Richard’s March Recommendation

Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

live and let dieRichard says:  “Live and Let Die is the second novel in Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond series.  At the risk of spoiling Casino Royale‘s ending, the most I’ll say is that it follows directly from the events in the preceding booka marked difference from the movies, which tend toward self-contained narratives.  Agent 007, MI5’s most dependable operative, is sent to New York City to unravel the mystery of ‘Mr. Big’ (AKA, ‘Buonaparte Ignace Gallia’), a shadowy criminal mastermind with connections to the Soviet Union.  In the process, Bond uncovers a disturbing connection between gold smugglersapparently a favorite theme of Fleming’sa voodoo cult, and the USSR’s sinister SMERSH operations.  Naturally, Bond is the only man for the job.

This probably sounds familiar, and rightly so.  James Bond has been fully absorbed into the collective pop culture consciousness; he has changed with the times to suit each generation’s expectations.  As a result, readers who have seen the motion pictures will recognize many of the series’ well-worn tropes, albeit filtered through the lens of the 1950s:  globetrotting adventures, a mysterious and beautiful woman whose primary role is to be Bond’s love interest, a ruthless megalomaniac bent on world domination, and enough racy double entendres to make even Geoffrey Chaucer blush.  In other words, Bond fans will find a lot to enjoy in this book.  It’s worth pointing out, though, that the novelswhile subtly humorousare nowhere near as outrageous as many of the movies.

Live and Let Die was later adapted into a notoriously campy film, notable mostly for featuring Roger Moore’s first turn as James Bond.  One of the series’ more lightweight entries, Live and Let Die lacks the cool sophistication of From Russia with Love or the grandiosity of The Spy Who Loved Me.  Still, the movie has a lot to recommend:  Jane Seymour’s radiant Solitaire (still one the most popular and recognizable ‘Bond girls’), Moore’s wry take on 007, a killer theme song by Paul McCartney and Wings, and a suitably tongue-in-cheek tone.  These items keep the film afloat, even if it lacks many elements of the best Bond flicks.  While it borders on the absurd, Live and Let Die never quite falls victim to the cringeworthy cheese that bogs down Moore’s later performances in a quagmire of ludicrous plots and gadgets.  The book is great and comes highly recommended; however, the film is probably a ‘fans only’ proposition.”

3 Similar Reads

Solo:  A James Bond Novel by William Boyd “James BondBritish special agent 007is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment.  Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.” – Summary from catalog

Rain on the Dead by Jack Higgins “In the past few years, the killing and capture of many Al-Qaeda leaders has left the terrorist organization woundedbut by no means dead.  And they intend to prove it.  On a dark summer night, two Chechen mercenaries emerge from the waters off Nantucket to kill a high-value target, the former president of the United States, Jake Cazalet.  Unfortunately for them, Cazalet has guests with him, including black ops specialist Sean Dillon and his colleague, Afghan war hero Captain Sara Gideon” Summary from publisher

Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen “Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan is drawn into the mystery of a child that had been abducted eight years earlier, and must use her skills with age progression as a way to reunite mother and son.  But Eve must face looming demons of her own.”   Summary from catalog


Dana’s February Recommendation

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

the girl on the train“Melding the voyeurism of Rear Window with the unreliable narration of Gone Girl (2012), Hawkins delivers a riveting thriller. Rachel commutes to London each day, pretending to go to a job she got sacked from months ago for being drunk. Her ex-husband left her for Megan, and now they have a baby and are living in the home Rachel so lovingly decorated. Almost every day, from the train window, she sees Anna and Scott, who live two doors down from her old home. Rachel vividly imagines Anna and Scott’s perfect life (she calls them the golden couple), giving them elaborate backstories; however, one day she sees Anna kissing a man who is not her husband; the very next day, Anna goes missing. Rachel inserts herself into the investigation with a headlong desperation, keen to find a way to give her life meaning, and what she discovers is surprising on every level. The novel is alternately narrated by three equally unlikable women, and Hawkins very deliberately doles out tantalizing information, but what really gives this novel its compulsive readability is the way she so expertly mines female archetypes: the jealous ex-wife, the smug mistress, the emotionally damaged femme fatale. Hawkins makes voyeurs of her readers as she creates one humiliating scene after another with the women’s near-feral emotions on full display. A wicked thriller, cleverly done. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This may well be the next Gone Girl, with foreign rights sold in 20 countries and film rights optioned to DreamWorks.” – Booklist

Does this sound interesting?  Click here for a sample!

