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!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: Don't Ever Get Old

Buck Schatz is a retired Memphis cop and a World War II veteran. He doesn't understand computers, he's annoyed by his chatterbox grandson, and he doesn't like the prospect of moving into a nursing home when his memory begins to fail and his wife sustains a fall. He certainly doesn't expect to be following the trail of a murderer at the age of 87. But when a fellow veteran makes a deathbed confession, revealing a treasure trove of Nazi gold, Buck starts getting a lot of attention from people expecting the former detective to track down the gold and give them a share. And he really starts getting attention when the bodies of some of those people start piling up.

Don't Ever Get Old is the first in a new mystery series featuring the crochety, foul-mouthed, and very funny Buck Schatz. He turns his caustic narrative to both crime and the aging process, and manages to struggle through both despite it all. The second title in the series, Don't Ever Look Back, came out earlier this summer. - Michelle (Sunset)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Books en Pointe

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead is a sophisticated tale of desire, betrayal, secrets and artistic sacrifice set in the glamorous New York ballet world during the 1970’s. Joan is an undistinguished ballerina who’s defining moment comes when she helps a magnetic Baryshnikov-like Russian dancer defect to the US. The repercussions of her decision trickle down the years eventually affecting her marriage and family, her friendships and, most painfully, her career. With beautifully restrained prose and fascinating characters Astonish Me is a passionate ode to ballet and finding balance in a creative life.

If you like reading about ballet these following novels are also about dancers:

The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey – This is the tale of Kate Crane, a soloist in a celebrated New York City ballet company who is struggling to keep her place in a very demanding world. At every turn she is haunted by her close relationship with her younger sister, Gwen, a fellow company dancer whose career quickly surpassed Kate’s, but who has recently suffered a breakdown and returned home.

Dancer by Colum McCann – Taking his inspiration from biographical facts, novelist Colum McCann tells the erotically charged story of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev through the cast of those who knew him.

Dancing for Degas by Kathryn Wagner – An ambitious and enterprising farm girl, Alexandrie joins the prestigious Paris Opera ballet with hopes of securing not only her place in society but her family's financial future. Her plan is soon derailed, however, when she falls in love with the enigmatic Impressionist artist Edgar Degas.

The Master’s Muse by Varley O’Connor – A fictional account of the marriage of ballet master George Balanchine and Tanaquil Le Clercq describes how polio ended Tanny's dancing career, the rehabilitation that deepened their relationship, and how Balanchine's return to ballet tested their marriage.

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan РIn belle ̩poque Paris, the Van Goethem sisters struggle for survival after the sudden death of their father, a situation that prompts young Marie's ballet training and her introduction to a genius painter.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Staff Picks: Fantasy and Science Fiction

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 Fantasy, Science Fiction, and graphic novels. Here's what everyone read and what they had to say about it:

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, by Emily Barker
Big epic fantasy with some romance. Fans of Outlander and A Discovery of Witches should check this one out. 5 stars

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
A big epic coming-of-age story about a young magician. A little bit like Harry Potter for adults. George R.R. Martin fans would love this book. 5 stars

Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts
Roberts' diehard fans hated this book, but I thought it was ok, decent writing, ok story line, typical romance novel. 3 ½ stars

Newsflesh trilogy, by Mira Grant
Fun Zombie series. 5 stars

Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile, by Bill Willingham
Once upon a time before Once Upon a Time came to television. Very fun. 5 stars

The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
This book haunts you, it is beautifully written, very emotional. I've never read anything like it. 5 stars

Saga, by Brian Vaughan
A futuristic version of Romeo and Juliet but they live to have a child. 5 stars

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Reading: Halfway There!

We're halfway through our Summer Reading Program! You have four more weeks to participate, log your reading and earn points toward a free book. If you haven't gotten started yet, sign up at

Adults, teens, and kids can participate. Need reading suggestions? Check out our book lists. You don't just earn points for reading - you can also earn them by attending programs and participating in other activities. Check our events calendar for upcoming programs, and follow our Facebook page for announcements about other points-earning activities.

The Summer Reading Program ends July 26.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The July 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. 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 June
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Published: July 8, 2014

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Published: July 1, 2014

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day
Published: July 8, 2014

For Chicago sociology professor Amelia Emmet, violence was a research topic--until a student she'd never met shot her. He also shot himself. Now he's dead and she's back on campus, trying to keep up with her class schedule, a growing problem with painkillers, and a question she can't let go: Why? All she wants is for life to get back to normal, but normal is looking hard to come by. She's thirty-eight and hobbles with a cane. Her first student interaction ends in tears (hers). Her fellow faculty members seem uncomfortable with her, and her ex--whom she may or may not still love--has moved on.

Enter Nathaniel Barber, a graduate student obsessed with Chicago's violent history. Nath is a serious scholar, but also a serious mess about his first heartbreak, his mother's death, and his father's disapproval. Assigned as Amelia's teaching assistant, Nath also takes on the investigative legwork that Amelia can't do. And meanwhile, he's hoping she'll approve his dissertation topic, the reason he came to grad school in the first place: the student attack on Amelia Emmet.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Published: July 8, 2014

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian
Published: July 8, 2014

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily's parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to leave their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer's house, inventing a new identity for herself, and befriending a young homeless kid named Cameron. But Emily can't outrun her past, can't escape her grief, can't hide forever-and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III by Ben H. Winters
Published: July 15, 2014

With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank’s safety is only relative, and his only relative—his sister Nico—isn’t safe. Soon, it’s clear that there’s more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it’s up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out . . . for everyone.

California by Edan Lepucki
Published: July 8, 2014

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can't reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in one other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. Terrified of the unknown but unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal
Published: July 3, 2014

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills
Published: July 15, 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman
Published: July 7, 2014

In Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, secrets and feuds go back generations. The lone policeman in a small township on the sparse northern border, Henry Farrell expected to spend his mornings hunting and fishing, his evenings playing old-time music. Instead, he has watched the steady encroachment of gas drilling bring new wealth and erode neighborly trust. The drug trade is pushing heroin into the territory. There are outlaws cooking meth in the woods, guys Henry grew up with. When a stranger turns up dead, Henry's search for the killer will open old wounds, dredge up ancient crimes, and exact a deadly price.With vivid characters and flawless pacing, Tom Bouman immerses readers in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region in the grip of change. In these derelict woods full of whitetail deer and history, the hunt is on.

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.