Monday, September 1, 2014

Library Closed: Find reading recommendations!

All four branches of the Chandler Public Library will be closed on Monday, September 1 for Labor Day. We will reopen on Tuesday with normal hours.

Searching the catalog for new books to put on hold while the library's closed? You can still find our new and recommended book lists in our new catalog! Visit and do any search in the search field. (It can be as simple as "dogs.") Then scroll down to find the Recommended, New, in the sidebar on the left. Clicking any book title in any of these lists will take you right to the catalog entry so you can place your hold!

We also have book lists on our website. From our homepage at, click READ - Book Lists. These lists are also linked to the catalog, so a great new read is just a click away!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The September 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!

Top 10 Books Loved by Librarians in September

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Published: September 15, 2014

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.

Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel
Published: September 9, 2014

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad #5) by Tana French
Published: September 2, 2014

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says, I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. The Secret Place, a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper.

Rooms: A Novel by Lauren Oliver
Published: September 23, 2014

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance. But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb. The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Published: September 9, 2014

Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child's welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts. But Fiona's professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. But Jack doesn't leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case—as well as her crumbling marriage—tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.

The Distance: A Thriller by Helen Giltrow
Published: September 9, 2014

Charlotte Alton has put her old life behind her. The life where she bought and sold information, unearthing secrets buried too deep for anyone else to find, or fabricating new identities for people who need their histories erased. But now she has been offered one more job. To get a hit-man into an experimental new prison and take out someone who according to the records isn't there at all. It's impossible. A suicide mission. And quite possibly a set-up. So why can't she say no?

Horrorstor: A Novel by Grady Hendrix
Published: September 23, 2014

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Columbus, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds—clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Published: September 16, 2014

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

The Witch with No Name (The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison
Published: September 9, 2014

Rachel Morgan's come a long way from the clutzy runner of Dead Witch Walking. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more. But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now. To save Ivy's soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.

Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley
Published: September 2, 2014

In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D'Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed. Now, two generations later, Alessandro D'Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather's masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands-at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D'Ascanio's magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake's disappearance-and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro. But the closer Celia gets to learning the first Celia's fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back...

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, August 25, 2014

Staff Picks: Suspense and Thrillers

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 June, they read suspense and thriller novels. Here's what staff members read and what they had to say about it:

Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane
Gripping, very good writing. Liked the beginning, the movie is almost word for word. Make time to read it all in one go. 3 ½ stars

Blue Heaven, by C. J. Box
Great book, won the 2008 Edgar Award. Lots of plots going on, it all takes place within a 48 hour time frame. Great description, a stand alone, a definite grabber. 5 stars

The Butterfly’s Daughter, by Mary Alice Monroe
Begins with the monarch butterfly migration, very interesting, and good description. 4 ½ stars

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett
Starts off with a bang where the main character’s partner is killed. First in a 5 part series. 3 stars

Thursday, August 21, 2014

@ Your Library: Knit & Crochet

Christina Hendricks, Meryl Streep, Alyssa Milano, Catherine Zeta-Jones - other than acting, what do these women have in common? They are all confirmed crocheters or knitters! 

Join their ranks by attending our Knit & Crochet SaturdayAugust 30 at 1:00 pm at the Sunset Library. Bring your current project to share with the group, mingle with like-minded makers, swap patterns, ideas, and tips, and make new friends at this hour-long program. Needleworkers of all skill levels are invited to join the group.

Other options include:
Joss Whedon says it best, “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.” 

Come make with us at the library!

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: