Our Favorite Books of 2016

books3In what has become a tradition here at Syosset R and R, we will be running a series of blog posts throughout the month of December telling you about our staff’s favorite reads for this year.  The books mentioned were read during 2016 but not necessarily published in 2016. Here goes:

Karen, Library Director:

orphan 8Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade 

When hospice nurse Rachel realizes that her new patient is the doctor that spent years subjecting her to tortuous medical experiments at a Jewish orphanage, she is forced to confront her memories of the time and their lasting effect.

Pam. M., Assistant Library Director:

behold-the-dreamersBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

An immigrant working class couple from Cameroon and the upper class American family for whom they work find their lives and marriages shaped by financial circumstances, infidelities, secrets, and the 2008 recession.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

my-name-is-lucy-bartonLucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s lif

state_of_wonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh must step out of her comfort zone when she is sent into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years–a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past.

Sharon, Head of Teen Services:

burn-baby-burnBurn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

During the summer of 1977 when New York City is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, seventeen-year-old Nora must also face her family’s financial woes, her father’s absence, and her brother’s growing violence.

“This YA book is set in NYC during the summer of 1977, and reading about the terror of Son of Sam, the blackout and all the crime was really eye-opening for me.  I tend to forget how dangerous it was in the city back then because for as long as I can remember, it’s been cleaned up and Disney-fied, but 1977 was a crazy time to be a teenager!”

and-i-darkenAnd I Darken by Kiersten White

In this first book in a trilogy a girl child is born to Vlad Dracula, in Transylvania, in 1435–at first rejected by her father and always ignored by her mother, she will grow up to be Lada Dragwlya, a vicious and brutal princess, destined to rule and destroy her enemies.

“This was the Dracula story reimagined as a dark and brooding teenage girl. The settings and the story were magical.  Loved it!”

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red-queenWhen her supernatural powers manifest in front of a noble court, Mare, a thief in a world divided between commoners and superhumans, is forced to assume the role of lost princess before risking everything to help a growing rebellion.

“This is a dystopian trilogy where the color of your blood (red or silver) determines your fate. Some similarities to the Hunger Games, but very well-written and has a fabulous female protagonist.”

(All summaries from the publishers.)

Keep checking in with Syosset R and R for more of our favorite reads of 2016!

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

New in DVD

anthropoidAnthropoid

Drama R

Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the code name for the secret Czechoslovakian mission to assassinate Nazi SS officer Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution to the Jewish question, was the Reich’s third in command and the leader of Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia. Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

The BFG

Animated PG

the-bfgEnjoy the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of another world. The BFG is a Big Friendly Giant, so he’s nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24 feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and likes to keep to himself.

-posted by Ralph, Media Services

New in DVD

bad-momsBad Moms

Comedy R

When three overworked and underappreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long-overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence. Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

Captain Fantastic

Drama R

captain-fantasticDeep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, isolated from society, a devoted father dedicates his life to transforming his six young children into extraordinary adults. But when a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to leave this self-created paradise and begin a journey into the outside world that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and brings into question everything he’s taught them. Also available in Blu-Ray DVD.

hell-or-high-waterHell or High Water

Action R

A divorced West Texas dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate money-making scheme in order to save their family’s farm from foreclosure.

mechanic-resurrectionMechanic: Resurrection

Action R

Bishop is in danger once again when a beautiful but deceitful woman cunningly pulls him back into the life he left behind. Now, time is short and he is being forced to assassinate some of the most dangerous men in the world.

war-dogsWar Dogs

Comedy R

Two friends in their early twenties living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military.

-posted by Ralph, Media Services

 

Afternoon Book Discussion

my-brilliant-friend

with Sonia Grgas, Reference Librarian

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 1:30 PM

My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. This meticulous portrait of these two women is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

 “The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.”  -From the publisher

This program is free.

No registration required.

Books are available at the circulation desk.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

New in DVD

finding-doryFinding Dory

Animated PG

When Dory, the forgetful blue tang, suddenly remembers she has a family who may be looking for her, she, Marlin, and Nemo take off on a life-changing quest to find them, with help from Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who’s convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark! Dive into the movie overflowing with unforgettable characters, dazzling animation, and gallons of fun!

into-the-forestInto the Forest

Sci-Fi R

After a worldwide power outage, two sisters must work together in order to survive in their increasingly treacherous new world while fighting intruders, disease, loneliness, and starvation.

-posted by Ralph, Media Services

New November Birthdays Display

Happy birthday to those born in November! There are books by and about famous people who were born in this month featured on our new third floor display.

  • Are you interested in music? Did you know that W.C. Handy, John Philip Sousa, Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell were all born in the eleventh month.
  • Born more than 400 years apart religious leaders Martin Luther and Billy Graham had November birthdays.
  • World War II military leaders George Patton and Erwin Rommel both were born in this month.
  • Or you can check out books about journalists Walter Cronkite and Ida Tarbell and scientists Carl Sagan and Edmond Halley.
  • There are so many literary figures who were born this month: Neil Gaiman, Louisa May Alcott, James Agee, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Marianne Moore, Albert Camus, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Political figures are represented by Robert Kennedy, Joe McCarthy and William Cullen Bryant. But if you’ve had enough of the political, for a lighter look at life check out a book by birthday boy, cartoonist Charles Schulz.

Come in and have a look and a read!

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

Veterans Day…Honoring All Those Who Served

veterans-day

 

Veterans Day (November 11th) honors individuals who served in the United States Armed Forces. It marks the anniversary of the end of World War I.  The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Here is a list of fiction books that explore different aspects of war that your book club may wish to discuss:

Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler

Presents the story of a single North Florida family shaped and overshadowed by the Vietnam War and the estrangements between the fathers, sons, and brothers who supported or protested against it.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with respective beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Asked to be part of the Dallas Cowboys’ halftime show on Thanksgiving, Specialist Billy Lynn, one of the eight surviving men of the Bravo Squad, finds his life forever changed by this event that causes him to better understand difficult truths about himself.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A tragic wartime romance set against the brutal and chaotic backdrop of World War I is the classic story of a volunteer ambulance driver wounded on the Italian front and the English nurse he loves and leaves behind

Hurricane Street by Ron Kovic

In the spring of 1974, as the last American troops were being pulled out of Vietnam, Ron Kovic and a crew of other severely injured veterans in a California VA hospital launched the American Veterans Movement. … Kovic corralled his fellow AVM members into staging a sit-in, and then a hunger strike, in the Los Angeles office of senator Alan Cranston, demanding better treatment of injured and disabled veterans.

We Come to Our Senses: Stories by Odie Lindsey

Exploring the lives of veterans returning to their homes in the South, an intense debut centers around men and women affected by combat directly and tangentially, including a vet turned office clerk whose petty neuroses derail even her suicide and a woman who redeploys to her Mississippi hometown and confronts the superior who abused her at war.

Casualties by Elizabeth Marro

Shattered by her Iraq war vet son’s suicide, Ruth, an executive for a successful military defense contractor, flees her regrets during an east-bound road trip that forces her to confront her past, her choices, the war and her relationship with her son.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Heroic young men carry the emotional weight of their lives to war in Vietnam in a patchwork account of a modern journey into the heart of darkness.

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

In the midst of a bloody battle in the Iraq War, two soldiers, bound together since basic training, do everything to protect each other from both outside enemies and the internal struggles that come from constant danger.

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

Helen Adams, an American combat photographer during the Vietnam War, captures the wrenching chaos of battle on film and finds herself torn between the love of two men, one an American war correspondent and the other his Vietnamese underling.

 (All summaries from the publishers.)

truman-quote

 

This article also appears in Syosset Public Library’s Book Club Insider newsletter for November 2016.

-posted by Lisa J., Readers’ Services

 

 

A Syosset Public Library Blog

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