10 Great Audiobooks for Long Road Trips

Summer holidays are perfect for long road trips. Nothing passes the hours faster than a good audiobook. Here are some of our favorites to keep you company on your next adventure.

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH

If you’re laughing, you won’t notice that there’s nothing interesting on the side of the road. Here are some great audiobooks that will have you in stitches until you reach your final destination.

51hPJ13AsDL._SL300_Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Length: 8 hours and 41 minutes

Narrator: Jenny Lawson

There’s nothing like hearing a book in an author’s own words. This memoir from popular blogger Lawson, The Bloggess, takes us on a hilarious journey as she recalls her bizarre childhood in rural Texas — from her awkward teen years to her arguments today with her husband.

 

 

 

 

512QYi8RoLL._SL300_Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Length: 7 hours and 35 minutes

Narrator: Amy Poehler

This is a book that is at its best in audio form. Poehler’s hilarious and candid book includes thoughts on everything from her childhood in a Boston suburb to her early days in New York City and her ideas about Hollywood. Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents make cameo appearances.

 

 

 

 

51QZmBRxuBL._SL300_Still Foolin’ ‘Em by Billy Crystal

Length: 8 hours and 6 minutes

Narrator: Billy Crystal

With his trademark wit and heart, Crystal outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss. He also looks back at the most memorable moments of his life, including his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and hosting the Academy Awards. It’s an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

 

 

 

61+m+Sls15L._SL300_As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Length: 7 hours and 1 minute

Narrator: Cary Elwes

Actor Elwes played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride. This book is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film with never-before-told stories. He interviews co-stars, including Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest and Mandy Patinkin.

 

 

 

 

51DaKkaGLrL._SL300_Carsick by John Waters

Length: 8 hours and 8 minutes

Narrator: John Waters

Is there anything better to listen to on a long car ride than a cross-country hitchhiking adventure with John Waters? His bizarre adventure includes rides with a gentle 81-year-old farmer, an indie band on tour, and a young, sandy-haired Republican in a Corvette.

 

 

 

 

ARE WE THERE YET?

If you have kids on board, you know how torturous long road trips can be. Here are some great books that will keep the little ones happy.

61clY6n-0UL._SL300_Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Length: 8 hours

Narrator: Jim Dale

This narrator brings the wizarding world to life. It’s a positive delight to hear him read Harry’s adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

61dA--dONIL._SL300_Matilda by Roald Dahl

Length: 4 hours and 18 minutes

Narrator: Kate Winslet

This classic Dahl tale about an exceptional young girl is fascinating with Winslet’s narration. You will feel like Miss Trunchbull and the Wormwoods are along with you in the back seat!

 

 

 

 

 

61kcsjSUNfL._SL300_A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Length: 6 hours and 8 minutes

Narrator: Hope Davis

Rediscover this beloved childhood classic. Meg Murry, her little brother, Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a “tesseract,” which, if you didn’t know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg’s father had been experimenting with time travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?

 

 

51hxrjUOh+L._SL300_The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Length: 7 hours and 47 minutes

Narrator: Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack — who has already killed Bod’s family. Gaiman is not only a talented author, but he also has amazing voice talent. He is sure to leave your entire family enthralled.

 

61p6wDxqx8L._SL300_Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) by Philip Pullman

Length: 10 hours and 48 minutes

Narrator: Philip Pullman

This is the first book in Pullman’s Carnegie Medal and Guardian Award-winning trilogy His Dark Materials. Set in a parallel world very similar to our own, Northern Lights tells the compelling story of 12-year-old Lyra’s quest to rescue her friend and find her father, aided by her daemon, an armored bear, and a witch queen. Pullman is an amazing narrator who matches his voice well to each of the characters.

