November 27, 2012
Every November, the Amazon Books editorial team announces their picks for the best 100 books of the year. This list contains adult fiction and non-fiction books with a few Young Adult fiction titles included. There aren’t any surprises here, we think. All of the titles will be familiar to those who watch weekly book reviews during the year. It is a good round-up of books worth reading if you’re looking for your next book. Most, if not all, may be found at the Essex Library. You can search for the title and place a hold in our catalog here.
August 21, 2012
Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to read through the first group of 2012 Best Summer Reading. This second group contains a lot of books that were released in July, many of which still have holds on them. Put a hold on what looks good and then come in and check out the display for great books to read while you wait for your copy of the hottest book of the summer: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
If you like staying up late into the night turning pages…
The 500 by Matthew Quirk
Former con artist and Harvard Law student , Mike Ford, accepts a position with the DC-based The Davies Group whose specialty is navigating the web of power and corruption by pulling strings for the top 500 most powerful people inside the Beltway.
15 Seconds by Andrew Gross
When a random act of violence plunges him into a nightmarish world, Henry Steadman, a successful surgeon accused of murdering two people, must clear his name and discover who is trying to destroy him in order to save himself and his family.
Broken Harbor by Tana French
In the aftermath of a brutal attack that left a woman in intensive care and her husband and young children dead, brash cop Scorcher Kennedy and his rookie partner, Richie, struggle with perplexing clues and Scorcher’s haunting memories of a shattering incident from his childhood. By the Edgar Award-winning author of In the Woods.
Creole Belle by James Lee Burke
A continuation of the events in The Glass Rainbow finds Dave Robicheaux in a New Orleans recovery unit, where he is introduced to a country blues song by a Creole girl whose subsequent disappearance prompts his search for the girl’s sister against a backdrop of a bayou-threatening oil well rupture in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva
When the body of a woman is found beneath Michelangelo’s dome, Gabriel Allon is summoned by Monsignor Luigi Donati to secretly investigate this mysterious death that has been ruled a suicide–a case that brings about an unthinkable act of sabotage that will plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions.
The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman
In 17th-century New Amsterdam, today Manhattan, 22-year-old trader Blandine von Couvering and British spy Edward Drummond investigate the mysterious disappearance of orphan children.
Tigers In Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann
Old secrets are revealed and lives become unraveled when the children of a well-heeled New England family discover the body of a murder victim near Tiger House, their estate on Martha’s Vineyard.
If you like your fiction from days gone by…
The Absolutist by John Boyne
In September 1919, 21-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver some letters to the sister of a man he fought alongside of during World War I, but the letters are not the real reason for Tristan’s visit.
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
A historical love story inspired by the author’s Armenian heritage finds early 20th-century nurse Elizabeth Endicott arriving in Syria to help deliver food and medical aid to genocide refugees, a volunteer service during which she exchanges letters with an Armenian engineer and widower. By the best-selling author of Midwives.
Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Her world upended by the death of a beloved artist uncle who was the only person who understood her, fourteen-year-old June is mailed a teapot by her uncle’s grieving friend, with whom June forges a poignant relationship.
If you like your fiction right out of today’s headlines…
Gold by Chris Cleave
Sharing a close friendship and rivalry throughout their Elite training, world-class athletes Zoe and Kate find the limits of their physical and emotional realities tested on the eve of London 2012, where they consider difficult sacrifices and weigh their senses of mortality. By the author of the best-selling Little Bee.
A Hologram For The King by Dave Eggers
A struggling American businessman travels to a rising Saudi Arabian city with the hopes of securing a contract that will earn him a commission large enough to stave off his economic woes and hold his family together.
The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman
Moving his young bride to an isolated lighthouse home on Australia’s Janus Rock where the couple suffers miscarriages and a stillbirth, Tom allows his wife to claim an infant that has washed up on the shore, a decision with devastating consequences.
If you like to laugh a little, cry a little…
The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
Believing she is realizing her dreams when her sitcom is bought, television writer Ruth Saunders finds her happiness threatened by demanding actors and executives as well as an unrequited crush on her boss and her septuagenarian grandmother’s upcoming wedding.
Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank
In the South Carolina Lowcountry, three generations of a family–a grandmother, a mother, and a son–discover the indelible power of love as they share a memorable summer on Sullivan’s Island.
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Possessing a Harvard education and all of the accoutrements of a privileged life, Winn Van Meter attends the wedding of his eldest daughter, which is scandalized by the bride’s advancing pregnancy, her sister’s broken heart and the seductive machinations of wedding party members.
Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer
When fabricated aspects of their picture-perfect world are embarrassingly exposed by a car accident, Sunny Mann, an everyday woman longing for an ideal life; and Maxon, her savant astronaut husband, struggle through blame and fear before confronting realities about their deep bond.
