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The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Much has been written about the importance of the opening sentence of a book. It's been described as the key, or the hook, to reel the reader in.  The purpose of the first sentence, frankly, is to get the reader to want to read the second sentence. Stephen King commented in a 2013 interview in The Atlantic that "an opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this."

I mention this because last week I read what will surely soon take its place on the list of the best opening lines ever in a novel. I checked out John Boyne's The Heart's Invisible Furies from the library at the end of my evening shift on Wednesday, and while I was waiting to leave for the night, I opened the book and started reading:

"Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoloeague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady…
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The Fall Book Bonanza

"Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple." J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

If Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, then Labor Day is its counterpoint, the unofficial end of summer and the start of fall. In Wallingford, the kids are already back in school, and the weather has felt autumnal for more than a week, so the transition between summer and fall feels as though it has already happened. As vacations end and the weather stays cool, the lazy, easy pace of summer goes away, and in its place is a sense of newness, energy and purpose. Autumn brings a new school year, a new season of theatre and concerts and TV shows, the start of the release of Oscar-worthy movies, and the big fall book season.


"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."  F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Fall is the season when the mosthighlyanticipatedliteraryfictionreleases …

Read Anything Good Lately?

As summer winds down, the Library's director, Jane Fisher, reader and bike rider extraordinaire, and currently one of the four librarians stocking the Staff Picks display in the North Main Book Nook, shares some thoughts about her love of reading and how she gets her best ideas on what to read next:

Read anything good lately?

When it comes to reading, I'm pretty nosy. When I meet you for the first time, I'm likely to ask, "so what do you like to read?" When I visit your home, I'll meander over to check out what's on your bookshelves. It's not that I judge people by their reading interests -- I love a good page turner as much as anyone -- I've just always been curious about how people select their next book, or whether, as often happens to me, their next book selects them.

For many years I rode the NYC subway every day. Surreptitiously checking out what people are reading on the train is a favorite pastime of most librarians I know. We just can…

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

I can't remember how I found out about Andrew Sean Greer's new novel Less.  It was published in July, and the glowing reviews starting appearing shortly thereafter, but I had it on my to-read list before then. I've checked all my normal sources, and it doesn't appear on any of the "what to read next" lists that I usually rely on. It would be nice to know because Less is a gem of a book that might have slipped under my radar, and that would have been a shame.

Less is about Arthur Less, a mostly failed novelist who is about to turn 50. Arthur is "too old to be fresh and too young to be rediscovered, one who never sits next to anyone on a plane who has heard of his book." Arthur has received several invitations to mediocre literary events in countries around the world and has not responded to a single one when he discovers that his not-quite-boyfriend of 10 years is marrying someone else. Rather than go to the wedding, or decline to go without a valid …

A Sense of Place

Teresa Kristan remembers when the Wallingford Public Library was located down the block, where the Library Wine Bar and Bistro now holds pride of place at 60 North Main Street.  She remembers because she worked there and because her grandfather was a custodian for the library several decades ago. Teresa is an ardent baseball fan, so summer is an especially good time for her. She is both a Circulation Librarian and a Reference Librarian at the library, and she is one of the four library staff members currently stocking the Staff Picks display in the North Main Book Nook. Teresa's bio on the Staff Picks display includes this sentence: "If I could have read in the living womb, I would've, but the light was bad." She has a lot to say about books and reading, and she shares some thoughts below:

I was thinking about a different sense of place that I get when I read, not where the book or article is set, but where I am while I'm reading it.

There's a sweet children…

Vacation Reading

Broadly speaking, there are two types of vacation people. The first type do very little planning before they go on vacation. They pack at the last minute, make one hotel reservation, get a few restaurant recommendations, and pretty much wing it. They figure out what they want to do once they get there, and don't sweat the small stuff or the details.

I am not in that group.

The second type like to plan ahead -- each day's activities, each meal, each outfit. They pack far in advance, rethink, and then pack again. They research everything, make as many reservations as they can, talk to friends and relatives (and ask Facebook friends for tips), and leave as little to chance as possible.


I am more or less in that group.

For people in this second group, half the fun of going on vacation is all the pre-vacation planning. And for me personally, the best part of pre-vacation planning is deciding which books (and how many of them) to take with me.

Vacation reading is not like regular r…

North Main Book Nook -- Book Club Favorites

Once upon a time, the Wallingford Public Library had more than 20 "Book Club To Go" bags. These bags were big and blue and contained some of the core components of a book club gathering. Inside each bag were ten or so copies of a specific book, along with a reading group discussion guide about the book and about its author. Library patrons could check out a bag and have a ready-made book group. Just add readers!  The Book Club To Go bags sat on the shelves around the corner from the Circulation Desk, across from the entrance to the Children's Library.  They were wonderful.

But the big blue bags, while striking, hid the books from view, and even though the bags had large labels on them describing what was inside, many library patrons passed them by. And so we decided to take the books out of the bags and put them on display. Hence the "Book Club Favorites" display table in the North Main Book Nook.
The Book Club Favorites display was the first good idea we had …