Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Stephen King Universe: A Guide (Part One)

The Stephen King universe is vast, and while I've known about many of the connections among his books for years, I never realized the depth of those connections until I started re-reading The Dark Tower series and doing some research. For this series, I'm starting with a beginner's guide to The Dark Tower universe, and how it's connected to the rest of the Stephen King universe.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories - The short story "UR" mentions the actual Dark Tower that Roland is on a quest to find in The Dark Tower novels. Low men, who appear in Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower, also appear in "UR." Finally, the magical Rose that is part of The Dark Tower series is mentioned in "UR."

Black House - Several characters from The Dark Tower series are mentioned in Black House: Blaine the Mono, Ted Brautigan (who makes appearances in other Stephen King works, as well), Jake Chambers, Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean, Roland Deschain, and Patricia the Mono. Jake Chambers may also be a twinner of Jack Sawyer (a twinner is a doppelganger in a parallel universe). (Note: Black House is the sequel to The Talisman.)

Cell - In The Waste Lands, Jake Chambers purchases a picture book called Charlie the Choo-Choo. Roland, Jake, Susannah, and Eddie see a train that looks just like Charlie the Choo-Choo in Gage Park. Charlie the Choo-Choo shows up in an amusement park in Cell. Charlie the Choo-Choo is also Blaine the Mono's twinner.

Desperation - CAN-TAH AND CAN-TOI, which appear in Song of Susannah (CAN-TAH and CAN-TOI) and Wolves of the Calla and The Dark Tower (CAN-TOI), also appear in Desperation.

Everything's Eventual - Three characters from this short story collection are either mentioned in The Dark Tower novels or play a part in the series: Dinky Earnshaw, Mr. Sharpton, and Skipper Brannigan.

The Eyes of the Dragon - The main connection to The Dark Tower series is in the character Randall Flagg. Flagg is a sorcerer who has the ability to move among worlds. He is a villain in The Eyes of the Dragon as well as in The Dark Tower novels. Additionally, King Roland in The Eyes of the Dragon is Roland Deschain's twinner.

From a Buick 8 - One of the owners of the Buick 8 was probably a low man, and the car may have been a portal to todash spaces from which monsters escape (a todash space is a void that exists between worlds and is filled with monsters).

Hearts in Atlantis - A few characters in Hearts in Atlantis show up in The Dark Tower novels and vice versa: Ted Brautigan, Roland Deschain, The Crimson King, Randall Flagg, and the Low Men.

Insomnia - The Crimson King is a major player in Insomnia. Patrick Danville, a character in Insomnia, shows up in The Dark Tower, traveling with Roland. Roland is also mentioned in Insomnia by Ted Brautigan.

IT - The concept of deadlights is mentioned in IT; it's a concept that is shared by Pennywise and The Crimson King. Bill Denbrough's nickname in IT is Stuttering Bill; in The Dark Tower novels, there's an Asimov robot named Stuttering Bill. There's also a magical Turtle in The Dark Tower novels that shows up in IT.

Lisey's Story - The Territories, which are mentioned in The Waste Lands, are also mentioned in Lisey's Story. A term used commonly in Lisey's Story, "bool," is also used by The Man in Black in The Gunslinger.

The Mist - The monsters in The Mist are likely monsters that came from Todash through a thinny that was opened during a government experiment. Thinnies play large roles in Wizard and Glass.

The Regulators - Regulators is another term for Low Men; it is also another term for Big Coffin Hunters. It is likely that The Regulators may be Low Men and/or Big Coffin Hunters, though neither of those terms is used in the novel.

Rose Madder - LUD, which is the setting of The Waste Lands, is mentioned in Rose Madder, and Rose Madder is mentioned in Song of Susannah

'Salem's Lot - One of the main characters in 'Salem's Lot, Father Callahan, is a major character in Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower (where he is known as Pere Callahan). In Wolves of the Calla, Pere Callahan recounts his experiences after leaving 'Salem's Lot.

