Staff Book Picks

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Mar 31, 2016 by claytonc

Charlie Asher almost died in A Dirty Job. Thanks to Audrey, his Buddhist-nun lover, he survived, but now he’s stuck inside a fourteen-inch high body made from lunchmeat and spare animal parts. He doesn’t want to scare his adorable seven-year old daughter, Sophie, so he hasn’t seen her in a long time, which is really sad. Did I mention that she’s the Luminatus and has (or at least recently had) dominion over Death? In most author’s hands this would be the entire book. For Moore, this is just where it starts - it gets a lot freakier from here. While it’s certainly not required that you read Moore’s books in any logical order (logic only loosely applies in these quarters), if you like this, you’ll want to seek out more from this wonderful, zany mind. Check Our Catalog

Mar 23, 2016 by megana

A minor payroll fraud turns into a risky year-long undercover investigation for Welsh Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths. Assuming the identity of down-on-her-luck, intermittently homeless Fiona Grey, she abandons her regular life and descends into the dangerous world of highly organized crime. In the world of police procedurals, Fiona is a unique character with her mysterious origins and unusual history of mental illness. This is the third book in the series but you could either start with this one or go back to Talking to the Dead if you like to read books in order. This series has it all: absorbing plots, an arresting narrative voice, and exceptional writing. Don’t miss them! Check Our Catalog

Mar 18, 2016 by claytonc

The lead voice of the Pretenders waited for her parents to die before telling this story about her early years. Born in Ohio and a student at Kent State when the students were shot by the National Guard in May, 1970, Hynde was a flower child who hung out with scary bikers then moved to London and was tight with the burgeoning punk movement, almost marrying Syd Vicious (to help with her legal troubles). I listened to this as an audiobook, read by Rosanna Arquette, and thought it was wonderful. Brutally honest, self-reflective, and un-apologetic (mostly), I gained a newfound respect for this singer and her work. The drug use is rather extreme and she is not sympathetic to many (except non-human animals - she’s been vegetarian for decades), there are no blinders on here - it is raw, unfiltered, and remarkably clear. Check Our Catalog

Lonely and depressed A. J. Fikry owns a bookstore on Alice Island off the coast of Massachusetts.  His wife has died. He’s a literary snob and only stocks titles that satisfy his old-fashioned tastes. Rather unsurprisingly, he has few friends and fewer customers. Then his most valuable possession, a first edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s Tamerlane, is stolen. But everything changes when someone unexpected shows up in the children’s section of his bookstore. Plot twists abound and are wonderfully all tied up with the perfect amount of humor, sadness and grace. An old-fashioned story of books, bookstores and the people who love both. Check Our Catalog

Feb 19, 2016 by claytonc

In the spirit of many an excellent first novel, Kushner drew from her own family’s history to weave this gripping tale set in Cuba on the cusp of the Communist revolution. It is a tale of rural, midwestern families with farming roots trying to make a go on a sugar plantation. It is a tale of race and class. It is a tale of guerillas and a strange veteran of WWII (a nazi) who gets involved with untrained soldiers hiding in the mountains. It is a tale of women with few options making the most of what they have in a timeless Havana. It is a tale of growing up. I really admire Kushner’s work, both while reading it, and later upon reflection. You may want to start with Flamethrowers (see my post about that one here) but this is also well worth your time. Check Our Catalog

Feb 12, 2016 by cathyd

Downton Abbey fans will enjoy visiting (or revisiting) this classic Agatha Christie murder mystery. Written one year after the current season of Downton takes place, in 1926, this book is set in a small English village with all the usual characters of British mystery fiction – the sly butler, the gossip, the housemaids, and the upper crust young people being forced into an arranged marriage. The story is narrated by the local Dr. Sheppard, a neighbor of Hercule Poirot’s, and a friend of the murder victim. I listened to the audiobook version, and 40 years after reading this story for the first time, I was still enthralled by the puzzle and enjoyed historical fictional setting. This book was the first to bring world-wide attention to Agatha Christie, and remains one of her best. Check Our Catalog

