Category Archives: Reviews

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LFPL News 
Check out what’s going on at the library with our Louisville Free Public Library news.
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Audio 
 Listen up for recommendations on the best in new audiobooks. Each month, you’ll hear about new spoken-word audios to keep you entertained, enlightened and in-the-know.
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Book Sizzle 
 A weekly roundup of reading recommendations including bestsellers, new arrivals, collection highlights and books discussed on television and radio this week. Look for this newsletter in your inbox every Friday afternoon, just in time for the weekend. Then stop by the library to pick up your selections.
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Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe was the daughter of Perse, one of the Oceanids, and Helios, the Titan sun god. You may know her as a witch.  That is all I knew. Yet she is so much more. Yes, a witch. A sorceress. A nymph. A goddess. A phenomenal woman. 

Madeline Miller’s account of Circe’s life is nothing short of extraordinary.

After finishing this book, I feel Circe in me. I feel her pain, her happiness, her anger, her fire, her strength, her sorcery. Her peace. I feel it all. You will as well.

You will rage with her.  You will feel her sorrow and loneliness as it was your own.  You will feel her vengeance and revel in it.  And Circe’s power? UNMATCHED.  I never thought you could truly feel such power through a book.  No, that is not correct.  I have felt the power OF books and OF stories my entire life.  I have felt the power of characters but I have never finished a book feeling the power of a goddess.

Her role in all of Greek mythology is untold. She influenced and was involved with all of them.  Albeit from afar, in her exile at Aeaea.  Helios, Hermes, Athena, Pasaphae, Perses, Aeetes, Daedalus, Odysseus, Jason, Medea, Ariadne, the Minotaur…Circe played a part in each of their tales and so many more.

Be ready to wrestle with Circe’s growing discovery of the price of immortality.  What it means to love and hate as a goddess. Or more importantly, as a mortal.  What we all feel to err.  To fall short.  To not be able to take back grave mistakes.  To atone for our sins.  To live in this wretched world and keep moving forward.  And this is me being dramatic and cliche, but the blessed agony and ecstasy of it all.  But what else is life?

(As a bonus, I would highly recommend the audio book. I used LFPL’s downloadable audio platform RBDigital to listen and the narrator, Perdita Weeks, is divine in her own right.)

Review by Heather, St. Matthews

Books&Brews502 – Short Reviews

Do you know about LFPL’s Adult Winter Reading Program? It is called Books&Brews502 and has been running since the first of December 2018. The program will continue until the end of February 2019.

Participants are able to earn points by reading books and attending programs – either at the Library or at Books&Brews502-specific programs with partners like Heine Brothers’ Coffee and Against the Grain Brewery. The more points you have, the more chances you have to win!

One of our patrons, Bonnie G., enjoyed the program enough to do short reviews of the books she read. She has given us permission to share her reviews. The two below are ones that the library has copies available for checkout.

The Kennedy Curse by Edward Klein

I love reading about the Kennedys. This book takes the Kennedy clan from its very beginnings in Ireland, when Patrick first came to the U.S. It tells us how he did that and how he was treated. He was treated uglier than the immigrants are being treated today, maybe worse. It impressed upon me that this supposedly welcoming country is indeed hateful towards all peoples not from America.

This book begs to ask the question, then who is from here? No one. Only the native Americans are and look how this nation has treated them.

Each chapter in this book is about a specific Kennedy and their back story with almost unbelievable tidbits of information on each person. The book reads very quickly if you like dialogue and information all thrown into one. 

Relentless: A Memoir by Julian Edelman 

This is a book written by the slot receiver for the New England Patriots football team. Unlike most books written by non-writers, this book is very well written. Jules is a pleasant surprise as a dialog and descriptive writer on the events in his life, leading up to him being on the Patriots football team and during.

I have recommended this book to everyone whom I believe would be interested. There are definitely some very funny parts, especially behind the scenes. If you are a Patriots fan, this is the book for you.

Mystery Book Discussion Group

Do you like reading Mysteries? Do enjoy discussing what you’ve read but can’t find anyone to discuss them with? Then come to the Mystery Book Discussion Group at the Main Library where we discuss a different mystery every month.

We meet on the third Tuesday of the month from 2:00 pm  to 3:00 pm in the Boardroom on the second floor of the North Building.