The Shining - Danny Torrance is referred to in The Dark Tower novels, while Jack Torrance is mentioned, but not directly named.

The Stand - In Wizard and Glass, Roland, Susannah, Eddie, and Jake find themselves in the Topeka, Kansas, of The Stand, where they see a newspaper article that discusses the superflu from The Stand. Mother Abigail, a key player in The Stand, is an enemy of Randall Flagg, who is also a key player in The Stand.

The Talisman - A major setting in The Talisman is the Territories; the Territories are mentioned in Wizard and Glass. The White, which is in The Talisman, is the force of good in The Dark Tower novels.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Many characters and settings from Stephen King novels are mentioned in The Dark Tower series without playing actual parts in the series. Some of the books listed here are also connected to each other, which I'll explore in the second part of this series. The last part of this series will focus on Stephen King book connections that are unrelated to The Dark Tower series.

Think I've missed a connection, or know of a connection you'd like to see in this series of posts? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

If You Liked The Girl on the Train, Try Other Novels of Psychological Suspense

I’ve long been a horror fan, too, but I’ve always been more partial to the less-graphic end of the genre, those titles that blend into psychological suspense, horror’s less gory but equally disturbing sibling. When I wrote about psychological suspense five years ago, it was a poor stepsister to horror with a strong following among readers but not much publisher support. The publication of Gone Girl in 2012 changed all that, and now psychological suspense is one of our hottest genres...These chilling novels play with our minds and leave us wondering—about characters as well as plot resolutions. Authors create nightmare situations that the protagonists seek to escape, but these are internal, psychological monsters rather than external or supernatural ones. These novels create claustrophobic worlds of unease and potential disaster in which characters explore their options and, especially, their obsessions, while readers observe from the outside. There’s a growing sense of foreboding, but the compelling pace stems not from action but from the intensity of the mood. Creepy, unsettling, and disturbing are the words we often choose to describe these books—and how they affect us.
~Joyce Saricks, "At Leisure with Joyce Saricks: Psychological Suspense, Horror's Disturbing Sibling"
Psychological suspense has been around for a long time. Henry James wrote The Turn of the Screw in 1898. Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca is usually called Gothic fiction, but we think it could fit the definition of psychological suspense, sometimes called psychological thrillers - "a suspenseful movie or book emphasizing the psychology of its characters rather than the plot". Patricia Highsmith, author of Strangers On a Train (on which Hitchcock's classic movie is based) and The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Shirley Jackson are considered masters of the genre, as was the recently departed Ruth Rendell (who also wrote as Barbara Vine).

Now, with the publication of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, psychological suspense is back in the spotlight. (There's even a sub-genre specially created to encompass these two titles - "chick noir".) We like psychological suspense because the novels are tricky, like mysteries, and creepy, but not as scary as horror (we're literary cowards that way). For all those looking for more in the same vein as the "Girl" novels, we've created a list of titles recommended by Booklist, Goodreads, and our own literary database, NoveList, that we hope will keep you up late at night with all the lights on for a long time to come.

Master of the Delta by Thomas H. Cook

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

Blue Monday by Nicci French

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

The Ghost by Robert Harris

The Keep by Jennifer Egan

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien

The Book of You by Claire Kendall

Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

The Night Following by Morag Joss

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner

The King of Lies by John Hart

Season to Taste by Natalie Young

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Looking for more titles? Try a subject search of "suspense fiction" or "psychological fiction", or a keyword search of "psychological suspense".