10 Great Songs for Summer

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Summer is a magical time that is perfect for outdoor barbecues and lazy afternoons on the patio. Or perhaps you prefer to drive up to the cooler mountains. Either way, summer deserves a good soundtrack. Here are some great hot weather classics you can download today with your library card using Freegal:

 

“School’s Out” – Alice Cooper

“Summertime” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

“Summer Wind” – Michael Bubble

“Margaritaville” – Jimmy Buffett (with Alan Jackson)

“Cruel Summer” – Bananarama

“Summer” – Calvin Harris

“Surfin’ Safari” – Beach Boys

“Summer Girls” – LFO

“Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams

“Summertime” – Kenny Chesney

8 Great Brunch Cookbooks

Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just want a leisurely weekend meal with your family, brunch is a great and simple way to entertain. Perfect your brunches with delicious staples from these cookbooks.

51LVf20socLBubby’s Brunch Cookbook

Bubby’s is a New York City brunch mecca for city dwellers and celebrities alike. With this cookbook, there’s no need to travel all the way to the East Coast to experience their famous dishes. Bubby’s owner and chef Ron Silver reveals the secrets behind his signature dishes: German Skillet-Based Pancakes, Sizzling Ham and Gruyere Omelet, and Blueberry Scones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

51Uo6bdU3BLBreakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For

The Williamsburg-based Egg has been serving up decadent brunches for ten years. This cookbook includes the restaurant’s most famous recipes, including their signature Eggs Rothko (which is their twist on toad-in-the-hole).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook

Another NYC staple is Sarabeth’s. Over thirty-five years ago, she launched her first restaurant’s wildly popular weekend brunch. This cookbook contains 130 classic morning recipes from fluffy scrambled eggs to warm sticky buns. Her coffee cakes are guaranteed to impress weekend guests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

51mO2NcBXoLClinton St. Baking Company Cookbook

If you couldn’t tell by now, NYC is a great place to do brunch. Clinton St. Baking Company is a tiny 32-seat eatery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This cookbook reveals the secrets to their house-made buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam and irresistible muffins and scones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

51IIIOQkTwLLet’s do Brunch

This cookbook breaks brunch down to the basics: sweet, savory, salads, sides and drinks. Every recipe includes suggestions for pairings with other dishes and beverages, which makes meal planning a breeze. Your guests will delight over the Applesauce and Brown Sugar Crumb Cake and New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp and Grits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

51+KtunmkbLSunday Brunch

This cookbook is comprised of 80 mouthwatering recipes for your standard brunch fare: eggs, stratas, pancakes, waffles, quick breads and hashes. The Eggs Benedict with New Orleans accents will bring you endless compliments from guests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

511h2qQlHMLWaffles

Did you know that waffles can be both sweet and savory? This cookbook has more than 30 mouthwatering recipes along with dozen of topping ideas for the waffle. Keep it basic with the childhood classic Buttermilk Waffle or mix it up with Ham and Gruyere Waffle Tartines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

51+I2sHVh3LBreakfast Comforts

This cookbook of over 100 recipes includes mouthwatering dishes from beloved breakfast and brunch restaurants across the country. They include chile-laced migas from the Southwest to crab cake benedicts from the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

Reading Challenge: Short Story Collection

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Are you doing the Douglas County Libraries 2016 Reading Challenge? One of the challenge items is a short story collection. These collections are great for people short on time. Just pick up a book, read a few stories, put it down, and come back to it days later — no need to remember past plot. They often include taut writing and unflinching attention to detail. They are stories distilled to perfection. Here are a few that our staff recommends.

 

 


51kYH+TZImLCatch and Release: Stories
by Lawrence Block

Crime writer Lawrence Block is beyond a legend and practically a force of nature at this point in his career. You might expect this collection of relatively new material to come in on the nostalgic side, to be attenuated due to the master’s age, to present as a lagniappe to a successful career. Instead, Block’s latest collection will scare the hell out of you, turn your perception inside out, and generally provide the same thrill ride of expert characterization and twisted expectation as the best of Block has always done. (Available in book, audio CD and eAudio)

