Icy Isolation

Ok, I know Spring is sprung and we’re all ready for flowers, more daylight, and sunnier days, but I’m taking one last look back at winter with this trio of recent suspense novels that find characters trapped in remote, snowy mountain lodges in the Alps.

One by One by Ruth Ware
The eight shareholding employees of a tech start-up gather at a high-end ski chalet in the French Alps to discuss the contentious topic of opening their company to investors. But soon after arrival, one in their party goes missing on the slopes, and soon an avalanche has trapped the group and the two chalet staff inside with no phone access, no wifi, and no electricity. Tensions and tempers flare, until one by one other members of the group disappear into the snow or are found dead in their rooms. Told from the perspective of Liz, a former employee who holds the linchpin vote; and Erin, the chalet hostess and ski guide hiding her own secrets.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pears
Elin, estranged from her brother Isaac, has nonetheless gone with her fiancée Will to celebrate Isaac’s engagement at Le Sommet, a former tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps renovated into a minimalist hotel. A detective back in the UK, Elin arrives already unsettled, on leave after her last case left her injured and questioning her judgement, an uneasiness intensified by the starkness and history of the hotel. When both Isaac’s fiancée and a staff member go missing, and an avalanche traps the few remaining guests and staff in the hotel, cut off from local police assistance, Elin starts digging but finds much more than she bargained for.

Continue reading “Icy Isolation”

New Always Available eBook Collection

I love living – and being a librarian – in a city of readers, but I won’t lie: the eBook hold queues can be intense. New this month are 170 eBooks that are always available – no holds, no wait! Here are some highlights to get you started.

Book Club Picks

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Make It Long

Last week I suggested that reading shorter works could kickstart a reading habit stalled due to short attention span. But maybe you’re a reader who wants a loooooong read. Short novellas have fast pay off, but the reader does have to do the work of getting into the world created by the author. A long book lets you do that feat of imagination once and then reap the benefits for hundreds of pages. If you want to get lost in a long story, here are a few doorstops to immerse yourself in.

Vagabonds by Jingfang Hao – 100 years after Mars gains its independence from Earth, they send a group of Martian students to Earth, essentially as exchange students. Five years later those students return to Mars, and grapple with dissatisfaction over their return and questions as to why they were sent. Continue reading “Make It Long”

Keep It Short

How are our attention spans these days? I had a project to keep me reading last year, but in 2021 I have lost my reading focus. To try to get back in the groove I’ve been turning to novellas, short works that tell a complete story in less than 200 pages. I’m hoping the momentum of finishing a few of those will launch me back into regular reading – maybe it will for you, too.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo – In this fable-like story, young novice Chih and their bird companion are the first inside a remote compound following the death of the Empress of Salt and Fortune. With the aid of an old woman named Rabbit, Chih sifts through the items left behind and discovers the true story of the Empress. Continue reading “Keep It Short”

A guide to exploring new genres

Each year, groups of librarians from across the country hole up in a room (this year, a virtual room) to discuss and select the best books from the year before. The Notable Books List features literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; the Listen List is all about outstanding audiobooks; and The Reading List, which I want to tell you about today, highlights outstanding genre fiction in eight genres: Adrenaline (aka thrillers, adventure stories), Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Relationship Fiction, Romance, and Science Fiction.

While each genre has a winner, it also has a four-title shortlist of runners up. Taken together, the five books in each genre represent a range of the types of stories a reader can find in that genre, with the idea that both longtime fans and folks new to the genre can find a title of interest. If you are looking to branch out into new areas of fiction reading, it is a great place to start. Check out the 2021 winners (for books published in 2020) below, with annotations from the ALA Reading List Council, or in our catalog.


The Holdout by Graham Moore
Ten years after Maya Seale convinced her fellow jurors to acquit a man of murder, a true crime documentary reunites the jury amid claims of new Continue reading “A guide to exploring new genres”