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Brilliant Brontës: Anne Brontë and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Anne Bronte (1820-1849), Emily Bronte (Thornton, 1818 - Haworth, 1848) and Charlotte Bronte (Thornton, 1816 - Haworth, 1855), English writers, Oil on canvas by Patrick Branwell Bronte (1817-1848), ca 1834. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 5 Jan 2016.
2016 will mark the first bicentenary of the Brontë siblings with Charlotte's birthday on April 21st; Branwell's is next, in June 2017, followed by  Emily's in July 2018, and finally Anne's in January 2020. We thought we would get the party started this year with our Brilliant Brontës Challenge! Every month in 2016, we'll have one Brontë-related post. Feel free to join our celebration of all things Brontë with an item from the library catalog, and let us know what you've watched or read or listened to in the comments of our Brilliant Brontës posts! We're kicking it off with an homage to Anne.

Many years after Anne’s death her brother-in-law protested against a supposed portrait of her, as giving a totally wrong impression of the ‘dear, gentle Anne Brontë.’  ‘Dear’ and ‘gentle’ indeed she seems to have been through life, the youngest and prettiest of the sisters, with a delicate complexion, a slender neck, and small, pleasant features.  Notwithstanding, she possessed in full the Brontë seriousness, the Brontë strength of will.  When her father asked her at four years old what a little child like her wanted most, the tiny creature replied—if it were not a Brontë it would be incredible!—‘Age and experience.’  
~from Mary A. (Mrs. Humphry) Ward's preface to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

If Anne Brontë had lived ten years longer she would have taken a place beside Jane Austen, perhaps even a higher place.
~George Moore, Irish novelist

Anne Brontë is the least venerated member of the Brontë family; her life and work lives in the shadow of her famous sisters, and even, to a certain extent, in the shadow of her brother Branwell's addiction. Her persona has not the mystique of Emily; her literary talent less towering than what's exhibited in either Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, and she was also slightly less prolific than her sister Charlotte, who ultimately outlived Anne. Her reputation was not helped by the fact that Charlotte blocked the re-publication of the "more overtly political" Tenant of Wildfell Hall after Anne's death - it was not re-published until just before Charlotte's death, and then with significant omissions that were kept in many subsequent editions. Still, she was the mysterious and reclusive Emily's partner in their fantasy world, Gondal, about which they wrote stories and poems - a friend said Emily and Anne were "like twins"; and, though overshone by her sisters during her short life, in 2013 a Bronte Society member said of Anne, "In some ways, though, she is now viewed as the most radical of the sisters, writing about tough subjects such as women's need to maintain independence, and how alcoholism can tear a family apart."

