Quick Picks from CMCL

March 2, 2015

Off The Shelf: Quirky Fiction

Filed under: Books, Checking In — Tags: , — lauradebacle @ 8:39 am

In a reading rut?  Try one of these offbeat novels to take you away from the ordinary…

100The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – Confined to a nursing home and about to turn 100, Allan Karlsson, who has a larger-than-life back story as an explosives expert, climbs out of the window in his slippers and embarks on an unforgettable adventure involving thugs, a murderous elephant and a very friendly hot dog stand operator.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender – Being able to taste people’s emotions in food may at first be horrifying. But young, unassuming Rose Edelstein grows up learning to harness her gift as she becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley – Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, must exonerate her father of murder. Armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together and examine new suspects, she begins a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself.

-Laura B.


February 28, 2015

Cedar Mill Reads: Literary Apocalypse

Filed under: Cedar Mill Reads — Tags: , — LGP @ 9:00 am

Newsletter for February 20, 2015

For fans of the post-apocalyptic literature genre, the bestselling Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is unforgettable. The same goes for Peter Heller’s Dog Stars and Age of Miracles by Karen Walker. The authors tell stories that stick with you. These engaging novels focus on the end of the world as we know it to be, but also hold out a glimmer of hope at what might follow. If you’ve read Station Eleven and wonder what where to turn next, take a look at this list. – Karen

Station Eleven
Station Eleven
By Mandel, Emily St John
2014-09 – Knopf Publishing Group
Check Our Catalog
ALA Notable Books (2015), National Book Awards (2014)
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, “Station Eleven “tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a
The Dog Stars
The Dog Stars
By Heller, Peter
2012-08 – Knopf Publishing Group
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ALA Notable Books (2013), Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize (2012), Indies Choice Book Awards (2013)
A pilot survives a flu that kills everyone he knows. When a random transmission beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him. He follows the static voice on the radio, but what he encounters is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.…More
The Pesthouse
The Pesthouse
By Crace, Jim
2007-05 – Nan A. Talese
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ALA Notable Books (2008)
BookPage Notable Title
2008 ALA Notable

With spectacular originality and the ability to move readers effortlessly into the world of his imagination, Crace imagines an America of the future where a man and a woman trek across a devastated and dangerous landscape, finding strength in each other and an unexpected love.
The Passage: A Novel (Book One of the Passage Trilogy)
The Passage: A Novel (Book One of the Passage Trilogy)
By Cronin, Justin
2010-06 – Ballantine Books
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“Every so often a novel-reader’s novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin’s “The Passage.” It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: Read this …More
Zone One
Zone One
By Whitehead, Colson
2011-10 – Doubleday Books
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Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award (2012)
In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. …More
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
By Bohjalian, Chris
2014-07 – Doubleday Books
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A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the bestselling author of “Midwives” and “The Sandcastle Girls.” “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands” is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves. Half a year earlier, a nuclear plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom had experienced a …More
Find Me
Find Me
By Van Den Berg, Laura
2015-02 – Farrar Straus Giroux
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After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us “Find Me,” her highly anticipated debut novel–a gripping, imaginative, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.
Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled
The Age of Miracles
The Age of Miracles
By Walker, Karen Thompson
2012-06 – Random House
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Discover Great New Writers (2012), Indies Choice Book Awards (2013)
A haunting and unforgettable coming-of-age debut for fans of speculative fiction set against the backdrop of a world where the earth has slowed, and the days grow longer. Julia is coping with the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the hopeful anguish of first love, and the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who is convinced of a government conspiracy. …More
The Last Policeman
The Last Policeman
By Winters, Ben H.
2012-07 – Quirk Books
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Edgar Allan Poe Awards (2013)
Most people have stopped doing whatever it is they did before an asteroid hovered into view. But as the time for it to hit grows closer, Hank is still working the case of an insurance man who committed suicide and he’s the only one who cares. …More
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall
By Kress, Nancy
2012-04 – Tachyon Publications
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Locus Awards (2013)
In the year 2035, all that is left of humanity lives in the Shell. After ecological disasters have nearly destroyed the Earth, twenty-six survivors are imprisoned in a sterile enclosure built by an alien race. Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the six children who were born in the Shell. Though he possesses birth defects common to the Six, including sterility, Pete is resolved to lead humanity to a …More

February 27, 2015

Checking In: Agnes Quill and the Ill-Mannered Poltergeists

“Another messy job well done. I’ll just have to charge my client for the laundry bill… yuck.” – Agnes Quill, paranormal investigator, post-case

agnesquillYoung Agnes Quill lives and works in the Victorian London-reminiscent city of Legerdemain, the defining feature of which is the gigantic cemetery at its center. That cemetery makes it the perfect place for Agnes’ job – investigations on behalf of ghosts, poltergeists and other things that go bump in the night. She sees, communicates with and often gets annoyed by the previously-living – a gift she received from her departed grandfather Ages, who is himself trapped between worlds.

