Staff Pick – Laura Jean– HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi, DB 84732

If you enjoy historical family sagas that feature a host of complex characters set amidst a sweeping storyline, you may enjoy Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel. Nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, Dylan Thomas Prize and Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction, HOMEGOING tells the history of both Ghana and the United States through the eyes of multiple generations of a family as they encounter the racial, religious, and political tensions that permeated both countries from the 18th century until the present day.

NLS Annotation for HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi (DB 84732): In the 1700s, half sisters Esi and Effia are born in Ghana without knowing each other. Effia marries a wealthy Englishman, while Esi is imprisoned in the dungeon of the castle where Effia lives, before she is shipped to America and sold into slavery. Their descendants witness history. Unrated. Bestseller. Commercial audiobook. 2016.

If you have already read this book or enjoy African American family sagas, try ROOTS: THE SAGA OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY by Alex Haley (BR 17794, DB 53160). Or if you’re more interested in reading about a contemporary family bound to both the United States and Ghana, try GHANA MUST GO by Taiye Selasi (DB 76458).

Staff Pick – John – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE by David Finkel, DB 77869

Texas Center for the Book, via Read Across Texas, is encouraging Texans to use books to engage in tough but important conversations about what happens when veterans come home. More information about Read Across Texas is at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/readacrosstexas.

To help launch Read Across Texas, the Texas State Library hosted best-selling author Ben Fountain for a discussion on his critically acclaimed work, BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK. (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/readacrosstexasresources.)

In addition, the Talking Book Program’s Phone-in Book Club tackled YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE, by Siobhan Fallon (DT 07103).

Fountain and Fallon use fiction to explore what happens when soldiers return stateside. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel offers an intense but moving nonfiction account of veterans coming home in THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE (DB 77869).

Finkel chronicles the lives of soldiers from the 2-16 Infantry Battalion readjusting to civilian life—and families readjusting to soldiers. As the soldiers battle the physical and emotional aftereffects of war, we develop a deeper understanding of the price soldiers pay for serving their country—and a fuller accounting of the debt we owe.

Discover why Ben Fountain calls THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE “one of the best and truest books I have ever read.”

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE by David Finkel (DB 77869):

NLS Annotation: Journalist who was embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq describes what life was like for some of the veterans from THE GOOD SOLDIERS (DB 70623) after they returned stateside. Portrays issues the men and their families dealt with, including suicide, PTSD, and financial strains.  Violence and strong language.  2013.

Listen to an October 2013 NPR interview with author David Finkel:

http://www.npr.org/2013/10/01/224493078/thank-you-for-your-service-follows-americas-soldiers-home

Dream Works Pictures is currently producing a movie adaption of THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. Jason Hall, who wrote the screenplay for “American Sniper,” is both its screenwriter and director.  Due for release in 2017, information about the movie version of THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE is here:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2776878/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray, DB 85432

Do you enjoy humorous young adult novels that involve absurd situations and over the top characters? If so, you might like BEAUTY QUEENS. Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Young Adult Novel for 2011, BEAUTY QUEENS describes the trials and travails of several beauty pageant contestants, surviving in the wild. Written with a witty and offbeat tone, I quite often found myself laughing out loud at the outrageous adventures these talented ladies encounter. If you’re a proud Texan, you’ll be excited to note that Miss Texas leads this band of intrepid and inventive ingénues.

NLS Annotation: After their plane crashes and strands them on an island, the fifty beauty contestants for the Miss Teen Dream Pageant channel their talents into surviving. But the arrival of some hot reality-television pirates adds new complications. Descriptions of sex and some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2011.

If you already read this book or simply enjoy humorous young adult books with feminist adventures and subtle romance, you might try I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter (DB 66621).

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– BLACK WATER RISING by Attica Locke, DB 72177

If you like legal thrillers such as those written by John Grisham and Lisa Scottoline, you might try the Jay Porter Series by Attica Locke, starting with BLACK WATER RISING (DB 72177). Nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, a 2010 NAACP Image Award, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, this story, set in Houston, Texas, follows lawyer Jay Porter as he becomes embroiled in a murder investigation and the labor disputes and racial turmoil of the early 1980s.