Feb 11, 2016 by eileenf

Paranormal fans who are tired of reading about vampires and werewolves will enjoy this genre-blending tale of the adventures of a Seattle succubus. (Although vampires make an appearance, they’re relegated to the background.) This is Mead’s first book in a six-part series featuring the immortal Georgina Kincaid, the reluctant corruptor of men’s souls. Mead effortlessly combines urban fantasy, horror, mystery, and romance and makes Georgina a sympathetic figure, even though her job is to seduce and suck the life essence from her conquests. She wants a relationship with a normal guy but the sudden and brutal murders of other members of her supernatural circle keep getting in the way. It’s up to Georgina to ferret out the culprit and get the guy. Check Our Catalog

Macdonald’s life is in ruins - her father has just died. Some deep part of her is trying to rebuild itself and its model is standing right there on her fist: a goshawk she names Mabel. The hawk is everything she wants to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life. And yet, Mabel also helps her to remember what happiness feels like. This poignant memoir describes a poetic transformation. Coming to see her own hawk for who she really is, Macdonald comes to see herself more clearly too. Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Costa Book Award. Check Our Catalog

Jan 26, 2016 by megana

An enforcer for the brutal Duvalier regime in Haiti settles in New York City and reinvents himself as a simple barber, hiding in plain sight within the Haitian émigré community and raising a daughter who has no clue about her father’s brutal acts. In this book of linked stories, Danticat moves between 1960s Haiti and contemporary New York, and among a variety of characters who survived the mayhem of “Baby Doc” Duvalier, showing how brutality and violence haunt both victims and perpetrators and asking the question: is true redemption possible? Check Our Catalog

Jan 14, 2016 by claytonc

See what was borrowed the most last year here at the Thomas Crane Public Library. We've gone through all the logs. Here are the most popular ficiton and non-fiction books last year, here in Quincy. Check out this page for details about your favorite genres and subject areas.

Fiction

Non-Fiction

Set in England of some 1,500 years ago, Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple who love each other deeply and care for each other as best they can, have reached the age when their memories have become unreliable, when names, faces and even events slip away. But the problems with memory and event are not just theirs; all the people in their community appear to be having the same difficulties. There is a mist that takes memories: good memories and bad, lost children, old rancors and wounds. Memories are valuable; they make us who we are. Axl and Beatrice set out on a journey to a nearby village to visit a grown son they’ve been neglecting. They meet other travelers with other missions, pasts and secrets, and eventually discover the source of the mist of forgetfulness that covers the land. At the heart of the novel is a philosophical conundrum: only those couples who can prove to the boatman that their love is perfect and true, without bitterness, jealousy, or shame, can cross the water together to the island of peace. Fantasy, historical fiction. and myth run together in a novel that’s easy to admire, respect and enjoy. It does what important books do: remain in the mind long after it has been read, refusing to leave, forcing one to turn it over and over. Check Our Catalog

Jan 7, 2016 by dorothyc

Based on the real-life Lizzie Burns, Irish rebel and helpmeet to philospher Frederick Engels, Mrs. Engels is a fascinating work of historical fiction. Gavin McCrea gives life to this little-known historical figure, portraying how an illiterate cotton mill worker became an influential figure in Engels’ and Karl Marx’s political circle. Lizzie’s wit and intelligence serve her well as she works her way up from the mills of Manchester to London society, and readers will enjoy Lizzie’s wry observations and no-nonsense voice in this first-person narrative. Check Our Catalog

Dec 29, 2015 by megana

On a dark and stormy night, Frances Thorpe encounters a one-car accident and exchanges a few words with the trapped and unseen driver before she dies. When Frances later discovers that the driver is Alys Kyte, wife of the famous author, Lawrence Kyte, she carefully turns this unplanned encounter into an opportunity to change her future.  Reminiscent of Ruth Rendell or Margaret Yorke, this psychologically acute debut novel is imbued with subtle unease as Frances worms her way into the Kyte family and the glamorous world they inhabit. Check Our Catalog