3 Similar Reads

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

The First Prophet by Key Hooper

Genna’s September Recommendation

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes 

the shining girlsHarper Curtis is a time-traveling serial killer based in Chicago. He travels through time between the 1920’s and 1980’s, with his home base located somewhere on the south side. He collects an article from each girl he kills, and leaves it in the house. Harper seems to be crazy, mentioning that the house speaks to him, and that the objects shine. He only hunts for female victims he says “shine”, which means they are promising in some way: ambitious, smart, courageous.  Though leaping through decades might seem like the ultimate escape from the law, Harper runs into some trouble when one of his would-be victims, a spunky young student named Kirby Mizrachi, survives the brutal attack. She is determined to find her killer, and gets an internship at the Chicago Sun-Times specifically so she can work with a former crime beat reporter, Dan Velasquez. Together they pick up the baffling clues from old cases of Harper’s victims, like finding a Babe Ruth baseball card in a victim’s old case files before Babe Ruth was even playing.

Great for fans who can handle just a little bit of gore (I had to flip past a few pages when Harper was committing the murders). Also great for Chicago fans to get a glimpse into two different decades. The author is from Australia and researched Chicago very well in her work, impressive!

3 Similar Reads

Hot Pursuit by Suzanne Brockmann

Hide by Lisa Gardner

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Joanna’s September Recommendation

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

“An absolute page turner!  I could not put this book down.  Just when you think you’ve figured it out, the plot takes a sharp turn in a direction no one could guess.  For those of you on the hold list, hang on, it is worth the wait.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

Similar Reads (Fiction)

Check out our Weekly Spotlight on Gone Girl Readalikes for a lot more than just three similar fiction reads for this title!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder by Daniel Stashower (Access to library catalog here!)

2) People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott (Access to library catalog here!)

Julia’s August Recommendation(s)

Julia had two recommendations to share for the month of August. Both are posted because one is the audiobook version of a book that Blaise recommended back in march.  Check both of these out!

Audiobook version of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

“I have been laughing out loud–even while stuck in summer construction traffic–thanks to Mindy Kaling’s reading of her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). In a series of short and often hilarious personal essays, Kaling details her journey to becoming a “quadruple threat” as writer, director, producer, and actor on NBC’s The Office.”

Read about it or request the audiobook from the catalog!

3Similar Listens (Nonfiction Audiobooks)

1) Bossypants by Tina Fey (Access to library catalog here!)

2) Seriously?…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (Access to library catalog here!)

3) I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee (Access to library catalog here!)

3 Similar Listens (Fiction Audiobooks)

1) Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella (Access to library catalog here!)

2) A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen (Access to library catalog here!)

And here is Julia’s 2nd Recommendation for August….

In The Woods by Tana French

“The first in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, this book was a thoroughly engrossing read for a lazy summer afternoon. In fact, I could not put it down and stayed up until the wee hours to finish it. A child’s murder in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Dublin revives the
memory of two children who went missing twenty years in the woods near the same neighborhood. French provides not only a great mystery, but also mesmerizing psychological portraits of her characters. Broken Harbor, the latest book in this series, was just released.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Bent Road by Lori Roy (Access to library catalog here!)

2) The End of Everything by Megan Abbott (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (Access to library catalog here!)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) The Lost Night by Rachel Howard (Access to library catalog here!)

2) Midnight in Peking by Paul French (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Pointing From the Grave by Samantha Weinberg (Access to library catalog here!)

July Patron Recommendation–From Robin

The Devil’s Gate by Clive Cussler

“Great book.  This is the new era of Cussler books.  He did not write a page of this one, nor is he in the book at any time, but it has the same energy and science as his other books.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!



3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Hawke by Ted Bell (Access to library catalog here!)

2) Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Arctic Rising by Tobias S. Buckwell (Access to library catalog here!)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) Blowing My Cover by Lindsay Moran (Access to library catalog here!)

2) Secrets, Lies, Gizmos, and Spies by Janet Wyman Coleman (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Deception: The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today (Access to library catalog here!)

Julia’s July Recommendation

Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton

This psychological thriller provided just what I was looking for in a summer read: a page turner until the very end! The twists keep coming throughout the book, which is set in London and features DC Lacey Flint investigating a Jack-the-Ripper copycat killer.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1)  The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi (Access to library catalog here)

2) The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen (Access to library catalog here)

3) Breakdown by Sara Paretsky (Access to library catalog here)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston (Access to library catalog here)

2) Journey Into Darkness by John Douglas (Access to library catalog here)

3) The Killer of Little Shepherds by Douglas Starr (Access to library catalog here)