Tag Archives: author

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

What are we Sue Grafton fans going to do when she finishes her alphabet mystery series?  We’ll be in deep trouble, unless she starts a new series.  In U is for Undertow, PI Kinsey Millhone is visited by Michael Sutton, 27 years old, who remembers something he saw 21 years ago that may shed light on a young girl’s kidnapping in 1967.  While his story sounds implausible, there are elements that sound truthful, so she begins to investigate.

Of course things get complicated and the mysteries grow.  Indeed, she also gets caught up in family struggles that mirror her own dysfunctional family situation.

Grafton jumps between 1988, the setting of the book, and 1967 when the original kidnapping took place.  As usual, her characters are colorful, her plot is exciting, her writing sucks you in.  Grafton continually shows that you don’t need a lot of blood and guts to create absorbing mystery.

-posted by Ed G., Reference Librarian


5 Questions about books

Today “R and R” asks Lisa Caputo, Head of Adult Services, “5 Questions about books” – (actually, she answered 6!)

The books you are currently reading: Mathilda Savitch by Vincent Lodato.  I’m listening to The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk.

Book you’re an evangelist for: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout… everyone in Readers’ Services has heard me on my soapbox!

Book you most want to read again for the first time: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  This book is quite an experience.  You will never forget Ignatius Reilly, dubbed by one of the other characters in the book as “slob extraordinaire, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quicote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one.”

A favorite line from a book: “You feel blue?  Get up and do!” from Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos.

You tend to gravitate towards books about: Interpersonal relationships, dealing with life’s hardships and growing through the experience.

Your top three authors: Anne Tyler, John Updike and John Steinbeck.

The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy

I first discovered Pat Conroy this past May when I stood on line at Book Expo with his legions of fans to get an advanced copy of South of Broad.  I loved the book and went on to read Prince of Tides, which was also wonderful.

I stumbled on The Water is Wide and decided to give his non-fiction a try.  Although the prose are not as wonderful and descriptive as the two fiction books I read, they are still good and the story is gripping.

In 1969, a young, idealistic Conroy decides to teach on Yamacraw Island, a forgotten island off the coast of South Carolina. The school is a two room schoolhouse.  Conroy teaches 4th-8th grade, while Ms. Brown, a disciplinarian (vs. a teacher) teaches the lower grades.   An island inhabited primarily by Black families, the children are neglected by school administration.

The Water is Wide describes Conroy’s efforts to teach the children (many of whom do not know the alphabet, let alone what country they live in), expose them to the outside world and give them a feeling of self-worth.  His battles with the old ways of the inhabitants, the indifferent administrators and the childrens’ ignorance and fears makes for compelling reading.

I highly recommend Pat Conroy in any form.

-posted by Ed G., Reference Librarian

5 Questions about books

black lizardEd Goldberg, Reference librarian, shares some thoughts on books today:

On my nightstand now is: The book that’s been on my nightstand the longest (since 2007) is The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps: The Best Crime Stories from the Pulps During Their Golden Age–the ’20s, ’30s & ’40s edited by Otto Penzler. It is 1,024 pages of small print, 2 columns and narrow margins.  Finishing the book is my lifetime goal, but it will be well worth it.  The stories are great.  I typically take it on vacation with me.  I have the DVD of the old movie Laura and the book by Vera Caspary, on which it is based.  The differences between the book and movie are interesting.  Additionally I have In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff, The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose, The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by Yoko Tanaka, Runaway Black by Ed McBain, So Like Sleep by Jeremiah Healey and Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow by John Mortimer.

nine dragonsLast book read: The last book I read was 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly.  I’ve liked Connelly for a long time and his Harry Bosch series is always good reading.  It’s police procedural with a touch of family and camaraderie.  Connelly has created several other great characters, such as Jack McEvoy, a reporter, Michael Haller, an attorney who works out of the back of his Lincoln town car, Terry McCaleb, a former FBI agent and Rachel Walling, a current agent.  He’s beginning to introduce these characters into multiple series.

thesourceFavorite book of all time: The Source by James Michener.   I’ve read The Source two or three times, but not for a while now.  Michener’s premise that as you dig through archeological layers you can determine how civilizations viewed God and religion is just fascinating to me.

Top three authors: Thomas H. Cook, John Dunning and Pat Conroy.

Thomas_H_Cook_2-2Thomas Cook, a Cape Cod resident, writes mysteries that have a very ethereal, cloudy aura around them.  The Chatham School Affair, purchased in Chatham on Cape Cod started me as a fan and I’ve read all of his books since.

john dunningJohn Dunning writes mysteries with an antiquarian bookseller (former policeman), Cliff Janeway, as a protagonist.  There’s a lot of action in his books and there’s always a literary subplot somewhere in the book.  Dunning is also an expert on old time radio and his Two O’clock Eastern Wartime, a departure from his Janeway series, builds on this expertise.

pat conroy

Finally, I’ve recently been introduced to Pat Conroy’s books and became an immediate fan.  His descriptive writing and storyline just draw you in.

Perfect beach reads: Two series that are great beach reads are Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files series about a dysfunctional family of private detectives and Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series, A is for Alibi, etc. about Kinsey Millhone, a private detective in California.

Edgar Allan Poe Getting Proper Funeral

Poe FuneralThe year 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth and many cities are celebrating the event.  Baltimore is rectifying one shortcoming, however.  Poe, who died in 1849, did not have a proper funeral.  So, on Sunday, October 11, Poe’s funeral will get an elaborate do-over.

According to the Associated Press, Neilson Poe, Edgar’s cousin, never announced Edgar’s death publicly.  Fewer than 10 people attended the funeral.  “And the injustices piled on.  Poe’s tombstone was destroyed before it could be installed, when a train derailed and crashed into a stonecutter’s yard.  Rufus Griswold, a Poe enemy, published a libelous obituary that damaged Poe’s reputation for decades.”

Additionally, the Baltimore Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit “Edgar Allan Poe: A Baltimore Icon” with illustrations to The Raven by Edouard Manet.

So, for all you Poe fans, don’t forget to look in our collection for your favorite story.

– posted by Ed G., Reference

History happened HERE, too!

Syosset-ny-map picDid you know there were British Army encampments in Syosset during the Revolutionary War? Did you know Teddy Roosevelt had many Syosset connections?

Join longtime Syosset resident and author Tom Montalbano for an informative discussion examining these and other well known historical events and their impact on Syosset and the surrounding communities. Free. Refreshments will be served.

Monday,  September 21. 2:00 PM.

– posted by Barney, Reference Services