Dates and selections for the first six months of 2019 are:

Revisiting a Childhood Disappointment – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

          When I was a child, I recall stories and anecdotes, related to me by adults, of the power and wonder of the children’s book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  Subsequently, the book assumed a somewhat mythic aura that intimidated me to a sufficient degree that I delayed its reading.  Then one day, I came across a copy and made the decision to open myself to its power and, thus, move to a higher plane of understanding and awareness.  However, I was sorely disappointed and found the story ridiculous and pointless.

          Move forward in time by many years to the present, and I, now an adult, found myself once again gazing at the cover of The Little Prince with its seemingly prosaic sketch, this copy having been returned to the library in which I work.  It is then that I decided to reread this book from my past and gauge the tale from the viewpoint of an older person with far more life experience, and my reaction could not have been more different.  I no longer viewed the simplicity of the story as ridiculous; rather, this only added to the clarity of its messages.  And the plot that I previously saw devoid of any real action and, therefore, pointless, now conveyed to me a story of sublime profundity.

          When I think of how other authors investigate the same themes of this book – the journey from childhood to adulthood, love and friendship, avarice and pride – my awe of what Mr. Saint-Exupery accomplishes in less than one hundred pages only grows. It is no wonder that The Little Prince has sold more than four million copies and been translated in to over two hundred fifty languages and dialects since its publication in 1943.

          This past Saturday, my book discussion group met and discussed The Little Prince, based on my recommendation, and in my fourteen years with this group, this was one of the best discussions, in my mind at least, we have ever had.  And I found it interesting that several who remember reading it when younger were also unimpressed at their first readings (one even threw the book in the trash after its finish), and upon this second attempt, everyone seemed quite moved.  For this reason, I encourage a revisit or even a first reading of what is now a favorite book.

Reviewed by Rob, Crescent Hill

Reading, Writing, and Reviewing, pt. 1

Really, how hard is it to knock out a book? It’s just a few hundred pages sitting there on your desk. But, hey, you’re a busy cat and you’ve got things to do!

Words on a page ought not to be daunting but sometimes it’s impossible to escape the guilt.  That story keeps haunting you, a ghost lingering in the back of your mind. If it’s good, it’s a welcome tug that will finally pull you back into graceful orbit over a magical world. And if the tale is terrible, well, then it’s like being back in high school with that burnt out teacher. You know the one, he or she took joy in watching you squirm when they asked a master’s thesis level question you had no chance of answering.

You know what sometimes can be worse? Having to write a review about a book, particularly one that may be underwhelming. This is especially true if you have settled into reading a particular sub-genre that you are a little bored with from jump. I mean, urban fantasy is a good ten years past it’s heyday in my mind. So it’s really on me because I wanted comfort. I selected the book using a loose familiarity with the author and a summary on the back of the paperback which teased a slightly new twist to well-worn genre tropes.

What work is this? Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire. I’m not even really going to describe it beyond the following:

“Verity Price is a tough young woman with a secret life protecting ‘cryptids’ (magical) beings from harm who has to take on the hot young zealot out to get them, only to end up teaming up with him to rescue a dragon from an evil cult. Sexy times and ballroom dancing ensue.”

Barring snappy banter here and there, that’s really it. Plus sequels.

Don’t get me wrong, McGuire is normally a great read (I like her other series, featuring the character October Daye) and moments really do shine in the book. There surely are people who must love the series because she keeps writing sequels.  So far, seven novels have been published and another one is scheduled for release in early 2019.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it because, hey, maybe it’s just not for me. But what I’d like to focus on for the rest of this article (and other upcoming ones) is what to do when you find yourself in a corner such as I ended up. Where does that next book come from?

Usually you ask someone, right? If it’s someone who knows you and they have the right frame of mind, they can match something to you in no time. At the very least you will find out what they are reading. That gives you something to talk about the next time you see them if nothing else.

Maybe you are reading a magazine that gives reviews. Maybe you are watching TV and they interview an author about their latest work. Or maybe you go into store with books and just browse until something strikes your fancy.

These are the things that most people do but — commonly — there is one thing they do not do or do very rarely. What is that one thing? Ask your local librarian for a suggestion.

If you are unable to make it to a library branch, you can always use our online Ask a Librarian form. Short answers will be sent within 24 hours. Longer answers will be returned as soon as possible.

Or during the months of December 2018, January 2019, and February 2019, you can sign up for suggestions from a librarian as part of our Books & Brews 502. All you need to do is attend one of the scheduled events.

For more info on LFPL’s Adult Winter Reading Program, click here.