“You have something against poltergeists?” “Yeah… they have no manners!” – Agnes battling a balky specter in “Invite Only”

Agnes herself is (refreshingly) matter-of-fact, balancing the noir detective archetype with a down-to-earth sincerity. Her stories exist in a world of chatty ghosts and not-so-chatty zombies, but lack the self-referential nature of a lot of contemporary urban fantasy. Originally released as a webcomic, the Agnes Quill stories are all written by Dave Roman but each story is illustrated by a different artist. Most of these were collected in 2007 as Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery, and the rest are available on Webcomics Nation’s Agnes Quill page. Spend some all-too brief time with Agnes and her mysteries – with the promise of more coming in the future!


February 25, 2015

What I’m Reading Now: GI Brides And Their Stories

Jacket1I got hooked on reading about the war brides of WWII. My mother-in-law was a war bride. She married in Germany and was then whisked off to the Big Island of Hawaii when my father-in-law’s tour of duty was over. Hearing her stories has always fascinated me, and added some reality to an era that I saw through romance colored glasses. Fortunately their marriage lasted for over 50 years. Some of the women in the following titles were not so lucky.

I started with the non-fiction account, GI Brides: the wartime girls who crossed the Atlantic for love, by Duncan Barrett. One of the authors is the descendant of a war bride and her grandmother was the inspiration for the book. The stories of four British women who married Americans in the friendly invasion are highlighted. They all came to the US to meet up with their husbands. Only one woman’s story ended on a positive note with the same husband. Most fell in love and married in haste, and saw the American soldiers as a way to better their lives.

Jacket2I just finished reading War Brides by Helen Bryan. This fictional story focuses on five women in the small Sussex, UK, village of Crowmarsh Priors. An American, an Austrian Jew, an evacuee from London, a wild party girl, and a local village woman, bond during the war. Their struggles and triumphs in village life are a window on the world of rationing, victory gardens, land girls and air raid shelters. There is a surprising twist at the end that I did not see coming.

Jacket3Next on my list is The Ship of Brides, a novel by Jojo Moyes. Originally published in 2006 in the UK it was published in the US in 2014.  This is a fictional account of an actual voyage from Australia to England in 1946 by HMS Victorious, a WW2 aircraft carrier. Four women from Australia are thrown together, along with 650 other war brides all traveling to England to meet up with their husbands on an aircraft carrier full of planes and 1000 navy personnel.  Despite strict Navy rules the men and brides on board find their lives intertwined, with lasting results.  –Rita

February 24, 2015

Blurbs From the Branch: A Man Called Ove

mancalledoveRecently, a patron came up to me, turned in a book and said, “This is the best book I’ve read in ten years!  Tell everybody about it!” The book she was talking about is A Man Called Ove, a debut novel by Swedish author Fredrik Backman. So of course I had to read it. Let me say the book was not what I expected.  There have been a few Swedish authors that have received attention lately, such as Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell, who write thrillers and mysteries. This book is not a thrill ride; it’s a quiet character study of Ove, the angry man next door. The name Ove is pronounced as OH-veh. As the book progresses, you learn more about Ove, and begin to understand this cantankerous old man and what motivates him.  Basically, he sees the world only in terms of black and white. Then you find out about his late wife Sonia, who is completely the opposite of Ove, and nobody can understand why she married Ove who was basically born as a grumpy old man. By the end of the book, you understand why she loves him, and you may fall a little in love with him too. I can’t say it’s the best book I’ve read in years, but it’s a heartwarming story I thoroughly enjoyed.