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
Follows the lives of four high school students, their friends, and families after a fatal car accident on graduation night on Nantucket has lasting repercussions for everyone involved.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Jolted out of emotional numbness by a letter from an old friend who wants to say goodbye before she dies, Harold Fry embarks on a 600-mile hiking journey to his friend’s side without supplies, an endeavor that stirs up memories of his unhappy marital and parenting experiences.
You & Me by Padget Powell
This hilarious novel, from a master of American fiction, follows two garrulous men as they, sitting and talking on a porch, argue about love and sex, how best to live and die, false truisms, the meaning of nihilism and the merits of Miles Davis, Cadillacs and Hollywood starlets of yore.
If you liked the first one then you’ll like the sequel even better…
The Shadow Of Night by Deborah Harkness
In Elizabethan London, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch Diana Bishop seeks a magical tutor, while vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont confronts elements from his past at the same time the mystery of the enchanted manuscript Ashmole 782 deepens.
July 3, 2012
Summer is the perfect time to settle down with a good book or 10. Check out the Summer Reading Flow Chart from Teach.com’s site below. If you don’t see anything that you’d like to read, come to the Library and we’ll make some reading suggestions for you that you’re sure to enjoy. Just ask us for a good book. And don’t forget to pick up one of our Adult Summer Reading program booklets to make your reading pay off with great prizes from local businesses.
May 2, 2012
Introversion and shyness are not the same thing–one point Susan Cain makes in her recent book, Quiet : the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Dictionary.com defines an introvert as “a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings” Cain’s book makes the point that many people are introverted–between 1/3 to 1/2 of the population and we miss out on their thoughts and creativity due to their preference for solitude.
From the jacket:
“Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.”
Watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk as she describes the ironies of introversion and leaves the audience with 3 tasks to make better use of the power of introverts. Before you watch the Talk however, read her Back Page essay in The New York Times “An Introvert Steps Out” to see how she mustered the ability to get in front of all those audience members.
April 6, 2012
Carry The One by Carol Anshaw
When a car of inebriated guests from Carmen’s wedding hits and kills a girl on a country road, Carmen and the people involved in the accident connect, disconnect and reconnect throughout 25 subsequent years of marriage, parenthood, holidays and tragedies. By the award-winning author of Aquamarine.
Wild Thing by Josh Bazell
When a reclusive billionaire offers Dr. Peter Brown, a.k.a. Pietro Brnwa, a job accompanying a sexy but self-destructive paleontologist on the world’s worst field assignment, Brown has no real choice but to say yes. Even if it means that an army of murderers, mobsters, and international drug dealers–not to mention a lake monster–are about to have a serious Pietro Brnwa problem.
Stay Close by Harlan Coben
A bored suburban wife, a documentary photographer-turned-paparazzo and a detective who cannot let go of a cold case hide secrets from their loved ones only to have the past return in dangerous ways. By the best-selling author of Live Wire.
Taken by Robert Crais
Hired along with Joe Pike to investigate the alleged kidnapping of a wealthy industrialist’s son, Elvis Cole quickly disproves police theories and goes undercover to infiltrate a ring of professional border kidnappers only to be abducted himself. By the award-winning author of The Sentry.
The Thief by Clive Cussler
When a scientist he recently rescued from kidnappers is murdered, private investigator Isaac Bell discovers that a ruthless agent wants the scientist’s secret new invention in order to exploit it to seize power for Germany. From the bestselling author of The Race.
A Partial History Of Lost Causes by Jennifer DuBois
Abandoning her life when her father succumbs to Huntington’s disease, Massachusetts native Irina discovers an unanswered letter from her father to an internationally renowned chess champion and political dissident, who she decides to visit in Russia. A first novel.
Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
Approached by a young woman who claims her murder is imminent, detective D. D. Warren hears her chilling story about how all of her close childhood friends have been murdered on the anniversary of the same day and that she is the only one still alive, a case that is complicated by a vigilante shooter. By the best-selling author of Love You More
A Good American by Alex George
The Meisenheimer family struggle to find their place among the colorful residents of their new American hometown, including a giant teenage boy, a pretty schoolteacher whose lessons consist of more than just music and an spiteful, bicycle-riding dwarf.
Defending Jacob by William Landay
His happy life and long-time respectability as a suburban Massachusetts assistant district attorney shattered when his 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student, Andy Barber faces a wrenching decision about family loyalty when the facts increasingly suggest that the boy is guilty.
Guilty Wives by James Patterson
The vacation of a lifetime in Monte Carlo turns into a hellish nightmare when best friends Abbie, Winnie, Serena, and Bryah are arrested aboard an unfamiliar yacht and accused of an unthinkable crime. From the bestselling author of Private Games.
The Book Of Lost Fragrances by M J Rose
Haunted by memories of a past infused with exotic scents, Jac L’Etoile, the heir to a French perfume company, is hurtled into a nightmare when her brother goes missing after making a profound discovery about the family’s possession of a mystical fragrance.
