We Recommend…The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

The Girl in the Spider’s Web
by David Lagercrantz
Knopf, 2015

girl in the spider's webThe Girl in the Spider’s Web, is a Lisbeth Salander novel written by David Lagercrantz. This is the 4th book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lagercrantz was chosen by the family after Larsson’s death to continue the series and he does a great job.

The story follows journalist Blomkvist who has fallen out of favor, and his magazine is about to be reduced to the level of entertainment journalism. Blomkvist is looking at actually being let go, when he stumbles into a story that starts out small and then grows quite large. A Swedish scientist may have discovered how to produce an Artificial Intelligence that can grow smarter, with implications that could prove devastating for the human race. As the scientist desperately tries to keep a large dot.com company from stealing his work, he is murdered—and the only witness is his autistic son who has never spoken a word. As Blomkvist is drawn into the tale he asks Lisbeth for help, and, as usual, she comes through, saving the good guys and hurting the bad guys.

David Lagercrantz does an awesome job of continuing the series, with lots of action and adventure and hackers galore. If you enjoyed the first three books in the series, you will definitely enjoy this 4th entry.

On the Web:
David Lagercrantz
Author Interview

Book Reviews:
New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Booklist Online

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Anders Roslund
Tana French

We Recommend…The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Keller

The Murderer’s Daughter
Jonathan Kellerman
Ballantine Books, 2015

Murderer's DaughterJonathan Kellerman’s new psychological thriller, The Murderer’s Daughter, departs from his usual protagonist, Alex Delaware. Instead, we meet Grace Blades, a psychologist who has a talent for treating patients that have experienced violent trauma. Grace is highly intelligent, and also extremely good at reading what people want from her. The author traces Grace’s life from childhood into her thirties, as she moves through the foster system and makes her way to Harvard and onward. Her life is satisfying and rewarding, until a chance encounter puts her in the crosshairs of a psychopath that she met many years ago. Grace is forced to take matters into her own hands to save herself, and in the process, she will save others. Kellerman gives us a strong and interesting new female character, and I can only hope that we meet her again.

On the Web:
Jonathan Kellerman
Book Trailer
Author Interview

Book Reviews:
Publisher’s Weekly
Washington Independent Review of Books

Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos
Fragile by Lisa Unger

We Recommend…The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian
Andy Weir
Crown Publishing, 2014

The MartianAstronaut Mark Watney – stranded alone on Mars, 140 million miles from earth. Read his daily logs and learn how he is surviving on Mars, then discover what’s happening on earth once NASA realizes he survived the accident that everyone thought had killed him. You will be amazed at Watney’s tenaciousness and ingenuity as he tackles one problem after another with grit and humor. You’ll identify with the people on earth, as they are all pulling for him to not only survive his ordeal but to be returned safely home…to earth.

8 Tips for Surviving on Mars from Andy Weir
So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it’s the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you’re just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know:

1: You’re going to need a pressure vessel.
Mars’s atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth’s. So basically, it’s nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can.

2: You’re going to need oxygen.
You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you’ll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it’s almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways to strip the carbon off carbon dioxide and liberate the oxygen. You could have complex mechanical oxygenators or you could just grow some plants…

For more of Andy’s tips on how to survive on Mars, go to Crown Publishing

On the web:
Andy Weir
Science Friday: Interview with Andy Weir
Book Trailer
Wall Street Journal: A Survival Guide To Mars

Book Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Booklist Online
Publisher’s Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
International Business Times: Book/Movie review

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy (begin with Red Mars)
Geoffrey Landis: Mars Crossing
Gregory Benford: The Martian Race

The Movie opens October 2, 2015

Movie Trailer:

We Recommend… Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding

Someone is WatchingSomeone is watching
Joy Fielding
Random House, 2015

Someone Is Watching, the new thriller by Joy Fielding, does not disappoint.  Bailey Carpenter is a beautiful, wealthy, and smart private investigator.  When she is raped during a stakeout, her world falls apart.  She is afraid to leave her apartment and every man she sees seems to be the same average height and weight with brown hair as her rapist, and she keeps sending the police to different men she thinks might be the one.  When her half-sister, with whom she has had no contact all of her life, shows up to help, Bailey accepts her help, and they develop a close bond.  When her sister notices a man parading around nude with no curtains in an apartment easily watched from Bailey’s, they joke about him.  But Bailey is receiving phone calls with no one there in the middle of the night, and when she looks out she sees this man bringing young women home and having sex, and then she sees him beating and then shooting his girlfriend, but the police can find no sign of it, and the girlfriend is alive and well.  It seems Bailey is having hallucinations due to PTSD, and after numerous times of being called out, the police no longer believe her.  The story takes twists and turns, and finally there is resolution for Bailey that proves she isn’t crazy or hallucinating, but this is only one problem solved—for Bailey still doesn’t know who her rapist is, until, finally, she does …

On the Web:

Kirkus Review

Video book trailer:

Post by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

We Recommend… Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Truth Be Toldtruth-be-told-225 Hank Phillippi Ryan Forge, 2014. Truth Be Told is the third Jane Ryland novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan.  Jane is an investigative journalist (as is the author) and in this newest release she is doing a story on foreclosed houses in Boston, when a dead body is discovered in the empty house she is watching.  Meanwhile, her secret boyfriend is Detective Jake Brogan, who is suddenly faced with a confession about a 20 year old murder that may or may not be true.  Add to the mix some bank fraud, a few more homicides in empty houses, and the fact that Jane and Jake not only have to keep their relationship a secret, but are unable to share with each other what their investigations are turning up, which might help solve all the murders, both new and old.  All of this comes to a head when Jane is in line to become the next dead body in an empty house and things finally are made clear.  This is a terrific mystery, with numerous threads running through, that keeps the reader intrigued until the very last page. On the Web: Author’s Website Interview with the Author Post by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

We Recommend… Life or Death by Michael Robotham

Life or DeathLife or Death
Michael Robotham
Mulholland Books, 2015.

Michael Robotham’s new novel Life or Death starts out with a prison break.  Audie has been in prison for ten years and he breaks out the very day before he is due to be released!  The story moves forward in real time, but interspersed within the flow is the back story that slowly explains why Audie was in prison in the first place, and why he broke out a day before his release.  The questions that are asked by all at the beginning finally are answered as the novel progresses.  Where is the seven million dollars that was stolen?  Where is Audie’s brother, Carl?  Is he living the high life on a beach in the tropics?  Why are so many people trying to kill Audie, both in and out of jail?  Who is this teenage boy that Audie seems interested in?  This is a fascinating tale of corruption and false imprisonment, along with a heartbreaking love story.  It is thrilling until the very last page.

On the Web:

A quick summary from the author:

*Bonus: If you are attempting the “2015 READING CHALLENGELife or Death fulfills the challenge to read ‘a book with antonyms in the title,’ among other possible categories.

We Recommend… The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

The Wives of Los Alamosthe wives of los alamos
TaraShea Nesbit
Bloomsbury, 2014.

This historical novel is based on the story of the wives who accompanied their husbands to live at a science lab in New Mexico, but the women did not know that the men were building the world’s first atomic bomb. In the community of Los Alamos, there is secrecy and gossip, worry and pride. From 1943-1945, the women follow news of the war and gather clues from their men’s silence as they speculate together about what role their husbands may have in the war effort.

The author succeeds in her incredible performance of language. The entire book is written in first person plural, always using the pronoun “we” to collectively tell the story of all the wives living at the science base. For example, “We arrived newlyweds, or with a seven-year itch, or still great friends, or no longer in love but trying to keep it together for our children, or for ourselves” (page 18). They are all sharing the same experience of being wives, but they have very different, individual experiences of marriage. In just one concise sentence, the author conveys so much information that applies to the entire community of women. “We stepped off trains nine months pregnant, or carrying six-week-olds in clothes baskets, or holding the hands of our two-year-olds – our Bobbys and our Margarets” (page 14). A single sentence describes the overlapping experience of all the wives arriving with their children, yet succinctly presents the nuances of the different details within the individual woman’s experience.

Although the names of a few women are mentioned more than once, there are not any main characters. There is no protagonist. To be honest, this book does not really have a plot either. The Wives of Los Alamos is an exercise in language. The author carries the language beautifully all the way to the end and lends voice to the women’s shared experience at Los Alamos.

A Reading Group Guide with fifteen questions is included at the end of the book, making it a strong candidate for book groups.

*Bonus: If you are attempting the “2015 READING CHALLENGEThe Wives of Los Alamos fulfills the challenge to read ‘a book based on a true story,’ among other possible categories.

On the Web:

Publisher Reading Guide
New York Times Review
Los Alamos History Museum

Post by Jodi Griffith, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

Stuttering Awareness Week

May 10 – 16th, 2015 is Stuttering Awareness Week. This is a time developed by The Stuttering Foundation in which awareness can be raised about this speech disorder in order to not only encourage early detection and speech therapy treatment, but to also eradicate the stigma that surrounds the condition. Individuals who stutter often develop a fear of speaking in public, and the condition can affect their self-esteem.

The reality is that this condition doesn’t have to be a roadblock. Many stutters have learned to manage their symptoms or make peace with the disorder and become highly successful public speakers and public figures. See The Stuttering Foundation’s website and poster below to learn more.

"Famous People Who Stutter", by The Stuttering Foundation. Click here to see the poster full size.

“Famous People Who Stutter”, by The Stuttering Foundation. Click the image to see the poster full size.

In addition to the famous names above, some of your favorite authors have battled stuttering disorder.

Click the author’s name below to browse their books in our Library District catalog online. You can place a request for a book here. We also have books and materials available published by the Stuttering Foundation.

Jorge Luis Borges Somerset Maugham
Lewis Carroll David Mitchell
Charles Darwin Alan Rabinowitz
Margaret Drabble Jane Seymour
Dominick Dunne Marc Shell
John Gregory Dunne Nevil Shute
Robert A. Heinlein John Updike
Edward Hoagland Vince Vawter

The Art of Asking Readalikes

theartofasking_imageThe Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
by Amanda Palmer
#1 Bestseller in Amazon Musician Biographies

Amanda Palmer may be known as the lead singer of the band Dresden Dolls, or for her marriage to award winning author Neil Gaiman, but Palmer shines as author in her own right in this autobiographical reflection on vulnerability, artistry, and trust.

Chronicling the success of her band’s 2012 Kickstarter campaign, The Art of Asking outlines the points made her 2013 TED Talk of the same name. Readers interested in the music industry, creativity, or those who simply have struggled with asking for help in their own lives will love this book.

 The Art of Asking References the following texts:

daring greatlyDaring Greatly : How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brené Brown
“Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.” – Gotham Publishing
eat pray love

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life.” – Riverhead Trade Publishing

the giftThe Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
by Lewis Hyde
The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities.” – Vintage Publishing
cyndi lauper Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir
by Cyndi Lauper
“Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music career that has lasted more than thirty years.” – Atria Books
free cultureFree Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity 
by Lawrence Lessig
“Lawrence Lessig, “the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era”, masterfully argues that never before in human history has the power to control creative progress been so concentrated in the hands of the powerful few, the so-called Big Media.” – Penguin Books
On the Web:
The Art of Asking FAQ
Everything You Wanted to Know About The Art of Asking
Interview – Metro News
Washingtonian – Review

2015 Reading Challenge – How to find the right book

An interesting reading challenge by PopSugar is making the rounds on social media, and the Pinal County Library District office is pretty excited about it! Some of the librarians are considering tackling the challenge as a New Year’s Resolution. Reading in and of itself is a good time, but finding books to match each of the challenge criteria is also a lot of fun. Some of the categories can feel like a puzzle waiting to be solved! Scroll down for some suggestions that may make finding the right book a little easier. As always, you can also contact your local librarian for book recommendations, or write us here.

