Tag Archives: holiday

We’re Still Reading Holiday Books

Murder for Christmas

by Francis Duncan

“When Mordecai Tremaine arrives at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame on Christmas Eve, he discovers that the revelries are in full swing in the sleepy village of Sherbroome—but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.

When midnight strikes, the party-goers discover that presents aren’t the only things nestled under the tree…there’s a dead body too. A dead body that bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas. With the snow falling and suspicions flying, it’s up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit—and prevent anyone else from getting murder for Christmas.” -from the publisher

Sonia, Reference Librarian says, “This was an old fashioned Agatha Christie type mystery featuring a charming amateur sleuth, Mordecai Tremaine, written in the 1940’s and a first in series.  A little too much time was spent describing the oppressive cloud of suspicion hovering over the household but I basically liked it and will probably read the second installment.”

A Christmas Journey

by Anne Perry

“Readers of Anne Perry’s bestselling suspense novels revel in a world that is all their own, sharing the privileged existence of Britain’s wealthy and powerful elite in West End mansions and great country houses. It is also a world in which danger bides in unsuspected places and the line between good and evil can be razor thin. This new novel features Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould – one of the most memorable characters from the Thomas Pitt series – who appears here as a lively young woman, the ultimate aristocrat who can trace her blood to half the royal houses of Europe.” -from the publisher

Brenda, Reference Librarian says, “Normally, I really enjoy Anne Perry’s mysteries especially those featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. So choosing this novella as a Christmas read seemed a good choice. As always, the author crafts a story enriched by detailed descriptions of Victorian life. At a country house during the Christmas season one guest, Isobel Alvie, made a comment that led to the suicide of another guest, the recently widowed Gwendolen Kilmuir. Isobel was tasked with making the trip to explain the circumstances of the death to the dead woman’s mother. The message was clear and poignant: seemingly simple remarks can have a profound effect. But the journey of Isobel Alvie accompanied by Lady Vespasia seemed to drag. And I was disappointed since it wasn’t really a mystery. I think I will try another in the series. I am loyal to the authors I like!”

Have you read any books set around the winter holidays? Tell us about them in the comments.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

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We Read Some Holiday Books…

The Twelve Clues of Christmas

by Rhys Bowen

“She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the new year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…

‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile, Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out ofA Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie falls out of a tree, dead…. Dickensian, indeed!:” -from the publisher

Brenda, Reference Librarian says,  “What fun! This book has an engaging heroine, a quirky supporting cast and a clever plot. The love interest between Lady Georgiana Rannoch and Darcy O’Mara is sweet. I would be happy to visit the village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey, Devonshire if it existed! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this cozy mystery.’ “

How the Finch Stole Christmas

by Donna Andrews

“Meg Langslow’s husband has decided to escalate his one-man show of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into a full-scale production with a large cast including their sons Jamie and Josh as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge and Meg helping as stage manager.

The show must go on, even if the famous―though slightly over-the-hill―actor who’s come to town to play the starring role of Scrooge has brought a sleigh-load of baggage and enemies with him. And why is Caerphilly suddenly overrun with a surplus of beautiful caged finches?” -from the publisher

Sonia, Health Reference Librarian says, “I have always wanted to try a book in this cozy mystery series .  The murder did not happen until fully halfway through the novel. Until then the reader gets to know Meg, her extended family and friends as well as the town Caerphilly at Christmastime with sometimes over the top detail.  I liked the book much better after the body appeared rather than before but I don’t think I’ll be returning to Caerphilly anytime soon.”

Have you read any books set around the winter holidays? Tell us about them in the comments.

Read about other holiday books in past posts, here or here.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

Startup that BBQ!

For some of us, the Memorial Day weekend means returning to outdoor cooking. If you are looking for some inspiration for your holiday BBQ menus we might have a book for you.  Here are a few of the barbecue books from our cookbook collection which can be found on the main floor.

Weber’s Greatest Hits : 125 Classic Recipes for Every Grill by Jamie Purviance

Collects over one hundred barbecue recipes from the grilling company, including such offerings as grilled oysters, Korean beef barbecue, jerk-spiced ribs, and Greek seafood salad.

 

Best Grill Recipes Ever : Fast and Easy Barbecue Plus Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades by Daniella Malfitano

Features recipes for barbecuing meats and vegetables, along with recipes for marinades and rubs, including such options as cedar plank salmon with herb dressing, rib eye steak Tuscan style, caramelized bananas, and short-rib burgers.

 

Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, text and photos by Meathead Goldwyn; with Greg Blonder, Ph.D

The pitmaster, national barbecue cookoff judge, and curator of the world’s most popular barbecue website debunks the myths that stand in the way of perfect outcomes and reveals all the secrets every successful griller needs to know, from which wood chipsto use to which equipment to choose.

Master of the Grill: Foolproof Recipes, Top-rated Gadgets, Gear, & Ingredients plus Clever Test Kitchen Tips & Fascinating Food Science  by The Editors at America’s Test Kitchen

A guide to grilling and barbecuing features a wide variety of kitchen-tested recipes for meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and pizza, including such regional specialties as Texas smoked sausages, Alabama BBQ chicken, and Kansas City sticky ribs.

