Monthly Archives: August 2014

When Hell Freezes Over and the Devil’s Inside

We’re launching a new book discussion group here at Bon Air, beginning September 24 at 7 p.m.  Our selections will cater to ages 15-25 but slightly older adults are welcome.  The club will generally feature Older Teen and Adult Fiction with young adult characters ranging from 15 to 25-ish.

 

IcedMoning

In the spirit of new beginnings I decided to choose two books that I had not previously read.  September’s selection is Iced: A Dani O’Malley Novel.  This book is set firmly in the middle of the ongoing popular Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.  It is the first book told from the perspective of Dani O’Malley, a rather unusual 14 year old in a world gone mad.  If you haven’t read the series, don’t despair.  This book can be read as a stand-alone.

Bodacious fairies and dark evil things that go bump in the night have hemorrhaged over into our reality.  Unfortunately, pretty much all of them are monsters and they think humans are tasty morsels. But even in the midst of monsters and mayhem, relationships and people who “care” may just be the most dangerous thing around.

Dani’s number one prerogative is to keep the people of Dublin safe. Number two is to stay free.  Not-quite-human club owner Ryodan manages to blackmail Dani into helping him solve a mystery that threatens not only his business, but all of Dublin.  To that end he keeps her under his thumb.  Dani’s number one makes her want to help, but her number two makes her resistant and bitter.

Despite the despicable means by which their partnership is formed the two characters forge ahead to find out how and why something is freezing humans and evil creatures alike.  The frozen venues are barely approachable by supernatural ilk.   And for some reason, they keep exploding.

Dublin was already the seventh circle of Hell but now it’s frozen over.  Will our reluctant heroine save the day?  Only the book will tell.

Formats Available:  Audiobook, Book, eBook

 

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October’s selection is Horns by Joe Hill and we will meet on October 29 at 7 p.m.  I swear on my library card that I didn’t know this book had a movie being released on October 31st.  Just days after I picked this book, I was thumbing through my various “social” addictions…I mean appswhen I spotted a video box with Daniel Radcliffe’s face.

“Hmmm, wonder what that is?”   Imagine my surprise when I click the play button like a good little monkey and I’m treated to an early sneak preview of Horns!  “Yes! ” I mentally shouted, while I did a little spastic dance around the room.  Luckily the only witnesses were my family and they’re used to my strange silent outbursts.

My family waited patiently for me to explain.  When I told them that Daniel Ratcliff was playing the lead of a great philosophical horror story, my teens all began clamoring in protest, “You can’t do that to Harry Potter! That’s just wrong.”   I laughed, perhaps a little bit maniacally, and told them that Daniel Radcliffe could play any character he desired, even a devil!

WARNING!!!  This book will may make you squirm.

The beginning chapters of this story are dark and graphic.  The main character, Ig (Ignatius) Perrish, has been living in a town where everyone thinks he raped and murdered his high school sweetheart, Merrin.  He didn’t kill her.  He loved her so deeply, he is lost without her.

Unable to cope with the anniversary of Merrin’s death, Ig drinks himself into such a stupor that he can’t remember the previous evening when he awakens the next morning.  Of course, he knows almost immediately that he must have done something really, really bad.  The horns sprouting out of his head are dead giveaway.

Ig’s first reaction is to think he’s hallucinating, but his current girlfriend, quickly disabuses him of that notion when she affirms that she can see them.  As if that weren’t bad enough, she immediately begins to divulge her darkest urges and thoughts. Ig flees.  He moves from person to person looking for help or absolution, but each encounter just leaves him more sickened and shell-shocked.

Slowly Ig begins to realize that he can influence people.  He can’t make them do something they don’t want to do.  But if the urge is tucked away inside somewhere, Ig can coax it out.  When Ig finds out who truly killed Merrin he begins to actively used the horns and his new strange powers.

He wants justice and revenge, so he embraces the devil inside.  Does that make him evil?  You’ll have to decide for yourself, once you read the book.

Formats Available:  Audiobook, Book

Reviews by Angel, Bon Air Branch

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic — and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

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In 1854, an outbreak of cholera struck the Soho district of London, killing over 600 people. Steven Johnson ’s The Ghost Map paints a vivid and engaging portrait of a community struck by a disease it does not understand and cannot control, and the struggle to develop the knowledge and means to stem the tide of mortality. Even if non-fiction is usually not to your taste, this account of Dr. John Snow’s investigation of the outbreak and the struggles of families and individuals gripped by the disease is engagingly written and well worth a read.