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is Anne's second and final novel. The narrative unfolds first in epistolary form, but also includes diary entries. It's the story of the enigmatic Mrs. Graham, who rents Wildfell Hall (long empty and in some disrepair) for herself, her young son Arthur, and a servant. She pays her way by selling her paintings. Her story is told by Gilbert Markham, a local farmer who befriends her.  How and why Mrs. Graham came to Wildfell Hall is shrouded in mystery and the source for much gossip, much of it spiteful, by her neighbors. Little by little the reader learns the story of an abusive marriage and an alcoholic husband that have caused Mrs. Graham to flee her old life. Some of the scenes sound shocking even today, but what else can you expect in a world where a wife was property (the Married Women's Property Act was not passed until 1882) and where this exchange takes place about the differences in educating boys and girls about handling the vicissitudes of growing up:
‘I beg your pardon, Mrs. Graham—but you get on too fast.  I have not yet said that a boy should be taught to rush into the snares of life,—or even wilfully to seek temptation for the sake of exercising his virtue by overcoming it;—I only say that it is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble the foe;—and if you were to rear an oak sapling in a hothouse, tending it carefully night and day, and shielding it from every breath of wind, you could not expect it to become a hardy tree, like that which has grown up on the mountain-side, exposed to all the action of the elements, and not even sheltered from the shock of the tempest.’
‘Granted;—but would you use the same argument with regard to a girl?’
‘Certainly not.’
‘No; you would have her to be tenderly and delicately nurtured, like a hot-house plant—taught to cling to others for direction and support, and guarded, as much as possible, from the very knowledge of evil.  But will you be so good as to inform me why you make this distinction?  Is it that you think she has no virtue?’
I first read Tenant years ago, and was instantly drawn to it. Perhaps it was inevitable - I had spent my teen years reading the "female bildungsroman" of Louisa May Alcott, including Rose in Bloom, in which a character succumbs to vice with a tragic outcome. Alcott is known for "address[ing] women’s issues in a modern and candid manner" in her fiction, and Anne is a worthy precursor to Alcott, suppressed because her ideas were too modern for her time, and also due to mediation of Charlotte Brontë - it's been suggested that her treatment of her younger sister was colored by "an elder sister's disdain" [McDonagh, from the introduction to Tenant]. Bettina Knapp, in The Brontes: Branwell, Anne, Emily, Charlotte, says of Anne: "...her interests were ideologically oriented. Questions of conscience were uppermost in her mind: domesticity, the rights of working women, and abused wives. Anne sought truth and justice via the medium of the word." Tenant comes out strongly in favor of temperance; Anne's first book, Agnes Grey, used her experiences of oppression and abuse while working as a governess as source material (Anne was the most steadily employed of the siblings).  Knapp goes so far as to assert that "Anne's ambition, as we know, was not to produce 'a perfect work of art.'  Her goal was first and foremost evangelical: to teach what she believed to be the moral and loftly lessons of Christianity". Perhaps that accounts for some of Charlotte's disdain - Anne has chosen to err on the side of content over form, to use her literary talent as a tool. Anne was, in childhood, closest to Aunt Branwell, the children's caretaker after their mother's death; Anne's zealous nature, her commitment to service, were perhaps shaped by the older woman, a staunch Methodist.

Apart from content, I feel Anne's writing style is quite good.  Passages such as
And, upon the whole, our intimacy was rather a mutual predilection than a deep and solid friendship, such as has since arisen between myself and you, Halford, whom, in spite of your occasional crustiness, I can liken to nothing so well as an old coat, unimpeachable in texture, but easy and loose—that has conformed itself to the shape of the wearer, and which he may use as he pleases, without being bothered with the fear of spoiling it;—whereas Mr. Lawrence was like a new garment, all very neat and trim to look at, but so tight in the elbows, that you would fear to split the seams by the unrestricted motion of your arms, and so smooth and fine in surface that you scruple to expose it to a single drop of rain
show a charming turn of phrase that, frankly, I didn't expect to find in a book by a Brontë - I tend to expect discussions of soaring heights and dizzying depths, all taken with the utmost seriousness. Anne's characters seem realistic, from the catty neighbors to the jilted sweetheart, but there are missteps - Gilbert Markham explodes in an unexpected scene of violence that seems worthy of Heathcliff and not quite in character. Nevertheless, Bettina Knapp's biography praises the young author's writing overall:
Anne's unsentimental, skillfully built, and suspenseful scenes, the self-control in her writing, the smooth, ordered, classically constructed sentences, the subdued effects of rhetoric, and the insights into the psyches of her characters, drawn for the most part from observation were remarkable, given her age and experience.
Perhaps creating a work of art was not of the utmost importance to Anne, but she has still done more than create wholly didactic novels.

As with all the Brontës, Anne's was a voice silenced too soon. She died of tuberculosis, which had also claimed the lives on her older brother and sister, aged only 29. Her "audacious and courageous" heroines [Knapp] with their "stern and uncompromising" message [McDonagh] live on to "...rather whisper a few wholesome truths therein than much soft nonsense" [Anne Brontë]. In Anne's own Preface to the Second Edition, Anne was careful to distance herself from Currer and Ellis Bell (the pseudonyms her sisters wrote under), and bold to suggest that "if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be".

The physical copy of the book and the eAudiobook in the library catalog are the Clarendon edition, published in 1992, which is regarded as the canonical edition. If you attempt to read the book online, know that Project Gutenberg is using the 1920 John Murray edition, based upon the mutilated 1854 edition.

