Reading Room Blog

10/02/2017 - 1:35pm
The Maggie Bright: A Novel of Dunkirk

I watched Dunkirk when it came to the theaters this summer hoping for an outstanding movie, and I got one. A favorite actor, Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, In the Heart of the Sea), portrayed the desolation of the shell-shocked “Shivering Soldier.” There is a point to never formally naming those characters caught between the German onslaught and the English Channel. They are everymen in their terror, helplessness, and humanity. But, I wondered, who are they? Who are all the nameless ones upon the shore, waiting for deliverance? Who are their rescuers? What are their stories? What could be their stories?

The Maggie Bright: A Novel of Dunkirk, by Tracy Groot, begins in an English shipyard in 1940. Clare Childs has inherited a handsome 52-foot yacht from someone she barely knew. She’s tricked it out as a houseboat and makes a small living renting out its rooms as a sort of floating bed-and-breakfast. But Clare doesn’t intend to remain in the harbor forever. She’s saving up whatever spare change she has to sail around the world. For her, it will be the full escape she’s needed ever since she was orphaned at a young age and brought up in isolation by her skinflint uncle.

10/02/2017 - 1:36pm
If you liked The Child by Fiona Barton

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

The Child by Fiona Barton
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it's a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby? As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss. But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell. (catalog summary)

If you like mysteries that involve kidnapping, disappearances, cold cases, and other true crime, check out these titles below.

Drowning Tides by Karen Harper
Drowning Tides
by Karen Harper

When forensic psychologist Claire Britten started working with lawyer Nick Markwood on his South Shores project, she had no idea it would endanger her life—and the life of her daughter. But when the little girl goes missing from her South Florida home and Nick insists his longtime nemesis is to blame, Claire frantically follows the trail to the Cayman Islands, desperate to save her daughter before it's too late. Nick always knew the man who staged his father's "suicide" was out to get him, but kidnapping the child of someone he cares about is despicable. Finding the billionaire criminal is one thing—meeting his demands in order to save Claire's daughter is quite another. What he wants threatens their professional and personal interests beyond imagination . . . but what choice do they have when a child's life is on the line? (catalog summary)
 



Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night
by Wendy Walker

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime. (catalog summary)

 

10/02/2017 - 1:36pm
Séance Infernale: A Novel by John Skariton

A missing French inventor and his lost feature film take center stage with this dark debut of a novel by Jonathan Skariton.

The early history of motion pictures is plagued with controversy, including vicious patent wars between the United States and Europe. 

In 1888, French inventor Louis Le Prince was granted an American patent on a 16-lens camera that combined motion picture with a projector. Although Le Prince mostly wanted a single-lens patent, he was not granted one. In October of the same year, Le Prince filmed Roundhay Garden Scene, which is known today as one of the only surviving pieces of the earliest production of a film. Le Prince planned to present his successful invention in Manhattan at a public exposition, and he is considered by many to be the true father of motion pictures.

09/19/2017 - 1:44pm
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships, we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends, and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the minefield, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves. (catalog summary)
 

Looking for a wartime fiction title to read this Veteran's Day weekend? Check out the selections below.

10/02/2017 - 1:37pm
Final Girls: A Novel by Riley Sager

The Camp Crystal Lake murders of Friday the 13th. Michael Myers' small-town homicidal spree in Halloween. The frightening Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These are prime examples of classic horror movies depicting maniacs chasing down innocent teenagers. In the end, there's always one survivor. Friday the 13th had Alice; Halloween had Laurie; Texas Chainsaw had Sally. These individuals are commonly known to horror movie fans as the Final Girls. But these examples are from Hollywood. What if it happened in real life?

10/02/2017 - 1:38pm
Imagine a Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

There’s something about folk art that brings a touch of warmth and whimsy to a home. The elements of designs are simple yet used imaginatively, and the overall effect is extremely pleasing. In Imagine a Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art, Dinara Mirtalipova shares her creative methods and designs with you.

10/02/2017 - 1:38pm
If you like Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

 

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
A 28-year-old recluse with a unique allergy to physical contact with other people is forced to reenter the world after her mother's death, finding friendship with a 10-year-old troubled boy, and love with his adoptive father. (catalog summary)

If you like the family drama and love story intertwined with Close Enough to Touch, check out these book titles.

10/02/2017 - 1:38pm
It by Stephen King

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It's a small town with plenty of big secrets . . . and its own dancing clown.

Derry is situated along Interstate 95, to the south of Dexter, Maine, and to the west of bigger cities, such as Bangor and Haven. The town has a long history of human settlement, stretching back to the early days of America in the 18th century. Derry also has a history of unspeakable tragedy, including strange disappearances of settlers, and the mysterious explosion of Kitchener Ironworks in 1906, which killed a group of 88 children and 42 adults who were participating in an Easter egg hunt.

Then, in the 1950s, the disappearances start again.

09/05/2017 - 11:29am
CRRL Guest Picks: Daniel Wallace--Engineer, STEM Teacher, and Musician

Dr. Daniel Wallace is a human factors engineer for the U.S. Navy. He is active in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to children through demonstrations and teaches a science camp for a week every year at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Colonial Beach, VA. He is now in his 14th year as a member of the Westmoreland County Public School Board. He is also a musician, playing violin in the praise and worship band at his church.

We are very happy that he has agreed to share some of his favorite books with CRRL readers. To begin, here are favorites from his childhood:

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