Grill Fire by Lex Taylor

The barbecue grill master teaches the art and technique of grilling, offering advice on butcher cuts, fuels, and fire along with techniques for mastering temperature and doneness, and includes a collection of globally influenced recipes.

 

Enjoy the Holiday Weekend!

-posted by Sonia, 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.)

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

-posted by Lisa J., Readers’ Services

 

 

New Releases: Christmas Fiction

christmas_bellsIt’s December and some of you might be looking for a novel with a holiday theme to read during the month.  Here are some new fiction releases that might take your fancy:

A Christmas Escape – Anne Perry

A Christmas EscapeLonely Charles Latterly arrives at his small hotel hoping that the island’s blue skies and gentle breezes will brighten his spirits. Unfortunately, there’s no holiday cheer to be found among his fellow guests, who include a pompous novelist, a stuffy colonel, a dangerously ill-matched married couple, and an ailing old man. The one charming exception is orphaned teenager Candace Finbar, who takes Charles under her wing and introduces him to the island’s beauty. But the tranquility of the holiday is swiftly disrupted by a violent quarrel, an unpleasant gentleman’s shocking claims of being stalked, and the ominous stirrings of the local volcano. Then events take an even darker turn: A body is found, and Charles quickly realizes that the killer must be among the group of guests.

A Knights Bridge Christmas – Carla Neggers

A Knights Bridge ChristmasClare Morgan is ready for a fresh start when she moves to the small Massachusetts town of Knights Bridge with her young son, Owen. Widowed for six years, Clare settles into her job as the town’s new librarian. She appreciates the warm welcome she and Owen receive and truly enjoys getting the library ready for its role in the annual holiday open house.

Clare expects to take it slow with her new life. Then she meets Logan Farrell, a Boston ER doctor in town to help his elderly grandmother settle into assisted living.Slow isn’t a word Logan seems to understand. Accustomed to his fast-paced city life, he doesn’t plan to stay in Knights Bridge for long. But Daisy Farrell has other ideas and enlists her grandson to decorate her house on the village green one last time. Logan looks to Clare for help. She can go through Daisy’s book collection and help him decorate while she’s at it.

As Clare and Logan get his grandmother’s house ready for the holidays, what neither of them expects to find is an attraction to each other. Better than most, they know all the crazy things that can happen in life, but everything about Knights Bridge and this magical season invites them to open themselves to new possibilitiesand new love.

Away in a Manger – Rhys Bowen

Away in a MangerIt’s Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely voice, the voice of an angel, and see a beggar girl huddled in a doorway, singing “Away in a Manger.” Bridie is touched by the girl’s ragged clothes and wants to help her out ifthey can. They give her a quarter, only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. But Molly discovers the boy is the girl’s older brother. They’ve come from England and their mother has disappeared, and they’re living with an aunt who mistreats them terribly. Molly quickly realizes that these children are not the usual city waifs. They are well-spoken and clearly used to better things. So who are they? And what’s happened to their mother? As Molly looks for a way to help the children and for the answers tothese questions, she gets drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society.

An Island Christmas  – Nancy Thayer

an-island-christmasAs Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker.

As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season.

Ornaments of Death – Jane K. Cleland

Ornaments of DeathChristmas lights twinkle throughout the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, and Prescott’s Antiques auction venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Josie Prescott’s annual holiday party. Josie is especially excited this year-Ian Bennington, a recently discovered distant relative, will be joining the fun. Both Ian and Josie are, it seems, descended from Arabella Churchill, a 17th century royal mistress. The party is a success and Ian is a hit. It gives Josie an unexpected thrill to have family-and unexpected dread when he vanishes. Ian doesn’t keep his dinner date with Josie’s good friend, Lavinia, or his lunch date with her. Surely, he would have done so-if he could. Ian has given his daughter two priceless 17th century watercolor miniature portraits, one of Arabella and one of her lover, King James II, and they’ve gone missing, too. Knowing that after her nasty divorce, Lavinia is facing financial ruin, Josie can’t help wondering if her friend is behind the theft-and Ian’s disappearance. Determined to find Ian, Josie uses her knowledge of antiques to track the miniatures. In doing so, she learns the true meaning of Christmas-and the true meaning of family.

All summaries from the publishers.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

Memorial Day Weekend

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The Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching, the time when our thoughts turn to those who gave their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. It is also the unofficial start of summer for a lot of us. With these things in mind, here are some reading, watching and listening suggestions for the holiday that can be found at the library.

Going to a parade?  Get into the mood and listen to these in your car: 

military band salutei love a paradeSalute to the Services by The Military Band

I Love a Parade by the Boston Pops

 

 

Having a barbecue?  We’ve got some cookbooks for you: 

guy on fireGuy on Fire: 130 Recipes for Adventures in Outdoor Cooking by Guy Fieri

The Food Network star shares his favorite techniques and recipes for outdoor cooking through the year along with recipes for delectable desserts, flavorful sauces and condiments and delicious drinks.

