Archive by Author

Get Fancy!

30 Jan

Fancy NancyOn February 28th at 12:30 PM, Fancy Nancy and friends will be at the Mitchell Auditorium at the College of St Scholastica, for a musical review based on some favorite story books. And the Library is handing out tickets for free – at least until we run out! – as part of the museum pass program, paid for by the Legacy Fund. Just ask at the desk at the Main Library, or the branches. And while you’re there, grab one of the books from the show:

Duck For President
Fancy Nancy
Babymouse: The Musical
I Have To Go!
Leonardo, The Terrible Monster
Pirates Don’t Change Diapers

UPDATE: Wow! We’re already out here at Main. As of this writing, there are still some at the West Duluth Branch and the Mt. Royal Branch.


A Ghost of Childhood Past

28 May

In Jeffrey Ford’s latest novel, The Shadow Year, a young boy’s life is forever changed when his schoolmate disappears and he and his brother decide to investigate the strange going-ons in their small town.

With shades of Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, Ford brings to life the nameless narrator’s loving, funny but dysfunctional family that includes his hysterical brother who watches out for him when isn’t forgetting about him, an alcoholic/artist mom, a dad who works three jobs and a sister who seems to know the future with the help on an invisible friend.

With the help of an unexpected visitor, they try to find out more about a mysterious man they dub Mr. White who seems to slowly be circling them even as they spy on him.

Set in the mid 60s, The Shadow Year is dark, funny and evocotive. It takes you back in time, but then sends a shiver down your spine when you discover that someone’s not what they appear to be. Kathy B

How a liar tells the truth

18 Jan

inthewoods Early one day in 1984, three twelve-year olds set off into the local woods. Late that night, only one is found – mute, with blood on his socks and no memory of what happened. Twenty years later, he’s a detective for the Dublin police and still remembers nothing. When he and his partner are sent to investigate the murder of a girl whose body is found where the woods once stood, clues lead him to believe there’s a connection to his friends’ disappearance, and he starts to remember things he’d long forgotten. Or does he? There are two things the good detective tells the reader at the start. One: He craves the truth and Two: He lies.
In the Woods, by Tana French, is a gripping and involving thriller that leaves you wondering what the he** happened in those woods? (it better not be the fairies)
Kathy B

Good Grief is right!

10 Dec

lollyRecently widowed Sophie Stanton suffers a gradual meltdown after her husband of three years, Ethan, dies of cancer. With the help of friends (old and new), family (including her mother-in-law!), a new city and job, she begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel. By helping those whose around her who, in many ways, are in worse shape than she is, she begins to heal.
I never thought a story about a grieving widow would make me laugh so much! At the same time, I was moved by her bittersweet memories of Ethan. Author Lolly Winston has written a truly funny and tender book about love, loss and recovery. Kathy B

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

21 Aug

In Philippe Claudel’s By a Slow River, a small-town policeman recounts the murder investigation of an angelic young girl during WW1. The investigation coincides with the suicide of the beautiful but enigmatic new schoolteacher, and the death of the narrator’s beloved wife during childbirth. His description of how the town’s local residents respond to the murder and suicide is colored by his overwhelming devastation at his wife’s death.
Well written, but grim, with a little twist at the end and a revelation about the narrator that may stun, but not really surprise the reader.
So, if you don’t need a happy ending, this winner of the France’s 2003 Prix Renaudot award is well worth the time

Kathy B
Slow River

There’s more than one kind of ghost story.

8 Mar

Memories prove just as haunting as ghosts in The Keep, an imaginative but creepy novel by Jennifer Egan.

In castles, the keep was the inner stronghold – the last place of refuge when defending a castle. It proves an apt metaphor as the novel’s characters try to keep the past and their mistakes from destroying them.

When Danny and Howard, two estranged cousins, meet in a crumbling old German castle, the past can no longer be kept out. It returns, bringing with it a reminder of the terrible wrong done by Danny to Howard when they were teens. All this is connected to a prisoner with a violent past and his writing teacher, who develop an oddly touching relationship. Each story is compelling and how they are related gradually becomes clear.

The almost gothic atmosphere with the castle looming in the background is wonderful, and I loved the way the author ties both stories together. Kathy B

A Detective with a Heart

14 Feb

In 1940 London, Johnny Hawke is just scraping by as a Private Investigator. Discharged from the army after loosing an eye in rifle training, the former constable is hired to look for a couple’s missing daughter. As he starts to dig, Johnny discovers their daughter may have been living a double life connected to the dark side of the burgeoning film industry. Meanwhile, Peter, a lonely boy who’s run away from home, finds his way into Johnny’s life. The friendship between Peter and Johnny is charming, as the PI seems to see a reflection of himself in the young boy.

Filled with dashes of humor and bits of romance, Forests of the Night, by David Stuart Davies, evokes WW2 London with likeable characters that you truly care about. Kathy B

Submerse yourself in Victorian London

24 Jan

How can I describe The Meaning of Night: A Confession?
A force of nature, perhaps? It pulled me along like the tide…just one chapter, I’d think – an hour later I’d come up for air and shake the fog shrouded London scene from my head. Author Michael Cox has written a rich story of obsession and murder filled with twists and turns and a satisfying ending.

I could not stop reading – despite the fact the main character, Edward Glyver, admits to a cold-blooded murder on the first page. But Edward is a fascinating character and I found myself liking him, despite his many flaws. I wanted to know what compelled him to do what he did on that first page and I think you will, too. Kathy B

For Jane Austen enthusiasts (or anyone who likes a fast, funny read)

29 Dec

You don’t have to be a teen to enjoy Polly Shulman’s YA novel Enthusiasm – a fun, romantic tale of a modern day teen looking for her own Mr. Darcy.
Julie’s best friend, Ashleigh, is an “enthusiast” who takes up one craze after another. Most of the time, Julie doesn’t mind going along with her friend’s latest obsession, but then Ashleigh reads Julie’s favorite book Pride and Prejudice. Before you can say “Jane Austen” she’s wearing antique dresses, learning to dance a quadrille and crashing an all-boys school’s dance to look for the perfect gentleman. Not only does Ashleigh take ownership of Julie’s favorite book, the boy she chooses as her perfect Mr. Darcy is the same boy Julie secretly adores. I really liked both Julie and Ashleigh. Their friendship is a delight, so despite all the problems and misunderstandings that ensue, there is a lightness and humor that make this a book you could read in one sitting ( I know I did!). Kathy B

If you enjoy historical mysteries…

1 Dec

I recommend Some Danger Involved, the first in a series by author (and librarian!) Will Thomas. Set in Victorian London, young Thomas Llewelyn is down on his luck and in desperate need of a job. After a strange interview process, he becomes the assistant to the enigmatic “enquiry agent,” Cyrus Barker. These enjoyable mysteries are told from Thomas’ perspective, and while the story is entertaining and the author brings Victorian England to life, it’s the relationship that develops between these two very different men that I most enjoyed. Cyrus Barker is a true original and Thomas seems bemused yet fascinated by his secretive boss. The next two titles in the series are To Kingdom Come and The Limehouse Text. Enjoy! Kathy B