20 – Something Book Club

parable of the sower “In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages.”  (From the Publisher)

The Syosset Public Library 20 & 30-Something Book Club will be meeting on Monday, January 6th at 7PM.  We will be discussing the dystopian novel Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.  This program is open to any 20-something/30-Something looking for a great book discussion.  No registration is required and the program is free.  Non-Syosset residents are welcome.  Copies of the book are still available at the Readers’ Services Desk on the 2nd floor.  Please call 516-921-7161 x 239 for details.  The discussion will be led by Jackie Ranaldo & Stacey Levine, 20 –Something Librarians.

Hope to see you there!

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 – posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

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About Our Reading – 2013 #1

about our reading 2013 3Earlier this month I asked our staff if they wouldn’t mind answering some questions about the books they read in 2013. We’ll be sharing their responses to various questions here on this blog, a few every day.  So keep coming back to find out how our reading went this year.

Was there an author that kept you up reading late into the night?

child reading in bedThe Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriary- Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian & Jackie, Head of Readers’ Services

The Never List by Koethi Zan, The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker – Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld – Pam M., Head of Programming

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – Erica, Reference Librarian

Phantom by Jo Nesbo – Audrey, Media Clerk

The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife, Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice by Rebecca Musser with M. Bridget Cook – Neela, Head of Acquisitions

The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island by Mac K. Griswold – Brenda, Reference Librarian

Did you discover a new favorite author(s) in 2013?

fountain penIvy Pochoda – Ed, Head of Reference Services

Orson Scott Card, Nancy Thayer, Emily Croy Barker, Beatriz Williams and Jenny Colgan – Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian

Liane Moriarty – Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian

I admit it; this year I mostly stuck to “comfort food” books. That said, my favorite authors didn’t disappoint with their latest books, so I’m fine with not having discovered anyone new! – Erica, Reference Services Librarian

Sarah Pekkanen for light women’s fiction and Jeff Abbott for suspense. – Jackie, Head of Readers’ Services

I read the first two titles in a new paranormal urban fantasy series by Philippa Bornikova, This Case is Gonna Kill Me and Box Office Poison and am eagerly awaiting the next installment. – Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

Edward Rutherford – Betty P., – Reference  Services Librarian

John Green, Pam S., – Reference  Services Librarian

2013-goalsDid you set yourself a reading goal in 2013 and did you achieve it?

I set a goal to read 100 books, I am proud to say I achieved it. – Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian

Since I had a lot going on this year, I’m just glad I was able to make time for reading at all! – Erica, Reference Services Librarian

Yes, but I didn’t accomplish it. – Betty P., Reference Services Librarian

Yes and no: I wanted to read more books than I ever have in a year, which I did, but I fell short of the total number I had in mind. – Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

- posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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A Little Christmas in my Mystery, Please! #4

christmas mystery giftEvery year I promise myself to read some books that have a Christmas theme well before the holiday season so I can write about them in this blog.  And every year I manage to read one …maybe two.  This year I actually remembered to start reading early enough to write this series of  blog posts.  I chose to stick to my favorite genre which is mystery and read books by authors I had always wanted to try but never did. I’ve read four books so far, so there will be at least four posts, maybe more if there’s time.

The nice thing about holiday books is that they are usually short and always have happy, feel good endings. Some bad/sad things might happen along the way to the characters we grow to care about while reading (especially in the case of mysteries), but there are plenty of “warm fuzzies” to go around at the end.