Article by Tony,Main Library

Top Ten Graphics of 2018

Here are some of my favorite comics read in 2018. They may or may not have been published this year. Also, a few have more than one volume and I have not designated a particular volume if I would recommend the whole series.

My picks are listed in alphabetical (rather than rank) order.

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss

Dig it, Stranger Things meets The Usual Supects! Four misfit kids try to help out one of their number’s father. He is being forced into pulling a bank heist with his recently released former partners in crime. The four plan to pull the heist off first so that he won’t have to do it…and then all hell breaks loose.

 

Anarchy Comics: The Complete Collection, edited by Jay Kinney

Exactly what it says, man…comics about Anarchy! Or rather Anarchism, both historical and speculative. This classic Underground Comix has finally been given the omnibus treatment it deserves.

 

Bat-manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan by Juro Kiwata

Best thing ever! The entire run of the 1960’s manga version of Batman, organized by graphic designer extraordinare Chip Kidd. Thrill to these far-out tales, especially as the Caped Crusader faces down the infamous Lord Death Man!

 

Bookhunter by Jason Shiga

Don’t try to steal that book or stiff the library on money you owe or else the intrepid Bookhunters squad will hunt you down! Set in Oakland, CA, in 1973, Shiga’s Library Police take us on a thrill a minute adventure.

 

The Don Rosa Archives, vol. 2: Captain Kentucky by Don Rosa

Meet Lance Pertwillaby as he he gains super-powers and embarks on crazy adventures, such as battling a Godzilla-sized J. Fred Frog threatening to destroy downtown Louisville. This volume collects local cartooning legend Don Rosa’s comic strips which ran in the Louisville Times back in the day.

 

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan

It’s 1953 and Snagglepuss is a renowned playwright who gets called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (H.U.A.C.). At the same time, long-term friend Huckleberry Hound has been found in a compromising situation that has ruined the fellow playwright’s career. Snagglepuss’ testimony will help make Huckleberry Hound’s problems go away but will he sacrifice his artistic integrity?

 

Kill or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Loser tries to kill himself but manages to survive…thanks to a DEMON! All he has to do in exchange is kill one bad person a month.  Or could it be his mental illness manifesting now that he stopped taking his meds? Author Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips once again collaborate, this time on a psychological crime comic. You won’t be able to stop turning pages till the end!

 

Maximum Minimum Wage by Bob Fingerman

Classic Gen-X comic about the struggles of a cartoonist and his hothead girlfriend as they try to get by in New York. Will they find the job of their dreams? Will they even be able to pay rent? 

 

Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? by Geof Darrow and Dave Stewart

One man’s fight to survive the revenge attempts of his undead and supernatural foes. Crazy awesome detailed art from Geof Darrow is worth the price of admission alone!

 

William B. DuBay’s The Rook by William B. Dubay, Budd Lewis, and Luis Bermejo

Restin Dane is the Master of Time. Follow him, his faithful android man-servant Manners, and his cranky outlaw grand-pappy Bishop Dane, as they travel through time battling the forces of evil.

 


 

All of these works can be checked out from LFPL. Each title has a “Check Our Catalog” link that will take you to where you can view the location and status of the specific item in our system.

After taking a look, if your selection is not available at the branch you wish to go to, you may have the item shipped there by placing a hold request (using the “Place Request” button on the right hand side of the item’s catalog entry).

 


 

If you are interested in discussing these titles or other works of sequential art, please join LFPL’s Graphic Novel Discussion Group. Meetings are held at the Main Library on the second Monday of every month, starting at 6:00 PM.

Our next meeting is this upcoming Monday, December 10, 2018. We will be discussing DC’s Aquaman.

 

 

 

 

Bearskin by James A McLaughlin

Wherever I go, so goes a book I am currently reading. For this reason, booklists have become part of my search of good reads. Many lists marketed by publishers focus on popular fiction and well-known authors; it was a bit of a surprise when I came across James A. McLaughlin’s debut; the gritty novel, Bearskin.

Rice Moore is on the run. After barely escaping with his life from an Arizona prison, he took a job as a Wildlife Protection officer. Tucked away on a forest preserve in Virginia’s Appalachian Plateau, it seemed like a good place to lay low while he hid from men in a Mexican cartel, until the day a mushroom forager led him to a mutilated bear carcass. Poachers. Now the hunt was on, and Rice would have to leave his mountain sanctuary to go in search of the killers. And this is just the beginning.

