“He Said, She Said” Book Discussion Recap

book discussion Syosset Public Library’s annual “He Said, She Said” Book Discussion was held this past December.  Adult Services Librarians Sonia Grgas, Ralph Guiteau, Ed Goldberg and Lisa Jones discussed the National Book Award winning novel The Round House by Louise Erdrich.

round houseMost of the group enjoyed The Round House and a lively discussion of the book ensued. The group most identified and felt a connection to the character Joe. Some of the characters that appeared in Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves reappear in this novel.  A third novel to complete the trilogy is in the works.  For more information regarding Louise Erdrich and her novels, please visit www.Birchbarkbooks.com.  If your book group would like to use The Round House for a book discussion, Readers’ Services will arrange for enough copies and assist with all information you might need.

After discussing the book we went through the list of all the SPL book discussions, both afternoon and evening, that were held during 2013.  Some of the group’s favorite book discussions were In The Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar. It was truly a year of great books and great book discussions.

 Syosset Public Library’s Book Discussions in 2013

 The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass

Next to Love by Ellen Feldman

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

- posted by Lisa J., Readers’ Services

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New in DVD

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2

Comedy PG

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals. Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and other foodimals to save the world again!

The Fifth Estate

Drama R

Fifth EstateWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg team up to become underground watchdogs of the very powerful. They create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society, and what are the costs of exposing them?

Last VegasLast Vegas


Four best friends in their late 60s decide to escape retirement and throw a Las Vegas bachelor party for the only one of them who has remained single.

Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa

Comedy R

Jackass Presents Bad GrandpaEighty-six-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companion: his eight-year-old grandson Billy. The duo will encounter male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants, funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons, and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens. Real people in unreal situations, making for one really messed up comedy.

- posted by Ralph, Media Services

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Steampunk: not just a subgenre any longer

Steampunk. What is it? Is it a community of costumed players, people, dressing up in Victorian garb with mechanical accessories? Is it a subgenre of science fiction? Is it popular in movies and television? Is it a type of setting in a video game, like in the popular BioShock: Infinite? It is all of the above and more.

                SteampunkWhat began as just a subgenre of Science Fiction in 1987, has evolved into its own genre and culture. Steampunk novels pull material from other classical genres like Fantasy, Horror, Historical Fiction, and of course, Science Fiction. Many people are often confused on what the true definition and explanation is for Steampunk. Truthfully there are numerous definitions and explanations. There is a general consensus that for a book to be considered Steampunk; it must be an alternate history and/or have advanced technologies for its time period. Most books in the genre incorporate steam-powered or clockwork-powered machinery in a 19th century Victorian England or an American West (think of the movie Wild Wild West featuring Will Smith and Kevin Kline) background setting. Although there is discussion on how forthcoming books in the genre will be expanding into different countries and time periods.

                Well known authors from other genres have even noticed the growing trend. Popular romance writer Meljean Brook has her Iron Seas series that involves adventure, the supernatural, romance and steampunk. Historical romance writer Beth Ciotta started a new Steampunk series titled The Glorious Victorious Darcy’s. Kate Locke, notable author for both young adult and adult novels, has her Immortal Empire Series. Authors of the genre allude and refer to classical science fiction authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells. Or they incorporate the work of Nichola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and other inventors of their time.

                From its earlier days Steampunk has grown and evolved. You can see elements of it everywhere. Whether in adult and young adult books at your local library, action movies in theatres, costumed players at infamous conventions (think of Comic Con, Dragon Con, etc.), music videos from famous bands, art and sculpture in museums and houses. It’s all around.

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Come browse the library’s selection of Steampunk with adult and young adult literary choices such as The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook, Soulless by Gail Carringer, The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter and Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

We have numerous movies such as Steamboy, Howl’s Moving Castle, Hellboy and Hellboy 2. And we have combination of materials such as the graphic novel and movie adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. We even have video games in the genre like BioShock: Infinite for Xbox and Dishonored for Xbox and Play Station 3.

- posted by Stacey, Readers’ Services


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New in DVD

blue jasmineBlue Jasmine

Drama (PG-13)

After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal, elegant New York socialite Jasmine moves into her sister Ginger’s modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again. Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

captain-phillipsCaptain Phillips

Drama (PG-13)

Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, which was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

in a worldIn a World…

Comedy (R)

An unsuccessful vocal coach competes against her arrogant father in the movie trailer voice-over business.

- posted by Sonia, Media Services

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About Our Reading – 2013 #7 Looking ahead for 2014

about our reading 2013 3In December I asked our staff if they wouldn’t mind answering some questions about the books they read in 2013.  The answers have been posted in this blog during the last few weeks.  Today’s post is the last in the series, in which we look ahead to our reading for 2014.

