone who is sick of reading zombie-pocalypse books and is looking for something a little deeper and more focused on human psychology. Fans of dystopias who are looking for something new.
If you like this, try this: If you would like to read more books about the apocalypse that aren’t centered around zombies, try “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson (the movie remake stars Will Smith). “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy (also made into a movie) is centered around global climate change. Both show the bonds humans form with either one another or the living things around them in hopes of survival. “The Pesthouse” by Jim Crace is more focused on the dark side of humanity and what people can do to out-survive one another- including slavery, thievery, and murder.
This is Peter Heller’s debut, so be on the lookout for more from this author- who is featured on Amazon and shares a picture of the real-life inspiration for Jasper!
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
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, Adventure, Apocalypse, Colorado, Debut Novel, Survival
Posted in Fiction, Literary, 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 15th August 2012
Title: “Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail”
Author: Paul Stutzman
Publisher: Revell, A Division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan- 2012
Summary: All his life, Paul Stutzman dreamed of hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a hiking adventure of 2,176 miles. Paul was not looking to be a section hiker, hiking small sections of the trail at a time, but to experience the Appalachian Trail as a thru-hiker, doing the hike from start to finish continuously over an extended period of time. Like most people, Paul’s dream was put on hold by day to day life. The challenges of paying a mortgage, raising three children and paying college tuition, car payments and working full time along with his wife. Paul and his wife Mary looked forward to retiring together and doing all the things that they never had time to do while working full time and raising a family. Unfortunately, life threw them a curve ball, and Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer. After four years, Mary lost her battle with cancer. Paul is devastated and does not know how to pick up the pieces of his life and to work through his grief. His dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail now seems like a way for him to heal. But how can he quit his job of 25+ years in the food industry and pack up and leave for several months? He is torn between his own desire to pursue his dream and the guilt he feels by leaving everything behind. Paul takes us on his personal journey of a lifetime. He quits his job and spends 4 ½ months on the Appalachian Trail. Along the way he experiences the kindness of strangers and the friendship of several thru-hikers. It is truly an amazing story of strangers coming together to share one common goal and the challenges they face in their quest to fulfill their dream. It is a very unique bond that is formed out in the middle of the woods. Paul’s remarkable journey was about more than just hiking. In the book, he states “In one month, I had gained more insights on life than I had in many, many years past.” This book will make you laugh and make you cry. You can’t help but become a part of Paul’s journey and anticipate the challenges he faces each day spent on the trail. His writing will touch your heart. There are moments when he questions his own sanity of quitting his job and walking over 2,000 miles. His faith and his sense of humor were of great help along the way. There were days when he questioned his desire to stay on the trail and reach his goal at the top of Mount Katahdin, but he never gave up. Paul reminds all of us that we spend so much time preparing for the future that we neglect to enjoy the present. He said his experience on the Appalachian Trail changed his life. I loved this book! It is fun, it is inspiring, and it is one man’s choice to take that first courageous step. As a day hiker, this book even had me thinking about a thru-hike. It is an amazing story of change and healing, stepping out of one’s comfort zone and a little trail magic along the way.
To read his blog and see pictures of his hike, visit Paul Stutzman at www.hikingthrough.com
Who Will Like this? Anyone with an adventurous streak. Anyone with dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail (or any other hikes). Those who enjoy hiking, or just reading about it. Anyone looking for great inspiration or motivation to turn a dream into a reality. Anyone with a love of the outdoors.
If you like this, try this: “Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peak Bagging Adventure” by Patricia Ellis Herr, “A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” by Bill Bryson, “In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at Age 60” by Leslie Mass, “Halfway To Heaven: My White Knuckled and Knuckleheaded Quest for the Rocky Mountain High” by Mark Obmascik.
Recommended by: Laura, Technical Services Department
Does this look like your kind of read? Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check if it’s available and to place a hold!
