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 
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. https://catalog.ocln.org/client/en_US/default/search/results?qu=the+murder+of+roger+ackroyd&qf=FORMAT%09Format%09SOUNDDISC%09Audio+disc" target="_blank">Check Our Catalog 
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 
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 
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.
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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.
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.
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 
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!
This book sounds like it could be a very dry diatribe against the processed food industry, but I listened to the audiobook version and with the exceptional voice talents of Scott Brick (who also narrates Clive Cussler and Steve Berry thrillers) it is not only interesting, but extremely compelling. The author has extensively researched major companies, including Kelloggs, General Foods, and Coca-Cola, and lays out how they have become reliant on salt, sugar and fat. These three ingredients along with brilliant marketing campaigns have increased the allure and sales of their manufactured foods, fueling the American obesity crisis. Michael Moss is not unsympathetic to the industry; they are after all, just trying to make a living. He simply makes a STRONG case to read every label and educate ourselves about what we are eating, and why. Check Our Catalog 
Curious about romance novels but under the impression that romances are usually pretty badly written? This is the book you should try. Featuring both strong female and male lead characters, our hero is a sexist football coach (who needs to be taken down a peg or two) and our heroine is the new owner of his football team. What makes this romance special are engaging subplots about the heroine’s complex relationship with her little sister and a madman plotting against our couple - in addition to an exciting (and steamy) love story! The added background makes us more engaged in our twosome’s struggle to connect, and it makes their eventual union all the more satisfying. (Note to new romance readers: The revelation that the pair end up together is not a spoiler. A primary characteristic of romance novels is that the couple must “live happily ever after.”) Check Our Catalog 
When was the last time you picked up a magazine? I was at a newstand the other day and couldn't even find Rolling Stone - and when I was growing up I used to pour through every issue to see what I was missing! Did you know that you can get free access to tons of popular magazines through our parternship with Zinio ? Not just the current issue either - lots of back issues to keep you entertained for hours! They've made some improvements to the interface lately too, so its even easier to enjoy all this fresh content. Check out the latest stories:
- Everyone's talking about the Star Wars movie, coming out December 18! Geek out with Wired  - it's their cover story for the December edition, available now!
- The New Yorker  just launched a weekend radio show. Did you know you can read it online too?
- Is Jimmy Fallon having problems with cocaine and booze? Enquiring minds want to know. Read all about it in the November 23 issue of National Enquirer .
- What's on Oprah's 2015 list of her favorite things? Find out in the December issue of O, the Oprah Magazine .
- Curious about Adele's private life? She's on the cover for the November 19 issue of Rolling Stone .
- Looking for 105 ways to devour the holidays AND cookies? Check out the December issue of Bon Appetit .
Yesteday, November 18, the National Book Awards  were announced. Founded in 1950, these awards are intended to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.
The top winners in each category are:
- Fiction: Fortune Smiles  by Adam Johnson
- Non-Fiction: Between the World and Me  by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Poetry: Voyage of the Sable Venus  by Robin Coste Lewis
- Young People's Literature: Challenger Deep  by Neal Shusterman
This page  has a complete list with short descriptions and catalog links of all of this year's winners, finalists, and close contenders in each category.
Here is a video of the award ceremony: