Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past..." -The Great Gatsby

In Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler gives us the engrossing story of the historically misunderstood Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, written in Zelda's own style and voice. The novel pulls you into a "beautiful and damned" past of Jazz-age parties, glamour, fame, wealth, debt, bootlegged booze, jealousy, and self-destruction.

This novel digs deep to tell the tale of the remarkable woman behind the famous author with the famous friends. Above all, it tells a tale of a dazzling, talented young woman who wanted - more than fame and publicity - to be loved and appreciated for who she really was.

Fowler's meticulous research into Zelda Fitzgerald's life has provided her with the ability to give Zelda a voice, to draw us back into the current of her haunting past. - Becca (Sunset)

Read more: search the library catalog for works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, books about him and his fiction, and adaptations of his stories. Or try Literature Resource Center for journal articles and reference works about this famous literary couple (free login with your library card & PIN).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The October 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!

A Sudden Light: A Novel by Garth Stein
Published: September 30, 2014

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after. But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own.

Leaving Time: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
Published: October 14, 2014

Alice Metcalf was a devoted mother, loving wife, and accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. Yet it's been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life. All signs point to abandonment . . . or worse. Still Jenna--now thirteen years old and truly orphaned by a father maddened by grief--steadfastly refuses to believe in her mother's desertion. So she decides to approach the two people who might still be able to help her find Alice: a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother's disappearance and the death of one of her mother's co-workers. Together these three lonely souls will discover truths destined to forever change their lives.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden; Foreword by Rob Reiner
Published: October 14, 2014

In a twenty-fifth anniversary, behind-the-scenes account of the making of the cult classic film, the lead actor shares never-before-told stories and exclusive photographs as well as interviews with fellow actors and producers of the film.

Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
Published: October 7, 2014

The acclaimed actor profiles his turbulent relationship with his father and discusses his 2010 appearance in a celebrity genealogy show to solve the disappearance of a WWII hero grandparent and his discovery of astounding family secrets.

Some Luck: A Novel by Jane Smiley
Published: October 7, 2014

On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family's land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who's not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father's heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family's triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters: A Novel by Keith Donohue
Published: October 7, 2014

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
Published: October 14, 2014

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Iverson is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict.

Reunion: A Novel by Hannah Pittard
Published: October 7, 2014

Five minutes before her flight is set to take off, Kate Pulaski, failed screenwriter and newly-failed wife, learns that her estranged father killed himself. More shocked than saddened by the news, she reluctantly gives in to her older siblings' request that she join them--and her many half-siblings, and most of her father's five former wives--in Atlanta, their birthplace, for a final farewell.

Malice: A Mystery by Keigo Higashino; Translated by Alexander O. Smith
Published: October 7, 2014

Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he’s planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems. At the crime scene, Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka’s best friend, Osamu Nonoguchi. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same public school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Nonoguchi eventually left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka. As Kaga investigates, he eventually uncovers evidence that indicates that the two writers’ relationship was very different that they claimed, that they were anything but best friends. But the question before Kaga isn't necessarily who, or how, but why.

Murder at the Brightwell: A Mystery by Ashley Weaver
Published: October 14, 2014

Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo. Looking for a change, she accepts a request for help from her former fiancĂ©, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will test not only her friendship with Gil, but will upset the status quo with her husband.

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, September 22, 2014

Book Review: Queen of the Tearling

Queen of the Tearling opens with Kelsea Raleigh Glynn saying goodbye to her foster parents on her 19th birthday. She is being whisked away (in secret) to New London by the Queen's Guard to take her spot on the throne. Her husband has been hanging out there for about twenty years and he's really a terrible Regent.

Of course, Kelsea doesn't know much about the current situation in the Tearling and she knows nothing about her mother's reign. So as she heads to New London surrounded by the Queen's Guard, she learns bits and pieces, but still not everything -- of course, the Queen's Guard has been sworn to secrecy so they aren't telling her much. That's part of what drives this book: the secrets. I kept reading because I wanted to know what Kelsea didn't.

I found this book to be a mix of Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, and The Lunar Chronicles. It's got violence, a strong heroine, no love triangle, a magic queen, and lots of smart thoughts on censorship, responsibilities of those in power, and so much more. - Melissa (Downtown)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

More Books Like...Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl has been on our shelves for over two years, but it's never sat on any of our shelves for very long. It's been checked out nearly 900 times from Chandler libraries since its publication and it's still checked out regularly. Now a film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike is set to release in early October and the book's popularity will continue only to grow.

So while you wait (im)patiently for the film or the next copy to come in for you to borrow, we've compiled a list of domestic thrillers to (hopefully) tide you over until Nick and Amy make their next appearance in your life.

Click on the image above for even MORE books similar to Gone Girl.

Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
Line of Vision by David Ellis
Blue Monday by Nicci French
In the Woods by Tana French
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Sister by Rosamund Lupton
Precious Thing by Colette McBeth
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie
Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman
The Playdate by Louise Millar
Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
The Innocent Sleep by Karen Perry
Watching You by Michael Robotham
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Which one will you read first while you wait for Gone Girl to hit the big screen?

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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: Wild

Reeling from the sudden death of her mother and the crumbling of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed embarks on what she intends to be a journey of self-discovery: a three-month, 1100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild is her account of this trek and the many unexpected things she discovers. At first, she doesn't even have the energy to come to terms with her mother's loss, instead finding herself burdened with a backpack that's almost too heavy to lift, an incredible amount of damage done to her body by the physical exertions of the trail, and the worst weather to hit the region in years. These hardships prove to be just what she needs, however, to untangle her feelings of grief, anger, guilt, and defensiveness. A fascinating account of undertaking a difficult journey in the wild, as well as a brutally honest memoir of one woman's attempt to deal with trauma. - Michelle (Sunset)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11 in Fiction & Nonfiction

In Amy Waldman’s The Submission, a Muslim architect is chosen to design a memorial commemorating a tragic terrorist attack. The decision divides not only the country, but families, friends and neighbors. Should a Muslim be allowed to design the memorial to deaths that were caused by other Muslims? Told from the viewpoint of several different characters with a stake in the process – a juror, the wife of a victim, the architect himself – the novel boldly explores the different ways our society changed after 9/11 and encourages vigorous discussion.

Here are other fiction titles that examine the aftermath of 9/11:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweler, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet.

Falling Man by Don Delillo - Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people.

The Good Life by Jay McInerney - Clinging to a semi-precarious existence in TriBeCa, Corrine and Russell Calloway have survived a separation and are thoroughly wonder-struck by young twins whose provenance is nothing less than miraculous. But on a September morning, brightness falls horribly from the sky, and they suddenly find themselves working side by side at the devastated site, feeling lost anywhere else, yet battered still by memory and regret, by fresh disappointment and unimaginable shock. What happens, or should happen, when life stops us in our tracks, or our own choices do?

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid - Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with his girlfriend eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.


Debunking 9/11 Myths by Popular Mechanics Magazine - Conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001 continue to spread. Now, in a meticulous, scientific and groundbreaking new book, Popular Mechanics puts these rumors to rest.

Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam by Giles Kepel - The late twentieth century has witnessed the emergence of an unexpected and extraordinary phenomenon: Islamist political movements. Jihad is the first extensive, in-depth attempt to follow the history and geography of this disturbing political-religious phenomenon.

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright - A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. 102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn - At 8:46 am on September 11, 2001, 14,000 people were inside the twin towers-reading e-mails, making trades, eating croissants at Windows on the World. Over the next 102 minutes, each would become part of a drama for the ages, one witnessed only by the people who lived it-until now.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Staff Picks: Nature and Discovery

Every month, staff at our Downtown branch read books in a specific fiction genre or nonfiction subject, to familiarize themselves with titles they might not have discovered otherwise. For August, they read nonfiction in the area of nature, environmentalism, and discovery. Here's what staff members read and what they had to say about it:

A Wolf Called Romeo, by Nick Jans
Nick Jans has been photographing wildlife, and especially wolves, for over 20 years.  He tells the story of a wolf they named Romeo who appears suddenly near his home on the outskirts of Juneau, Alaska.  It is rare to see a wolf in the wild, never mind having a wolf befriend the local canine community.  A good story, well written, and a must-read for someone who knows nothing of wolves.  Great recommended resources in the back of the book for more information about wolves. 4 stars

Never Cry Wolf, by Farley Mowat
Naturalist Farley Mowat spent the summer alone studying the wolf population, and developing a deep affection for the wolves. Very well written with great descriptions. 5 stars

The End of Night, by Paul Bogard
A wonderful book, very well written, about the rapid disappearance of darkness. Bogard talks about the issue of light pollution, the benefits of darkness, and what we can do to get it back. 5 stars

There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars, by Bob Crelin
A great children's book that almost mirrors The End of Night for kids. 5 stars

A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
Published in 1948, this is the precursor to Silent Spring. A Sand County Almanac is often hailed as a foundational work of the modern environmental movement.  It’s slow moving, but it talks about preserving the marshlands before anyone else. 3 stars

Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
Written in 1980, this is still an important piece of writing and should be required reading in schools.  Carl Sagan is a very gifted writer who has written what is considered “the best-selling science book ever published in the English language... a magnificent overview of the past, present, and future of science.” 5 stars