Tags: 2012 Releases, Adventure, America, Survival
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 17th June 2012
Title: Nick of Time – - An Adventure Through Time
Author: Ted Bell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2008
Summary/Review: This is a swashbuckling adventure with dual plot lines weaving time travel back to the 1805, pirates, WWII, espionage, family values, and love of country into an action-packed story.
Set in England in 1939, World War II and Nazi invasion are threatening the peace of Nick McIver’s homeland. When Nick discovers an old sea chest and the Tempus Machina ( built by Leonardo DaVinci), he is pulled into a dangerous mission which will affect the course of England’s history.
This engaging and suspenseful book is for the stouthearted!!!
Who will like this book?: Fans of historical fiction or fantasy. Children who are ready to go on an adventure
If you like this, try this: This is book 1 of a series. The second in the series is “Time Pirate”, which came out in 2010. “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson is a class action/adventure book. “Harry Potter” is a more modern take on action and adventure.
For those interested in the time travel aspect, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle is a great choice, and a classic. “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry is another historical fiction book which deals with some of the same topics. For older readers, “Book Thief” by Markus Zusak might be a good choice, though the topic is more difficult.
Recommended by: Diane Pagnozzi, Fairfield Woods Children’s Department
If this looks like something you or your child would like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check availability and place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: Adventure, England, Nazis, Pirates, Survival, World War II
Posted in Childrens, Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 31st March 2012
Author: Nina Revoyr
Publisher: Akashic Books, 2011
Review/Summary: “Wingshooters” is grim reminder that hatred and bigotry have no place in a civilized world.
Michelle LeBeau, the nine year old daughter of a white American father and Japanese mother, has come to live with her American grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin. It’s the early 1970’s and Deerhorn has remained virtually unchanged for the past 30 years. Michelle, or “Mike”, as her grandfather likes to call her, is the first non-Caucasian person many residents have ever seen. No one is very happy that she has come to live in their town. Mike’s grandfather, Charlie, who is well respected in town, is torn between his love for his granddaughter and the shame of his son’s marriage. Michelle is tormented and bullied by her schoolmates but finds comfort spending time outside with her dog Brett. When an African American couple comes to live and work in town, Michelle sees just how ignorant, bigoted and hateful her neighbors, and her grandfather, really are.
This is a powerful, brutal and disturbing story that will leave you shaking your head at the senseless violence and utter disregard for life portrayed within its pages. A great choice for book clubs, this wonderfully written novel will linger in your thoughts well after the last page is turned.
Who will like this book?: Someone who is not afraid to read about the realistically devastating effects of racism. Someone looking for a more literary read, focused on complex family bonds and historical events.
If you like this, try this: If you’re looking for more books dealing with racism in general, check out “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, or “A River Runs Through it”, a short story by Norman Maclean. If you’re more interested in the Japanese American historical fiction, try “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson or “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford. Nina Revoyr also has a few other books, titled “Necessary Hunger” and “Southland”.
Recommended by: Sue B, circulation coordinator
If this looks like something you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog where you can check if its available and place a hold!
Tags: 2011 Releases, America, Family, Japanese American, Racism, Survival, Wisconsin
Posted in Fiction, Historical, Literary | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 11th August 2011
Author: Daniel H. Wilson
Publisher: Doubleday, 2011
Summary: Robopocalypse pulled me in from the first line and it’s one of those books that you don’t want to stop reading. Imagine a mix of “I, Robot”; “Terminator: Rise of the Machines” and “World War Z” with characters that you really come to care about and you’ll have some idea of the fun you’ll have reading Robopocalypse.
In a not too distant future, the machines that we have come to rely on to a scary extent, unite and turn against us. Under the leadership of Archos, their goal is to decimate human kind.
I’ve always thought the machines would bring us down by slowly driving us insane. The copy machine that jams when you need it the most, the plane that’s just late enough to make sure you miss your next connection, the AC that gives out when the temperature reaches 99+. The machines in Robopocalypse aren’t quite that subtle and some serious carnage results.
The war starts with isolated incidents that can be passed off as malfunctioning machines but when the smart cars start jumping curbs and running people down and the commuter planes start dropping from the sky like bombs, human kind must actually unite against a common enemy.