BlackWaterRising

Recent winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, Attica Locke, is a native of Houston, Texas and her knowledge of the area reveals itself in her detailed descriptions of the city as well as the social issues that dominated the area in the early 1980s. Her writing is gritty and compelling and she has created an intricately detailed plot with a well-developed protagonist in Jay Porter.

NLS Annotation: Texas, 1981. African American lawyer Jay Porter rescues from the bayou a white woman he later suspects is involved in a murder. Despite his racially charged criminal past and impending fatherhood, Jay investigates and finds links to Houston’s political elite and big oil. Some violence and some strong language. 2009.

If you’ve already read this book and enjoy a good legal thriller series with a suspenseful tone set in the urban south, try the Penn Cage series by Greg Iles, starting with QUIET GAME (DB 49340). If you’d prefer a legal thriller series with a female protagonist, try the Carole Ann Gibson series by Penny Mickelbury, starting with CAROLE ANN GIBSON, BOOKS 1-3 (DB 84707).

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU by Celeste Ng, DB 80393

If you enjoy family dramas written in a moving tone and with a compelling writing style, you may enjoy EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU (DB 80393), the debut novel by Celeste Ng. New York Times Notable Book of 2014 and ALA’s Alex Award winner in 2015, this book reveals the life of teenager, Lydia Lee through the eyes of her parents, older brother Nathan, younger sister, Hannah and ultimately her own.

EverythingINeverToldYou

Book jacket for Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This book is beautifully crafted and strongly character driven. As the reader learns more about each member of the Lee Family, they are inexorably drawn deeper into the unvoiced hopes, dreams, and fears of each family member and how they affect each other, especially Lydia.

NLS Annotation for EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU by Celeste Ng (DB 80393): Examines the secrets of the Chinese-American Lee family of Ohio before and immediately after the 1977 drowning death of their middle child–high school sophomore Lydia. History professor James and his wife Marilyn–whose medical school plans were aborted by pregnancies–had high hopes for her. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2014.

If you have already read this book or enjoy books that deal with the ways in which a family deals with the death of a loved one try LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold (DB 54698, BR 14806). Or if you’d prefer another book that looks at the complex dynamics of an immigrant family as they struggle to fit into their community and confront difficult emotions when processing personal losses try SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING by Jacob Mira (DB 79244).

Thirteen Classic Tales of Terror

Looking for something scary to read this Halloween? Check out this list of classic horror stories to find something to make your heart race and your spine tingle.

Title: AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS AND OTHER NOVELS
Author: LOVECRAFT, H.P. (HOWARD PHILLIPS)
DB 62005

Title: DRACULA
Author: STOKER, BRAM
DB 31689

Title: EXORCIST
Author: BLATTY, WILLIAM PETER
BR 02230; BR 11946; DB 12688

Title: FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS
Author: SHELLEY, MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT, 1797-1851
DB 25835; LB 03683; LB 06283

Title: HELL HOUSE
Author: MATHESON, RICHARD, 1926-
BR 18208; DB 68106

Title: INVISIBLE MAN
Author: WELLS, H.G. (HERBERT GEORGE), 1866-1946
DB 09593 (BARD); DB 47064; LB 05997

Title: MONKEY’S PAW AND OTHER TALES OF MYSTERY AND THE MACABRE
Author: JACOBS, W.W. (WILLIAM WYMARK), 1863-1943
DB 46641

Title: ROSEMARY’S BABY
Author: LEVIN, IRA
BR 00521; DB 61169; DB 17695 (BARD)

Title: SHINING
Author: KING, STEPHEN, 1947-
BR 13271; DB 51373; DB 10563 (BARD)

Title: SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Author: HARRIS, THOMAS, 1940-
BR 13149; DB 27020

Title: SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
Author: BRADBURY, RAY, 1920-2012
BR 12583; DB 50233; DB 09245 (BARD)

Title: TALES OF HORROR AND SUSPENSE
Author: POE, EDGAR ALLAN, 1809-1849
BR 18491; DB 69542

Title: TURN OF THE SCREW
Author: JAMES, HENRY, 1843-1916
BR 06763; DB 18129; LB 00333

In Honor of Native American Day 2016

Native American Day is a Federal holiday observed on the fourth Friday in September ( September 23, 2016) in the state of California and on the second Monday in October (October 10, 2016) in South Dakota, United States.

