Snowbound! Winter Chills and Thrills

Desperate messages came flooding in, through the silent darkness of the winter nights. “Help! Snowed in at home! I need something to read!” So, adding to our recent list of Wintry reads, here are some gripping novels that revolve around winter storms.

  • The Quality of Silence, by Rosamund Lupton. An astrophysicist and her precocious hearing-disabled daughter head into a fierce storm to search the Alaska tundra for the girl’s missing father.
  • Whiteout, by Ken Follett. A missing canister containing a deadly virus forms the center of a storm that traps Stanley Oxenford, director of a medical research firm, and a violent trio of thugs in a remote house during a Christmas Eve blizzard.
  • Death Wore White, by Jim Kelly. In the midst of a line of cars stranded in a blizzard, a man is killed with a chisel andhis murderer escapes without leaving a trace.
  • Travelers Rest, by Keith Morris. When a freak snowstorm traps a family, the seek refuge in a grand, crumbling old hotel that holds some ghastly surprises in its strange, labyrinthine depths. A haunting update to Stephen King’s  The Shining.

Continue reading “Snowbound! Winter Chills and Thrills”

Beyond “Bad Girls” – Great Antiheroines of Literature

Lisbeth SalanderGone Girl‘s Amy Elliott-Dunne; Rachel Watson from The Girl on the Train: these are just a few of the latest in a long line of compelling antiheroines stretching back to the dawn of literature. Here are some of our favorites from the past few millennia.

For all their democratic ideals, the Ancient Athenians had a terror of strong women. Witness Medea. Was Jason madly in love with her, or was it just her Golden Fleece? He learns the hard way not to leave a witch in the lurch. For two strikingly different modern takes, try Crista Wolf’s Medea: A Modern Retelling or David Vann’s Bright Air Black. And then there’s  Clytemnestra. Aeschylus’ play may be called Agamemnon, but it is his bloodthirsty wife-cum-widow who steals the show. To be fair, her husband sacrificed their daughter, and then went away for a decade; it was never going to be a warm homecoming. Colm Tóibín provides a haunting, poetic retelling in The House of Names. Continue reading “Beyond “Bad Girls” – Great Antiheroines of Literature”

Chilling Tales for Winter

The formula is simple: a reader, some listeners, and a book of suspenseful stories; beginnings, middles and ends, with a few twists and turns along the way. Nothing fancy of high tech: just words in silence, and the occasional Thrilling Tales: A Storytime for Grownupslaughter or gasp. That’s Thrilling Tales: A Storytime for Grownups, now entering its sixteenth year at the Central Library. Join us, won’t you?

 

 

Here’s some of what awaits you in the months ahead: Continue reading “Chilling Tales for Winter”

Ten Non-Fiction Books We Loved in 2018

As the New Year approaches, join our librarians in looking back on our favorite reading of the year gone by. By popular acclaim, here are ten non-fiction titles that made the biggest impact on us in 2018. (Fiction and books for youth will follow in the days to come).

2018 was a huge year for books about society and politics, and while journalistic potboilers focused on the executive branch may have garnered all the hype, we think that long after most of these are forgotten, Jill Lepore’s magisterial and insightful These Truths: A History of the United States is likely to be stimulating and provoking conversation among readers. Likewise, Mona Hanna-Attisha’s gripping first-hand account of the Flint water crisis, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, provides a powerful and inspiring account of the confluence of environmental and racial issues in America today. Continue reading “Ten Non-Fiction Books We Loved in 2018”

Thankful for Books

Ever since I was a child, at our family gathering that coincided with the Thanksgiving holiday, we would go around the table and everyone would have to say a little something about what they were thankful for. Perhaps it was (or is) the same for you? For our hedonistic childhood selves, so unaccustomed to being thankful for anything, it often felt a bit awkward or forced. Of course now, many of us have come to sense just how empowering and grounding it can be to foster a spirit of gratitude, especially in times of darkness, anxiety and despair. One thing that many of our patrons tell us they’re grateful for, especially as the nights grow long and the days grow cold, is reading.

Image of Man Reading courtesy of P.V. via FlickrLet’s be grateful that we live in a world where magic exists – that “uniquely portable magic” that Stephen King likens to telepathy. Magic that calls whole lives and worlds into existence out of scratches on a page or breath. By some distinctly human trickery, we can peer inside another person’s brain, and think another person’s thoughts. What a marvel, to be all but possessed by the mind and soul and experience of another! To be moved to laughter, tears, rage and profound sympathy; to be led to fresh understandings. Continue reading “Thankful for Books”