Monday, August 31, 2015

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Without warning or explanation, the moon has just exploded. Scientists calculate that within 2 years, a “Hard Rain” of debris will exterminate all life on earth. Humanity marshals its resources and modifies the International Space Station, “Izzy,” into a new Ark. A world-wide lottery of a few thousand lucky(?) souls, DNA samples and as much equipment as can be assembled, are sent to the station where they hope to ride out the 5000 year cataclysm. 

Thus begins Seveneves, the latest epic novel of ideas by Neal Stephenson. The nearly 800-page story is divided into two parts. At first the space colonists struggle to survive against accidents, radiation poisoning, and even civil war. After years watching the earth turn to a glowing orange ball, only seven women are left alive: the Seveneves. 

5000 years have passed and the descendent of the original seven survivors have diverged into seven distinct, often antagonistic, races. Over the millennia, inhabitants of the orbital Ring have begun re-terraforming New Earth. Rogue settlers have also established a toehold on the slowly recovering planet. 

Seveneves is a tour de force in what some have called speculative fiction. As a novel of ideas rather than characters, Neal Stephenson has created an almost clinically terrifying examination of the plausible. The reactions of the colonists as they watch the earth succumb to bombardment moved me to consider what I would do if I knew that I and everyone around me had two years to live. And yet, it was also comforting to know that in the future, buying a real paper book before a long journey was not just a luxury because, “nothing was worse than getting stuck in a situation like that with nothing to read.” 

Neal Stepehnson’s Seveneves is a powerfully moving ride from the present into the distant future. Sit back and enjoy the ride. 

And you can reserve it here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August's Hot Reads

Whew! The summer's almost over, but there's always more demand for books! (Hooray!) 

Here are the top ten most requested titles this month. Have you gotten in line yet?

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

This book is an historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird.

X by Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton's X: Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim. 

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

What the villagers of Three Pines uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal. Leads right to the door of the irascible but beloved poet, Ruth Zardo.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo 

This best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing. 


The Murderer's Daughter by Johnathan Kellerman

A brilliant psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches--perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace's harrowing past returns with a vengeance. 

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

Hazel “Lucky” Strike—a strident amateur detective who mines the Internet for cold cases—comes to Brennan with a tape recording of an unknown girl being held prisoner and terrorized. Strike is convinced the voice is that of eighteen-year-old Cora Teague, who went missing more than three years earlier. Strike is also certain that the teenager’s remains are gathering dust in Temperance Brennan’s lab.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume  

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life -- when a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving her community reeling. 

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared.

The Murder House by James Patterson 

No. 7 Ocean Drive is a gorgeous, multi-million-dollar beachfront estate in the Hamptons, where money and privilege know no bounds. But its beautiful gothic exterior hides a horrific past: it was the scene of a series of depraved killings that have never been solved. Neglected, empty, and rumored to be cursed, it's known as the Murder House, and locals keep their distance. 

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll   

A young woman is determined to create the perfect life--husband, home, and career--until a violent incident from her past threatens to unravel everything and expose her most shocking secret of all.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sea Fever by Sam Jefferson

I am an ardent fan of nautical fiction. Whether tramping with the good doctor as he discovers new species in exotic locales in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series or boarding a French privateer in the Gulf of Toulon in Alexander Kent’s Bolitho books, my over-active imagination throws me right into the maritime action. And all from the comfort of my couch. 

As an hommage to some of these literary sea-faring greats, Sam Jefferson has written Sea Fever: The True Adventures That Inspired Our Greatest Maritime Authors, from Conrad Masefield, Melville And Hemingway. With an amiable, conversational tone, Jefferson recounts the true-life sea adventures of almost a dozen English and American writers who used much of their early experiences aboard ship to create such masterpieces as Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Sea Wolf, Swallows and Amazons, among many others. 

A boozy afternoon of marlin fishing off the coast of Cuba, complete with loaded weapons and shark attacks, became Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea. The English children’s author, Arthur Ransome bought a sailboat and cruised the Baltic between the wars with in order to get away from a loveless marriage. Erskine Childers, the author of The Riddle Of The Sands, ended his sea-faring days as a gun runner for The Irish Republican Army and was later executed for his troubles. As a surgeon aboard the HMS Chichester, the 18th-century English writer Tobias Smollett was the first to record the abysmal living conditions of the common English seaman. 

