Librarian's Pick

Here's what our librarians are reading lately.

Librarian’s Pick: Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners – Gretchen Anthony

“Violet needs structure, certainty and, above all, advance plans. But what’s a deeply loving and controlling mother to do when her daughter, Cerise—happily partnered up with a woman named Barb—becomes pregnant? The father’s name is known only to Cerise and Barb, and they’re not telling.

This is hard to take for Violet, whose controlling arm is long. However, leave it to this determined lady to find a way to return order to her world. She’s used to micromanaging events at home and at the Faithful Redeemer Church holiday fair, as well as the ongoing issues in her friend Eldris’ life, so what could go wrong here? What’s a little fraud, some missing eyeglasses, an early labor, an unfinished family tree and a food fight with roast lamb, among friends?

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners is a charming, often hilarious story about people whose sticky jealousies, insecurities and small joys are remarkably similar to the ones that mark our own lives. Anthony offers readers a chance to savor and appreciate the joys of the commonplace as well as that strange but remarkable pride we have in our own family bonds.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Museum of Modern Love – Heather Rose

“Arky Levin, a 50-year-old film score composer, has reached a strange moment in his life. Recently separated from his wife under disconcerting circumstances and estranged from his only child, Arky finds himself alone in a new apartment in New York and purposefully cut off from friends. This should provide the silence he craves to write his latest film score, but instead he just feels lost. In this frame of mind, he visits the Museum of Modern Art and discovers a performance piece called The Artist Is Present, based on a real 2010 performance by renowned artist Marina Abramović. In this piece, Abramović sits for 75 days at a table as throngs of visitors stand for hours to take turns sitting across from her, still and silent.

Using Abramović’s seven steps for creative projects—awareness, resistance, submission, work, reflection, courage and the gift—as an organizational device for her novel, author Heather Rose details the performance’s almost mystical effect on Arky and an array of other characters as they return to the piece day after day. Other characters include Abramović herself, a young Ph.D. student from Amsterdam, a recent widow from the South, a radio personality and even Abramović’s late mother, each of whom brings his or her own unique experiences and responses to the piece.”

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Librarian’s Pick: My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

Image result for my sister the serial killer“Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.
Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Family Trust – Kathy Wang

“Patriarch Stanley Huang is dying of pancreatic cancer. His imminent passing is mourned by his two grown children, Kate and Fred; their mother and Stanley’s ex-wife, Linda; and his current wife, Mary. At the same time, each wonders just how their finances might be affected by his will, which has always remained a mystery. Stanley has hinted to Mary that he’s worth millions, but Linda is skeptical since she was the money manager during their marriage and knows that Stanley is clueless when it comes to investing.

Fred, though graduating with honors from Harvard Business School, is mired in a huge investment firm with little room for advancement. He begins to imagine the perks a few million would bring, though his discreet questions about the will are completely ignored. Kate also works for a tech company as a middle manager—and at the moment is the sole breadwinner in her family, as her husband has been on the verge of launching a startup for what seems like an endless number of months. An infusion of funds from her father’s will would obviously be most welcome.

Linda has invested wisely over the years since her divorce from Stanley. She’s financially stable, but she wants to make sure Fred and Kate get their fair share and don’t lose out to Mary, whom Linda knows expects to be handsomely rewarded for caring for her dying husband.

An intriguing side plot explores Linda’s involvement with an online dating site that harbors a global financial scam—one that, coincidentally, Fred barely escapes investing in himself.”

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Librarian’s Pick: The Kinship of Secrets – Eugenia Kim

Image result for the kinship of secrets“In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges ahead, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their other daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her.

But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended?

Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.”

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Librarian’s Pick: The Sisters of the Winter Woods – Rena Rossner

Image result for sisters of the winter woods “In a remote village surrounded by vast forests on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have been raised on the honeyed scent of their Mami’s babka and the low rumble of their Tati’s prayers. But when a troupe of mysterious men arrives, Laya falls under their spell – despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And this is not the only danger lurking in the woods.

As dark forces close in on their village, Liba and Laya discover a family secret passed down through generations. Faced with a magical heritage they never knew existed, the sisters realize the old fairy tales are true…and could save them all.”

Librarian’s Pick: Scary Stories

Image result for flight or fright “Welcome to Flight or Fright, an anthology about all the things that can go horribly wrong when you’re suspended six miles in the air, hurtling through space at more than 500 mph and sealed up in a metal tube (like gulp! a coffin) with hundreds of strangers. All the ways your trip into the friendly skies can turn into a nightmare, including some we’ll bet you’ve never thought of before… but now you will the next time you walk down the jetway and place your fate in the hands of a total stranger. Featuring brand new stories by Joe Hill and Stephen King, as well as fourteen classic tales and one poem from the likes of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Dan Simmons, and many others.”

 

 

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Librarian’s Pick: Washington Black- Esi Edugyan

Image result for washington black

“Washington Black, a Bajan 11-year-old slave on a sugar plantation whose life is forever changed when he is removed from hard labor and “loaned” by his owner to Christopher “Titch” Wilde. Titch is an eccentric naturalist, inventor and abolitionist who initially wants the young Washington to serve as ballast in his experiments with hot air balloons.

Washington turns out to be a gifted artist and naturalist himself. The two develop a fraught relationship that takes them from Barbados to the Arctic and the deserts of Morocco until Washington ultimately gains his freedom. Told from Washington’s point of view, the novel examines both what it means to be truly free and the complex power dynamics of its central relationship.”

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La elección del bibliotecario: En El Pais Que Amamos – Diane Guerrero

Image result for in the country we love spanish cover En el País Que Amamos: Mi Familia Dividida por Diane Guerrero

Nacida en los Estados Unidos, actriz Diane Guerrero se recuerda del día que descubrió que sus padres fueron deportados a Colombia cuando ella estaba en escuela.Esta memoria, lleno de emoción y dolor, reflecta los problemas de residentes indocumentados de este país. Diane, con apoyo de amigos, logro a encontrar el sueño americano y la voz para pelear para los derechos de inmigrantes.

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In The Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

Born in the United States, actress Diane Guerro is reminded of the day she discovered that her parents were deported to Colombia when she was in school.This memoir, full of emotion and pain, reflects the problems of undocumented residents of this country. Diane, with the support of friends, managed to find the American dream and the voice to fight for immigrant rights.

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Librarian’s Pick: The Personality Brokers – Merve Emre

Personality Brokers jacket“Relying on meticulous research, Emre reveals the vulnerable mindset of young housewife Briggs when she happened upon Carl Jung’s psychological theories in the 1920s. Inspired by Jung’s theories—but with no real psychological credentials and a background in fiction writing—Briggs and her daughter obsessively attempted to sort everyone in their lives into categories using a multiple-choice questionnaire they created.

It was truly an obsession, Emre shows, and one that didn’t stop with the Myers-Briggs family. On the contrary, the Myers-Briggs type theory was used to analyze everything from the dire economic situation of the 1930s to Hilter’s personality. It informed the first employment tests, and it may have influenced the beginning of the arms race in the 1950s. Indeed, type theory has never gone out of fashion and is still incredibly popular today, fueling a multi-billion-dollar industry. Emre engagingly follows all of these paths to illustrate the deep and broad impact one test has had on people the world over.”

 

 

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