Dr. Snow’s investigation of the cholera epidemic of 1854 became the seed for modern epidemiology. While the story of his plotting cholera cases on a map of the district and targeting a public water pump as the source of the outbreak – ultimately resulting in the removal of the handle of the pump – is well known, it’s not the complete story, and Johnson does an admirable job bringing the sights – and smells of mid-19th Century London to life.

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Dramatized narratives of Soho residents’ lives during the outbreak serve for more than background nuance and flavor. Small details – a splash of gin added to water unwittingly killing the bacteria – hint at the much larger developments that the 1854 outbreak led to. Dr. Snow’s struggle to find the focus of the epidemic and then convey his ideas about the pump as the common source to authorities convinced that disease was spread by foul smells, not by water, foreshadows the use of maps and charts to illustrate data and convince the public and policy setters. The use of the map was at the cutting edge of the time: Florence Nightingale used charts and maps to push for the need for sanitation. The field of data visualization, then in its infancy, is an important part of scientific research and public service.

Given the impact of the 1854 Soho cholera epidemic on today’s world, and how the concerns of infectious disease and public health are still with us, the central dramas of The Ghost Map are well worth thinking about. In the final chapters, the author attempts to integrate the lessons of the epidemic with more modern concerns, and although some of his points are worthwhile, others seem like over-reaching attempts at relevancy, when the story of the outbreak, and the impact epidemiology has on our lives is a gripping story in itself. Some of this poorly-integrated theorizing feels like it belongs to another book, and isn’t given enough time for a good, mature argument.

All in all, however, despite the problems of the last chapters, The Ghost Map is a must-read for history buffs, or even fans of historical fiction, to get a feel for the urban atmosphere of the time. At his best describing the Soho outbreak, Johnson strikes a fine balance between exploring the scientific and historical significance of the events and the very human drama of families and individuals in the grip of a deadly disease.

Formats Available:  Book, eBook

Reviewed by Katherine, Highlands-Shelby Park Branch

What do these six authors have in common?

LFPL’s fall Authors at the Library series includes six bestsellers

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What do these six authors have in common?

They all have new books coming out this fall, they have all spent time on the New York Times Bestsellers list, and they’re all appearing as part of the Louisville Free Public Library’s Authors at the Library series.  From memoir to the Middle Ages, from Gutenberg’s printing press to the birth of the ‘pill,’ this series is sure to be entertaining and thought-provoking. All Authors at the Library programs begin at 7 p.m. at the Main Library, 301 York Street.  The events are free, but tickets are required; visit LFPL.org or call 574-1644.


 Chris Tomlinson

Wednesday, September 10, 7PM

tomlinson Author, journalist, and filmmaker Chris Tomlinson is a fifth-generation Texan whose ancestors were slave holders. His latest book, Tomlinson Hill: The Remarkable Story of Two Families who Share the Tomlinson Name – One White, One Black, examines what the family’s legacy means, both for the author and the African American Tomlinsons—particularly the most famous descendant, former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Join Chris Tomlinson for a discussion of his new book at the Main Library, Wednesday, September 10 at 7 PM.

The event is FREE, but tickets are required; click here to order or call (502) 574-1644.


 Gail Sheehy

Tuesday, October 14, 7PM

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World-renowned journalist Gail Sheehy will discuss her latest memoir Daring: My Passages. The book chronicles her trials and triumphs as a groundbreaking “girl” journalist in the 1960s to one of the premier political profilers of today.

Tickets available beginning September 15 at 9 AM


 Steven Johnson

Thursday, October 16, 7PM

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Steven Johnson is best known for writing about innovations, ideas, and culture. His new book How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World celebrates the history and power of great ideas. A six-part series of the same name will air on PBS during his visit at LFPL.

 Tickets available beginning September 15 at 9 AM


Dan Jones

Monday, October 27, 7PM

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Are you obsessed with Game of Thrones, fascinated by British royal history, or really into medieval warfare? Then join historian, journalist, and New York Times-bestselling author Dan Jones for a discussion of his latest book The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors.

 Tickets available beginning September 15 at 9 AM


Azar Nafisi

Tuesday, November 4, 7PM

 nafisi

Azar Nafisi is the bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. Join her for a discussion of her latest book The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books at the Main Library.

