Quick Picks from CMCL

April 29, 2013

Off the Shelf: Stand-out Recent Reads

At any given time, I’ve got two books going: on in my hand, and one in the car.  Usually these titles are vastly different in both genres and quality, but the last pair I finished were both excellent pieces of fiction that I’d be happy to recommend.

statewonderThe first is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.   This one I picked up from our library2go catalog to read on my Nook touch.  A 2011 title that met with solid popularity after its release, State of Wonder is now available in audio, large print, e-book, and even as one of our book kits.  Needless to say, it’s a good book.  It follows the story of Dr. Marina Singh, a middle-aged single woman with no children working for a major pharmaceutical company.  It follows her into the Brazilian rain forest to follow up on a co-workers death, and investigate the progress of the infamous Dr. Annick Swenson on her research.  This is literary fiction for those who love fascinating and maybe overdrawn characters (a deaf native boy, the legendary Dr. Swenson, the quirky, late Anders) and introspection.  Marina develops from a strangely naive and directionless woman in her 40′s to one who can brave the jungle, if not love it.  Full of science, intellectualism, moral grey areas, and even some snakes, State of Wonder is an “everyone’s reading it” quality book without the hold list.

gooseThe next title is The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.  The first in a series, this title stands alone with an excellent full-cast audio production.  Intended for a young audience, The Goose Girl is completely family friendly as well as being an excellent fairy tale.  It follows the fate of young princess Anidori, who is sent away by her mother to marry in another kingdom and betrayed by those close to her.  She must live as a goose girl, hiding both her identity and her strange abilities until she can reclaim her crown.  The title is everything you’d expect from a classic fantasy tale, with arranged marriages, horse riding, swordplay, happy endings and just a dash of magic.  With a simple story and high production value, this is a completely safe bet for a family car ride, picky young reader, or just for anyone looking for something light.  It gets my blog of approval.

That’s it for now.  For more good books–ask your librarian!

- Rob


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