The Guardian in an article titled Banned Books Week: ‘In 2017, censorship comes from an outraged public’ raises the difficult and interesting question of whether “mob mentality” online can amount to a uniquely modern form of informal censorship, because even though there is no authority banning publication or issuing threats of fines or imprisonment, a potentially provocative opinion or viewpoint can be effectively and truly “suppressed” anyway if authors or their publishers cave to a din of intimidation.  There it gets tricky maybe, as motivation could be important. Is the creator or distributor of the viewpoint acting out of fear in a way that chills free debate and all its benefits, or is the motivation a rational retraction in light of consumer taste – to avoid staining one’s reputation, staining a brand, or just hurting profits too  much? After all, publishers are private companies that should also be free to protect their brands and control their messages. On the other hand, like libraries, the professional media, and educational institutions, they have a special role in society protecting open discussion. From the article:

“Twenty years ago,” [anti-censorship campaigner Jodie] Ginsberg added, “it required a lot of effort to campaign against something. Now you can create that outrage and pressure almost instantaneously. And publishers respond to that very quick outrage on social media. It’s really vital for publishers who have invested in their books and believe in their value to defend them even when the madness of the mob descends. What worries me is that publishers do sometimes cave in, when they should be part of the frontline [defending] free expression.”

This article also lists the ALA’s latest list of most challenged books, showing for one thing that mixing anything remotely sexual and an intended younger audience is a sure formula for landing there.

Make Something up Eleanor & Park  George  I Am Jazz! My Big Lie


The PBS Newshour had a great segment Friday highlighting “Titles to Fall For Now That Summer Is Over” – watch here [time permitting of course].  Louise Penny is one of the very most popular authors here at Sno-Isle, with Glass Houses currently holding at 261 holds on 59 copies.  This segment shows she’s just as delightful a reader’s advisor and book promoter as author.  One of her mentioned discoveries is the debut Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo, a Nigerian writer who once wrote in residence on Whidbey Island. This has 16 holds on 7 copies, a good start.  I still have an ARC – can Louise tempt you?

Pamela Paul, the other reviewer here, also has her own book on books out called My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues. No ARC of this I’m afraid but the current queue is short.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ARC available.

Stay With Me

Yejide and Akin fell in love and married while at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide agreed polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage– after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures– Yejide is still not pregnant. When her family arrives with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. She does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine.
“A novel about a married Nigerian couple who must grapple with staggering levels of loss and betrayal in their quest to create a family for themselves” — Provided by publisher.



No ARC but notable: 


My Life With Bob“Imagine keeping a record of every book you ever read. What would those titles say about you? With humor and warmth, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life. For twenty-eight years, Pamela Paul has been keeping a diary that records the books she reads, rather than the life she leads. Or does it? Over time, it’s become clear that this Book of Books, or Bob, as she calls him, tells a much bigger story. For Paul, as for many readers, books reflect her inner life– her fantasies and hopes, her dreams and ideas. And her life, in turn, influences which books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, diversion or self-reflection, information or entertainment. My Life with Bob isn’t about what’s in those books; it’s about the relationship between books and readers. Bob was with her when she struggled to get through the Norton Anthology of English Literature in college and when she read Anna Karenina while living abroad alone. He was there when she fell in love and much needed when she sought solace in self-help and memoirs like Autobiography of a Face. Through marriage and divorce, remarriage (The Master and Margarita) and parenthood (The Hunger Games), professional setbacks and successes, Bob recorded what she read while all that happened. The diary–now coffee-stained and frayed–is the record of a lifelong love affair with books, and has come to mean more to her than any other material possession. My Life with Bob is a testament to the power of books to provide the perspective, courage, companionship, and ultimately self-knowledge to forge our own path”– Provided by publisher.


Jim ran across this article in Fortune discussing a new feature to locate eBooks in your area public libraries. He and I have gotten this to work for titles that are available and have a knowledge graph, where the borrow location search occurs toward the bottom (see below).  Zandra also got this to work for a couple of titles that are OUT, namely Star Trek Voyager A Pocket Full of Lies and Hawkins’ latest Into the Water (but The Girl on the Train, no, hm).  In those cases Google takes you to the right OverDrive site to place the hold, but not in a lot of others.  She also noticed that some titles don’t show up unless you include the author. From the article:


The list of libraries with available ebooks will appear as part of Google’s “Knowledge Graph” cards, the boxed-off sections that appear either above or next to the regular list of search results, which already offered information on searched-for books, such as a description of the book, the author’s name, GoodReads ratings, and options for purchasing an ebook.


Jim retrieved Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air and I did this with Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, which happened to be available when we searched.


PW has an article (Getting the Measure of Downloadable Audio) by Jim Milliot highlighting the continuing surge of eAudio versus other formats in the private market, which have been relatively flat. What was really interesting was the chart of bestsellers in Apple’s iBooks store (did they start the second letter capitalized thing?) and how that compares with our holdings. First, that assumes we can get the titles in OverDrive. An example of a chart topper we can’t get right now is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, though that is # 2 on the Apple list (except, bizarrely enough, an edition in Hebrew).  The Shack by William Young is 3 on the Apple List but we have only respectable holdings and checkouts.  The rest match pretty well.  Our 6 eAudio copies of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie have circulated 453 times and currently have 14 holds.  For fun, I thought I would display our top circulating eAudio of all time.