The action is riveting but it’s the characters, both human and machine, that make this book the absorbing read that it is. My only complaint about Robopocalypse is the length. At under 400 pages, it’s just too short. There are too many stories left to tell. I wanted to hear all about Lark Iron Cloud’s 3 day journey in the unknown, how Tiberius and Cherrah met while escaping from Albany, what happened to Brightboy squad on their cross country journey to Gray Horse. I was looking for a 1,000 page doorstop of a book.
I’ll be waiting for Daniel H. Wilson’s next book – and maybe a movie version of Robopocalypse!
Recommended by: Sue D’Num; Technical Services Department
Does this look like your type of book? Click here to visit our catalog and check availability/place a hold
Tags: 2011 Releases, Future, Rise of the machines, Robots, Survival
Posted in Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 28th July 2011
Title: Bad Kitty Meets The Baby
Author: Nick Bruel
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press 2011
Summary: Yep, trouble’s coming. It was bad enough when the “foul and wretched” dog arrived to disrupt Kitty’s blissful, solitary life but another very special surprise was on the horizon. For one week Bad Kitty’s people are gone and when they return, they bring back the surprise. Justifiable confusion results. The newcomer, “drools a lot, smells terrible, and is noisy.” Bad Kitty’s friends in the neighborhood come over to meet her and after noticing she likes to play with cat toys, she can be stinky, she’s very talkative and she can answer Strange Kitty’s question on the Fantastic Feline Five’s adventures in issue #189 of Astonishing Cat Comics, they decide she is a true Kitty and as such can compete in The Pussycat Olympics. New Kitty proves herself to be a champion – leveling the playing field in all competitions including “Stare-at-yourself-in-a-mirror-until-you-get-bored,” “Who-can-create-the-biggest-stink” (also known as “Who-can-outstink-Stinky-Kitty”) and even defeating Bad Kitty in The Eating Contest. Bad Kitty is not a gracious loser and proceeds to throw a screaming temper tantrum. This relationship has not started out well. Can things turn around? Will Bad Kitty and Baby become adversaries or allies? You’ll have to read Bad Kitty Meets The Baby to find out. And as a special treat, you can also learn how to teach your cat some Cat Tricks. If you have a cat like mine, I would suggest investing in full combat gear before trying the “Shake a Paw” trick. And Begging? I don’t think so.
Recommended by: Sue D’Num, Technical Services Librarian
Does this look like something you (or your child!) would like to read? Click here to enter the catalog and check availability or place a hold!
Tags: 2011 Releases, Adventure, Cats, Survival
Posted in Fiction | 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 Book Mavens on 7th July 2011
Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel, March 2011
Summary: This is the heart wrenching story of one family’s deportation from Lithuania to Siberia by the Soviet secret police during World War II.
Lina Vilkas is just 15 years old when the secret police burst into her Lithuanian home and take her, her mother, and younger brother Jonas away. Thrust onto a train meant for carrying livestock, Lina and her family join others from their neighborhood on a harrowing six week long trek to Siberia. Unsure of what has happened to her father but hoping they will be reunited with him soon, Lina and her family concentrate on surviving the horrific conditions they are forced to endure. A gifted artist, Lina uses her drawings to leave clues for her father as to their whereabouts, hoping against hope that he will receive her messages and find his family.
This is more than a fictionalized account of one family’s suffering at the hands of Josef Stalin. It is a glimpse into the lesser known history of violence and genocide directed at the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian people by the Soviet government during and after World War II. I found this to be a very moving story of family and community, and most of all hope.
Who Might Like This?: Teens and adults interested in historical fiction.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
If this looks like a book you’d be interested in, click here to visit our catalog to see if it’s available, or to place a hold!
Think this looks like something your teen would like? Click here to visit our teen librarian’s blog about this book!
Tags: 2011 Releases, Coming of Age, Family, Genocide, Siberia, Survival, Terrorism, World War II, YA Crossover
Posted in Fiction, Historical, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »