Thursday, February 1, 2018

OCFPL Book Club- January Pick

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

We started this year’s OCFPL Book Club with Paulo Coelho’s widely popular book The Alchemist. We enjoyed the story and the journey that took place. It was an adventure traveling with Santiago (The Boy) as he was going through both a spiritual and emotional journey. What started out as a quest to find treasure became the greatest quest of all. The gold and jewels may have been a reward but finding one’s self, destiny and fulfillment was the greatest treasure of them all. We enjoyed reading about the signs and importance they have in the book and share a few traditions, signs, and superstitions that we grew up knowing.

Overall, we enjoyed this book. Check it out here and embark on your own journey.

February’s book choice is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. We will meet on Feb. 20th in RM N111 at 6pm.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Staff Picks Spotlight - Melissa M.


Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

This fantasy story follows the main character, Vin, who is a young female thief trying to survive on the streets. When she gets saved by an ambitious leader of thieving crew, she gets swept away along with their plans to overthrow the unjust government and comes across something she never expected: people she can truly trust. The characters are realistic and the story shows how people can have hope even after experiencing horrible things. Quite simply, I loved this book.

Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hegar

This is a nonfiction account of an Air National Guard’s experiences in three tours of Afghanistan piloting medevac missions. Told in her point of view, this story shows her - at times strenuous - journey to rescue her allies in the middle of a firefight despite being injured. Her story
become a pilot, leading up to a intense mission where she still manages to she kept fighting for women’s rights back home. At times both funny and moving, portrays the struggles many female soldiers face in the military, and shows how this is a story worth reading.

Ambulance Girl by Jane Stern

Jane Stern was a middle aged woman when she decided to become an EMT. She was plagued by depression and anxiety. Overweight and terrified by illness and injury she knew she had to do something for herself to overcome her fears and take charge of her life again/ This is the true story of how she pushed passed all of her fears and insecurities to help people, and in doing so, help herself. The book describes the different patients she helped and those she state. It’s a quick read, and it gives the reader a deep respect for EMTs and lost, and gives insight on how the EMT calls affected her marriage and mental health and all those who have the courage to overcome their fears.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Staff Picks Spotlight - James M.


Eragon by Christopher Paolini

A great fantasy book for all ages. The story is written well and shares the life of a young farm boy who is cast into a world of magic and dragons without much say in it. Losing his family and loved ones while fighting off evil forces with his blade. The choices the main character has to make also makes the reader question what would be the best option, and how it’ll affect the story.

My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi 

A heart warming yet intense story of superheros and a sense of rags to riches is within this Japanese comic. The story of a young boy born without powers in a world where everyone is super, makes him lesser for being different. The story  is based off of him wishing to be a great hero. Eventually gaining the abilities to achieve his dream he embarks on a journey of entering a super school to learn how to become the best hero he can be.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

The story is about a young man dealing with his sexuality and the issues of hiding it from the world. A good story for those of the LGBT community, that faces real life struggles people go through. there are breaks in between the story  where it involves the main character and his email exchange with his penpal discussing topics and romance. It’s an interesting format of writing and engaging the reader throughout the story.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Staff Picks Spotlight - Taimi K.


The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This Newbery Honor recipient takes place in England during World War II. I enjoyed getting to know Ada, a 10 yr. old Londoner who is born with a club foot, and celebrated with her as she overcame many obstacles throughout this novel. Although technically it is a children's book, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or titles that captures the strength of the human spirit. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, "The War I Finally Won" which will be released this fall. 

This well-researched narrative describes not only the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but also the German Resistance. McCormick also highlights important historical events occurring in Germany during this time period. I learned much about the German opposition to Hitler during this suspenseful read which tells the true story of a courageous hero who is forced to make difficult moral choices. Written for young readers, this book is a great choice for those interested in Germany during World War II or for anyone as an introduction to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 

Serafina and the Black Coat by Robert Beatty

Incredibly suspenseful, this mystery thriller takes place in Asheville, NC at the Biltmore Estate. This book is engaging from beginning to end , and I found it very difficult to put it down. Because this novel intertwines elements of fantasy, adventure, history, horror, and mystery this book has a little bit of everything, and I would recommend it for children and adults alike, though not for the faint of heart. I also enjoyed the sequel, "Serafina and the Twisted Staff," and am excited about the third installation to the series which is released this week, "Serfina and the Splintered Heart."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Staff Picks Spotlight - Frank S.


A tragic mix of evolutionary development of submarine technology, politics of neutrality, and personal insights to the lives of her passengers.

 Interesting Factoid: After the Titanic sank, new and safer life-jackets were designed. While they were installed on the Lusitania, there were no drills held that required the jackets to be used. The torpedoed ship sank within sight of Ireland, and many died because they stepped into the jack  rather than putting their arms through the armholes. Many ended up flipping upside down in the water and couldn't escape. 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Rostov the ever gentleman versus the Bolsheviks, all while sentenced to be a prisoner inside the Metropol Hotel. Great character, pathos and twists contained within while the outside world changes over a thirty-year period.

Early utilization of the Marine Corps and the refined definition of the role of the U.S. Navy- combination of bravery, piracy, and deception. What's not to like?

Interesting Factoid: Master Commandant Richard Somers, USN, for whom Somers Point, NJ is named, lost his life in the Barbary Coast War and is buried in Tripoli along with his shipmates. An aside-reparation of their remains is an ongoing saga with Senator John McCain, (R-AZ) a leading antagonist. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Staff Picks Spotlight- Melissa A.


 Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
A wonderful fast pace and intense novel. This book is both for the science fiction and suspense fiction fans out there. Those who are interested in alternate world and reality changing stories should pick this novel up. It was unexpected and completely captivating until the end. I really enjoyed this book.

This is one of those books that is great at captivating and tricking the reader in to reading about a subject that many are not interested in, PHYSICS. From not knowing much about physics, this book was a great introduction not only in to the field, but the history and development of the science. It led into what really is quantum physics and not just this grand idea of what it is. It was really engaging and when reading the book you can feel and start to understand Rovelli's excitement and enthusiasm for the subject. This was definitely one of those unexpected but wonderful finds. 

I never read a manga like this before. The art style and story are so captivating. This story is wonderful and the art style of the manga flows so well. The only down side to this manga is having to wait for the next volume to publish. I recommend this for those who never read manga or who wants to read something that is a bit different. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Invisible Planets

This book is great for those who love short stories and science fiction. Invisible Planets is a great book to pick up when one wants to escape into the realm of science fiction. Written by Chinese authors and translated into English there is something unique with these stories. Included are essays from Chinese and science fiction scholars including the authors explaining how there is this genre of science fiction that is not only under the radar but  how this anthology is showcasing the uniqueness of the writings and giving us the reader just a glimpse into something buried. 

I enjoyed the book and can not pick a favorite story. Each one had some element that I would not have thought about. From ghosts, robots, genetic mutations, to time distortion, that are many elements that were captivating. If you want to get lost in a book, this is a good choice.

Pick up Invisible Planets today at The Ocean City Free Public Library 

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Spy by Paulo Coelho

 From the best-selling author of The Alchemist,  Paulo Coelho's  new book is about espionage, tragedy and a story of a woman who wanted to create her own life. 

Told through Mata Hari's final letter while in prison, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to fight against traditions and created a life of her own imagining. It is with this unique spirit that helped set course what would be a life that would later be intertwined in espionage at the height of the panic during WWI. A great fictionalized snippet of what could have happened in the final moments of the once famous dancer that came and went in history as both enchanting and dangerous. 
If you want to read The Spy by Paulo Coelho, pick up a copy at The Ocean City Free Public Library.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

        Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari is a hilarious and thought provoking book about dating in today's tech savvy society. Aziz Ansari is a comedian and actor most know for his role in Parks and Recreation  up with the idea with his own downfall in his dating life. The anxiety of not receiving a text back from a woman he had an interest in caused a whirlwind of thoughts but it soon became an ah-ha moment for Anarsi. He knew that other people must be facing the same thing as him. So he decided to take what just happened and put it out on stage. Soon it became the outline for a book. Travel with him through as he venture out to experience various dating cultures, mishaps, and success.
       The book was hilarious and the audio book was just as great. I enjoyed it and found it hard to put the book down once I started it. Treat yourself with this book.
       If you want to read Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari it is available at The Ocean City Free Public Library.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"A Banquet of Consequences" by Elizabeth George

      Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley mystery series is probably one of my favourites in the style of English detective stories. It's the series that I keep returning to, when I slip into a reading rut and can't focus on reading something new, particularly to the first book in the series A Great Deliverance.While there are lots of decent mystery series circulating now, the first book in George's Lynley stories has a certain grim insistence about it that keeps drawing me back to it. And in her latest contribution to the series, George has written a story that in many aspects parallels her first--however, these parallels did not become immediately apparent until the climax of the story.
      One of the things that I like best about Elizabeth George's writing is that she realises that a lot of times, the supporting characters can have better story potential than the main title character. She uses this to her advantage in almost all of the Lynley series, so much so that even though the series is referred to as the "Inspector Lynley series," other characters quite often become the central focus of larges portions (and sometimes all) of the stories. This is the case with A Banquet of Consequences as Sergeant Barbara Havers assumes the position of main protagonist with Lynley serving as one of the supporting characters.
     Elizabeth George's books seem to always invoke a nearly tangible sense of suspense and urgency that no other writer manages to do, and A Banquet of Consequences did not disappoint. Other mystery-thrill authors that I read, I usually have no problem detaching myself from the story, putting the book down at any time, and doing other things--but Elizabeth George's writing pulls me in on an emotional level and I can't put her books down until I've finished them. So I try to read them when I know that I have a day with nothing else planned.
      A Banquet of Consquences is the latest book in the "Inspector Lynley" mystery series by Elizabeth George. You can put yourself on hold for a copy at the Ocean City Free Public Library, here. If you want to start the series from the very beginning, you can find the series order here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

      Nimona is the printed published version of a popular webcomic by Noelle Stevenson, who goes by the screenname Gingerhaze online. While Stevenson dabbles in webcomic presentations of multiple types (stand-alones, multi-pannel, fanart, etc.) Nimona was a serial webcomic that she started posting in June of 2012 while attending Maryland Institute College of Art. It doubled as her senior thesis. It was published as a book earlier this year, in May 2015.
     Nimona follows the story of a disgraced knight turned mad scientist, Lord Ballister Blackheart, and his feisty shape-shifting sidekick, Nimona in their quest to overthrow the government through the means of supervillany--all the while being pursued by Blackheart's former friend and now nemesis, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. Through the course of the story the alliances and moral codes of the two men begin to warp as secrets, cover-ups, and conspiracies begin to come to light, and the increasingly nefarious government desperately attempts to capture Nimona, who becomes more violent and unstable as the story progresses, causing both Blackheart and Goldenloin to question both their motives and alliances (respectively) as well as reevaluating their long-standing rivalry.
     In a mash-up of both fantasy and science fiction genres, Nimona overturns the traditional good-guy/bad-guy dichotomy and in doing so adds an element of realism that often is absent from many fairytale type stories. By presenting both sides as neither strictly good or strictly evil, the characters are more approachable and more easily identified with, rather than just being caricatures of good and evil. I also think that incorporating both magic and science into the world setting makes the world more believable and easily imagined, and raises so many discussion points about how magic and science intertwine and coexist without marginalising one or the other. Indeed, this is something that I always wanted to see addressed in the Harry Potter universe (in an official canon capacity) but thusfar has only been addressed in speculation on internet forums. Stevenson brings these ideas to life in her comic.
      I really enjoyed Nimona, it definitely is a storyline that I would love to see continued if Noelle Stevenson ever decides to continue the story in a sequel. In the meantime, I will definitely enjoy following her other webcomics, her fanart doodles and blog entries on her Tumblr, and her contributions to the ongoing graphic novels The Lumberjanes.
      Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is available at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Binge by Tyler Oakley

      If you are a fan of video blog style YouTube channels, then you probably have experienced Tyler Oakley at some point. One of the Internet's most active LGBT+ spokespeople, Tyler Oakley has collaborated with dozens and dozens of other YouTubers and actors including Jenna Marbles, Miranda Sings, Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig, John Green, Dan Howell, Phil Lester, Jim Chapman, Troye Sivan, Oli White, Joey Graceffa, Connor Franta, Darren Chris, and many many more. He has been nominated twelve times for Streamy Awards (and won seven), has a popular podcast which he cohosts with his best friend and fellow YouTubers Kory Kuhl, and since starting his YouTube channel in 2007 has gained over 7,700,000 subscribers. He has even been featured as a guest host on the popular MTV show Catfish. Tyler Oakley uses his presence and online popularity to advocate for LGBT+ rights, especially those of LGBT+ youth, as well as social issues like healthcare and education. One of organisations Tyler is most vocal about in his support is The Trevor Project--"the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24."
      In October of 2015, Tyler published his first book, Binge: a collection of personal essays detailing his life both on and off the internet. In these essays, the tone changes back and forth from the snappy hilarious personality that hooks viewers into his channel, to very serious and touching when he details his struggles with self image and his own mental well-being. The book absolutely covers more topics that I've ever seen him discuss in videos, or even on his podcast, Psychobabble. It definitely allows readers into a deeply personal aspect of Tyler, that hasn't been seen before (even though he is a very open and non-secretive person to begin with). Going into this book, I didn't initially forsee myself needing tissues, but by chapter six I was bawling. Don't worry, not every chapter induced tears. Some induce painful snort-laughter. Either way, maybe don't read it in public where people will judge you for having emotions at written words.
      Binge by Tyler Oakley is on-order at the Ocean City Free Public Library and will be available on the shelves soon. You can put yourself on hold for it here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

      Welcome to Night Vale is a recently published novel written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. It is a story set in the same setting as the #1 international hit podcast of the same name. Rather than being a novelisation of one of the story-lines that has already happened on the podcast, this novel presents an entirely new story-line that explores the origin and explanation for one of the background characters who was introduced in the early episodes of the podcast; namely: The Man in the Tan Jacket.
      If you are unacquainted with the recurring twice-monthly podcast through CommonPlace Books, the first episode aired in June 2012. Source material and inspiration for the stories that happened in the early episodes were drawn from A Commonplace Book of the Weird: The Untold Stories of H.P. Lovecraft and What It Means to be a Grown-up, both originally published by CommonPlace Books. It began slowly gathering a somewhat underground following on the internet, until almost the one year anniversary of the show, when it hit mainstream social media in a big way. With its rise in popularity, they were able to add more cast members, open a merchandise store, and begin touring the world with live shows. After the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, when the WtNV podcast did a live crossover show with the hugely popular podcast The Thrilling Adventure Hour, the Night Vale podcast exploded into popular media, and in the fall of 2014 the promise of a Night Vale novel was announced.
     Done in the style of a community radio broadcast, the podcast features the public radio host of the small desert town of Night Vale, Cecil Palmer (voiced by theatre actor Cecil Baldwin). Through the announcements of Cecil, the listener is given "community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events."[x]  If this sounds odd, yet intriguing, it is also worth noting that the local weather isn't weather, but instead feature music from an ever changing selection of indie musicians. There is also a floating cat in the radio station men's bathroom.
      The novel focuses on the story and explanation of one of the characters introduced and frequently referenced but never so-far explained in the podcast--The Man in the Tan Jacket who carries a deerskin suitcase and has had many interactions with Night Vale citizens, but whom no one ever remembers once the interactions is over. Two new characters, as yet not introduced in the podcast, Jackie Fierro the pawnshop owner and Diana Crayton the head of the Night Vale PTA, set out to solve the mystery of The Man in the Tan Jacket and the mysterious papers he has been leaving all over town, which read KING CITY. With the assistance of Carlos the Scientist, John Peters the Farmer, Old Woman Josie and her angels (who are all named Erica), and many other Night Vale characters, Jackie and Diana investigate the mystery of KING CITY, all the while Cecil's radio broadcast takes place in the background of the story.
      I was lucky enough to have been given an Advanced Readers Copy of this novel back over the summer, and have been just itching to review it ever since. The book is a wonderful tie-in to the on-going podcast, but it still works as a stand-alone story, if you haven't been, or don't plan on, listening to the show. Fink's and Cranor's writing style(s) remind me a bit of the writing of Lemony Snicket, in The Series of Unfortunate Events. Having read the print book already, I am now looking forward to listening to it as an audio-book, since the audio version is narrated by Cecil Baldwin, and also features some of the voice actors who have appeared on the podcast thusfar. As of right now, the Ocean City Free Public Library only has the regular book--but keep an eye out, as the collection is always changing and expanding.
      If you're unfamiliar with the podcast, and want to stop being unfamiliar, you can check it out here to find the previous episodes, or here to see the recent Welcome to Night Vale segment on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. If you already know Night Vale, or you would rather first experience the novel unspoiled by backstory, you can put yourself on hold for Welcome to Night Vale: a novel, available soon at the Ocean City Free Public Library. Don't worry--the Ocean City librarians are much nicer than the librarians at the Night Vale Public Library. Our librarians have far fewer talons.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