February 23, 2015

Off the Shelf: New Discs from the Portland International Film Festival

piff belleGood news for Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) fans! Long-awaited 2014 festival favorite Belle, previously only available on Blu-ray is finally out on DVD. After missing it in the theater, I’ve been waiting all year to see this British abolition-era period drama starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who quickly did a 180 to star as a pop diva in the recent Oscar-nominated film Beyond the Lights (out on Blu-ray & DVD).

piff dark valleypiff liberatorAdditionally, a couple of the 2015 films are ready for home viewing. The Liberator arrives on DVD & Blu-ray March 10, but you can place holds on the Simon Bolivar biopic now. Atmospheric revenge western The Dark Valley is available on DVD or Netflix, which you can access on our new Roku, available for pickup at both Cedar Mill or Bethany Libraries.

Happy viewing! Laura T.


February 20, 2015

Checking In: From the Whedonverse to Graphic Novels

Here at Cedar Mill Library, we pride ourselves on our extensive graphic novel collection. We have nonfiction, horror, literary fiction, humor and more. Today we’d like to highlight continuations of Joss Whedon’s TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spinoff Angel and Whedon’s underappreciated gem Dollhouse – each following on from their respective series endings. (If you need to catch up on the series DVDs, click on the following links to place holds: Buffy, Angel, and Dollhouse.)

omnib1In petite and chunky form, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s seven omnibuses collect all of Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy-related output from 1998-2003. The first and second volumes contain some of the best material, including a Sarah Michelle Gellar-inclusive retelling of the events of the Buffy movie (which is different enough to need to be readapted to fit into TV continuity) as well as further tales of what the Slayer was up to between her time in LA and Sunnydale. The stories set during the TV series are less essential but still a cut above most TV tie-ins.

buffyseason8The Buffy crown jewel, though, is its long-running continuation which follows Buffy and the Scoobies after the cataclysmic series finale, exploring the psychological fallout and up/downsides of a world in which every young woman is a potential Slayer. New relationships, new villains and propulsive character development make its first arc, Season 8, a must-read. After Season 8’s gamechanging finale, Whedon and co. follow up with Season 9, which is all about consequences and living with them, with as much contemplation in its pages as action. Unmissable.

afterthefallNeatly encapsulated by its semi-cliffhanger and a world-weary but defiant “Let’s go to work” from its ensouled vampire hero Angel, the eponymous series ended on a high note. Buoyed by the success of Buffy Season 8, Whedon and the Angel writers turned their attention to following up Angel’s finale, sending Los Angeles to a chiaroscuro-informed Hell in the wake of Angel Investigations’ rejection of the demonic law firm Wolfram and Hart. In the four-volume series (plus its followup, AftermathAfter the Fall, a depowered Angel and his colleagues deal with betrayal, change and sins of the past as they try to survive, keep their souls intact and find some way to return LA to Earth. A reluctant, conflicted hero’s work is never done, though, and a few years later Whedon and co. launched Angel & Faith as a new series to run concurrently with Buffy Season 9, addressing the consequences of Angel’s role in the Twilight arc. Equally conflicted Slayer Faith Lehane joins him in a quest to make sense of the Season 9 status quo and to perhaps bring an old friend back to life in the process.

dollhouseWe only have one Dollhouse-related graphic novel, but it’s a doozy:  Epitaphs fills the gap in between seasons one and two, explaining how Rossum Corporation’s medical technology led to the disaster as seen in the episode Epitaph One.

buffyseason10But that’s not all! Buffy and Angel & Faith are continuing into Season 10: Buffy Season 10 Volume 1: New Rules and Angel & Faith Season 10 Volume 1: Where the River Meets the Sea are available to check out now!

– Patrick

February 17, 2015

Blurbs From the Branch: Joyce Maynard is one Awesome Lady

Filed under: Blurbs from the Branch, Books, Books to Film — Tags: , , , — Becca B @ 8:00 am

joyce-maynard-1Joyce Maynard is an excellent author, with a very interesting past, including an affair with J.D. Salinger. She has written several novels, and a few memoirs, all of which are excellent. Here’s a list of a few of them.

To Die For (1992) – Suzanne Maretto’s only desire in life is to become a successful TV journalist. She will stop at nothing – even convincing three teenagers to murder her husband who she thinks stands in her way – to achieve her dreams. This darkly comic novel is based on the Pamela Smart murder trial from 1990. Some of you may remember the movie version from 1995 starring Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix.