You can also find audio versions of Brontë novels, correspondence, and poetry on Spotify:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New and Novel from The New Yorker

We are fascinated by the New Yorker magazine and its writers - so many famous wordsmiths have written articles and stories for the periodical since its first issue published in 1925. Even in the beginning, it was linked to the famous literary lights of the Algonquin Round Table, which counted magazine editor Harold Ross, critic Alexander Woollcott, and contributor Dorothy Parker amongst its members.

Though the magazine has more features by male authors ([i]n 2013, women still made up less than a third of the magazine’s bylines, according to the annual count by VIDA), we are most fascinated by the female writers who have contributed to is fame - to name but a few, Maeve Brennan, "the Long-Winded Lady" in the magazine's "Talk of the Town" section; Lois Long, a flapper who wrote about the nightlife under the pen name "Lipstick" and who was recently featured in the book Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern; and Janet Flanner, the New Yorker's Paris correspondent, whose columns were signed "Genêt".

And those are only the writers! There are many books available about the cartoons from the New Yorker. Charles Addams' kooky and ooky Addams Family got their start in the pages of the magazine; James Thurber both drew cartoons and wrote short stories; more recently, the magazine has hosted the work of  Jules Feiffer and Roz Chast, among others.

Here is a list of some new (and one old but novel) items from the library catalog that are New Yorker magazine-related. You can find more related items with a search of "New Yorker magazine".

Thursday, January 21, 2016


There are so many reasons to listen to audiobooks. We like to listen to them while we are struggling with household chores, or crafting. Some people enjoy listening to them in the car, particularly for long road trips. And they are not just available in CDs anymore, although we still have plenty of those - the library catalog also offers the Playaway format and downloadable audiobooks (eAudio). There are two eResources for eAudio avaible to ABC Library customers, Overdrive (which also provides eBooks) and OneClickdigital; you can search their databases for titles rather than the library catalog, if you prefer.

If you would like to stick to books on CD, don't miss the featured collections list of Adult Books on CD and Playaways and Children's Books on CD and Playaways - these will show you our latest acquisitions. However, if you'd like to give eAudio a try, the list below is compiled from recommended recent audiobook lists - because, for audiobooks, a good reader is so important! If you find you need help with downloading, you can find help on the library website or stop at one of our Gizmo Garage sessions!


Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A Fine Romance: A Memoir by Candice Bergen

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff


A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk 

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro 

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson 

Early Warning by Jane Smiley

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

And finally, if you want the personal touch, try Adult Storytime at our San Pedro branch or Storytime for Grownups at our Los Griegos branch! "Sit back, relax and listen to a San Pedro Library staff member read aloud from a selection of classic literature, short stories or other favorite works. Unlike a book club, there is no need for you to read the selection ahead of time, but feel free to join in a lively discussion after the reading. Adult Storytime happens at the San Pedro Library on the last Saturday of each month." Or, "Storytime for Grownups meets the first Wednesday of each month at Los Griegos Library. Hear great short stories or excerpts from longer works read by Book Mark."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Featured Author: Paul Auster

Paul Auster was a novelist in Brooklyn before there were novelists in Brooklyn. (When I was growing up there in the 1980s, my father used to point him out to me as we did the grocery shopping in Park Slope — this was a rare kind of sighting.) Since those days much has changed; you can’t go out to the Fort Greene Greenmarket on Saturday without running into a spangle of fiction writers. But Auster’s fictional concerns — the contingency of identity, the nihilism of urban living, the clarities of asceticism — have remained steadfast, even as the postmodern toolbox has grown more elaborate, demanding greater semantic complexity of its users than ever before.
~Meghan O'Rourke, "These Wild Solitudes"

Paul Auster was born in 1947 in Newark, New Jersey. His first book was a critically acclaimed memoir called The Invention of Solitude, published in 1982 after his graduation from Columbia University and his move to Paris, where he tried to become a poet. His books defy categories - his acclaimed series of loosely connected stories, The New York Trilogy (winner of the Prix France Culture de Littérature Étrangère in 1989), are billed as detective stories, but not traditional ones, as they feature an existential bent - they once described as "Kafka goes gumshoe". His themes include American history, absence of father, loss of language, coincidence, intertextuality, and an obsessive writer as a character. He has credited his start in writing to failing, at age 7, to get an autograph from baseball great Willie Mays because he didn't have a pen to hand.