      Career of Evil is the latest book published by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and continues to follow the story of private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott. This book is vastly different from the preceding two novels in the series, The Cuckoo's Calling  and The Silkworm, as the nature of the crimes and investigation is different.
      In the first two books in this series, the crimes are highly sensationalised and highlighted by the media, pulling a heavy focus on the public side of crime investigation. In Career of Evil the investigation is given much more of a personal element, as the killer is directly targeting Cormoran and Robin. In addition to this, we are given a much more in-depth backstory of Robin Ellacott and her relationship with her fiance, Matt.
      For the most part, I enjoyed Career of Evil, because while both main characters are present and investigating, the story primarily focuses on Robin's investigation and how she balances it with her personal life. It almost mirrors the first book in which the reader got to see how Strike was doing the same thing. There book was well written (no surprise, given who is behind the pseudonym), and there was a very decent suspenseful build throughout the story. Which is why I felt that the final five chapters were such a slap in the face. Without giving away any of the plot or spoilers, I can say that the final climax and resolution felt somehow...rushed, given how the suspense built up to the that point. I very much hope that this series will continue, so that the ending of this book will be justified. All-in-all, it was a good book, a good continuation of a series, and a good set-up for future stories about Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.
There are 3 books so far in the Cormoran Strike series, and you can find all of them at the Ocean City Free Public Library:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

      Go Set a Watchman is the recently published novel by Harper Lee that follows her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In this novel, the reader sees a grown-up Jean Louise (Scout) Finch visiting her hometown and discovering that her father, whom she idolised in the previous novel, is not as heroic as she grew up believing.
      There was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the publication of this book--namely the time elapsed between Mockingbird and Watchman and the probability that it was not Lee's desire to publish this book, (Joe Nocera writes a good article for the New York Times about this controversy)--however, setting that controversy aside for a moment, let's focus on the literary merit of the story itself. What follows is purely the opinion of the librarian writing this post.
      Was it a good book?
      It was a well written book. It brought up controversial issues, it revisited ideas Scout held in childhood that fail to stand-up to the rigors of adult-hood, it highlighted racial tensions in a pre-Civil Rights Movement America. However, there is also a fair amount of problems that come out while reading this book. The biggest problem probably being that Go Set a Watchman is completely backwards from and completely negates most of the progressive and forward thinking of To Kill a Mockingbird. My biggest issue was with the ending when[SPOILER ALERT] after Jean Louise spends the entire book trying to bring progressive thinking to her home town, she is slapped in the face by her uncle so violently that her mouth bleeds. After this, she suddenly and unhesitatingly decides that she should never again disagree with white men in positions of power. [END SPOILER ALERT] It was, in my opinion, a highly disappointing ending to a book that failed to live up to its hype. Couple this with the controversy surrounding the nature of its publication, namely the idea that it was published against the will of Lee herself, and I was ultimately disappointed by this book.
      However! This is just my opinion, and you might have a different one about this book. To find out, you'll have to read it. Go Set a Watchman is available at the Ocean City Free Public Library, and you can put yourself on hold for it here. We want to hear what you think!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

      The Girl in the Spider's Web is the fourth book in the Millennium series originally created and written by Stieg Larsson. As Larsson himself passed away in 2004, the popular trilogy, chronicling the adventures of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, was originally published posthumously. However, there is still a large time gap between the publication of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest in 2007, and the decision to continue the series under a different author. The announcement that there would be a fourth (and eventual fifth and sixth) book was not even announced until early 2015.
      This time delay is only logical, as the process of continuing a series of this caliber is a daunting one. Getting the consent and permission from the Larsson's estate alone would have taken much legal negotiating. Even tougher still would be finding an author who could capture and recreate the images and voices of Larsson's characters. An author's writing style is like a painter's brushstrokes--it is possible to recreate something similar to the original work, but the result will always be different from the original. 
      I think that David Lagercrantz did an admirable job continuing the story of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider's Web. He brings the characters to life and brings his own writing style into the narration, while keeping the reader aware of Larsson's style throughout the story. I am very eager to see if the following novels Lagercrantz adds to the Millennium series will hold as true to Larsson's vision as The Girl in the Spider's Web does.
      Each book in the Millennium series is available at the Ocean City Free Public Library:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

National Hispanic Heritage Month

      National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15th to October 15th. It is a month dedicated to celebrating the diverse culture, the many contributions and accomplishments from Americans whose ancestors are Hispanics/Latinos. From the vast history of Spain to all the stories and histories from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, it is a month to celebrate all the people who are part of such diversified background and contribute to the ever growing and changing story of America. 

     It first began as a week long observance in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, it was eventually expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. 