If you’re interested in trying out the 2015 Reading Challenge, you can download a handy Word version here. Reading Challenge How to find:

“A Book set in a different country”

This is a great way to take a vacation without ever leaving home. Begin your search for that perfect getaway by perusing Ann Morgan’s blog, “A Year of Reading the World: 196 countries, countless stories

For more suggestions, try GoodReads extensive list of books in different settings or Fantastic Fiction.

Fantastic Fiction’s homepage has links to Awards, Countries, Series and Years. Click on Countries, select a country, then click on any author. You may need to read the book’s summary to determine the setting.

“A Pulitzer Prize winning book” AND a “Play”

Visit the Pulitzer Prize website and knock out two categories at the same time. This may not be strictly “legal” but I won’t tell if you won’t.  On the right side of the page you will see their “Letters, Drama, and Music” categories. Click on Drama to find a list of award winning plays.

“A Book more than 100 years old”

Project Gutenberg has thousands of free out-of-copyright books to choose from. Browse their catalog by category, or search by author or title. I recently discovered some mystery books written by Burton Egbert Stevenson that are quite good. Download these free books to your computer, tablet or smart phone, or create a list then borrow a copy from your local library.

“A Book with antonyms in the title”

This is an intriguing category but it’s not as easy as you might think to come up with a list of antonyms and then find books you might actually want to read. A good place to start is the Opposite Word website where you can browse or search for antonyms.

Create a list of antonyms, such as odd/even or before/after, then go to our catalog and do a keyword search using each pair of antonyms. Be sure to Search By Title to find your antonyms in the title of the book and not in the summary. If you’re not finding titles of interest in our catalog then you might want to try the same search at your favorite online bookstore.

“A Book that came out the year you were born”

To find the number one New York Times Best Sellers in fiction and non-fiction for the year you were born, go to Hawes Publications site.

If none of the number one titles appeal to you, the Hawes website also has a complete week-by-week list of fiction and non-fiction New York Times Best Sellers. To see these lists, type http://www.hawes.com followed by the year you were born in the address bar of your web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) If you were born in 1990 go to http://www.hawes.com/1990/1990

Here are some more examples:

Additionally, Krueger Books has list of Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten bestsellers.

“A Book with bad reviews”

Why would you want to read a book with a bad review? There are too many good books, and not enough time to read them, to waste time reading books with bad reviews. But after taking a look at BuzzFeed’s list of “11 Beloved Books with Shockingly Bad Reviews”, you may change your mind. You will be surprised at the reviews some of these well known books received at the time of publication.

You might also want to take a look at “15 Scathing Early Reviews of Classic Novels” from FlavorWire.

“A book that makes you cry”

This is a tricky category. What makes me cry might not affect you at all. And how do you know if a book will make you cry in advance? You could end up reading a lot of books before you find the one that makes you cry.

If the thought of searching for a book in this category makes you feel like crying, then take a look at LifeHack’s “20 Books that Are Guaranteed to Make You Cry” . Or FlavorWire’s “10 Books guaranteed to Make You Cry”.

“A Book written by an author with your same initials”

While it’s easy to find books written by authors that share your same first or last name, it’s not so easy to ones that with your same initials. A good resource for finding books in this category is Fantastic Fiction. There are two methods for finding authors with your initials:

1. Do an author search using your first name then scroll through the alphabetical list until you find authors whose last name starts with the same letter as yours.

2. Click on Top Authors, then click on the letter of your last name. Scroll through the results, looking for authors whose first name starts with the same letter as your own.

Want to stick to something classic? See if there’s any authors with you initials on the Classic Lit Authors A-to-Z About.com page.

“Banned Books”

The American Library Association compiles lists of challenged/banned books in order to inform the public of censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. Visit ALA’s website for lists of books in this category but brace yourself, you may be surprised at some of the titles that have made the list.

Post by Shirley, Outreach Librarian for Pinal County Library District