Halloween Reads: Horror Classics

Horror classics are called "classics" for a reason.  Their stories and words transcend time and place.  Check out these horrible tales that are among the best the written word has to offer.

  • Inferno by Dante (14th century): While this does not fit the modern day vision of horror, the first installment in Dante's Divine Comedy is as close to horror that a literary work could get in the Middle Ages.  The epic poem tells of a journey around the nine circles of Hell.

  • Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898): A ghost story crossed with a psychological thriller, this story tells of two orphan children under the care of a young governess who discovers the estate is haunted by ghosts.

  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886): A reflection of the duality of human nature, the story focuses on the alter ego of  enigmatic physician Henry Jekyll, who's last will and testament leaves everything to Edwin Hyde, much to his lawyer's puzzlement.

Terrifying True Crime

Sometimes true stories are scarier than fiction.  If true crime is your thing, check out one of these sinister stories at your Community Library.

  • True crime author Ann Rule was friends with Ted Bundy long before anyone suspected he was a serial killer.  Working together side by side at a suicide prevention hotline, the two grew to be quite close.  Rule details Bundy's deadly charisma in The Stranger Beside Me.

  •  Three year old Sayville Kent was brutally murdered in 1860 in an isolated country house inhabited by a limited number of suspects.  Although the detective correctly names the murderer, he considers his reputation to be forever ruined.  Kate Summersgale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a wonderfully suspenseful historically accurate mystery that details the birth of modern forensic investigations.

  • In The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson follows Dr. H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who haunted the 1893 Chicago World's Fair along with the fair's architect, David Burnham as he worked tirelessly to ensure the fair was a success.  Written like an novel, Larson not only describes Holmes' horrific crimes but the sky reaching potential of the World's Fair as well.

Reading Out the Storm

The library may be closed today due to Hurricane Sandy but you can still get access to our collection of free downloadable eBooks and audiobooks through Live-brary, our digital branch.  To get started, visit our downloadable media page where you will find complete instructions.

Romance for People Who Don't Read Romance

Romance books are one of the hottest genres in the library right now.  Some readers may roll their eyes because they expect romance to be cheesy and full of cliches.  If you are looking to try a romance, choosing where to start can be overwhelming.  Check out one of these brilliant books that takes you on a love journey (without all the sappy stuff).

Sugar Beth Carey, the one time wild child of Parrish, Mississippi, returns home to face a host of old enemies lining up to get their revenge in Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Ain't She Sweet?  Worst of all is Colin, an author who's career was ruined by Sugar Beth, who uses his imagination to figure out how to bring the town's former princess to her knees.

In Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, Claire and Frank, reunited after WWII, travel to Scotland on a second honeymoon.  While there, Claire finds herself traveling to 18th century Scotland and falling in love with a young warrior.  How will Claire reconcile the past with the present and who will she choose...her husband or her Scottish lover?

Celia cannot imagine that anyone could love her because of a tragic event in her past.  With two months left to find a husband before her grandmother's ultimatum, she chooses Pinter to investigate three eligible bachelors.  As Pinter and Celia work together, they discover they just might like each other in Sabrina Jeffries' A Lady Never Surrenders .

The Presidential Candidates' Favorite Books

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's Facebook pages list their favorite books.  Governor Romney's list includes East of Eden, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Ender's Game, and Battlefield Earth. President Obama counts Song of Solomon, Moby Dick, and Gilead among his favorites.  Based on their lists, it's clear both candidates are pretty serious readers.  What books would you like to see on their nightstands?

Mystery, Murder & Love in The Secret Keeper

Kate Morton, bestselling author of The Distant Hours, has released The Secret Keeper, a spellbinding new novel set in the English countryside.  In 1959, Laurel witnesses her mother stab and kill a stranger.  Though she is shocked that her loving mother is capable of such an act, she keeps the secret for decades.  Years later, as her mother lays dying, Laurel seeks to uncover the mystery of what happened that day and many layers of family secrets are exposed. This novel has a little something for everyone; friendship, desire, jealousy, betrayal...and an ending that you won't believe.