Quiet : the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain
A former Wall Street attorney, business coach and creator of ThePowerofIntroverts.com demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in today’s culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples to counsel readers on how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations and empower introverted children.
Thinking, Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman
A Nobel Prize-winning psychologist draws on years of research to introduce his “machinery of the mind” model on human decision making to reveal the faults and capabilities of intuitive versus logical thinking, providing insights into such topics as optimism, the unpredictability of happiness and the psychological pitfalls of risk-taking.
Imagine : how creativity works by Jonah Lehrer
An examination of the new science of creativity challenges popular misconceptions to explain that creativity involves distinct thought processes that can be tapped by anyone, revealing the practices of successful companies and creative individuals while considering how to use scientific principles to make cities, businesses and cultures more creative.
Killing Lincoln : the shocking assassination that changed America forever by Bill O’Reilly
Describes the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the hunt to track down John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices. Featuring some of history’s most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller. From the anchor of The O’Reilly Factor.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
The author of the best-selling Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit traces her life-long search for happiness as the adopted daughter of Pentecostal parents who raised her in a north England industrial town through practices of fierce control and paranoia, an experience that prompted her to search for her biological mother and turn for solace to the literary world.
March 25, 2012
HBO’s Game Of Thrones season 1 videos are a big hit at the Essex Library. The books by George R R Martin are going like hotcakes too. We think one of the reasons for the popularity–beyond all the broad sword battles and porn, is the screenplay by David Benioff. Benioff, as you may recall, is the screenplay writer for other hits such as Brothers, The Kite Runner, Troy and 25th Hour (from his first novel, The 25th Hour) directed by Spike Lee. More importantly, we think, he is also the author of one of our favorite books: City Of Thieves.
City Of Thieves was published to wide acclaim in May, 2008. World War II’s siege of Leningrad provides the background for the story as two Russians, one a young soldier, the other a civilian teen, thrown together by chance, must find a dozen eggs in order to avoid being executed by a Russian colonel. The desperate search takes them out of the dangers of Leningrad and into the surrounding countryside where the two must learn to survive and the villagers aren’t much friendlier than the Germans– who will shoot them on sight. City Of Thieves is a terrific page-turner full of suspense, memorable characters, dark humor and a revelation at the end that will keep you humble for years to come. The audio version, read by Ron Perlman, is highly recommended.
So why hasn’t City Of Thieves been made into a movie yet?
February 13, 2012
If you’re looking for a little romance on Valentine’s Day, Sophie Kinsella has just the book for you. Her new release, I’ve Got Your Number carries on the tradition of her bestselling romance novels such as: Twenties Girl, Remember Me?, The Undomestic Goddess and Can You Keep A Secret?
Kinsella’s heroines are always intelligent, witty and resourceful and in I’ve Got Your Number, Poppy Wyatt doesn’t diisappoint. When we meet her, she’s already engaged to her ideal man but disaster strikes when she loses her engagement ring and then her cellphone is stolen the same day. Chaos ensues and readers will enjoy how Poppy keeps her wits about her while determining what it really means to be ideal.
Thank you to Random House for providing an advanced reader’s copy of the book.
January 13, 2012
We added six new Great Courses from The Teaching Company to our collections recently. For those of you unfamiliar with Great Courses, The Teaching Company records lectures by professors at Ivy League and other leading colleges on a wide range of subjects, numbering more than 300 to date. The courses are primarily on CD, with some on DVD, with accompanying print materials for the lifelong learner in you.
In addition to our other Great Courses, patrons will now be able to enjoy borrowing:
The American Revolution taught by Allen C. Guelzo
Comparative Religion taught by Charles Kimball
The Emperors Of Rome taught by Garrett G. Fagan
Greek Tragedy taught by Elizabeth Vandiver
The Italian Renaissance taught by Kenneth Bartlett
The Long 19th Century: European History from 1789 to 1917 taught by Robert I. Weiner
October 14, 2011
Sebastian Barry’s wonderful novel, The Secret Scripture, (nominated for the 2008 Man Booker Prize) was released with an audio version gorgeously narrated by Wanda McCaddon. We heartily recommend it as it’s one of the best audiobooks we’ve heard. The audio version is available on our Overdrive downloadable service as well as on CD in the Library.
Plot summary: Roseanne McNulty, once one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland, is now an elderly patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital. As her hundredth year draws near, she decides to record the events of her life, hiding the manuscript beneath the floorboards. Meanwhile, the hospital is preparing to close and is evaluating its patients to determine whether they can return to society. Dr. Grene, Roseanne’s caretaker, takes a special interest in her case. In his research, he discovers a document written by a local priest that tells a very different story of Roseanne’s life than what she recalls. As doctor and patient attempt to understand each other, they begin to uncover long-buried secrets about themselves.
Barry has written additional novels following the McNulty family members and has a recently published novel, On Canaan’s Side that has also enjoyed rave reviews and garnered a nomination for the 2011 Man Booker Prize.