Library Reads for April 2019

Ten books coming in April that librarians across the US are loving.

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly
The Ferriday family (The Lilac Girls) returns in this story of love, loss, and triumph. The voices of four compelling female characters tell of the devastating effects of the Russian Revolution and World War I. Highly recommended for book clubs and fans of Anthony Doerr, Susan Meissner, and Lauren Belfer. ~ Mamie Ney, Auburn Public Library, Auburn, ME

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
A college romance with an odd, quiet girl fades when she fails to follow him to New York after graduation as promised. Ten years later, a chance meeting in Chicago reunites them. An interesting story giving insight into the world of a high functioning autistic adult. For readers who enjoyed The Rosie Project. ~  Virginia Holsten, Vinton Public Library, Vinton, IA

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon
Nate and Helen leave their teaching jobs to build their dream home in rural Vermont. Helen begins seeing ghosts, and Nate becomes obsessed with a white doe. An unputdownable thriller about a house with a tragic past. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly and Attica Locke. ~ Terri Smith, Cornelia Library, Mt. Airy, GA

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
A creepy, beautifully written story about a new mother of twin boys who claims to have seen a strange creature who wants to steal her babies. Doctors and the police are dismissive. Then the unthinkable happens. For fans of modern myths, psychological suspense, and Fiona Barton. ~ Amy Verkruissen, Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Lake Charles, LA

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
When a medical treatment facility explodes, killing two people, the ensuing murder trial rocks the town while witnesses go to extremes to conceal their darkest secrets. Part family drama, part whodunit, Miracle Creek is a gripping debut. For fans of Celeste Ng and Liane Moriarty. ~ Portia Kapraun, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
Lucy hopes to have a good relationship with her husband Ollie’s mother, but Diana makes it difficult. When Diana is found dead of an apparent suicide, Lucy reexamines everything she knows about Diana and the rest of the family. For fans of The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand and The Lake House by Kate Morton. ~ Chris Markley, Kingsport Public Library, Kingsport, TN

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Follows the complicated relationship between Connell, a popular boy, and Marianne, a lonely and private girl, through their high school years and college. A great book club pick. For fans of Three Junes by Julia Glass and Idaho by Emily Ruskovich. ~ Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl
Reichl’s captivating story about leaving her job as a New York Times restaurant critic to become Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine. Her writing is as luscious as the food she critiques. For fans of Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and My Life in France by Julia Child. ~ Katelyn Boyer, Fergus Falls Public Library, Fergus Falls, MN

Southern Lady Code: Essays by Helen Ellis
A funny, spot-on collection of essays on topics ranging from marriage and manners, three-ways, and how to be a good friend in the middle of a murder trial. For fans of You Play the Girl by Carina Chocano and Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom. ~ Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

Women Talking by Miriam Toews
In a modern-day Mennonite community, eight women surreptitiously gather in a barn to decide their future after learning the truth behind two years of sexual assaults committed by neighbors and family members. Their circuitous, swooping two-day conversation touches on faith, autonomy, duty, anger, and their hopes for their lives and those of their children in this compelling and haunting read. For fans of Lauren Groff. And it’s a Peak Pick!  ~  Andrea Gough, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA

 

~ posted by Linda J. 

 

Books for Two or More

My book group’s selection for January through February was An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen:

“When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking and what she’s hiding.” (Bibliocommons)

My thoughts? This is going to be a great read alike for fans of Gone Girl and Fates & Furies – I did find it a bit formulaic, but it was a fast read. The main character didn’t seem very bright since she continually got caught in the web being weaved and that was a bit disappointing. The idea was interesting it just wasn’t executed how I would have liked. Ultimately, I would have wanted Jessica and Dr. Shields to be more empowered. Continue reading “Books for Two or More”

Seattle Rep’s A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2 – Beyond the Theater

Have you ever wondered what became of a beloved or engaging literary character after the last page turns, or the curtain falls? What happens next? In his award-winning play A Doll’s House, Part 2 – playing at the Seattle Repertory Theater from March 15 to April 28, 2019 – Lucas Hnath applies this curiosity to one of the most startling and provocative endings in all of theater, when Nora Helmer walks out on her husband and family in Henrik Ibsen’s epochal 1879 play A Doll’s House, slamming the door behind her.

Hnath isn’t the first contemporary author to imagine sequels to classic titles.  P.D. James threw a homicidal wrench in the happily-ever-after ending of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with her period mystery Death Comes to Pemberley. Eoin Colfer took a suitably irreverent approach to his hilarious sequel And Another Thing: Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Part Six of Three. In cases where everybody dies at the end, there’s always the prequel, such as with John Updike’s Gertrude and Claudius, which provides a more sympathetic take on Hamlet’s mother and father-in-law to be, or Jean Rhys classic Wide Sargasso Sea, a post-colonial prequel to Jane Eyre which explores the life of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘madwoman in the attic,’ prior to her life in England as Bertha.