Cover Reveal: Dead Ever After

The cover of the 13th novel in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series has been revealed.  Sadly, Dead Ever After will also be the final book in the series which began with Dead Until Dark in 2001.  In an interview with USA Today, Harris said that she could continue the series but she feels that she has completed the story she wanted to tell and continuing the series would be a disservice to her readers.  Dead Ever After will be released May 7, 2013.  No word if or how this will effect the HBO series based on the book, True Blood.

Top Mystery of the Month: Phantom

After a three year absence, ex-detective Harry Hole is back in his home town of Oslo in Phantom, the third book in a riveting Scandinavian series from Jo Nesbo.  Harry returns to Norway because Oleg, who was like a son to him, has been accused of murder.  Though he is no longer a cop, investigation still runs in Harry's blood.  His quest for the truth soon leads him into Olso's underground drug scene and deep into his own past in this mystery packed full of psychological suspense.

Spooky Reads

Halloween is just one week away.  Get geared up for the scariest day of the year with one of these spooky reads.  Visit us at the Information Desk for more great book recommendations!

  • The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan reinterprets the werewolf legend with modern day, sexy, wry werewolf Jake, who at two hundred years old, is growing tired of eternal life.  Struggling with depression, Jake contemplates suicide, only to find powerful forces won't let him die as he is an important piece in their own agenda.
  • Colson Whitehead's Zone One is set in a world dealing with the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse where civilian worker Mark is helping to rebuild Manhattan, eliminate infected zombie stragglers, and cope with his worst memories of the apocalypse.
  • Sharp Teeth, Toby Barlow's debut novel, tells of a pack of werewolves running the streets of Los Angeles and a dogcatcher who gets a little more than we bargains for.  Written in epic poem style, this book is dark and satisfying. 

Out Today: Reflected In You

Reflected in You, the second installment in Sylvia Day's super popular Crossfire series, hits our shelves today.  We learned in the first book, Bared to You, that even though Gideon and Eva both have troubled pasts, when they are in each other's arms, everything else melts away.  In this book we find that if Gideon cannot move beyond the scars of his past, they can never have a future as a couple together.  If you are a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, Jackie Collins, or Judith Krantz, then this series is for you!

Book to Movie Alert: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, has just purchased the rights to Jonathan Evison's novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving.  The story focuses on a man who takes a course in caregiving after he loses his family and his job.  After he begins working with a teen, he realizes that his training was inadequate, and the two ditch the sick room and being a cross country adventure.  While the book's title is a bit textbook-ish, don't let it fool you.  This story is witty, bittersweet, and chock full of macabre humor.  Make sure you can say you read it before it hit the screen!

Celebrate All Hallow's Read

There are just ten days left until All Hallow's Read!  In 2010, author Neil Gaiman created  "All Hallow's Read" literary holiday, a special night to give someone you love a scary book.  Gaiman explains the new tradition in the video above and you can get more details on the official site.  If you don't want to spend money purchasing a book, you can always suggest a title that your loved one can borrow from the Community Library.   Which spooky book will you share with your friends and family?

Clever New Cozy: What The Cat Saw

Cozy mysteries are for readers who enjoy suspense prefer not to deal with grisly plots and violent scenes.   What The Cat Saw is the first in a smart new cozy mystery series by Carolyn Hart.  The story focuses on the murder of the head of a charitable foundation.  Throw in a woman who can understand a cat's thoughts and a pinch of romance and you have a winning combination for readers who enjoy like to enjoy all suspense in a lighter read.

The Man Who Saw a Ghost

Many of Henry Fonda's performances are legendary in movies such as The Grapes of Wrath, On Golden Pond, and 12 Angry Men.  Fonda was perhaps one of the most compelling and strange male actors of all time.  Devin McKinney's The Man Who Saw A Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda is a dark and complex new biography that delves into Fonda's Midwestern upbringing and early losses as while as the glamour surrounding his Hollywood years.  A must read for movie buffs!

Bring Up The Bodies Wins Man Booker Prize

Hilary Mantel has been awarded her second Man Booker Prize for contemporary fiction by writers from the British Commonwealth and Ireland for her novel, Bring Up The Bodies.  Chosen from over 145 entries, the novel, the middle of a projected trilogy which began with Wolf Hall, tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, an adviser to Henry VIII and the downfall of Anne Boleyn.  Don't be fooled by the historical aspect.  The Man Book chair said the book is as much "Don Corleone as it is DH Lawrence".  Mantel's prize makes her the first in history to win for a direct sequel as well as the first woman to win two prizes.  The third book in the series, The Mirror and The Light, is due out in 2013.

Beautiful Books

While eBooks are fantastic, it's important to remember that reading a print book is sometimes an experience you cannot duplicate on a computer or device.  Here are three books to remind you just how beautiful and extraordinary physical books can be.

David Carter's One Red Dot is billed as a "pop up book for all ages" and it does not disappoint.  Each page is stunning and can be considered a work of art in its own right.

Nick Bantock tells the story of two artists in love in Giffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence.  With artwork you can touch, feel, and examine, the story literally plays out in your hands.

After Anne Carson's older brother died, she began to put together a collection of memories including poems, photographs, collages and paintings.  Compiled and reproduced in full color in Nox, this is a window into a family's history that looks and feels like a secret artifact.

Know Before You Go: Abraham Lincoln

Next month, Steven Spielberg's long awaited historical drama, Lincoln, hits the big screen.  Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Joseph Gordon Levitt, the film chronicles the last four months of the sixteenth President's life.  Looking to brush up on history before the movie comes out?  Check out acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, a thoroughly original work which details how a one term congressman and prairie lawyer became one of the greatest leaders in our nation's history.

Short Stories For Novel Lovers

Short stories are an entirely different animal than novels but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give them a try.  Here are some short story collections that read just like novels available at your Community Library!

Critically acclaimed and loved by readers of all ages, The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros tells the story of a young Latina coming of age in a Chicago neighborhood.

Though The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Bank, was partially responsible for the launch to the chick-lit genre, it's theme of young love makes great reading for guys too.

Originally published in 1919, Sherman Alexander's Winesburg, Ohio, details the desperation and loneliness felt by residents of a small town in middle America.

Go Inside JFK's Oval Office

Decades after JFK's death, historians are still finding new ways to examine his presidency.  In The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Secret White House Tapes, David Coleman gives us a fly on the wall look what happened in the dangerous days following the time when the world was as close to nuclear war as it has ever been.  Based on newly uncovered material, this book provides a fresh look at those tense days that both history buffs and Kennedy fans will appreciate.

What to Read After Malice of Fortune

Did you read and love The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis?  Are you looking for more of the same?  You may want to try Mistress of the Art of Death, by Ariana Franklin.  Blending historical fiction with police procedural, the story follows the efforts by members of the royal court in attempting to find a serial killer in 12th century England.  Like Malice of Fortune, this book is suspenseful, engrossing, and rich in description of time and place.  As if that were not good enough news, it is the first in a series so if you like it the storyline continues!

Sequel to Chocolat

Bestselling author of Chocolat and The Girl with No Shadow, Joanne Harris, returns to Lansquenet, France with Peaches for Father Francis.  Eight years ago, Vianne first opened a chocolate shop in this small village and learned the true meaning of home.  Being called back with a letter that seems to have come from beyond the grave, Vianne finds the village changed in unexpected ways: women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea, and a minaret facing the river Tannes.  Her old nemesis, Father Francis, needs her help but will Vianne be able to work her magic once again?

National Book Award Finalists

The finalists for the National Book Award have been announced!  Which fiction title gets your vote?

Moby Dick Big Read

Have you read the great American classic novel, Herman Melville's Moby Dick?  At 135 chapters, the book can be quite intimidating for even the most avid readers.  The Moby Dick Big Read project aims to help you conquer the book by offering an audio chapter a day online for free.  Although the project launched on the 16th of September, all chapters are archived and can be downloaded through iTunes, making it easy to catch up.  And of course, we have the hard copy of the book available right here at the Community Library.  Happy reading!

Edgy and Whimsical: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Desperate for a job, art school graduate Clay finds himself employed at Mr. Penumbra's bookstore. The bookstore is an odd place, with a limited selection of books, but in the back, the shelves are crammed with a large collection available for loan to a small group of people. Clay is forbidden to open the books yet required to describe the borrowers in great detail. Late-night boredom catalyzes curiosity, and soon Clay discovers that the books are part of a vast code. Edgy and whimsical, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore is chock full of young love, rollicking adventure, and global conspiracy, a a good measure of paper books vs ebooks.  

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus may be one of the most well known sailors of all time but much of his actual life is shrouded in mystery.  Celebrate Columbus Day by getting the facts about the man and the myth with one of these great biographies.

A goal of Columbus was to raise money for a crusade against the Muslim occupiers of the Holy Land.  Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem  by Carol Delaney tells of Columbus' desire to secure Jerusalem before the second coming of Christ.

After Columbus returned from the New World,a corrupt bridge builder  named John Cabot smelled possibility.  Cabot convinced the English king to sponsor a voyage of his own. Read all about it in Douglas Hunter's The Race to The New World: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost Hour of Discovery.

We all know that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  He actually sailed to the New World 4 times.  Get the scoop on the other three trips and find out why Columbus died penniless and destitute in Columbus: The Four Voyages by Lawrence Bergreen.

1920s American Robin Hood: Sutton

Willie "The Actor" Sutton was one of the Depression era's most celebrated criminals and was noted for robbing banks who robbed people. Inspired by the global financial crisis that began in 2008,  J.R. Moehringer's meticulously researched novel, Sutton, brings this American Robin Hood to life.  Featuring heists, chases, prison breaks, and an imaginative main character, Moehringer's thrilling debut ends with a twist that will leave readers wondering about the nature of morality and life itself.

Celebrate the Freedom to Read Part II

Hundreds of books are challenged every year.  Last year alone, the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom received 326 reports of challenges or bans to books.  Here are the top three most challenged from 2011.  Do any surprise you?  Celebrate the freedom to read by checking one out at your Community Library.  You can find a complete listing of banned and challenged books by year here.
  1. ttyl;, by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth, by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

Celebrate the Freedom to Read Part I

September 30 to October 6 marks Banned Books Week.  This annual campaign celebrates the freedom to read by encouraging people of all ages to read books that have been banned or challenged.  Check out the  these frequently challenged classics at your Community Library. Get a complete list of frequently challenged classic books here.

Lord of the Flies  by William Golding has been frequently challenged and banned in school libraries.

Since its publication, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye has been a favorite target of censors.

Ulysses by James Joyce was burned in the United States, Ireland, Canada, and England.

In 1987, F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel, The Great Gatsby, was challenged at the Baptist College in South Carolina.

Best New Romance Books

Looking for romance books with smart women and vivid, compelling story lines?  Look no further than your Community Library where we have the BEST new romance titles that have been published in the past few months!

Bedding Lord Ned by Sally MacKenzie is the first in a new historical series about long separated childhood friends Nell and Ned and Ned's matchmaker mother, Lady "Venus" Valentine. 

In The Night is Mine, M.L. Buchman sends chef and helicopter pilot Emily on special assignment to the White House where she encounters a surprise villain and a forbidden love.

Rainshadow Road is the first in a new paranormal romance trilogy by Lisa Kleypas.  Emotionally riveting, it follows the relationship between romance leery glass artist Lucy and Sam, who is not now and may never be ready, for a committed relationship.