Total Circulation

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel (unabridged) 2,273
Gone Girl: A Novel (unabridged) 1,766
The Girl on the Train: A Novel (unabridged) 1,761
Fifty Shades of Grey: Fifty Shades Trilogy, Book 1 (unabridged) 1,713
The Goldfinch 1,312
Gray Mountain: A Novel (unabridged) 1,309
Sycamore Row: Jake Brigance Series, Book 2 (unabridged) 1,125
The Forgotten: John Puller Series, Book 2 (unabridged) 1,111
Fifty Shades Darker: Fifty Shades Trilogy, Book 2 (unabridged) 1,090
Zero Day: John Puller Series, Book 1 (unabridged) 1,049

Courtesy of Becky’s LJ source.  She has finished these and we’re ready to offer them up to other staff. Comment to claim.  I’m ordering several copies of The Spark asap.

Carr, Robyn.  The Summer That Made Us. Mira.

The Summer That Made Us

For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything. After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.




Drake, David. The Spark. Baen.

The Spark

Summary: In a violent world in which civilization has fallen and monsters roam, a young hero will rise. In the time of the Ancients the universe was united–but that was so far in the past that not even memory remains, only the broken artifacts that a few Makers can reshape into their original uses. What survives is shattered into enclaves–some tiny, some ruined, some wild. Into the gaps between settlements, and onto the Road that connects all human reality and the reality that is not human and may never have been human, have crept monsters. Some creatures are men, twisted into inhuman evil; some of them are alien to Mankind– And there are things which are hostile to all life, things which will raven and killuntil they are stopped. A Leader has arisen, welding the scattered human settlements together in peace and safety and smashing the enemies of order with an iron fist. In his capital, Dun Add, the Leader provides law and justice. In the universe beyond, his Champions advance–and enforce–the return of civilization. Pal, a youth from the sticks, has come to Dun Add to become a Champion. Pal is a bit of a Maker, and in his rural home he’s been able to think of himself as a warrior because he can wield the weapons of the Ancient civilization. Pal has no idea of what he’s really getting into in Dun Add. On the other hand, the Leader and Dun Add have no real idea of what might be inside this hayseed with high hopes. THE SPARK: A story of hope and violenceand courage. And especially, a story of determination.



A certain political memoir is too obvious to mention, but besides Hillary Clinton’s What Happened the Purchase Order Placed report this week highlights debut author Gabriel Tallent, whose My Absolute Darling has hit 63 holds and rising.  Here is a link from the Guardian about Tallent. An even bigger hit for us is Celest Ng’s latest Little Fires Everywhere, with 114 holds! Her last, Everything I Never Told You, has circulated over 760 times at Sno-Isle.  We have got to put her on the standing order list.

Ng, Celeste. Little Fires Everywhere. Penguin.

Little Fires EverywhereFrom the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, the intertwined stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster–Provided by Publisher.

Tallent, Gabriel. My Absolute Darling. Riverhead.

My Absolute Darling“Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her.”– Provided by publisher.



Clinton, Hillary. What Happened. Simon & Schuster.

What Happened“‘In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.’ For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet. In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet–the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics. She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future. The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath–both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.”  The former secretary of state relates her experiences as the first woman candidate nominated for president by a major party, discussing the sexism, criticism, and double standards she had to confront, and how she coped with a devastating loss.

Library Reads October 2017

September 14, 2017

The new Library Reads list is out and it includes some fresh new talent as well as well-known favorites like Alice Hoffman, Joe Hill, Wiley Cash and Jennifer Egan.  Gabrielle Union’s true “stories” memoir is a notable non-fiction selection, as is mortician Caitlin Doughty’s latest.  Check the link for full list and librarian reviews.  And Tom Hanks’ new short story collection is there!  I’m ordering the audio and eaudio we didn’t already own. I haven’t scrounged up print ARC’s of these but I’ll let you know.

First the favorite:

Hornak, Francesca.  Seven Days of Us. Berkley.

Seven Days of UsSummary:   “A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays… It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter–who is usually off saving the world–will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family. For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity–and even decent Wi-FI–and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as awar correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…”– Provided by publisher.


Other Interesting Great Books Making the List

Constantine, Liv. The Last Mrs. Parrish. Harper.

The Last Mrs. Parrish

Summary: “Deliciously duplicitous. . . . equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.”–Library Journal (starred review). The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy “golden couple,” from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.  Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.  Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more–a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne–a socialite and philanthropist–and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.  Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life–the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Union, Gabrielle.  We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories. Dey Street Books.

We're Going to Need More Wine

Summary: In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.  One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union–a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies–instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.” In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

Doughty, Caitlin.  From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. W. W. Norton.

From Here to Eternity

Summary: Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes.With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world’s funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico’s D#65533;as de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light.Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular–and, upon close inspection, peculiar–set of “respectful” rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process.Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.