Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What We're Reading Now: A True Tale of Cold War Espionage

327.1247 PHILBY Macintyre

What does it take to be a spy?  What makes that spy serve two opposing masters? Ben Macintyre delves into the mystery of Kim Philby, a graduate of Westminster School and Cambridge, who rose through the ranks of British intelligence and betrayed England for years in service to the Soviet cause.  He enjoyed deception for its own sake; he used his friendship with MI 6 colleague Nicholas Elliot and the American James Angleton to send many to their deaths without a qualm.

Philby was spying on everyone, and no one was spying on him, because he fooled them all.

Philby had the right pedigree and the right education- higher-ups simply didn’t believe he could be a spy, so he was never caught.   He fled to Moscow and died there, a Soviet citizen.

What better time to read about Cold War spying?  Steven Spielberg’s latest movie, “Bridge of Spies” about the negotiation to exchange downed American pilot Gary Powers for convicted KGB spy Rudolf Abel, has recently been released to theaters.

Monday, November 09, 2015

It's Here - Read On!

It’s in the bag! New to the book club game or an old hand, you can host book club without stress-- just choose from one of twelve titles available from the Library’s new program, Book Club in a Bag.  All you need is a valid Mountain View library card to check out a kit.  Each kit includes ten copies of the book, plot summary, author information, discussion questions and suggestions for reading similar titles.  Each kit goes out for four weeks, with an optional renewal for an additional four weeks. The service is available today, November 9, so get ready to read, discuss and read some more.

Here are the titles currently available as a Book Club in a Bag:
  • Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Euphoria by Lily King
  • Dead Wake by Erik Larson
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  • Children’s Crusade by Ann Packer
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What We're Reading Now: The Sunday Supplement

New York Times Book Review-every Sunday in the New York Times [PER New York] 
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
I love thee for the depth and breadth of the book reviews.

I love thee for “By the book” in which authors expand on what they’re currently reading, what they read before bed, what books make them laugh, what books inspire them, which books get launched across the room, what books they deem guilty pleasures.  Questions vary based on the author

I love thee for “Crime” by Marilyn Stasio. She ably covers the plot, the mechanics of the crime and the protagonists.  She’s led me to books I’d never find on my own.   

I love thee for the “Shortlist”, which reviews a few books with the same subject matter every week. Subject changes weekly.

I love thee for “Bookends”, in which two different writers give their responses to a specific question dealing with writing.  It’s introduced me to authors I’d never considered before.   

I love thee because you make me want to read and read some more and never stop. Such joy in a newspaper!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

If you knew what’s new on the second floor…

The Seed Library has moved to a more prominent location next to the Internet Print Release Station.  Stop by to check out the wonderful variety of seeds for your every gardening need-Cool season edibles, Grains, Herbs, Ornamentals, Unusual seeds and Warm season edibles are the choices available for you to plant. If you have seeds to donate to the Seed Library, you can drop them off at the second floor Information Desk. To date, the Seed Library has distributed 6, 242 packets of 464 varieties of seeds to eager gardeners.

Puzzles to please: A rotating puzzle collection gives patrons a chance to work on the big picture from all those small puzzle pieces. The Puzzle Place is across from the Information Desk.
Local Authors Collection joins the new shelving for New Large Type next to the Large Type Collection.  Peruse the additions to both collections and explore older titles in Large Type if nothing new catches your fancy.

New Audio Books move upstairs to share shelving with New Graphic Novels next to the older audio nonfiction titles. 

Banned Books:  List your favorite “Banned Book” on the message board at the top of stairs-check out the display of Banned Books as well. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: the Library has an excellent collection of books covering symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options and steps to recovery.  Make a stop at the display highlighting breast cancer-knowledge is a valuable tool when you or a loved one faces a cancer diagnosis. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What We're Reading Now: Murder and Money

What does “Eva’s eye” see?  Eva is a struggling artist and single parent; she meets her childhood friend Maja in town one day.  Maja is a successful prostitute with a thriving business; they share a meal and renew their friendship. Eva stops at Maja’s apartment, only to witness her friend’s murder.  Eva needs cash and Maja has it.  She rifles through the apartment and leaves with the cash. Months later, Eva and her daughter find a dead body in the river. Is there a connection between this dead body and Maja’s murder?

This is the first entry in Norwegian Karin Fossum’s  Inspector Sejer series, which was only recently published in the US.  Drowned boy, the latest entry in the series, is now available at the Library.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What We're Reading Now: Innocence Lost

“Mysunshine away” by M.O. Walsh (FICTION WALSH)

The author takes us back to Baton Rouge in 1989- a nice safe suburban enclave with barbeques and children’s games after dinner until 15-year-old Lindy Simpson is raped one evening- and everything changes.  The narrator is a 14-year-old neighbor who is convinced that Lindy is his soul mate. He wants life to go back to how things were before the rape; his attempts to solve the crime himself only to make things harder for Lindy, while exposing the ugly undercurrents of that idyllic Louisiana summer.  
Ghosts exist and other adults can see them…to remind them of the one awful thing: that life is made up, ever increasingly, of what you cannot change.

This is Walsh’s first novel.  The atmosphere he creates reminds me of Pat Conroy but Walsh is  more succinct.  He allows the reader to feel the heat and humidity, the delight in a cold glass of iced tea on a blistering day, the adolescent confusion about the adult world; these serve as background to the growing realization that rape violates not only the victim but the surroundings as well. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What We're Reading Now: What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

“I kiss your hands many times” by Marianne Szegdey-Maszak  (940.5318 SZEGEDY-MASZAK)

Have you ever wondered what drew your parents together?  Marianne Szegdey-Maszak grew up in America, but her parents had a very different story.  This memoir allows her to explore the history of her family-and twentieth century Hungary- with the help of letters she discovers at her mother’s death.    Her mother’s family was Hungarian, Jewish and aristocratic. They struck a bargain with Himmler and escaped from Hungary with their lives and little else.   Her father worked in the Hungarian foreign ministry, opposed the Nazis and was sent to Dachau for his efforts. After liberation, her parents married.  The family settled successfully in the U.S, but the life her parents lived was gone forever.

The chaos of war and the plight of refugees rings just as true today –just pick up a newspaper or watch the news.