Tuesday, September 27, 2016

[News and Notes] Memphis Reads 2016 Finale Events

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is the 2016 selection for Memphis Reads, "the city's largest book club." (Library page)

Visit www.memphisreadsbook.org for more information. 
Memphis Reads 2016 Finale events:

Jesmyn Ward Talk and Book Signing
September 28, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Christian Brothers University Theater
650 East Parkway South

Jesmyn Ward in Conversation
September 29, 2016
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Rhodes College
Bryan Campus Life Center
2000 North Parkway


Monday, September 26, 2016

[News and Notes] Banned Books Week 2016

2016  Banned Books Week is September 25 - October 1

Celebrate the freedom to read by checking out and reading all books, especially banned books, from your local library. 

The American Library Association's Banned Books Week webpage  explains the history of banned and challenged books through the years with a variety of lists to browse. 

Also visit www.bannedbooksweek.org created by the Banned Books Week Coalition. 

The top ten most challenged books of 2015 include:
1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).

3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.

4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).

5.The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).

6. The Holy Bible
Reasons: Religious viewpoint.

7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).

8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.

10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

[Book Review] Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Fiction/Coming of Age

Andrea reviews SWEETBITTER by Stephanie Danler (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016).

I have to admit I was thrilled when I got my hands on this bestseller. Pardon the pun but I devoured the tell-all memoir, Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain that was published a few years back. Now, Ms. Danler has spun her own story about the underbelly of New York’s finest restaurants.
Tess is a young 22-year-old who has come to New York City with no real sense of direction or guidance in her life. It seemed logical for her to work in a restaurant since she had been a coffee barista in her past. She lands a job as a backwaiter in one of the most elite restaurants. Although her job is not to wait on the customers (or “guests,” as the “Owner” corrects her) she is responsible for cleaning off the tables, filling water glasses, and taking the food to the tables. While Tess is at the restaurant, she becomes enamored with Jake and Simone, the bartender and head server respectively. The two are quite a bit older than Tess but they go between mentoring her, being down right mean to her, sleeping with her, and messing with her head. Tess cannot figure out Jake and Simone’s dynamic, but the more she tries the more of a downward spiral she takes.
I enjoyed this tale of restaurant workers because I waited tables for ten years before I worked at the library. Restaurants always have some kind of drama and energy.  It’s a pulsating rhythm you only identify with if you have worked in the industry in any capacity. This was also a great story of infatuation, power, and desire and how quickly it can escalate in the wrong direction.

Andrea Bledsoe-King, Cordova Library

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Monday, September 19, 2016

[Book Review] Tall Tail by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown


Susan reviews TALL TAIL: A MRS. MURPHY MYSTERY by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown (Bantam Books, 2016)

Anyone who has pets knows that they “talk.” Sometimes, we humans just do not understand, but when it comes to murder, paying very close attention to our furry companions can be lifesaving.  

Rita Mae Brown, a distinguished Southern writer, began writing the “Mrs. Murphy” mysteries more than twenty years ago in “collaboration” with Sneaky Pie, a rescued tiger cat. Mrs. Murphy, a tabby cat; Pewter, a portly, grey cat; and Tee Tucker, a loyal corgi, help their mom Mary Minor Haristeen solve murders in and around a small town in Virginia. The other characters are well-detailed, and reading the latest mystery feels like a visit with old friends.

In the latest installment, Barbara Leader, a nurse to former Governor Sam Holloway, appears to have a heart attack, but she has been murdered. A family secret links her murder to the murder of a Francisco Selisse in 1784. Selisse was a brutal slave owner, and Brown moves the reader between the present day and the past to unravel the truth.
Susan Berry, Parkway Village

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

[Library Events and Programs] Great Conversations Series presented by Rhodes College Faculty

Great Conversations returns to the Benjamin Hooks Central Library this fall. 
These free sessions are taught by faculty from Rhodes College.

On September 13th, Prof. Joel Parsons will discuss the works of revolutionary artist Dread Scott

Dread Scott: Art and Politics
Tuesday September 13, 2016
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library
Memphis Room

Call 901-415-2742 for more information


Monday, August 29, 2016

[Book Review] EVEN WHEN YOU LIE TO ME by Jessica Alcott

Fiction/Young Adult

Andrea reviews EVEN WHEN YOU LIE TO ME by Jessica Alcott (Crown, 2015)

It’s hard to be Charlotte (“Charlie”) because guys are constantly drawn to her best friend, Lila. Charlie has always lurked in Lila’s shadow, knowing guys don’t want her around when they’re flirting with Lila, and other girls just put up with her because she is Lila’s best friend.
Now it is the girls’ senior year, and things are going to be different. Charlie just doesn’t know how different yet! Enter Tom Drummond, new AP English teacher, whom Charlie feels an instant pull towards. She wants to believe Drummond has feelings for her too, but that’s preposterous because guys like Lila and besides, he’s her teacher!  Or maybe the notion isn’t so crazy, after all.
Lines get blurred because the two are consenting adults, but they also need to think about the ethics of the situation and the moral responsibility Drummond should uphold.  I found their relationship complex and intriguing with a twinge of creepiness. Hopefully, other readers will find a lot to discuss after reading this debut novel by Jessica Alcott.

Andrea Bledsoe King, Cordova Library

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

[Book Review] The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey

Science Fiction

Marilyn reviews THE WHITE DRAGON (Dragonriders of Pern #3) by Anne McCaffrey (Ballantine Books, 1978)

Jaxon is a boy on the brink of manhood in a world that is under a great threat. The planet of Pern has been invaded by a creature from space called Thread. In order to fight Thread, dragons are used in this imaginary world created by author Anne McCaffrey. Although the reader meets Jaxon in earlier volumes of the series, The White Dragon chronicles his becoming a leader. Anne McCaffrey also creates a loyal companion for Jaxon in Ruth, the white dragon. As Jaxon grows into manhood his relationship with Ruth deepens into a stronger bond of loyalty for each other.
The White Dragon is the third book in a series of science fiction novels that take place in Pern. I enjoyed the book because it had mystery, romance, and dragons. A reader who has not read the previous two books can easily follow Pern’s politics and benefit from McCaffrey’s use of brief explanations and background information.

Marilyn Umfress, Central Library

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Thursday, August 04, 2016

[Book Review] Falling by Jane Green

Fiction/Chick Lit

Andrea reviews FALLING by Jane Green (Berkley Books, 2016)

Emma Montague has always been a quiet introvert. She would much rather be in the corner reading a book instead of being at a party. She was part of the hustle and bustle of New York banking for too long when she realized she was craving a more subdued and quiet lifestyle. Answering an ad for a rental house in Westport, Connecticut, Emma thinks this may be the answer she has been looking for. The house itself is horribly dated but Emma realizes its potential, especially since her most attractive landlord, Dominic DiFranco, lives right next door.

Time passes and Emma and Dominic find themselves more and more in love, and Emma is smitten with Dominic’s young son, Jesse. Even though Emma and Dominic couldn’t be any more different, the two are inseparable and even start thinking about becoming a family unit with Jesse. While Emma and Dominic are getting closer each day, they are thrown some major curve balls as all couples are.

Everything seems idyllic for the couple until it isn’t. Experiencing the worst kind of loss, Emma must go on without Dominic.

This is a heartbreaking story about all the ups and downs of true love; readers will learn that true friends are the family we make for ourselves.

Andrea Bledsoe King, Cordova Library

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