Tickets available beginning October 1 at 9 AM


 Jonathan Eig

Tuesday, November 11, 7PM

 johnathaneig

The birth-control pill has been called one of the most influential—if not controversial—inventions of the twentieth century. Bestselling author and journalist Jonathan Eig explores the pill’s unlikely genesis in his latest book The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution.

 Tickets available beginning October 1 at 9 AM

 

Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey

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Gears, wheels and clockworks.  Oh, my!

Plus mechanical beasties, horses and ships, murder and mayhem, romance and adventure.

Once you start, you are dropped down in the middle of a Steampunk tale that will introduce you to a time that is both dark and tantalizing.  This high adventure is peopled with villains, heroes and the in-betweens that pull you into an alternate world where knowledge of science and steam can indeed make magic happen.  But it’s Kristen Bailey’s heart as a storyteller that will keep you turning the pages until you reach the final line on the first leg of a long journey for Meg, Will, Lucinda and Oliver.

This harrowing tale is filled with the imagination, creativity and ingenuity.  Bailey brings to life mechanical beings, weapons and amusements, almost leaping off the pages of the book.  This first installment in The Secret Order trilogy opens a world misplaced in time that will intrigue and delight teens of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery and romance.

Meg’s life as the daughter of a clockmaker was comfortable, but after the fire that took the life of her parents all she has left to remember them by is a cindered pocket watch.  As housemaid to an eccentric Baron, life is anything but comfortable with long hours of drudgery, dusting and cleaning until the winding of a clock opens a secret door.  Within the hidden workshop there are fantastic machines and a spyglass like nothing Meg has ever set eyes on before.  Some allow her to see into all areas of the estate by means of disguised cameras.  Among the detailed drawings are the inner workings of a bizarre egg shaped contraption, Meg finds a letter that sends her on a search for the grandfather she had thought was dead.

The trail she follows leads to a secret society of men that can create almost anything you might imagine with gears, wheels and clockworks.  Along with Will, a former stable hand, she makes her way to London, to meet with Lucinda, the widow of an Amusementist to begin their search for clues which can lead them to a machine that may well tear apart the very fabric of time.  With a murderer on their trail, a weapon of deadly destruction, that only she has the key to stop, clues to search out and inventions that could be the death of them, this harrowing adventure has just begun.

If this sounds exciting and you want to know more, check out the book trailer or the author’s website.

Formats Available:  Book

Reviewed by Katy, Shawnee Branch

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

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Nell is completely enamored with her older sister, Layla.  So much in fact that, when they were little girls, she called herself “Nellayla” because she felt that their bond was so close, they were like one soul.  During Nell’s freshman year of high school, she discovers that Layla is having an inappropriate relationship with a teacher.  This puts Nell in a serious bind. She wants to keep her sister’s secret, but she also feels like the situation Layla has gotten herself into is wrong.  Thrown unwittingly into her sister’s secret, what should she do?

When I read the synopsis of the book, I was hoping that it delivered a punch that would have me cursing in the air because I was so mad.  I didn’t find myself spewing vulgarity to the heavens but was entranced as I read, my eyes transfixed on my Kindle.  The story is told from Nell’s point of view.  Nell is a very inquisitive and responsible (to a point) teenager, who looks up to her older sister in a way that is borderline loving, hero worship with a touch of creepiness.

Her best friend Felix is her confidant.  He doesn’t sugar coat anything for her, mince words, or treat her like she is special.  Nell loves that about him.  I really liked how the author describes this friendship and was very surprised that this wasn’t one where the two of them eventually fall in love with each other.

Nell has so many things on her plate.  She is just beginning high school, she has a crush on a boy, she makes the soccer team and she is worried about the strange way her older sister is beginning to behave.  She is going through typical teenage emotions and the author mixes words so that you feel each one.

When Nell learns of Layla’s secret, it is purely by accident.  As rumors start to spread about her sister and a teacher who has a reputation of being with a different female student each year, Nell chalks it up as just being gossip.  But when she catches Layla in the act of video chatting with this teacher, Nell knows that nothing good can come of it and just how bad the situation can become.

The moral compass is stretched to the limit with this story and I really wish that the author wouldn’t have ended the book the way that she did.  Layla was involved in something that teenagers shouldn’t be aware of.  She was completely taken advantage of but she felt that it was love.  There could have been so much more that would have made this a five star book.

All in all, I really liked the book and would very much encourage people to read it, especially if you are the parent of a teenager.

Formats Available:  Book

Reviewed by Damera, Okolona Branch