It is a day dedicated to honoring and celebrating Native Americans, the Native American culture and the contributions that Native Americans have made in the past and continue to make. Here are some great books to read in honor of Native American Day.

Title: NATIVE AMERICAN LIBRARY: APACHE HISTORY AND CULTURE, CHEYENNE HISTORY AND CULTURE, MOHAWK HISTORY AND CULTURE, NAVAJO HISTORY AND CULTURE, NEZ PERCE HISTORY AND CULTURE, SIOUX HISTORY AND CULTURE
Author: DWYER, HELEN, 2012
DB 75654
Annotation: Six books in a series. Overview of the Apache, Cheyenne, Mohawk,   Navajo, Nez Perce, and Sioux tribes. Covers their successes and  struggles in the past and present. Includes timelines, glossaries, and resources. For grades 4-7 and older readers.

Title: BUILDINGS, CLOTHING, AND ART: AMERICAN INDIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD
Author: KEOKE, EMORY DEAN, 2005
DB 71158
Annotation: Discusses the influences of climate and local materials on American Indian houses, clothes, and artwork. Covers igloos, wigwams, and adobe pueblos; tanned hide moccasins, fur-lined parkas, and woven cloth; and decorations, wall paintings, and sculpture. For grades 5-8 and older readers.

Title: FOOD, FARMING, AND HUNTING: AMERICAN INDIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD
Author: KEOKE, EMORY DEAN, 2005
BR 16678, DB 71159
Explains geographic variations on hunting and fishing techniques and weapons; on gathering fruits and nuts; and on domesticating plants such as corn, chilies, potatoes, cotton, tobacco, peanuts, and     tomatoes–crops now raised throughout the world. For grades 5-8 and older readers.

Title: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: AMERICAN INDIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD
Author: KEOKE, EMORY DEAN, 2005
BR 16453, DB 71161
Annotation: Explains that American Indian knowledge of natural processes led to inventing tools and ways to adapt the environment to their needs. Inventions included spear points, tobacco pipes, musical instruments, copper smithery, rubber, the base-twenty math system, and calendars.  For grades 5-8 and older readers.

Title: MEDICINE AND HEALTH: AMERICAN INDIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD
Author: KEOKE, EMORY DEAN, 2005
BR 16237, DB 71160
Annotation: Topics include personal hygiene, medicinal plants, food values,   surgery, wound treatment, dentistry, and the mind/body connection as  evidenced throughout the Americas before Columbus. For grades 5-8 and older readers.

Title: COMANCHE CODE TALKERS OF WORLD WAR II (DX   59031)
Author: MEADOWS, WILLIAM C., 2003
Annotation: Chronicle of the Comanche Code Talkers’ European military service.   Follows the group through recruitment, training, active duty, and  postwar lives. Compares it with such other code-talking programs as those of the Navajo in WWII and the Oklahoma Choctaw in WWI. Discusses  cultural factors and American military attitudes.

 

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M. R. Carey, DB 80678

The recent theatrical release of the movie The Girl With All the Gifts, featuring Glenn Close, brings to life the 2014 post-apocalyptic novel, GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M. R. Carey (DB 80678). Nominated for multiple science fiction and horror awards, this story, set twenty years after the event known as The Breakdown, follows a group of survivors as they travel to military headquarters.

The_Girl_with_All_the_Gifts

Intricately plotted, with an atmospheric and creepy tone, this horror novel is written in a compelling manner that inextricably draws the reader into the dystopian landscape of post-apocalyptic England. The point of view shifts between characters, offering the reader a glimpse at the motivations behind their actions and a view into their inner turmoil.

