Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: The Fortune Hunter

Set in 1870’s England, The Fortune Hunter weaves a tale of desire, duty, loneliness and love around the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, the charming and generous man she falls in love with, and the ordinary woman who competes with the Empress for his heart. Goodwin writes believable and sympathetic characters, wonderful dialogue and has a delicious wit that lightens the serious tone. Appearances by familiar historical figures such as Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales add to the period feel of the novel, along with interesting details about fox hunting, photography and the Empress’s unusual anti-aging efforts. This is historical fiction perfect for fans of Downton Abbey. The Fortune Hunter is a superb choice for stylish late summer reading. - Anbolyn (Sunset)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: 10% Happier

Dan Harris was an up-and-coming news correspondant for ABC when he had a nervous breakdown on camera. While he kept it together - and kept his job - he realized he needed to change his life. Influenced by his new assignments covering religion, he began to explore what some of these spiritual traditions have to say about the ways in which we make ourselves crazy, and found himself reading and interviewing the likes of Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and the people behind The Secret. None of these sources seemed to have the answers he was looking for, though; he found some to be downright ridiculous. Reluctantly he was pointed in a slightly different direction, toward the Buddhist practice of meditation, and to his own surprise, he found a self-help approach that actually helped.

10% Happier is a skeptic's guide to meditation, a spirituality book for people who aren't spiritual. Harris describes how he learned to recognize the voice in his head that was constantly criticizing him, driving him to compulsive behaviors, and tormenting him with imagined castastrophes ("Flophouse in Duluth in six months, guaranteed"). He offers very practical suggestions to get this inner voice under control, while still keeping a skeptical eye on some of stranger aspects of the traditions he studies. Not only that, but Harris gives us an insider's view into the competitive world of network news, with fascinating stories about the shows and personalities that are so familiar to us - and things we might not have known about them. - Michelle (Sunset)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

@ Sunset Library: Edible Plants of the Sonoran Desert

Wondering what to do with all those pods falling off of your mesquite trees? Tired of throwing away prickly pear fruit when you know it would make a tasty jam? Join us at the Sunset Library to learn about these and other edible plants of the Sonoran Desert. Master Gardener and Sonoran plant expert Jean Groen will be here to tell us more about where to find edible plants, and how they were historically used by Native Americans as medicine and food. 

Jean Groen is the author or co-author of 7 books about plants in the Sonoran Desert. She loves experimenting with seeds, plants, and berries, as well as modernizing ancient Indian recipes to use native plants in new and interesting ways. Her personal slogan is, “I eat anything that doesn’t eat me first.” Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover the surprising foods growing all around us.
Saturday, August 16th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Sunset Library
4930 W Ray Rd
Chandler, AZ 85226
No registration required

Want to learn more? Check out these books on cooking with native plants:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: Summer House with Swimming Pool

Marc Schlosser is a doctor whose patients number among celebrities and politicians, none of whom he likes very well. But does he just have a poor sense of medical ethics - or is there something more sinister to his character? Because one of his patients, the famous actor Ralph Meier, has died after a sudden illness, an assisted suicide administered by Dr. Schlosser. The medical board thinks Schlosser's actions were questionable. Meier's widow calls him a murderer outright. But what really happened?

Summer House with Swimming Pool unfolds the story by revisiting Schlosser's relationship with Meier, culminating in a vacation the doctor and his family spent at Meier's summer house and the mystery of what happened there. The novel is the second one by Dutch author Herman Koch to be translated into English, after the bestseller The Dinner. As in the earlier novel, Koch shows himself to be a master at creating characters who are both completely despicable and somehow compelling, motivated by selfish instincts in one moment and desperation to protect their loved ones in the next. Summer House with Swimming Pool is horrifying, fascinating, and hard to put down. - Michelle (Sunset)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The August LibraryReads List!

The latest batch of librarian favorites are here! We've included descriptions* below and you can head to the LibraryReads website to see brief reviews submitted by librarians from across the country. We'd love to hear what you think about the titles, let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

One Kick by Chelsea Cain
Published: August 19, 2014

Kick Lannigan, 21, is a survivor. Abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred. And then Kathleen Lannigan was found, alive, six years later. In the early months following her freedom, as Kick struggled with PTSD, her parents put her through a litany of therapies, but nothing helped until the detective who rescued her suggested Kick learn to fight. Before she was thirteen, Kick learned marksmanship, martial arts, boxing, archery, and knife throwing. She excelled at every one, vowing she would never be victimized again. But when two children in the Portland area go missing in the same month, Kick goes into a tailspin. Then an enigmatic man Bishop approaches her with a proposition: he is convinced Kick's experiences and expertise can be used to help rescue the abductees. Little does Kick know the case will lead directly into her terrifying past. (First in series.)