Hedwig Niemann-Raabe, the German Nora who refused to leave her family

Still, there’s something about the abrupt, open-ended ending to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House that invites speculation about how things might wind up after the curtain goes down, or if things had gone a different way. In fact, this is not the first time time the play has been revamped. Nora’s final act was so controversial that when the play finally appeared on stage outside of Norway, the leading actress refused to walk out on her family, obliging Ibsen to write a new ending in which Nora decides to and stay, sinking to the floor in tears at the thought she would leave her children “Motherless! Motherless!” Popular Victorian playwright Henry Arthur Jones staged Breaking a Butterfly, a decidedly melodramatic bizarro version of the play in which the wife is a silly thing, and the husband a hero. And then there was Eleanor Marx, the pioneering feminist daughter of Karl Marx who championed Ibsen, and co-wrote (with Israel Zangwill) a own sequel to A Doll’s House – A Doll’s House Repaired  – which ends with Torvald slamming the bedroom door on a contrite Nora.

Eleanor Marx, who brought Nora back home

Both parts of A Doll’s House remain timely and provocative, inviting discussion and further reading. Check our our full list of recommended reading to enhance and extend your experience of Hnath’s and Ibsen’s plays. Here you’ll find filmed versions of A Doll’s House, histories of marriage and of the feminist pursuit of happiness; and various tales of ‘unruly women,’ both fictional and factual.

    ~ Posted by David W.

Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves: Women in the Kitchen

There’s that old patriarchal saying that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen,” but in an industry dominated by men, it’s actually a lot harder to “get in the kitchen.” Just last year the Department for Labor Statistics showed that only 19.7 percent of restaurant kitchens are run by women. Things are changing, but it’s a cultural shift – kitchens have been notoriously unfriendly places for women between sexual harassment, long work hours, and lack of parental leave.

Here are two memoirs of women who have pushed against the norm and are changing the way we think about food.

Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

I’ve been finding myself craving the places my mom and I occupied – that female energy. The house I was raised in with that tiny kitchen where she taught me how to cook and bake. The kitchen at my aunt’s house, where all the holidays take place, filling up with all the women in my family and all the food. This book just felt like home to me, but also parts of my dreams too. Amy Thielen takes that leap to learn more about what she loves by attending cooking school in New York City then falls back into a familiar escape, her home in rural Minnesota, to make those meals for the people she creates her home with. Too often we put women in a box – if they want it all we shame them or if they want a simpler life we shame them, too. I feel like Amy really turns that on its head with a little bit of both. We can have roots and wings – Amy’s memoir is just that.

Want more Amy? Check out her cookbook The New Midwestern Table:200 Heartland Recipes and her show on food network Heartland Table!

Killing It: An Education by Camas Davis

After being laid off and ending a 10 year relationship, Camas maxes out her credit card to learn butchery in France. Camas is honest about who she is even while still trying to figure herself out, which was refreshing. She challenges not only herself, but us as readers to create a healthy relationship with our food and understand where it comes from and the sacrifice the animal is making. We also get to learn about the people she meets along the way who are breaking against the norm. She is very respectful and present, and asks that of others as well. Truly an education on ethical eating, this book confronts Americans’ preconceived notions and unhealthy relationships with food.

Want more Camas? You can find her teaching at the Portland Meat Collective and working with her non-profit the Good Meat Project!

~posted by Kara P.

ACT’s ROMEO + JULIET: Beyond the Theatre

A Contemporary Theatre presents ROMEO + JULIET by William Shakespeare from March 1-31, 2019. Librarians at The Seattle Public Library created this resource list of books, videos, and a podcast to enhance your experience of the show.

ACT partnered with leaders in the Deaf community to make their production of Shakespeare’s classic story of young star-crossed lovers American Sign Language (ASL) integrated. The cast features deaf actors, including Joshua Castille as Romeo. Castille and others participated in a panel discussion on deaf actors and the use of ASL in musical theater at the Seattle Public Library back in June 2018. The Deaf Movement and Musical Theater is a podcast recording of that event. For other examples of Deaf Theater and Arts, watch the streaming video The National Theater of the Deaf: Performance and Commentary and check out Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, a collection of essays and an accompanying DVD that celebrate and analyze ASL artistic expression.

There have been many film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet. Notable versions include Franco Zeffirelli’s classic 1968 film, Baz Luhrmann’s frenetic and visually rich William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, and Aleta Chappelle’s recent Romeo and Juliet in Harlem, which features a cast of Black and Latinx actors.

Romeo and Juliet has also inspired a number of unique adaptations. Ronit & Jamil is young adult novel in verse set in the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict. Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-path Adventure is a choose your own adventure style reimagining with more than a billion possible storylines. Ronald Wimberly’s graphic novel Prince of Cats (soon to be a movie starring Lakeith Stanfield) follows Tybalt and his crew of Capulets as they move through a stylized 1980’s Brooklyn battling the rival Montagues.

For these suggestions and more, see the complete resource list for ROMEO + JULIET.

~ Posted by Richard V.