Labor Day (2009) – 14-year-old Henry and his reclusive mother, Adele, give an escaped convict shelter after he approaches them, hurt very badly, at a department store. The next few days change all of their lives forever. This book was recently made into a movie starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.

After Her (2013) – Maynard’s latest novel is the story of two young sisters in San Francisco in the late 1970s, whose father is investigating a string of serial murders on the mountain behind their home. Be prepared for the song “My Sharona” to be stuck in your head for days…

At Home in the World (1998) – In this memoir, Maynard discusses her affair with the incredibly private J.D. Salinger, something she didn’t talk about for years.


– Becca

February 16, 2015

Off the Shelf: Reading the Oscars!

Filed under: Books, Books to Film, Off the Shelf — Mark @ 12:14 pm

enigmaBefore they were Oscar-nominated films, they were novels, biographies, comic books, and fairy tales. For your reading pleasure, here is an alphabetical list of the books that inspired the 2015 nominees.

American Sniper based on: American Sniper:  The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (biography) by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice

The Boxtrolls based on:  Here Be Monsters!  (juvenile fiction) by Alan Snow

Captain America: The Winter Soldier based on:  Captain America: Winter Soldier (graphic novel series) by Ed Brubaker, characters created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes based on elements from:  Planet of the Apes  (fiction) by Pierre Boulle

Foxcatcher based on:  The True Story of My Brother’s Murder, John du Pont’s Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold by Mark Schultz

Gone Girl based on:  Gone Girl (fiction) by Gillian Flynn

Guardians of the Galaxy based on elements from:  Guardians of the Galaxy (graphic novel series) by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies based on:  The Hobbit (fiction) by J. R. R. Tolkien

How to Train Your Dragon 2 based on:  How to Train Your Dragon (juvenile fiction series) by Cressida Cowell

The Imitation Game based on: Alan Turing: The Enigma (biography) by Andrew Hodges

Inherent Vice based on: Inherent Vice (fiction) by Thomas Pynchon

Still Alice based on: Still Alice  (fiction) by Lisa Genova

The Theory of Everything based on: Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen (biography) by Jane Hawking

Unbroken based on: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption  (history) by Laura Hillenbrand

Wild based on: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (biography) by Cheryl Strayed

X-Men: Days of Future Past based on: The Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past (graphic novel)by Chris Claremont and John Byrne characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

~Librarian Robin

February 13, 2015

Checking In: From Outer Space To Your Lap: The Truth Revealed!

Filed under: Books, Checking In, Kids — Tags: , , , , , — patrickc @ 8:00 am

truth about cats

“Cats usually arrive at night so as not to arouse suspicion. A cat who is already on the Earth’s surface sends out a horrendously noisy signal to guide the orbiting cats toward Earth.” – many Bothans had to pet a lot of cats to bring us this declassified Feline information

Felis catus, the domestic housepet of choice for discriminating humans. Or so they want you to think! They certainly don’t want you to find out, all Kevin McCarthy-style, that cats are instead aliens from outer space come to Earth to take over the world (cue dramatic musical sting)! Alan Snow’s 1995 exposé The Truth About Cats lays bare this long-term, global, worldwide conspiracy. That kitten? It’s coming to get you, Barbara! Aunt Margie’s adorable tabby? Planning on cornering the global market on tuna!

Freshly declassified and declawed documents show a cat’s cutaway view. That tail? Not a tail – instead a highly sophisticated communications array suitable for coordinating a worldwide takeover. Tiny Felines fill each soft outer shell, beavering away at their tasks (controlling the gyros, connecting to other cats, manning each cat’s Star Trek-like teleporter) while nearby humans are none the wiser. The Felines, fighting an endless war with the Canines, use horribly effective sympathy rays to furrther their ensconcement in human society. Alan Snow’s highly detailed artwork and dry commentary rewards repeat readings and careful study of the imminent threat.

“Their numbers are multiplying, and their hold over humans and dogs is strengthening. Dogs are already banned from many public places, while cats roam freely wherever they want. So be warned – complete cat control is not far away!” – more hard-won intelligence from The Truth About Cats

Find out how you can best defend yourself against the Feline threat by checking out The Truth About Cats today – your life and your lap may depend on it.

(Disclaimer: Checking In loves cats and dogs equally, and wouldn’t mind world domination by either pet, whether by purring in one’s lap or fetching squeaky toys.)


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