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again apparent in this brilliant collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken. Suffused with Munro’s unparalleled gift for storytelling, these tales about departures, beginnings and homecomings, both imagined and real, paint a radiant, indelible portrait of how strange and extraordinary ordinary life can be. (Available in book, audio CD, e-book and eAudio)

 

 

 

 

 

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Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong by Joyce Carol Oates

These four exquisitely suspenseful novellas from Oates (The Accursed) offer sharp characterizations, whether it be the naive and romantic 16-year-old Lizbeth Marsh; the deeply spoiled, deeply disturbed Bart Hansen; or Mariana Mohr, the fourth wife of an accomplished intellectual. The relationships between the damaged, sometimes monstrous individuals who people these pages will keep the reader riveted. (Available in book, audio CD, Playaway and eAudio)

 

 

 

 

 

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Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link

These nine stories may begin in familiar territory — a birthday party, a theme park, a bar, a spaceship — but they quickly draw readers into an imaginative, disturbingly ominous world of realistic fantasy and unreal reality. Like Kafka hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Link mixes humor with existential dread. Link’s characters, driven by yearning and obsession, not only get in trouble but seek trouble out — to spectacular effect. This is a particularly delicious listening experience, featuring a cast of talented readers. (Available in book and audio CD)

 

 

 

 

 

51Dz17FAMYLMake Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk

Representing work that spans several years, Make Something Up is a compilation of 21 stories and one novella that will disturb and delight. In “Knock, Knock,” a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments, while in “Tunnel of Love” a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing “relief” to dying clients. And in other stories the absurdity of both life and death are on full display, which readers expect from Palahniuk. (Available in book, audio CD and e-book)

 

 

 

 

 

41UHH8+xvjLOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

Part Etgar Keret, part McSweeney’s, these tidy tales from the alum of TV’s “The Office” depart from the “how I became famous” comedian’s biography for a decidedly more literary turn. Finding inspiration in questions ranging from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might just make a person complete. (Available in book, audio CD and Playaway)

 

 

 

 

 

51UtWgyTIYLTenth of December by George Saunders

One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible and moving collection yet. Unsettling, insightful and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December — through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit — not only entertain and delight, but also fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should “prepare us for tenderness.” (Available in book, audio CD, eAudio and e-book)

 

 

 

 

 

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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman  

Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction — stories, verse, and a very special “Doctor Who” story that was written for the 50th anniversary of the beloved series in 2013 — as well as “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American gods, exclusive to this collection. Listeners will be thrilled to hear Gaiman expertly narrating his own stories on the audio formats. (Available in book, audio CD, eAudio, e-book and Playaway).

 

 

 

 

 

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A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham

The latest from Cunningham (The Hours) offers elegant, sardonic retellings of 10 iconic fairy tales, including “Beauty and the Beast” and “Rapunzel.” Using present-day details and distinctly adult observations to imagine what happens before, after and behind the familiar narratives, Cunningham explores the often disastrous transformations wrought by love and need. Listeners will be treated to music composed specifically for the audiobook by Billy Hough and his bandmates in GarageDogs, while readers can enjoy striking black-and-white images from illustrator Yuko Shimizu. (Available in book, audio CD and eAudio)

May Book Lover Recommendations

Last night, we had a great Book Lovers evening in Parker. Our staff along with Penguin Random House Publishing Representative, Michele Sulka discussed new spring reads. Here are their recommendations:

 

Matthew’s Recommendations


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The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault 

A gripping blend of psychological suspense and historical true crime —inspired by a sensational real-life murder from the 1800s—delivers a heart-stopping mystery linking two young mothers from different centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone… Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.