Author Sam Jefferson clearly loves his subject, and his obvious delight is infectious. I’d never heard of Frederick Marryat, Conrad Masefield, or Tobias Smollett. But Jefferson’s enthusiasm has piqued my interest in both their lives and their works and I may just pick up a copy of Roderick Random, In The South Seas or The Pilot. After reading Sam Jefferson’s Sea Fever, you just might too! 

You can reserve Sea Fever here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I'm in the mood for...

Do you sometimes need help finding just the right book? NoveList has always been a great tool for reading recommendations, and two new features, Browsing by Genre and Browsing by Appeal, make it easier than ever to find exactly what you want!

You can Browse Genres by age group.

Once you select a genre, you’ll get a page with further subdivisions.

You can also browse by appeal characteristics. For example, sometimes I like to read a book with dark humor and flawed characters. Other times I prefer a book with a strong female character and a lyrical writing style. You, too, may be drawn to different kinds of books, depending on your mood.

Several suggested lists are built in:

And others you can create yourself, using the appeal mixer:

If you are familiar with NoveList, take another look at it to explore these new features. If you’ve never used it before, give it a try, and maybe you’ll find a new favorite book!

NoveList is available from our homepage. You’ll need to log in with you Newport Library card and PIN. If you need help setting up your PIN, feel free to call us at 541-265-2153.

Happy reading!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Hello, Mr. Chips

British author James Hilton based his best-selling novel, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, on his own father, who was the headmaster of Chapel End School in Walthamstow.  Hilton first sent his story to The Atlantic where it appeared as an article in April, 1934, and it subsequently was published as a novel.
Made into a movie in 1939, Goodbye, Mr. Chips is this month's Literary Flick.  It will screen on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the library's McEntee Meeting Room.

Nearing the end of his long life, Charles Edward Chipping looks back on his career as teacher, first unpopular, and eventually beloved, teaching three generations of British boys. After he retires, he is called back to service due to the shortage of men during World War I. 
Robert Donat and Greer Garson
Robert Donat stars as Mr. Chipping and Greer Garson is Kathy Ellis, a feisty English suffragette who becomes his wife. Terry Kilburn stars as John Colley, Peter Colley I, II and III, several generations of pupils from the same family taught by Mr. Chips.

Terry Kilburn and Robert Donat
The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards: Outstanding Production; Best Director; Best Actor; Best Actress; Best Writing, Screenplay; Best Film Editing; and Best Sound. 

Robert Donat won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1939 (his sole Oscar win), becoming one of the few non-Gone With the Wind victors - he defeated some of the most famous nominated performances in film history - Clark Gable's performance as Rhett Butler, James Stewart as Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.. 

This program is free and open to the public. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Il Teatro Calamari brings puppets, masks and a unique theater experience to Literacy Park

I find it hard to believe that this Wednesday's Literacy Park program is the last for our Every Hero Has a Story 2015 summer reading program. It's been a great summer with over 2,000 people attending the weekly shows. Fortunately, there's one more show to enjoy, this Wednesday's Il Teatro Calamari with their special brand of puppetry, masks and physical theater. The show starts at 1:00 p.m.

Il Teatro Calamari was founded in 1995 as an international touring company by Emmy award winning puppeteer Tim Giugni. The company pursues theatrical excellence on the stage with productions that weave puppetry, mask and physical theater into whimsical and innovative theater experiences for the entire family.

Il Teatro Calamari’s programs are funded by a Ready to Read grant from the Oregon State Library. Their lodging is provided  the D Sands Condominium Hotel in Lincoln City. Additional support comes from our long time summer reading supporters; Ross and Janis Neigebauer, Jeanette Hofer and Umpqua Bank.

Young readers reading for an Every Hero Has a Story t-shirt have until August 31st to reach their goal.

Look here for more information about Il Teatro Calamari’s performances or other summer presentations at Newport Public Library.