Rice gets help in his pursuit of the poachers from his predecessor, Sara Birkeland. In his pursuit of the poachers, he draws too much attention to himself. There are clashes with the locals, the police are looking at him and now he finds himself fighting with drug runners instead of running with them.

This action-packed, gritty tale starts out as a man trying to put his life back together after prison but finds you can’t always run from your past and doing the right thing may be harder than just looking the other way. Told in third person, there are flashbacks that help the reader get a better understanding of this man who refuses to back down. McLaughlin’s words and story draw the reader in, with life in Appalachia in all its tough, beautiful, rugged, dangerous glory. Readers looking for a rocky adventure, tough terrain, and heroes with flaws will be drawn in and will stay to find out who will prevail.

Format Available: Book & Downloadable Ebook

Review by Micah, St Matthews

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

The pool has been a place where many women have spent the last minutes of their life, whether by suicide or by force; maybe even murder. Nel Abbott tries in vain to reach out to her little sister, who ignores her until she receives a call that Nel is dead.

When Jules Abbott receives news that her older sister, Nel, has been found in the drowning pool, she drives back to the town that she had vowed never to return to. With Nel’s fifteen year old daughter, Lena, who believes that her mother has committed suicide and a town that she vowed to never return to, Jules is forced to relieve experiences that she’d rather forget. Lena is angry with her aunt for ignoring her mother for so long and doesn’t even want her around.

 

I picked up this book because Paula Hawkin’s last title, The Girl On the Train, was intriguing to me. Into the Water was fine. It’s very hard to follow a blockbuster like Girl, which had national success. It reminded me of when I rushed to read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger after the huge success of The Time Traveler’s Wife. I was very disappointed. I felt like the author built you up so high and then left you there to dangle without ever knowing if you would sink or float.

I will not say that the book didn’t have its moments but it’s so hard to get invested in characters that you don’t even like. For argument’s sake, you can say that the title is intriguing, and it is, but…it was all over the place. There were too many characters to count. There were too many back stories to remember. There were too many time hops and not enough real story. To top it all off, the ending felt almost like an afterthought.

I really suggest that you check it out and prove me wrong. Maybe I missed something. Let me know your thoughts. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

– Reviewed by Damera, Newburg Branch

The Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux

The Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux is a light romantic mystery with intrigue, family trauma, and interesting characters that make you care about a 20 year-old murder.

It all began with murder. The dirt had been shifted, moved from beneath. Were one of them still alive?  Once the tree was in place and dirt filled in around it, it would all be over.

Straight out of college, two years ago, Kate Medlar started selling real estate, a job she loved. However, selling the same suburban type homes left her feeling like she wanted to do more. Life at home, too, was becoming more than she could take. Most of her life she had been dealing with her mother’s nerves and fears, as well as her overbearing and interfering uncles. It was time for a change.

In the middle of one her mother’s rants she accidentally mentioned an aunt, her father’s sister, that Kate had never known existed. Sara Medlar was a famous writer who lived in Lachlan, Florida. From what Kate read about the town there was also realtor trying to bring the town back to life. Locating old houses that just needed to be fixed up and put on the market, was just the kind of challenge that Kate needed and a good excuse to finally leave home.

Lachlan, was a town divided by the affluent families on one side and the improvised families on the other. Jack Wyatt had grown up on the wrong side of town and had been tied to the bad reputation of his father for years.  It had taken time, help and tough love , but he was determined to make a difference for both him and the town. With Sara Medlar, as his silent partner, he formed a construction company focusing on rebuilding some of the run down homes. But as rumor would have it, talk said, he was living with Sara Medlar, using her, taking money from and sleeping with a woman old enough to be his grandmother.

The minute she stepped into town Kate heard all the gossip surrounding her Aunt and Jack Wyatt, while a pillar of Lachlan’s community, Alistair Stewart, found the young woman just the right diversion he needed. After all the years she had taken care of her mother, she would now help Aunt Sara and put a stop to Jack Wyatt using her.

She was in for a surprise. Jack and Aunt Sara were nothing like the gossips would have her believe.

Kate, Sara, and Jack just can’t seem to leave the mysterious death of the two women alone. They go in search of answers, while a murderer tries to stop them. Jack has another problem, he is drawn to Kate who seems to have eyes for the debonair, smooth talking Alistair Stewart.

Although the book is written for adults, older teens could also enjoy this murder mystery as well see several of the main characters in their teens.

Format Available: Book, eBook, Audiobook

Review by Katy, Shawnee Branch