 

 

 


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The Musubi Murder by Frankie Bow

The Musubi Murder is for: mystery lovers, Hawaii expatriates, and disillusioned academics, anyone who fancies Spam (the meat). Newly single and far from home, Professor Molly Barda wants to focus on her job and stay out of trouble until she gets tenure at remote Mahina State University. But her life is upended when fast-food entrepreneur Jimmy Tanaka, founder of Merrie Musubis, pledges a huge donation to Molly’s college, and then disappears. Molly’s bottom-line-obsessed dean tasks her with locating the missing Musubi mogul, a quest that lands her in a stew of old grudges, whispered scandals, and murder. Along the way, Molly starts to fall for Tanaka’s competitor, the too-good-to-be-true Donnie Gonsalves. Donnie seems to like her for all the wrong reasons–and has a few secrets of his own.

 

 

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Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages by Gaston Dorren

Lingo spins the reader on a whirlwind tour of sixty European languages and dialects, sharing quirky moments from their histories and exploring their commonalities and differences. Most European languages are descended from a single ancestor, but the continent’s ever-changing borders and cultures have given rise to a linguistic and cultural diversity that is too often forgotten in discussions of Europe as a political entity. Spanning six millenia and sixty languages in bite-size chapters, Lingo is a hilarious and highly edifying exploration of how Europe speaks.

 

 

 

 

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We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory

Harrison was the Monster Detective, a storybook hero. Now he’s in his mid-thirties and spends most of his time popping pills and not sleeping. Stan became a minor celebrity after being partially eaten by cannibals. Barbara is haunted by unreadable messages carved upon her bones. Greta may or may not be a mass-murdering arsonist. Martin never takes off his sunglasses. Never. No one believes the extent of their horrific tales, not until they are sought out by psychotherapist Dr. Jan Sayer. What happens when these seemingly-insane outcasts form a support group? Together they must discover which monsters they face are within—and which are lurking in plain sight.

 

 

 

 

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A Is For Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup 

Agatha Christie used poison to kill her characters more often than any other crime fiction writer. The poison was a central part of the novel, and her choice of deadly substances was far from random; the chemical and physiological characteristics of each poison provide vital clues to the discovery of the murderer. Christie demonstrated her extensive chemical knowledge (much of it gleaned by working in a pharmacy during both world wars) in many of her novels, but this is rarely appreciated by the reader. Written by former research chemist Kathryn Harkup, each chapter takes a different novel and investigates the poison used by the murderer.

 

 

 

 

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Kingfisher by Patricia Mckillip

Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, unexpectedly, strangers pass through town on the way to the legendary capital city. “Look for us,” they tell Pierce, “If you come to Severluna. You might find a place for yourself in King Arden’s court.” As Pierce journeys to Severluna, his path twists and turns through other lives and mysteries: an inn where ancient rites are celebrated, though no one will speak of them; a legendary local chef whose delicacies leave diners slowly withering from hunger; his mysterious wife, who steals Pierce’s heart; a young woman whose need to escape is even greater than Pierce’s; and finally, in Severluna, King Arden’s youngest son, who is urged by strange and lovely forces to sacrifice his father’s kingdom.

 

 

 

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Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City. Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love… Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?

 

 

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Travelers Rest by Keith Lee Morris

The Addisons are driving home, cross-country, after collecting Robbie from yet another trip to rehab. When a terrifying blizzard strikes outside the town of Good Night, Idaho, they seek refuge in the town at the Travelers Rest, a formerly opulent but now crumbling and eerie hotel where the physical laws of the universe are bent. Once inside the hotel, the family is separated. With each passing hour, dreams and memories blur, tearing a hole in the fabric of our perceived reality and leaving the Addisons in a ceaseless search for one another. At each turn a mysterious force prevents them from reuniting, until at last Julia is faced with an impossible choice. Can this mother save her family from the fate of becoming Souvenirs-those citizens trapped forever in magnetic Good Night-or, worse, from disappearing entirely?

 

 

 

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The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier

Keri has been struggling to run her family bakery since her mother passed away.  Now the father she barely knew—the Lord of Nimmira—has died, and ancient magic has decreed that she will take his place as the new Lady. The position has never been so dangerous: the mists that hide Nimmira from its vicious, land-hungry neighbors have failed, and Keri’s people are visible to strangers for the first time since the mists were put in place generations ago.  At the same time, three half-brothers with their own eyes on the crown make life within the House just as dangerous as the world outside. But Keri has three people to guide her: her mysterious Timekeeper, clever Bookkeeper, and steadfast Doorkeeper. Together they must find a way to repair the boundary before her neighbors realize just how vulnerable Nimmira is.

 

 

 

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.  Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

This is a book about the joy of discovery. Carlo Rovelli brings a playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, offering surprising—and surprisingly easy to grasp—explanations of Einstein’s general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. He takes us to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the minutest reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. “Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.”

 

 

 

 

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap is the story of Roza, a beautiful girl who is taken from a quiet Midwestern town and imprisoned by a mysterious man, and Finn, the only witness, who cannot forgive himself for being unable to identify her kidnapper. As we follow them through their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins 

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.
 
 
 
 

Lisa’s Recommendations

 

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Off the Grid by CJ Box

Box returns with this suspenseful new Joe Pickett novel. Nate Romanowski is off the grid, recuperating from wounds and trying to deal with past crimes, when he is suddenly surrounded by a small team of elite professional special operators. They’re not there to threaten him, but to make a deal. They need help destroying a domestic terror cell in Wyoming’s Red Desert, and in return they’ll make Nate’s criminal record disappear. But they are not what they seem, as Nate’s friend Joe Pickett discovers. They have a much different plan in mind, and it just may be something that takes them all down—including Nate and Joe. Get ready for a rough ride when you read this one!

 

 

 

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The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

As Pope John Paul II’s reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered. The same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator’s research partner, Father Alex Andreou, a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican with his five-year-old son. When the papal police fail to identify a suspect in either crime, Father Alex, desperate to keep his family safe, undertakes his own investigation. To find the killer he must reconstruct the dead curator’s secret. But just as he begins to understand the truth about his friend’s death, and its consequences for the future of the world’s two largest Christian churches, Father Alex finds himself hunted down.

 

 

 

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The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zenhanet Khan

This is the second in this series featuring INSET Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty, and it’s the first series I’ve read with a Detective who is Muslim and who works on unique cases in Toronto. Khan’s storytelling not only incorporates the crime and police procedures, she delves deep into the different aspects of a thriving Muslim community. In this case, Esa and Rachel are investigating a murder connected to an ultra-conservative mosque. Esa is, again, torn between his faith, his family and his job. The way Khan incorporates the poetry and imagery of the Muslim faith helps readers see a broader picture and not stereotypes portrayed daily by the media. Unquiet Dead and The Language of Secrets are a great start to what promises to be an excellent series.

 

 

 

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Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard

The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship. Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast. When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties. As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due. Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

 

 

 

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The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Moss

In a remote English village by the sea it is St. Mark’s Eve, the night when the shimmering ghosts of those fated to die in the coming year are said to materialize and amble through the church doors. Alone in the crowd is Constantia Gifford, the taxidermist’s daughter. As the last peal of the midnight bell fades to silence, a woman is found dead—a stranger Connie noticed near the church. In the coming days, snippets of long lost memories will begin to tease through Connie’s mind, offering her glimpses of her vanished years. Who is the victim, and why has her death affected Connie so deeply? Why is she watched by a mysterious figure who has suddenly appeared on the marsh nearby? Is her father trying to protect her with his silence—or someone else?

 

 

 

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West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan

I love Stewart O’Nan’s work and if you haven’t read any – you should. His novels take you away and also provoke thought and discussion. The publisher calls this: A mesmerizing and haunting novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last years in Hollywood. In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a troubled, uncertain man whose literary success was long over. In poor health, with his wife consigned to an asylum and his finances in ruin, he struggled to make a new start as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Those last three years of Fitzgerald’s life are the focus of Stewart O Nan’s graceful and elegiac novel. With flashbacks to Fitzgerald’s glamorous Jazz Age past, the story follows him as he arrives on the MGM lot, falls in love with brassy gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, begins work on “The Last Tycoon,” and tries to maintain a semblance of family life with the absent Zelda and their daughter, Scottie.Written with striking grace and subtlety, this is a wise and intimate portrait of a man trying his best to hold together a world that’s flying apart.