Dec 15, 2015 by claytonc

Caught the buzz yet about the new Syfy show The Expanse? It kicked off last night with a bang and is based on this great book. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant (of Game of Thrones fame). This is the first volume in a trilogy set in the near future, after humans have colonized Mars, the asteroid belt, and some of Jupiter and Saturn’s moons, but before we have left the solar system. Told primarily from the alternating perspectives of two men, an executive officer on an ice mining operation running the rings of Saturn, and a detective at the end of his career charged with looking for the daughter of some very wealthy parents. The girl disappeared in very suspicious circumstances that soon lead to an all-out war between Earth, Mars, and Outer Planet revolutionaries. Add to this mix a mysterious element that just might be biological warfare launched billions of years ago from life far outside our known system and you have a page-turning epic space opera. Check Our Catalog

Dec 11, 2015 by cathyd

Moses LoBeau is a spunky, independent, 11 year old girl being raised by the Colonel and Miss Lana in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. She would like to find her “upstream mother,” since she was found floating down the river in a hurricane as a baby, but loves and is loved by her unusual found family. When a murder occurs and her family is put into danger, Moses and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, start “Desperado Detectives” and attempt to solve the case. This book won a Newbery Honor Award for good reason. Funny and adventurous with some great colorful and memorable characters, it has realistic grit and a compelling narrative. I listened to the audiobook version, which is read very well with a great southern accent. Good for older middle schoolers and older - the adults will enjoy it with or without the kids. Check Our Catalog

It’s hard to imagine looking up into the sky and not seeing an aircraft speeding to some unknown destination. But a little over a century ago the only things in the sky were clouds, birds, and the occasional balloon. On a December day on the Outer Banks  of North Carolina two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio changed all that with the flight of the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. This is Orville and Wilbur (and sister, Katherine) Wright’s story as only two-time Pulitzer prize winning David McCullough can tell it. It is a tale of genius, mechanical ingenuity, incredible family support, courage and exceptional determination. McCullough mines a wealth of letters, diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks  to capture the human side of the beginning of powered human flight. Check Our Catalog

Dec 7, 2015 by megana

We read and read and read all year — all genres, for all ages, and audiobooks, too. Here are the books we loved reading the most this year. Some are old and some are new.

Dec 4, 2015 by claytonc

It's that time of year when we all add to our reading lists. Yesterday the editors of The New York Times Book Review released their top ten favorite books from 2015. Read their reviews here. Click on the jackets below for an annotated list with links into the library catalog.

Dec 2, 2015 by cathyd

The fourth and latest book in the Land of Stories series takes the half-magic twins, Alex and Connor Bailey, back through the Fairy Tale World and beyond. In search of the masked man that looks like their deceased father, and accompanied by the unusual and highly amusing group of Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, Jack and Old Mother Goose (also known as OMG), they enter other worlds - Neverland, Oz, Wonderland, and King Arthur’s Britain. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this, read by author Chris Colfer, a Golden Globe winning actor for his work in Glee. Colfer portrays his characters with such skill that you know who is speaking without being told. This book is funny and adventurous, appropriate for children, and interesting to parents. After he published the first in this series Colfer filmed a short Q&A about himself, which you can enjoy below and then Check Our Catalog

Nov 25, 2015 by eileenf

The feast is prepared, the guests have arrived - but there’s still time to sneak in a few pages of reading before it’s time to carve the turkey! Here are our suggestions of Thanksgiving-themed books. Even if you can’t make it to the library before the big day tomorrow, these recommendations make for good reading any time. After all, the themes of good food and family and friends coming together are always relevant (even if sometimes these gatherings result in familial drama). Best wishes for a great Thanksgiving from all of us at Thomas Crane!


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