 

Planet barbecue!Planet Barbecue! An Electrifying Journey Around the World’s Barbecue Trail by Steve Raichlen 

The TV grillmaster offers his latest globe-trotting barbecue tome, touring 60 countries in six continents to bring more than 300 exotic recipes to your backyard, in a book the offers choices for beef, chicken, fish, shellfish, vegetables, kebabs, wings, ribs and even dessert.

Looking forward to relaxing with a good book? 

9781594204999B.JPGRedeployment by Phil Klay

A collection of short stories by a former Marine captain and Iraq veteran focuses on the complexities of life for soldiers on the front lines and after, exploring themes ranging from brutality and faith to guilt and survival.

things they carried

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.

A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith

Star for Mrs. BlakeMeeting for the first time for a shared pilgrimage to France to visit the graves of their World War I soldier sons, an Irish maid, a chicken farmer’s wife, a Boston socialite, a former tennis star, and a librarian meet a brutally scarred journalist before confronting a shocking secret.

 

Or a movie?

Longest DayThe Longest Day (Film)

Tells the story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in WWII. There are dozens of characters, some seen only briefly, who together weave the story of five separate invasion points that made up the operation.

 

Band of BrothersBand of Brothers (TV Mini-series)

The story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission in WWII Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day.

Is a long drive part of your plans?  Listen to an audiobook:

A Blaze of GloryA Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh by Jeff Shaara

A fictional account of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, told from the perspectives of participants on both sides, recreates the April 1862 surprise attack by Confederate forces on the Union Army at Shiloh.

Under FireUnder Fire by W.E.B. Griffin 

When Captain Ken McCoy is asked to leave the Corps after his report on probable North Korean hostilities displeases his superiors, McCoy is hired by the CIA and must join with other veterans to retaliate against Korea’s invasion of the 38th parallel.

Everyone please have a good and reflective Memorial Day weekend.

– posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

What We’re Reading: Labor Day Beach Reads Edition

Reading-a-book-on-the-beach

 

The Labor Day weekend is traditionally thought of as the last beach weekend of the summer (although summer is not actually over until September 22 this year).  We thought we would tell you all about some titles that would be great to take to the beach (or anywhere) this weekend:

Karen, Library Director recommends The Vacationers by Emma Straub

vacationers“Don’t we all dream of a two week beach vacation in a villa in Mallorca?  Minus the marital problems of course!”

Celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary and their daughter’s high-school graduation during a two-week vacation in Mallorca, Franny and Jim Post confront old secrets, hurts, and rivalries that reveal sides of themselves they try to conceal.

Barry, Reference Librarian recommends Moneyball by Michael Lewis:

“The best baseball book I ever read and better than the movie which was very good. Fast reading.”

moneyballBilly Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager, is leading a revolution. Reinventing his team on a budget, he needs to outsmart the richer teams. He signs undervalued players whom the scouts consider flawed but who have a knack for getting on base, scoring runs, and winning games. Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball and a tale of the search for new baseball knowledge—insights that will give the little guy who is willing to discard old wisdom the edge over big money.

 

Brenda, Reference Librarian recommends Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury:

“The first time I read it was during the summer. And I recently reread it—it is the same sweet story of a 12-year-old boy who is awe struck with wonder at the world that he has before taken for granted. The reader rediscovers the world and gains a greater appreciation for what he had simply accepted.”

dandelion-wineTwelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole world that lies beyond. It is a pair of new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather’s renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley bell on a hazy afternoon. But as young Douglas is about to discover, summer can be more than the repetition of established rituals that hold time at bay.

 

Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian recommends Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews:

“I’m going to be reading Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews. It’s a chick lit book that seems to be easy and light – perfect for the beach or pool!”

save the dateA Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in. Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.

Ed, Head of Reference, recommends The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver:

“It takes place in Cape Cod, the ultimate summer vacation spot (in my humble opinion).”

end of the pointAshaunt Point, Massachusetts, has anchored life for generations of the Porter family, who summer along its remote, rocky shore. But in 1942, the U.S. Army arrives on the Point, bringing havoc and change. That summer, the two older Porter girls—teenagers Helen and Dossie—run wild while their only brother, Charlie, goes off to train for war. The children’s Scottish nurse, Bea, falls in love. And youngest daughter Janie is entangled in an incident that cuts the season short.

 

Jessikah, Children’s Librarian recommends Landline by Rainbow Rowell:

landline“I just finished Rainbow Rowell’s Landline.  Even though the book involves a woman who is experiencing a blip in her marriage, Rowell’s writing style is light, and she includes some breezy humor.”

Recognizing that her marriage is in deep trouble in spite of her abiding and mutual love for her husband, television writer Georgie excludes herself from a Christmas family visit before discovering a way to reconnect with the man her husband used to be.

All summaries are from the publishers.

If you would like more suggestions, why not come in and look through the selections on our Beach Reads display on the main floor or talk to one of the Readers’ Services librarians on the second floor.  Or visit the “What Should I Read” page of our website.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend everybody!

– posted by Sonia, Reference Services