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Amy Stewart Visits Wallingford

In the January 2019 issue of WORDS, the library's monthly newsletter, the library announced the return of One Book, One Wallingford for 2019. Weekly teaser clues as to the identity of the book and its author were released on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as on the library's website and (in an old-school nod) on a white board near the Circulation Desk. And then on February 6th, a large crowd gathered in the library for the reveal of our 2019 One Book, One Wallingford selection, Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart.

Since then, there has been a lot going on. The Record-Journal ran a nice article about the program and the reveal of the book. Groups met to learn about the development of the female detective in fiction and about the role of women in early 20th-century America. There were discussions about handwriting analysis and about the care and training of homing pigeons. Jim Tierney, who created the cover of the book and won an award for his efforts, came to Wallingf…
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A Few Good Reads

I spent much of March and April in something of a reading slump, and I am here to tell you that it was no fun. Books that I thought would be great were only good or just ok. Books that sounded interesting weren't. Books that started really well petered out or shifted into something derivative and dull. In short, I was in a rut, and I did not like it.

But then, mirabile dictu, I read three books over the course of a week that I absolutely loved. I more or less inhaled two of them, reading them in great big gulps the way a really thirsty person drinks water (which is a little bit how it felt). I read the third one more slowly, a chapter or two at a time, to make it linger. All three were so good that I cannot resist sharing them with you:


First, Henry, Himselfby Stewart O'Nan. O'Nan is the author of 18 novels, including Last Night at the Lobster, which was the Thursday Night Book Club book in December of 2017. Two of O'Nan's novels center around the Maxwell family i…

Thursday Night Book Club -- April, 2019

Immediately before the start of the Easter holiday weekend, the Thursday Night Book Club met to discuss The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Set on the fictional Alice Island, located somewhere in the vicinity of Nantucket, Zevin's bestselling novel is about an independent bookstore called Island Books and its cranky and disaffected owner A.J. Fikry. A widower at 35, Fikry is lonely, angry and something of an old-fashioned literary snob.  As the book begins, Fikry's priceless copy of a rare book of poems by Edgar Allen Poe is stolen and a 2-year-old girl named Maya is left in the bookstore. Fikry's decision to adopt Maya reinvigorates both his store and his life. "A.J. watches Maya in her pink party dress and he feels a vaguely familiar, slightly intolerable bubbling inside of him. He wants to laugh out loud or punch a wall. He feels drunk or at least carbonated. Insane. At first he thinks this is happiness, but then he determines it's love." A…

E.L. James' Party Favors

Do not even try to pretend that you don't know who E.L. James is. The author of the (in)famous Fifty Shadestrilogy has become something of a household name. Fifty Shades of Grey, an erotic romance about billionaire Christian Grey and the innocent but determined Anastasia Steele, began as fan fiction in the wake of the success of the Twilight series, before James decided to publish the novel with a small Australian publishing house in 2011, thinking it might sell a few thousand copies. Since then, the book (which got scooped up by Vintage in a bidding war in 2012) and its sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, along with two companion novels Grey and Darker, have sold over 150 million copies in more than 50 languages. I've read all five books, and I suspect you have too or you at least know someone who has. The original trilogy has been turned into a three-movie series that has grossed over $1 billion. Fifty Shades of Grey even earned a spot on The Great American …

The Masters

I received such a positive response to the blog post I wrote a few weeks ago about March Madness that I decided to take the sports-and-books theme one step further. One of the MANY reasons why I adore the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament is that, from time to time during the (numerous) commercial breaks, CBS runs teaser ads for The Masters, one of the most prestigious annual events in professional golf. And I love The Masters almost as much as I love March Madness.

I can almost hear the incredulity in your voice: Really, Cindy? Golf? Football, sure. Basketball, I get. Baseball too, because it's the national pastime. Even ice hockey I could understand, assuming you can explain to me how to see the puck. But golf???? I know, I know, it's a little weird, but I love watching professional golfers play, especially on some of the most beautiful and majestic golf courses in the country. The sport is about warm weather (most of the time) and sunshine (most of the time). Th…

The Best Books You Have Never Read

It's been some time since we had a guest blogger on this site, but April 1st seems the perfect date for one. Chris Ciemniewski is the library's Publicity and Public Services Librarian. Among other things, Chris is responsible for the monthly newsletter. He curates content for the library's social media pages and creates library flyers and handouts. Because Chris is more interested in classic literature than in contemporary literature, making reading suggestions is not necessarily his strong suit, which is why he decided to create an infallible list of books we guarantee you've never read...

Library patrons are always asking us which books they should read next. The trouble is that avid readers have already read many of our suggestions! So, we created this list of the best books that we guarantee you have not read! Ask at the Information Desk to place them on hold. It would make our day!

Concerning the Black Holes by Jack Torrance -- This under-appreciated classic follo…

Thursday Night Book Club -- March, 2019

Because the Thursday Night Book Club spends 11 out of the 12 months of the year immersed in the reading of fiction, the annual discussion of the group's sole non-fiction title always has the potential to be a thing apart. The club's gathering on Thursday, March 21st to talk about The Shallows by Nicholas Carr was no exception. Subtitled "What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains," The Shallows posits that the Internet is a medium based on interruption, and that the distractions inherent in our use of the Web are changing the way we read, think and process information. As Carr writes: "I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book...My mind would get caught up in the twists of the narrative...and I'd spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That's rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do." Carr describes the way the &quo…