Martha Hutzel

Porter Branch Vegetable Garden

Porter Branch Vegetable Garden

While discussing the idea of the series of library programs under the umbrella of Cultivating Community, it suddenly hit me that we could have a vegetable garden on the grounds of the Porter Branch! The next thought was...we could give the bounty of fresh vegetables to the Stafford County food pantry, otherwise known as S.E.R.V.E. The idea was to help the community, teach young people about fresh food and where it comes from, and allow those families who use the food pantry to obtain some fresh produce, locally grown.

If you like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

This readalike is in response to a patron'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 Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami: "Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II. In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria." (Book Summary)

If you like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, then you may like these selections:

Bharati Mukherjee's entire collection:
Wife, Desirable Daughters, Leave It to Me, and The Holder of the World.
All are excellent reads, dealing with Indian immigrants to the US, what they must go through to assimilate, or not, as the case may be, cultural differences and mysteries. Desirable Daughters is her best as far as place, character development and narrative.

 


The Tales of the Otori trilogy:
The first is Across the Nightingale Floor, then Grass for His Pillow and the final is Brilliance of the Moon. They are set in feudal Japan (or possibly a similar, fictitious country) during the time of the Samurai, when warlords ruled the countryside and battles for territory and women raged. The library owns the first two on audio as well as in print and they were fascinating to listen to, partly because the right reader was chosen.

 

If You Like Saturday by Ian McEwan

Saturday

This readalike is in response to a patron'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.

Saturday by Ian McEwan "follows an ordinary man through a Saturday whose high promise gradually turns nightmarish. Henry Perowne-a neurosurgeon, urbane, privileged, deeply in love with his wife and grown-up children-plans to play a game of squash, visit his elderly mother, and cook dinner for his family. But after a minor traffic accident leads to an unsettling confrontation, Perowne must set aside his plans and summon a strength greater than he knew he had in order to preserve the life that is dear to him."

If you liked Saturday, here are several titles you may also enjoy:

Agapé Agape by William Gaddis
"The late William Gaddis wrote four novels during his lifetime, immense and complex books that helped inaugurate a new movement in American letters. Now comes his final work of fiction, a subtle, concentrated culmination of his art and ideas. For more than fifty years Gaddis collected notes for a book about the mechanization of the arts, told via a social history of the player piano in America. In the years before his death in 1998, he distilled the whole mass into a fiction, a dramatic monologue by an elderly man with a terminal illness. This "man in the bed" lies dying, thinking anxiously about the book he still plans to write, grumbling about the deterioration of civilization and trying to explain his obsession to the world before he passes away or goes mad.
Agape- Agape continues Gaddis's career-long reflection via the form of the novel on those aspects of the corporate technological culture that are uniquely destructive of the arts. It is a stunning achievement from one of the indisputable masters of postwar American fiction."-catalog summary

The Amber Photograph by Penelope Stokes
Diedre McAlister's mother is dying. But before she lets go of this life, she givers her daughter an old photograph and these parting words: "Find yourself. Find your truth. Just don't expect it to be what you thought it would be."And Now Diedre's search begins-a quest to find the only person who can provide the missing pieces, the truth. But that search will cost Diedre her naive innocence and expose her family's unknown dark side. It will shake up Diedre's world, threaten lives, bring out the shadow of her past, challenge her faith-and quite possibly save her life.
 

If You Like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha

This readalike is in response to a patron'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.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: "Presented as the memoirs of a celebrated Japanese geisha, Golden's first novel follows a poor youngster from her humble origins in a rural fishing village to her later years spent in luxurious surroundings in New York City's Waldorf-Astoria. In 1929, nine-year-old Sayuri is sold to an okiya in Kyoto by her desperate father, where she is slated to be trained as a geisha. The intensive courses require her to learn how to dance, play a musical instrument, gracefully wear the heavy, layered costumes, apply elaborate makeup, and, most especially, beguile powerful men. Initially stymied by the jealous, vindictive Hatsumomo, the okiya's top earner, Sayuri is eventually taken under the wing of one of Hatsumomo's chief rivals, Mameha. She proves to be such an astute businesswoman that her campaign to make Sayuri a success results in Sayuri's setting a new record when two wealthy men get into a bidding war over who will be the one to claim her virginity. "

If you like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, you may likese these selections: 
 

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
Set in an imaginary, ancient Japanese society dominated by warring clans, Across the Nightingale Floor is a story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme, filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry-and the intensity of first love. This is the first in a trilogy.



 

The binding chair, or, A visit from the Foot Emancipation Society : a novel by Kathryn Harrison
In poised and elegant prose, Kathryn Harrison weaves a stunning story of women, travel, and flight; of love, revenge, and fear; of the search for home and the need to escape it. Set in alluring Shanghai at the turn of the century, The Binding Chair intertwines the destinies of a Chinese woman determined to forget her past and a Western girl focused on the promises of the future. (amazon.com)


If you like Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

This readalike is in response to a patron'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.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume: "The story concerns rather implausibly a friendship begun when Caitlin and Vix (for Victoria) are 12. Caitlin, daughter of wealthy, divorced parents, declares that Vix, eldest daughter in a blue-collar family, will be her best friend. Caitlin invites Vix to spend the summer at the family home on Martha's Vineyard. Vix is taken in by Caitlin's family, who arrange for her scholarship to private school and then support her Harvard education. Summers on the Vineyard are filled with sun and adolescent sexual encounters. The girls' friendship endures betrayal, love for the same man, and diverging career paths." (Library Journal)

If you enjoyed Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, these stories about women and friendship may appeal to you:

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish
“For Katherine Givens and the four women about to become her best friends, the adventure begins with a UPS package. Inside is a pair of red sneakers filled with ashes and a note that will forever change their lives. Katherine's oldest and dearest friend, the irrepressible Annie Freeman, left one final request - a traveling funeral - and she wants the most important women in her life as ‘pallbearers’."—summary from book jacket


Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes.
Anna Walsh returns to her Dublin family after a serious and disfiguring accident. She wants to return to her life in New York City, but she has more than physical healing to do.