     "The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period." (Library of Congress 2015

     We laughed as Desi Arnaz first graced our televisions to laughing along with George Lopez and Gabriel Iglesias on the big screen. Enjoyed the various styles of music of Carlos Santana, Celia Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony, and Jennifer Lopez on mainstream radio, as rich as Latino America. To witness the courageous efforts of Cesar Chavez uniting workers to form the National Farm Workers Association for the betterment of all farm workers and witness Sonia Sotomayor becoming the first Hispanic-American women elected as Supreme Court Justice. This is just a glimpse of the larger story that is the American story.  

Learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month:

Also check out some of these books about Hispanics/Latinos in America we have here at the library:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Carved in Bone" by Jefferson Bass

      This one isn't new. In fact, next year it will be ten years old. However, it is new to me. One of my favourite types of mystery/thriller books to read is forensic medical thrillers penned by people who have previous or current careers in the field about which they base their books. Kathy Reichs Bones series and Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series (both of which now have successful television series based upon them) are in this sub-genre of books. Another series in this sub-genre that I have recently discovered is the Body Farm series.
      Dr. William M. Bass is the forensic anthropologist who founded the now well known "Body Farm" aka the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, part of the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Founded in 1981, the facility is a place for the study of decomposition of human remains. Cadavers donated to the research facility are placed in different settings throughout the 2.5-acre wooded plot in order to study they effect of decomposition under various conditions. Until the early 2000s, Tennessee was home to the only "Body Farm" in the country. Now there are five such research facilities in the United States, and other countries are beginning to take steps to open similar sites in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
      The University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility first gained notice in popular culture with Patricia Cornwell's 1994 novel The Body Farm which had a central protagonist based upon Dr. William M. Bass. In 2006, Dr. Bass collaborated with author Jon Jefferson to begin publishing a series of murder mystery novels influenced by real cases studied at the facility in Tennessee. The books are published under the pseudonym Jefferson Bass, an amalgamation of both authors' names.
      The "Body Farm" as it is colloquially know, is a subject that has always been of great interest to me, and I'm not quite sure how I've gone nearly 10 years not knowing that its founder has a mystery/thriller series spanning nine books regarding goings-on at said facility. I have a lot of catching up to do.
      Carved in Bone, the first novel in the Body Farm series is available at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins

      I've heard many different descriptions of Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train while debating whether to put myself on hold for it. "Kind of Like Gone Girl, only British" was the most prevalent one that came up. However, after reading it for myself, I would liken it more along the lines of Rear Window meets Gaslight.
      A large portion of this book is spent questioning the motives of the initial character, Rachel, i.e. "the girl on the train." While she is presented as the central protagonist, she definitely does not (initially) come across as a necessarily a good person. I found myself less drawn to the actual mystery story happening, and more to the intricate writing style and the in depth addressing of the prevalence of gaslighting used by domestic abusers to gain dominance in their relationships. The way Rachel slowly and painfully unlearns all of her coping mechanisms is heartbreaking. Paula Hawkins' very Faulkner-esque writing style was what ultimately held my attention through the novel. The multiple first person narrators and spur of the moment change of narrator was extremely reminiscent of The Sound and the Fury and is what keeps the story from going stale. 
      The Girl on the Train is at the Ocean City Free Public Library in multiple formats, and you can add yourself to the waiting list for it here.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Paddle Your Own Canoe" by Nick Offerman

      Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman is the autobiography of, well, Nick Offerman. Most recently known for his portrayal of Ron Swanson on the TV sitcom Parks and Recreation. Lately I have been on a biography kick, and this seemed like the next logical one to read.
      In this memoir, Offerman offers the reader a close-up look at his personal history and life leading up to his decision to transition between the theatre and the screen, and his choices that led him to make the move from Chicago to Hollywood, break into television, and pursue a relationship with the woman who would later agree to be his wife. It is by no means a memoir for the faint of heart: containing lewd humor, course language, and blunt honesty. But in addition to this, Offerman doles out life advice, romantic tips, and hysterical poetry that remind the reader that the stoic and straight-faced Ron Swanson character that catapulted Offerman into the public eye was the result of a brilliant and versatile actor, capable of captivating an audience on screen, and now on paper.
      This has been on my list to read for a while now, especially after having read Amy Poehler's memoir, Yes, Please. I finally pulled it off my shelf after burning my way through the giant stack of YouTuber memoirs that have been occupying all of my time. Offerman definitely is a multi-talented individual, capturing audience's attention through a variety of mediums and I can't wait to read his next book, Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers.
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living, is available to borrow from the Ocean City Free Public Library.