Paul Auster has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and on the IMPAC Award longlist multiple times. He was part of NPR's National Story Project from 1999-2001, and has written the screenplay for the movie Smoke, and directed the movie The Inner Life of Martin Frost, among other cinematic accomplishments. Auster has also translated works by French writers. Personally, he was married to writer Lydia Davis and is now married to writer Siri Hustvedt, with whom he lives in Brooklyn.


The Brooklyn Follies 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Young Adult Book Trends: 2016

I've been thinking about what trends we can look forward to seeing this year in young adult fiction, and I thought I'd start by focusing on book covers. I did a similar post last year, and some of the trends I mentioned there are continuing, but I've noticed a few new things, as well.

Continuing trend: handwritten covers

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander
Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath
The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani
Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
The Distance From A to Z by Natalie Blitt
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
How It Ends by Catherine Lo
Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker
My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul
Jerk Bait by Mia Siegert

Continuing trend: girls in dresses

I'm not sure if this trend faded out for a while, but it's back now.

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas
The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon B. Waller

New trend: water

Whether it's an ocean, someone falling into water or already submerged underwater, someone near water, or water in a glass bottle, I've noticed a lot of covers feature water in some way.

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

New trend: falling

As mentioned at Stacked Books, people falling also seems to be a new trend.

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
The Love the Split the World by Emily Henry
Ascending the Boneyard by C.G. Watson

Are there any book cover trends you've noticed for this year? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Authors as Characters in Fiction

As for the most popular fictionalized writers? No surprise to see a ton of Shakespeares, Austens, Dickenses and Brontës scampering with pens through the pages of other peoples’ novels. But a...[c]ranky Robert Frost? Witty Alexander Pope? These are some of the delights we uncovered for your reading pleasure.
~Sarah Seltzer, "50 Novels Featuring Famous Authors as Characters"

With the recent success of books like The Paris Wife and movies like Midnight in Paris, nostalgia for times past - and the famous people who lived through those eras - continues to be popular. Why is imagining the lives of the famous from history so entertaining? People with romantic or tragic lives seem to be often chosen as subjects; also people of whom not too much is known. Trying to blend non-fiction and fiction seamlessly is always an interesting experiment. A good novel might bring a famous person or their era alive for you - instead of just the facts, the emotional truth can be evoked. When you try to imagine the real-life experiences of famous authors, the challenge seems to be writing about those whose words resonate with so many and making your own words live up to theirs. What novels with famous authors, or other famous historical figures, as characters have you enjoyed? Or do you eschew historical fiction of this type in favor of biography or history?

With some help from the folks at Flavorwire, we've compiled a lists of books with authors as characters that are available in the library catalog. Please note, we have touched upon fiction with Jane Austen as a character in a recent post, so we have not included any in this list.

Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister [Dorothy Parker]

Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar [Vanessa Bell & Virginia Woolf]

The Hours by Michael Cunningham [Virginia Woolf]

The Master by Colm Tóibín [Henry James]

The Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee [Alexander Pope]

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler [Zelda Fitzgerald]

Drood by Dan Simmons [Charles Dickens]

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan [Robert Louis Stevenson]

The Book of Salt by Monique Truong [Gertude Stein & Alice B. Toklas]

Old School by Tobias Wolff [Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, & Ernest Hemingway]

The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl [Edgar Allan Poe] 

Angelmonster by Veronica Bennett [Mary Shelley; YA]

Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer [William Shakespeare; YA]

Fall of Frost by Brian Hall [Robert Frost; eAudiobook]

The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald [Novalis]

Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath by Kate Moses [Sylvia Plath]

Passion by Jude Morgan [Mary Shelley]

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Dogist

My newest favorite book does not contain many words, but it is so great that it doesn't need to!  It is a coffee table style book of dog photographs.  Called The Dogist, it is The Sartorialist - a popular street fashion photography blog - for dogs.  Being a dog lover who cannot enjoy them because of allergies, I'm not sure whether the 1,000 photos in this delightful book make me happier or more heartsick.  Either way, this book is a good thing.  Adorable and fun are always a good thing.  And even if you aren't obsessed with dogs, don't they make you smile?  They are so care-free and so happy to just give affection no matter what - and if you'll forgive the corniness, I'll be darned if that doesn't come across in these photos.  

The dogs' name, breed and sometimes their age are listed next to their photo, along with occasional tidbits and funny captions.  This is how I learned that service dogs frequently have a "street name" that is different from their real name so that they can still be introduced to anyone who asks without being distracted while they do their job.  My favorite sections were entitled: Costumes, Doodles, Sassy, Snow, and of course, the many Puppies selections.  To sum it up, s
ome coffee table types of dog books are a bit too sappy for me, but The Dogist is really not.  It's fun, funny, and fascinating.  If you check it out, let me know what you think!

More Dog Photography Books

Tails From the Booth by Lynne Terry 

Underwater Puppies by Seth Casteel

Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition by Seth Casteel

Dogs in Cars by Lara Jo Regan

Find Momo: My Dog is Hiding In This Book. Can You Find Him? by Andrew Knapp

I Am Puppy, Hear Me Yap: Ages of a Dog by Valerie Schaff

Dog Photography for Dummies by Kim Rodgers   

Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project About Dogs and Physics by Theron Humphrey

Websites & Articles

The Dogist  

Canines of New York: A Day Behind the Lens with The Dogist

The Man Behind the Famed 'The Dogist' Is Looking to Give Back

The Catist

The Sartorialist

Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Year, New You: Personal Finance

Personal finance stock. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 8 Dec 2015.
It's that time of year--the season when we reflect on the last 12 months and make resolutions to better ourselves in the new year. But whether you're taking on a new fitness routine, a more positive outlook, or a commitment to strengthening your finances, the key to success is baby steps. Incremental change makes a large goal more manageable.
~Jonathan Sparling, "5 Easy-to-Achieve Personal Finance Resolutions for the New Year"

Personal finance is a big concern for everyone these days. Whether you want to buy a house, save to travel or for some other big goal, learn about investing, or you are about to retire, it can be helpful to learn the ropes before you get started. The library catalog has many books that can help you wrangle with your personal finances if you are an adult; also, learning about money can start in childhood, and it's good to start sound financial planning at a young age - and the library has some reads for you and your offspring on that topic as well.

You probably already know the big names in personal finance - Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, Dave Ramsey, Ric Edelman, Tony Robbins. So, our booklist below concentrates on some newer library acquisitions that might serve as useful coaching tools for you to gain control of your financial future.

Personal Finance for Adults

The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy by Paul Sullivan

The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money by Carl Richards 

Living a Beautiful Life On Less: The Blissful and Domestic Guide to Food, Fun, and Finances by Danielle Wagasky 

Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision Into Reality by Ellen Rogin, CPA, CFP & Lisa Kueng

The Decade Series by Peter Dunn

Personal Finance  for Youth 

Show Me the Money by Alvin Hall

Real World Math: Personal Finance

Living on a Budget

Saving For the Future 

Smart Shopping

Giving Back

Blastoff Readers: Money Matters

Saving Money

Spending Money

Talking to Your Children About Money