Read/Watch Alike: Modern Lovers + While We’re Young

If you liked this book, try this movie/If you liked this movie, try this book!
modern lovers (1)

Read Modern Lovers by Emma Straub because: it shrewdly captures modern adulthood in gentrified Brooklyn. The book follows a close-knit group of Oberlin alums as they stumble through parenthood, entrepreneurship, and self-discovery well beyond young adulthood…and because it reads as fast as popcorn.  Read-alike: They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine

Watch While We’re Young because: Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play a couple verging on middle age who attempt to reproduce their youth by latching on to painfully hip Brooklynites played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. Watch-alike: Togetherness: The Complete First Season

What you will find in both: mid-life crises, kombucha, and progressive schools.

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Book Review: Hawaii, by James Michener

index (1)First published in 1959 and clocking in at well over 900 pages, this novel has stood up to the test of time. Michener, as was his pattern in his series of historical novels, starts with a section on the geological history of Hawaii which I skimmed through. He then tells the history of Hawaii through the stories of various families who came to the islands. The first, a Polynesian group, travel in canoes from Bora Bora, a journey of thousands of miles which they undertook in the ninth century. They find the islands beautiful and fertile and are the first people to live there. The author then jumps ahead to the New England based missionaries who come to Hawaii in the 1820s along with the whaling ships with their crews with their years long voyages. Their descendants become the economic and social ruling class who imported the Chinese and Japanese laborers to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations. The laborers’ children and grandchildren had to struggle to be accepted as full members of Hawaiian society and experienced many problems of racism in their fight. I found this book interesting and an easy way to absorb the history of our 50th state.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

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Reviewed by: kh

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Book Review: A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

indexOve is a very grouchy,depressed man of 59. Over the course of this novel we learn why he is testy and the very good qualities he also has. He lives in a row house in Sweden and luckily for him, some new neighbors, Parvaneh and Patrick and their two children, move in next door. Definitely a charming, feel-good book about the redemptive power of love and relationships in the manner of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

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Reviewed by: kh

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Ideas for Summer Reading: Lists and More Lists!

wgbh_crossley_summer_readingAsk a Librarian: What Should I Read This Summer? Our Assistant Library Director, Jill Graboski, and colleagues Julie Roach (Cambridge Public Library) and Robin Brenner (Brookline Public Library), spent time at the WGBH studio chatting with “Under the Radar” host Callie Crossley about their favorite books and what’s happening at their libraries this summer.

 

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, and Sports titles, from the Boston Globe.

Twelve new and six not-so-new suggestions, from the New York Times.

Best Summer Books, 2016, from Publishers Weekly

37 Books We’ve Loved So Far in 2016: Summer Reading from the Washington Post

21 Books by Women You Have to Read This Summer, from Redbook

Ultimate Summer Reading List, from Harper’s Bazaar

The 30 Best New Books for Summer 2016, from Good Housekeeping

5 Books to Read This Summer, recommended by Bill Gates

The Canadian perspective: CBC Books Summer 2016 Reading List

18 Incredible Books You Need to Read This Summer, from BuzzFeed

And don’t forget the resources on the Library’s Reading Recommendations page!

HAPPY READING!

 

 

 

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Book Review: Wake of Vultures, by Lila Bowen

The Old indexWest and fantasy meet in Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen.  The work is gritty and fantastical, while discussing issues that women, people of color, and the LGBT community face in this historical setting.  The main character, Nettie Lonesome, grows dramatically from her start as a slave in the Old West and fights her way to become a cowhand at a local ranch before even more adventure is thrust upon her. The suspense keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as Nettie continues her adventure and learns more about who and what she is.

The rich mythology of the world of Wake of Vultures draws from Native American and European folklore to create a version of the old west that is both beautiful and dangerous.

There is a sequel in the works, but Wake of Vultures ties its plot threads together nicely, allowing the readers to finish the book wanting more, but without feeling like they have been left with a cliffhanger.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

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Reviewed by: Anne F

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Book Review: Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett

index.phpWhen mental illness exists in a family, how deeply does it emanate? Can it ever be eradicated? Adam Haslett seeks to answer these questions in his devastating and witty new novel, Imagine Me Gone. In 1960s England, Margaret opts into a marriage with a charismatic man (John) whose past is checkered with depressive episodes, a decision that she later recalls “not in sadness, but in wonder at all that followed.” What followed was the birth of three children, whose accounts of coping with their father’s precarious existence are told in vivid first-person voices. While precocious Celia and ambitious Alec manage to rise above a fraught past, their father’s demons live on in their older brother Michael, fiercely intelligent but struggling to make it from one day to the next. Repeated attempts to save Michael from himself beg the question: why do we indefatigably try to fix the ones we love? Do we do it out of love or to protect ourselves?

In the book’s most delicious chapters are Michael’s sardonic self-analyses, which read like a curriculum vitae of his drug prescriptions and failed relationships. Music buffs will appreciate allusions to Michael’s favorite artists, ranging from Aphex Twin to Donna Summer to Neil Young, and locals will recognize many Greater Boston locations that serve as the backdrop for much of the story.

Rating: * * * * Very, very good
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Reviewed by: Susannah B.

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Book Review: The Waters of Eternal Youth: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, by Donna Leon

index.phpLeon is closing in on 30 books about the Commissario and still in top form. The same themes appear and we greet the characters like old friends. This time the aged, wealthy, Contessa Demetriana Lando-Continui, a close friend of Brunetti’s mother in law wants to find the truth about the tragic accident that left her then teenaged granddaughter brain damaged some 15 years earlier. Brunetti is not optimistic about discovering new information given the state of the Italian bureaucracy and indeed the police report about the accident has fallen victim to a computer malfunction. But Brunetti does know how to work the system in search of the truth. Well written and atmospheric as they are, I always enjoy the books in this series. I appreciate Brunetti’s abiding sense of what is right and wrong.

Rating: * * * A good read

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Reviewed by: kh

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