Out with the old, in with the new.

Today is our last day at RFPL Reads! We are shuttering this blog, but will soon be launching a new online reading service, and very much hope that you will visit us there. Be sure to watch this space — as soon as the new site is live, we’ll be posting a link.

Thanks for reading all this time! We look forward to seeing you in the new space!

Another great read from Kimberly

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

hawkKimberly says: “I borrowed the audio version of this from hoopla while I was doing some gardening and it kept me riveted for days. Macdonald is an effective reader of her own memoir–her British accent lending itself perfectly to the setting. She recounts the sudden loss of her father, her desire to raise a goshawk named Mabel, and her childhood fascination with birds, falconry, and T.H. White’s book The Goshawk. It is a good deal of material for one slim book, but she weaves all these threads beautifully. Her descriptions of grief are insightful and just about everything she describes relating to hawks was completely new information to me. It was fascinating.”

to read a sample of the ebook, click here

On slowing the inevitable: Kimberly’s October suggestion

Let’s be less stupid: an attempt to maintain my mental faculties by Patricia Marx

let's be less stupidKimberly says: “This book is a very funny and yet insightful look into the middle-aged angst of declining mental faculties. Marx, who has written for Saturday Night Live, probes her own experiences when it comes to forgetting keys, names, and other important stuff. She includes some zany quizzes to test your own capabilities, but it never gets too serious.”

to read a sample of the ebook, click here

What would George RR Martin read?

George-RR-MartinAuthor George RR Martin — he of Game of Thrones fame, and author of the just released A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a GoT prequel — maintains a very lively blog (ironically titled “Not A Blog”) on which he often makes book recommendations. So, what does the creator of today’s biggest fantasy franchise read? It turns out he reads a lot of non-fantasy. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – “A mystery/ thriller/ novel of character about three women who live near the train tracks of a London commuter lines, and how their lives and loves get entwined when one of them disappears under mysterious circumstances. Fans of Gillian Flynn’s books will probably like this one too.”
  2. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Eric Larson – “Larson is a journalist who writes non-fiction books that read like novels, real page-turners. This one is no exception. I had known a lot about the Titanic but little about the Lusitania. This filled in those gaps. Larson’s masterpiece remains The Devil in the White City, but this one is pretty damned good too. Thoroughly engrossing.”
  3. Angles of Attack, by Marko Kloos – “Military Science Fiction, third book in his series, and the immediate sequel to Lines of Departure…. These are very entertaining books…. Kloos is a writer to watch.”

To read more of Martin’s thoughts on this titles, click here — and to read some of this thoughts on other fantasy authors? Click here.

The power of gratitude – Joanna’s October suggestion

The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan

gratitudeJanice Kaplan decided to spend a year “living gratefully,” drawing on advice from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers to gain a fresh outlook that ultimately transformed her relationships, work, health, and daily life. She chronicles that year in The Gratitude Diaries.

Joanna says: “I enjoyed Kaplan’s work and particularly enjoyed how such a simple thing as saying thank you (something we often forget to say or take for granted) can change one’s outlook on life and improve relationships and attitudes.”

to read a sample of the ebook, click here

A cozy mystery – the start of something new: Dana’s October suggestion

Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver


Dana says: “Murder at the Brightwell is a cozy mystery set in 1930s England with just the right amount of romance, the first book in a series — and the second [Death Wears A Mask] comes out this month!”

Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman questioning her marriage to notoriously charming playboy Milo. Looking for a change, she agrees to help her former fiance, Gil Trent, not knowing she’ll soon be embroiled in a murder investigation that will test not only that friendship, but upset the status quo with Milo. As the stakes grow higher and the line between friend and foe becomes less clear, Amory must decide where her heart lies and catch the killer before she, too, becomes a victim.

to read a sample of the ebook, click here

What would Ta-Nehisi Coates read?

ta-nehisi-coatesAuthor, journalist, and recently-named MacArthur Fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates has been on The New York Times bestseller list since the publication of his latest book, Between the World and Me, a work that weighs some of the biggest issues of the American story through the lens of a father’s love for his son. A passionate reader himself, Coates was asked by the Times about the books that have left the biggest mark on him. Here’s part of what he said:

  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin: “Basically the finest essay I’ve ever read. It’s technically two essays but it feels like one. Baldwin refused to hold anyone’s hand. He was both direct and beautiful all at once. He did not seem to write to convince you. He wrote beyond you.”
  • Postwar, by Tony Judt: “A book that deeply informs my journalist sense. Writers — particularly American writers — constantly feel the pull of solutionism, the desire to assure their readers that there is a way out, even when there isn’t. Judt refused this. History, he understood, does not exist to comfort us.”
  • Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson: “The definitive history of the Civil War. One of the greatest works of history I’ve ever read and arguably the best one-volume history in existence.”
  • Sweet Soul Music, by Peter Guralnick: “History of soul music, told in profiles. I read this is as young man really trying to understand what journalism and history meant. Spent a lot of time meditating on Sam and Dave after this one.”
  • The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton: “Again, I like this book for its willingness to embrace the tragic. No happy endings. The book is a defense of elitism, something I guess I oppose. But I found it credible, here.”

To read the rest of Coates’s list, click here.