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Published: July 29, 2014

Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

Heroes are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published: August 26, 2014

He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now. Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left. Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business. Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

Lock In by John Scalzi
Published: August 26, 2014

Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people “locked in”...including the President's wife and daughter. Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own. This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Published: August 26, 2014

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office -- leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. But Nella's world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist -- an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways. Johannes' gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Published: July 29, 2014

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder.

The Truth about Leo by Katie MacAlister
Published: August 5, 2014

Dagmar Marie Sophie is a poverty-stricken Danish princess whose annoying royal cousin is about to have her stuffed away in a convent. When she finds a wounded man unconscious in her garden, she sees a way out of her desperate situation. Leopold Ernst George Mortimer, seventh earl of March, and spy in the service of the king, finds himself on the wrong end of a saber and left for dead. He wakes up not remembering what the care of a beautiful woman who says she is his wife. Back in London, Leo-with the help of his old friends the eccentric Britton family-sets out to unravel what he's forgotten... Is Dagmar truly the wonderful, irrepressible woman who makes his heart sing, or is she a dangerous enigma bent on his destruction?

An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
Published: August 12, 2014

Home on leave, Bess Crawford is asked to accompany a wounded soldier confined to a wheelchair to Buckingham Palace, where he’s to be decorated by the King. The next morning when Bess goes to collect Wilkins, he has vanished. Both the Army and the nursing service hold Bess negligent for losing the war hero, and there will be an inquiry. Then comes disturbing word from the Shropshire police, complicating the already difficult situation: Wilkins has been spotted, and he’s killed a man. If Bess is to save her own reputation, she must find Wilkins and uncover the truth. (Sixth in series.)

The Magicians's Land by Lev Grossman
Published: August 5, 2014

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story be­gan, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him. Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demi­monde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost for­ever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, a new Fillory -- but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything. (Third in series.)

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Published: August 19, 2014

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store. Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn't need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends. But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.

Which one will you read first?

If you need help placing a hold with your Chandler Public Library card, give us a call at 480-782-2800. 

If you'd like more book recommendations, browse our Book Lists page or check out the previous LibraryReads lists.

*Book descriptions from the publisher.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review: Legends in Exile

I'm not a reader of graphic novels, but I think it's just because I hadn't discovered the right one for me. FABLES is IT. It's a much grittier version of ABC's Once Upon a Time (and FABLES came first).

I love what Willingham & Co have done with twisting the characters we're all so familiar with (or maybe some we've forgotten -- I mean, who is Rose Red?). Snow White's discussion with Beauty & the Beast is a great introduction to how this world is turned upside down from what we know -- B&B have problems, Snow White & Charming are divorced -- because how ARE these characters supposed to make their love last for centuries?

The central mystery of Legends in Exile is about the disappearance/possible murder of Rose Red, Snow's estranged sister. I wasn't crazy about this aspect, but it's a great introduction into the world of Fabletown. - Melissa (Downtown)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Finding books while the catalog is down

The Chandler Library catalog is currently down for a database conversion to a new and improved catalog. How do you find books in the meantime?

Books are always available to browse on the shelf, and you'll be able to check out at the information desk if you have your library card with you. Come in to the library and ask staff to help you find the right shelves to browse. (We just can't tell you if a specific book is checked in or not, or place holds. These services will be available again on July 23.)

How to find subjects and authors? Chandler Library uses the Dewey Decimal System to arrange our nonfiction books, and you can check this guide for some common Dewey call numbers. (Or if you're really curious, you can check this page for a more detailed list of all the call numbers!)

Looking for the author of a fiction book? Do what we do when we can't access our catalog or can't find an author there - search Amazon! Fiction is shelved alphabetically by the author's name.

You can also access our ebook collections, provided you have your library card and it's currently in good standing. (Cards issued between July 18 - 22 will not be able to access ebooks.)

Our new catalog will be up on Wednesday, July 23. We think you'll like this new library system, which will offer a more seamless interface and direct access to our new 3M ebooks. Thank you for your patience!