If you have enjoyed the series and have any other questions you would like me to pose to the staff about their reading, please let us know in the comments section below.

2014Is there a book you have been putting off reading and are hoping to read in 2014?

Not putting off exactly but reading at an extremely slow pace: Middlemarch by George Eliot.  I like to read it when I know I will have a long uninterrupted block of time which does not happen too often. I hope to finish it in 2014! – Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson – Neela, Head of Acquisitions

Winter of the World by Ken Follett – Audrey, Media Clerk

Perhaps about a 100 books – but who’s counting! – Brenda, Reference Librarian

The Stand by Stephen King – Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian

11/22/63 by Stephen King: I need to finish it. – Amy, Children’s Librarian

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce – set between two of her earlier books, it fills in a gap in the timeline and explains the emotional change several of the characters went through after being caught up in a war in a foreign country. – Erica, Reference Librarian

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian

Is there a book(s) coming out in 2014 that you are looking forward to reading?

Woman Reading in a GardenThe Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah and Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts. – Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – seriously, this one can’t come out soon enough! – Erica, Reference Librarian

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian

Edge of Eternity by  Ken Follett, third book in the 2oth Century Trilogy – Betty P., Reference Librarian

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – Jackie, Head of Readers’ Services

The Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan, The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson and Hangman by Stephan Talty – Ed, Head of Reference Services

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman and the sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowling which is rumored to be coming out in 2014. – Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

- posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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About Our Reading – 2013 #6 – the best and worst

about our reading 2013 3

In December I asked our staff if they wouldn’t mind answering some questions about the books they read in 2013.  The answers have been posted in this blog during the last few weeks.  In today’s post, the penultimate in the series,  we tell you what our best and worst read were in 2013.

What book did you most enjoy in 2013?

thumbs upMe Before You by Jojo Moyes – Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian and Audrey, Media Clerk

There are three I cannot choose between and each are this year’s favorites for me: The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth, The Round House by Louise Erdrich and The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. – Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri – Neela, Head of Acquisitions

Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda – Ed, Head of Reference Services

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand – Jackie, Head of Readers’ Services and Amy, Children’s Librarian

New York by Edward Rutherfurd – Betty P., Reference Librarian

This is a hard one: can I do a toss up?  The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island by Mac Griswold, a fascinating look at the Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island.

Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto, a deeply researched look at the history of Manhattan Island.

The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows by Mother Dolores Hart, former 1950’s actress who is now the prioress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis  in Bethlehem, CT. I had visited the abbey recently and found her story amazing. The title comes from the quote of St. Benedict “Listen and attend to the ear of the heart.”- Brenda, Reference Librarian

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg AND The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout – Pam M., Head of Programming

I have five: The Dark Witch by Nora Roberts; The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker; The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker; A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams and A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian

I have four: Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple; Wonder by R. J. Palacio; Orphan Train by  Christina Baker Kline and The House Girl by Tara Conklin.- Pam S., Reference Librarian

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – I can’t wait for the third book in this trilogy! (By the way, the first book in this trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, was one of my favorites of last year.) – Erica, Reference Librarian

What was the worst book you read in 2013?

thumbs downA first in a mystery series I had high hopes for: The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott.  But there is a second installment coming out, so what do I know? – Sonia, Readers’ Services Libarian

Mesmer, Book 1: Sanctuary – a free Kindle read, I tried this out because of the summary but found I couldn’t stick with it for more than a few pages. I’ve seen some free Kindle reads be great…but not this one. – Erica, Reference Librarian

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo – Pam S., Reference Librarian

Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton – Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian

Loss of Innocence by Richard North Patterson – Pam M., Head of Programming

Maybe not the worst book. I suppose for a summer beach read it is okay: Island Girls by Nancy Thayer – Brenda, Reference Librarian

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud – Audrey, Media Clerk and Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian

Gun Church by Reed Farrel Coleman – Ed, Head of Reference Services

- posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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Afternoon Book Club

Please join us on Tuesday, January 28 at 1:30 PM to discuss the historical fiction novel City of Women by David R. Gillham.  The discussion will be led by Jackie Ranaldo, Head of Readers’ Services.

city of women“Hiding her clandestine activities behind the persona of a model Nazi soldier’s wife at the height of World War II, Sigrid Schroeder dreams of her former Jewish lover and risks everything to hide a mother and two young children who she believes might be her lover’s family.” (From the Publisher).

All are welcome.

No registration required.  Free.

Copies of the book are currently available at the Circulation Desk on the Main Floor.

For more information, contact the Readers’ Services Department: 516-921-7161 x 239.

- posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

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