Ashley’s November Recommendation

let's explore diabetes with owlsI recently listened to the audiobook of Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris. I’m a big Sedaris fan. Usually I read his latest work in print and pick up the audiobook later before a big road trip. This time, I sought out the audiobook first and I’m glad I did. While the voice of Sedaris rings through printed text, there’s something very special about hearing him read his own work. The audiobook of Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls is made up of live and studio recordings of Sedaris’ latest book of essays. These essays revolve around his life and travels abroad and, of course, his family. Sedaris gives readers his usual dose of comedy, but there is a more serious undertone to many of the essays in this book. If you need a break from the radio, I highly recommend popping this book into your CD player. It provides an interesting look at one man’s life and it may spark a bit of introspection on your end.
Swan Summary:
“From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new book of essays taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler’s experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist’s shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten”
3 Similar Titles
Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell

Ashley’s October Recommendation

The Woods By Harlan Coben 

the woodsHarlan Coben is a master of suspense. After work a couple of weeks ago I was browsing his titles and came across The Woods. The cover includes the teaser line, “I see my father, with that shovel…” Though I was already a bit frightened at what this book might hold, I checked it out anyway. Coben’s The Woods explores a cold case murder by tapping into the age old fear of what is lurking beyond the trees.
Swan Summary:
Twenty years after Paul Copeland’s sister walked into the woods, never to be seen again, evidence links him to a murder victim who could be the boy who disappeared along with her and raises the possibility that she may still be alive.
3 Similar Reads: 
The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Death Angel by Linda Farstein

Ashley’s August Recommendation

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

sugar“In 1870, Reconstruction brings big changes to the Louisiana sugar plantation where spunky ten-year-old Sugar has always lived, including her friendship with Billy, the son of her former master, and the arrival of workmen from China.” – Summary

“Sugar is one of two titles by Jewell Parker Rhodes that I adore–the other is Ninth Ward, which takes place in New Orleans during Hurricane KatrinaBoth books are children’s titles, but I feel they have appeal to children and adults alike. Rhodes does an amazing job of communicating true struggle and perseverance through her main characters, who happen to be children. In Sugar and in Ninth Ward, she captures a specific place, time and conflict in a way that is meaningful for adult and child readers.” – Ashley

3 Similar Titles

Conquistadora by Esmerelda Santiago 

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner

Ashley’s January Recommendation

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

“Our online catalog offers this description of Flight Behavior: ‘Tired of living on a failing farm and suffering oppressive poverty, bored housewife Dellarobia Turnbow, on the way to meet a potential lover, is detoured by a miraculous event on the Appalachian mountainside that ignites a flight behaviormedia and religious firestorm that changes her life forever.’  I’d simply add that this miracles turns out to be an ecological disturbance that the characters in the books must face.  Kingsolver writes stories that marry down to earth characters with the earth.  Her work weaves in information about plants, bugs and animals and relates them to people.  She gives the environmental movement a deeply human context.  Flight Behavior is no exception.  The character transformation in this novel cannot be emphasized enough.  Dellarobia goes from discontented housewife to budding scientist–all because of an environmental phenomenon that occurs on her mountain.  This tranformation has a lasting impact on her relationship with her friends and family–many of whom experience their own transformations throughout the novel.”

Read about or request this novel from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

Goodnight, Texas by William J. Cobb

Anthill by Edward O. Wilson

The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

Ashley’s December Recommendation

Fourmile by Watt Key

“A boy must contend with the loss of his father, a failing farm and his mother’s shady boyfriend.  He finds help and friendship with a drifter (who has his own baggage).  The fourmileboy and the drifter fix up the farm as his mother’s boyfriend’s faults shine throught.  The story ends in a dangerous and dramatic showdown that you’ll have to read to believe.  This book is a fast-paced, well written tale with compelling characters.  Key trusts middle grade readers with some tough topics–that I’m sure many will identify with.  This is a great read for boys and reluctant tween readers–but the book has a great deal of adult appeal.  While a story of this nature can help a young person understand the world around them–it can also help adults understand a child’s point of view in times of tragedy”.

Read about or request Fourmile from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

You May Plow Here: The Narrative of Sara Brooks by Sara Brooks

We Bought A Zoo by Benjamin Mee

Where Rivers Change Direction by Mark Spragg

Ashley’s October Recommendation

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

“This is a children’s title that may have adult appeal.  Here is a book description: ‘Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.’ The book is a really interesting look at friendship and what it’s like to be pushed to your limits by a friend. The story also shows an adolescent coming to terms with change and difficult circumstances in an emotionally thoughtful way.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Slob by Ellen Potter (Access to library catalog here!)

2) From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (Access to library catalog here!)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? by Rachel Balducci (Access to library catalog here!)

2) King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography by Chris Crutcher (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Yes, Your Parents Are Crazy! by Michael Bradley (Access to library catalog here!)