 

 

 

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The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

I can’t say enough good things about The Secret Wisdom of the Earth. The characters are wonderful. Scotton should be on everyone’s reading list – great for men or women.   I also listened to it and the reader is wonderful. You will miss the characters after you are done. It keeps moving and it was hard for me to stop reading or listening to it. Timely and timeless, this is a dramatic and deeply moving novel about an act of violence in a small, Southern town and the repercussions that will forever change a young man’s view of human cruelty and compassion. After seeing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, fourteen-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin’s grandfather. In this peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods. The events of this fateful summer will affect the entire town of Medgar, Kentucky. (Now available in Book Club Express Kit).

 

 

 

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Dimestore: A Writer’s Life by Lee Smith

For the inimitable Lee Smith, place is paramount. For forty-five years, her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South. But never before has she written her own story. Set deep in the mountains of Virginia, the Grundy of Lee Smith’s youth was a place of coal miners, tent revivals, mountain music, drive-in theaters, and her daddy’s dimestore. It was in that dimestore — listening to customers and inventing adventures for the store’s dolls — that she became a storyteller. Dimestore’s fifteen essays are crushingly honest, wise and perceptive, and superbly entertaining. It’s also an inspiring story of the birth of a writer and a poignant look at a way of life that has all but vanished.

 

 

 

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The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson 

I loved this book! She is a Colorado author and it is set in 1962-63 Denver. A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams. Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . . Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. Then the dreams begin. Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps. Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?  As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

 

 

 

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The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler 

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival. One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned–always on July 24, which is only weeks away. Could there be a curse on Simon’s family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola? I loved this book. It is magical and quirky. The “mermaids” are mercurial creatures and you can see why men fall under their spell. It’s a look into the traveling shows long ago and how times have, and have not, changed.

It’s Time to Celebrate Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

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What British writer and physician is most noted for creating the huge popularity for the crime fiction genre? Arthur Conan Doyle! His 157th birthday is May 22. Why not celebrate by reading a twist on his classic character, Sherlock Holmes.

“Perhaps the greatest of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries is this: that when we talk of him we invariably fall into the fancy of his existence.” — T.S. Eliot

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

A fine-art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits 221B Baker Street to beg for help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap, a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America. This novel will make you feel that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote one last tale. Horowitz has great, tense plotting and stays true to the characters.

The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by John Joseph Adams 

This anthology includes several interesting Holmes stories for fans who don’t want the stories to end. The stories run the gamut, from science fiction to mystery to horror.

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

Psychologist and journalist Konnikova shows us how to unpack mental strategies that lead to clearer thinking and deeper insights. It reveals how Sherlock Holmes obtained ever-present mindfulness, astute observation, and logical deduction. It’s an entertaining blend of neuroscience and Holmesian lore.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King 

Sherlock Holmes is enjoying a quiet retirement in a small Sussex village, tending to his hives of honeybees. One day a young woman stumbles into him; she impresses him so much that she becomes his apprentice. She becomes versed in the mysteries of deduction. Their collaboration is ignited by the kidnapping in Wales of Jessica Simpson, daughter of an American senator.

Moriarty by John Gardner

Professor James Moriarty is the archenemy of Sherlock Holmes. Gardner reimagines him as a Victorian godfather with a crime empire in both the U.S. and Britain. He must suddenly return to Britain when his original mob is taken over by the notorious Idle Jack.

Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Written by the NBA superstar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, this novel reveals the untold story of Sherlock’s older brother. He undergoes a harrowing adventure that changes his life and sets the stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.

Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas 

Winner of the Romantic Times Award for Best Historical Mystery, this book explores the only woman that ever outwitted the great detective, Irene Adler.