Spirit of Steamboat by Craig Johnson

First lines: It was Tuesday, the day before Christmas, and I wasn’t expecting visitors. I stared at my archnemesis, the little red light on my phone that connected my via the intercom to my dispatcher Ruby, in the other room.

spirit of steamboatSummary: “Sheriff Walt Longmire is reading A Christmas Carol in his office on December 24th when he’s interrupted by the ghost of Christmas past: a young woman with a hairline scar across her forehead and more than a few questions about Walt’s predecessor, Lucian Connally. Walt doesn’t recognize the mystery woman, but she seems to know him and claims to have something she must return to Connally. With his daughter, Cady, and his undersheriff Vic Moretti in Philadelphia for the holidays, Walt is at loose ends, and despite the woman’s reticence to reveal her identity, he agrees to help her. At the Durant Home for Assisted Living Lucian Connally is several tumblers into his Pappy Van Winkle’s and swears he’s never clapped eyes on the woman before. Disappointed, she whispers “Steamboat” and begins a story that takes them all back to Christmas Eve 1988, when three people died in a terrible crash and a young girl had the slimmest chance of survival . . .” (from the publisher)

My take: I’d been hearing a lot about Johnson lately on the book blogs I read and because of the TV show Longmire that is based on the his series’ main character, so I was pleased when I found Spirit of Steamboat on the new mystery shelf.  I liked this book.  Some of the situations that Longmire confronts are a little far fetched and the reader will have to suspend belief at times. Yet the characters drew me in and the book tugged at my heartstrings just as a Christmas novel should do. I will definitely be going back to the first in the series mainly because I want to meet the Lucian Connally character again, as well as Longmire and the others.  Readers of J. A. Jance and C. J. Box might enjoy Craig Johnson’s Longmire series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

-posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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New in DVD

2 Guns

2 gunsAction R

DEA agent Bobby Trench and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman are working undercover for a narcotics business. After a distorted attempt to infiltrate the drug cartel, they soon learn the secret of their dubious affiliation. Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

Elysium

elysiumSci-Fi R

In the year 2154, two groups of people remain: the extremely wealthy, who reside on an immaculate man-made space station named Elysium, and the rest, who occupy an overpopulated, destroyed Earth. Max decides to embark on a mission that could bring equality to the opposed worlds.  Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

The Family

Comedy R

familyA mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite Agent Stansfield’s best efforts to keep them in line, Fred Blake and his family can’t help resorting to old habits by handling their problems the ‘family’ way. Chaos ensues as their former Mafia cronies try to track them down, and scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings.

The Lone Ranger

Action PG-13

lone rangerA thrilling adventure in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice – taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.  Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Action PG

percy jackson sea of monstersPercy Jackson and other young demigods continue to fight, but this time in the sea, to fulfill their destinies. To save their world, Percy and his friends must find the fabled and magical Golden Fleece. Embarking on a treacherous odyssey into the uncharted waters of the Sea of Monsters (known to humans as the Bermuda Triangle), they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate Evil.  Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

Prisoners

R Drama

prisonersKeller Dover is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki arrests its driver but a lack of evidence forces his release. As the police pursue multiple leads, Dover knows his child’s life is at stake and decides he must take matters into his own hands. How far will he go to protect his family?

The World’s End

world's endComedy R

Twenty years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on doing it again. They are convinced by mate Gary King, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown to once again attempt to reach the fabled pub called the World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching the pub is the least of their worries.  Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

One Direction- This Is Us

one direction this is usDocumentary PG

An intimate all-access look at life on the road for the global music phenomenon. Weaved with stunning live concert footage, this inspiring feature film tells the remarkable story of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis’s meteoric rise to fame, from their humble hometown beginnings and competing on the X-Factor to conquering the world and performing at London’s famed O2 Arena. Hear it from the boys themselves and see through their own eyes what it’s really like to be One Direction.

- posted by Ralph, Media Services

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A Little Christmas in my Mystery, Please! #3

christmas mystery giftEvery year I promise myself to read some books that have a Christmas theme well before the holiday season so I can write about them in this blog.  And every year I manage to read one …maybe two.  This year I actually remembered to start reading early enough to write this series of  blog posts.  I chose to stick to my favorite genre which is mystery and read books by authors I had always wanted to try but never did. I’ve read four books so far, so there will be at least four posts, maybe more if there’s time.

The nice thing about holiday books is that they are usually short and always have happy, feel good endings. Some bad/sad things might happen along the way to the characters we grow to care about while reading (especially in the case of mysteries), but there are plenty of “warm fuzzies” to go around at the end.

