Books

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Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu by J. Maarten Troost

Troost has a good job in Washington D.C. One that might even lead to a career. But he’s bored and feels trapped. So he and his wife pack their bags and return to the South Pacific (he’s chronicled an earlier stay on Kiribati in the equally hilarious Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific).

The Human Division by John Scalzi

Earth has recently discovered that the Colonial Union has become humanity’s home for super-soldiers and colonists. Earth is not amused and is exploring the possibility of aligning with the Conclave, a vast collection of alien races - which could spell disaster for the CU. Super soldier Harry Wilson and diplomatic corp officer Hart Schmidt do the heavy lifting in a fast-paced narrative full of wonderfully snarky characters.

Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species by Jackson Landers

Faced with an environmental apocalypse created by the introduction of non-native creatures that devour our native flora and fauna Landers grabs his hunting gear, frying pan and a delightful sense of humor and instructs us on how we might all become responsible “invasivores.” Stalking everything from black spiny-tailed iguanas to Chinese Mystery Snails (and let’s not forget the culinary delights of the European Green Crab and Snakehead) we discover that devouring the enemy not only helps the environment. It tastes good, too!

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

The semi-famous blog Hyperbole and a Half has a book counterpart! If you've never read the blog, go there now and read away and then read her book, too. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Funny and at moments somber. Using crude, yet perfect, drawings that convey every range of emotion, Allie Brosh tells stories of her childhood, life with two crazy dogs, and dealing with social anxiety and depression.

My Heart is an Idiot by Davy Rothbart

Funny, outrageous stories from the personal life of the founder of Found magazine. Davy reminded me of a couple other Davids - Eggers & Sedaris - his writing is crystal clear and his grasp on reality is phenomenal. There's failed love for sure, but also incarceration, sex near a tarantula, death, music, a scam artist and 99 bottles of pee on the wall.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Set against the Nigerian conflict of 1967-1970 Adichie blends political drama and relationships. Tribal loyalties, British colonialism and that universal emotion : love are explored. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna is the professor’s privileged beautiful mistress and Richard is a young Englishman in love with the country and Olanna’s twin sister. These characters will be tested by family loyalities and personal decisions intertwined with  themes of class, race and war-time survival .

The Lower River by Paul Theroux

Ellis Hock bids adieu to his failing clothing store, bitter wife and avaricious daughter and returns to Malabo, Malawi where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer almost 40 years ago. But a place of hope and nostalgia and usefulness has deteriorated to one of corruption, deep distrust and danger. Ellis not only has nothing to do but is slowly consumed by the people he once loved until he discovers that there is a price on his head. Snakes play a major—if understated—role in this provocative tale. Theroux is a master story teller with the travel writer’s exquisite eye for detail.

A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay

Eight-year-old Norma Joyce and her 17-year-old sister Lucinda are living with their widowed father on a wind-swept farm in 1930s Saskatchewan when a stranger blows into town and changes their lives forever. Beautiful, fair and hard-working Lucinda is the favored daughter, compared to small, dark and challenging Norma Joyce, but each is formidable in her own way. This family story by an acclaimed Canadian author covers 30 years and takes its members from the western prairies to "heavenly" Ontario to New York City and back again, through dreams, heartbreak, love, betrayal and loss.

2014 Printz Award

2014 Printz Award

The Michael L. Printz Award is an American Library Association literary award that annually recognizes the "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit."

Winner: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin (audiobook)

Steve Martin narrates his own memoir of being a stand-up comedian, from learning magic tricks at Disneyland at the age of 15, many years of crafting his show, to enormous success, then walking away. This is a surprisingly touching story of an isolating career, much of the time spent on the road, and many years of struggling before he hit it big. There is humor in it, but it is not a comic book. Rather, a sweet and dark reminiscence.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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