NLS Annotation for GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M. R. Carey (DB 80678): A pandemic has turned countless people into zombies known as “hungries.” The administrators of a military camp studying these hungries must flee when a group of anarchists breach their security. They bring Melanie, a 10-year-old second-generation hungry with incredible strength and intellect, debating the status of her humanity all the while. Some violence and some strong language. Bestseller. Commercial audiobook. 2014.

If you’ve already read this book and enjoy post-apocalyptic novels featuring zombies and young protagonists, you may try PASSAGE by Justin Cronin (DB 71422) or if you’d prefer a zombie horror novel that feels more like a political thriller with science fiction elements, try FEED by Mira Grant (DB 77374).

Staff Pick – Laura Jean – REDEPLOYMENT by Phil Klay, BR 20602, DB 78988

If you enjoy war stories with authentic characters that are written with a haunting and moving tone, try REDEPLOYMENT by former Marine captain and Iraq veteran, Phil Klay. He won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014 for this collection of short stories about the complex feelings experienced by soldiers in a war zone as well as the difficulties soldiers face when returning home.

Redeployment

Written in a compelling and candid manner, these stories pack an emotional punch. Whether it’s a story relating the problems a soldier encounters on returning to civilian life or another story describing the aftermath of an IED attack, Mr. Klay has a strong familiarity with the military language and mindset.

NLS Annotation: Twelve stories about soldiers at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the personal wars they fight reintegrating into society at home. In the title story, a soldier who had to shoot dogs on the battlefield must readjust to life in suburban America. Violence. 2014.

If you enjoy this book, but would prefer the stories told from the point of view of the women left at home, try YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE by Siobhan Fallon, DT 07103. Of if you’d prefer a non-fiction collection of war stories from former soldiers try THINGS THEY CANNOT SAY: STORIES SOLDIERS WON’T TELL YOU ABOUT WHAT THEY’VE SEEN, DONE, OR FAILED TO DO IN WAR edited by Kevin Sites, DB 76432.

G’Day, Mates: Read Your Way to Australia!

The Light Between Oceans (DB 751921) offers an intriguing snapshot of Australia.  The Land Down Under fascinates me.  The Kangaroos.  The Outback.  The Accent.  It’s a mysterious and exotic continent.

Despite this fascination, I have a love-hate relationship with Australia: I’d love to visit—but I’d hate to spend 22 hours on a plane getting there.  So, instead of flying to Australia, I “book it” and read my way there.

If you’d like to experience the people, places, and critters of Australia, save yourself a wicked case of jet lag.  Read your way to the Land Down Under!

ADULT FICTION

Broken Shore.  Temple, Peter.  DB 67414, LB 05305

Chain Lightning.  Lowell, Elizabeth.  DB 76573

Far Country.  Shute, Nevil.  BR 03046, DB 59136 (BARD ONLY), DX 59136

Just Kate.  Miller, Linda Lael.  DB 76540

Outlaw.  Dekker, Ted.  DB 77481

Secret River.  Grenville, Kate.  DB 64041 (BARD ONLY), DX 64041

Thorn Birds.  McCullough, Colleen.  BR 04284, DX 51148, LB 02198

True History Of The Kelly Gang.  Carey, Peter.  DB 53638 (BARD ONLY), DX 53638

Wilderness Trek.  Grey, Zane.  RC 64235, DB 10978 (BARD ONLY), DB 64235, DX 10978

ADULT NONFICTION

Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Creature.  Flannery, Tim.  DX 66755

Steve And Me.  Irwin, Terri.  DB 66251

Reef: A Passionate History.  McCalman, Iain.  DB 79477

JUVENILE FICTION

In Too Deep: The 39 Clues.  Watson, Jude.  (For grades 4-7 and older readers.)  DB 78503

Toad Rage.  Gleitzman, Morris.  (For grades 3-6.)  BR 18117, DB 67488

JUVENILE NONFICTION

How To Scratch A Wombat.  French, Jackie.  (For grades 3-6.)  DB 69072

Pocket Babies: And Other Amazing Marsupials.  Collard, Sneed B.  (For grades 4-7.)  DB 66148 (BARD ONLY), DX 66418

Stories From The Billabong.  Marshall, James Vance.  (For grades 3-6.)  DB 71773