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson

First Lines: The rear door to St. Anthony’s Church had been left open. Exactly as I had been promised.

merry christmas alex crossSummary:  “It’s Christmas Eve and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who’s robbing his church’s poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and his children. The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again–a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. Alex risks everything–and he may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days.” (from the publisher)

My take: I have read three of Patterson’s books before. One in print and the others in audio form and enjoyed audiobooks much better, so I listened to Merry Christmas, Alex Cross and liked it. The story in this book involves Cross in two separate cases over Christmas Eve and Day which might have been overkill but overall the book was good.  I liked the characters, especially Cross’ grandmother, NanaMama. There were three different readers used which was also a plus and I will probably listen to more of Patterson’s books. Readers of James Patterson might not need any readalike recommendations because he’ s publishes enough books to keep them busy but they might try the books of Jeffery Deaver or Jonathan Kellerman.

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars.

- posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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New in DVD

Fill the Void

Foreign PG

fill the voidShira is a pious 18-year-old Israeli woman, engaged to a talented young man of the same age. After her sister dies giving birth, the father is left to care for the baby and considers leaving the country. Shira’s mother discovers his plans, and pressures Shira to marry him in order to keep the baby in the country. Shira is now torn between her own wishes, and those of her mother. She is part of a community with strict laws of religion, and therefore has little choice.

Saving General YangSaving General Yang

Foreign NR

Seven sons must take on an army of thousands, brave treacherous mountain terrain, face their nemesis, and find a way home alive-all to rescue their beloved patriarch.

- posted by Ralph, Media Services

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A Little Christmas in my Mystery, Please! #2

christmas mystery giftEvery year I promise myself to read some books that have a Christmas theme well before the holiday season so I can write about them in this blog.  And every year I manage to read one …maybe two.  This year I actually remembered to start reading early enough to write this series of  blog posts.  I chose to stick to my favorite genre which is mystery and read books by authors I had always wanted to try but never did. I’ve read four books so far, so there will be at least four posts, maybe more if there’s time.

The nice thing about holiday books is that they are usually short and always have happy, feel good endings. Some bad/sad things might happen along the way to the characters we grow to care about while reading (especially in the case of mysteries), but there are plenty of “warm fuzzies” to go around at the end.

Silent Night by Robert B. Parker with Nancy Brann

First lines: Susan and I walked from my place up to Newbury Street on a sunny Saturday morning.  The snow from the night before had stopped falling.

silent nightSummary: “It’s December in Boston, and Spenser is busy planning the menu for Christmas dinner when he’s confronted in his office by a young boy named Slide. Homeless and alone, Slide has found refuge with an organization named Street Business, which gives shelter and seeks job opportunities for the homeless and lost. Slide’s mentor, Jackie Alvarez, is being threatened, and Street Business is in danger of losing its tenuous foothold in the community, turning Slide and many others like him back on the street. But it’s not a simple case of intimidation – Spenser, aided by Hawk, finds a trail that leads to a dangerous drug kingpin, whose hold on the at-risk community Street Business serves threatens not just the boys’ safety and security, but their lives as well.” (from the publisher)

My take:  It’s not a good idea to choose as your first read of a series one of the last books the author wrote, but I snagged a copy on the first day that it came out and picked it for my second holiday book.  Silent Night was an unfinished manuscript left behind by the late Robert B. Parker and completed by his longtime agent Nancy Brann.  I had put off reading any of the Spenser novels for fear that they would not live up to their reputation and my fear was realized in this case.  The book was just OK.  The plot made sense and it was interesting and entertaining enough to finish but I was left wondering, “What’s the big deal?” I’ve since gone back to the first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript and now understand a bit better and will be reading more in the series eventually.  Silent Night will surely satisfy Spenser fans eager for more.  Those readers looking for more books like Parker’s would do well to seek out Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series or the books of Elmore Leonard.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars.

- posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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