A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin

It is 1947 and the long-retired Sherlock Holmes, now 93, lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse with his housekeeper and her young son. He tends to his bees, writes in his journal, and grapples with the diminishing powers of his mind. But in the twilight of his life, as people continue to look to him for answers, Holmes revisits a case that may provide him with answers of his own to questions he didn’t even know he was asking.

Death Cloud by Andy Lane

It’s the summer of 1868, and 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes is staying with his aunt and uncle on a break from boarding school. When two local people die, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them. This first novel in the young Sherlock Holmes series introduces us to a teenage detective who begins to acquire the skills that made him one of the greatest detectives.

Lock & Mori by Heather Petty 

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students — Sherlock Holmes and Miss James “Mori” Moriarty — meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth may very well drive them apart.

Happy Birthday, Nora Ephron!

Nora Ephron, queen of the contemporary romantic comedy, would have been 75 years old this week. She was a modern-day Dorothy Parker with a wry wit that came across in her screenplays and essays. Some of her best-selling collections include The Most of Nora Ephron, I Remember Nothing, and I Feel Bad About My Neck. However, she is best known for the words of her characters, from heartfelt monologues to quick quips (“I’ll have what she’s having.”). Find a new read based on your favorite Ephron movie below.

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Silkwood

Ephron’s first movie is based on a true story. Karen Silkwood becomes contaminated with plutonium at her job, voices her protest at the indifference and denial of her company, and becomes a threat to the entire nuclear industry.

Los Alamos: A Whistleblower’s Diary by Chuck Montano

A shocking account of foul play, theft and abuse at our nation’s premier nuclear research and development facility. It’s a well-written page turner.

Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen

This story about growing up in a small Colorado town in the shadow of Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant, is a brilliant work of investigative journalism. The memoir reveals a shocking account of the government’s sustained attempts to conceal the effects of toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats and of the local residents’ vain attempts to seek justice in court.

 

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Heartburn

Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson are wonderful together in this lighthearted look at modern romance headed for failure, based on Ephron’s best-selling novel. She’s a magazine writer who gives up her career for love and family. He’s a playboy newspaper columnist who can’t quite give up his old tricks. And if that combination doesn’t give a relationship heartburn, nothing will!

The Vacationers by Emma Straub 

The Post family’s island vacation to Mallorca is fraught with jealousy and secrets. As they ostensibly celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary, parents Frannie and Jim are dealing with infidelity; their son Bobby is in debt, and his gym-rat girlfriend has never fit in with his literary New York family; and their daughter is about to become a freshman in college, but wants to lose her virginity first.

Season to Taste by Natalie Young 

Dark, unexpectedly funny feast of anger about a woman who has murdered her husband and eats the pieces.   

 

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Sex always gets in the way of friendships between men and women. At least that’s what Harry Burns believes. So when Harry meets Sally Albright and a deep friendship blossoms between them, Harry’s determined not to let his attraction to Sally destroy it. But when a night of weakness ends in a morning of panic, can the pair avoid succumbing to Harry’s fears by remaining friends and admitting they just might be the perfect match for each other?

One Day by David Nicholls 

This episodic story takes place during a single day each year for two decades in the lives of Dex and Em. It’s a funny, sweet, heartbreaking story.

40 Days of Dating by Timothy Goodman and Jessica Walsh 

When New York-based graphic designers and longtime friends find themselves single at the same time, they decide to try an experiment. The old adage says that it takes 40 days to change a habit — could the same be said for love? They agree to date each other for 40 days and record their experiences.

 

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You’ve Got Mail

Neighborhood bookstore rivals unwittingly become email pen pals in this charming remake of The Shop Around the Corner. 

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and Frank Doel 

If you like the bookish parts of You’ve Got Mail, you’ll love this literary tale. This timeless story is composed of the charming correspondence between Miss Helene Hanff, an outspoken New York writer, and a restrained London bookseller. They become true friends, bonded by their love of literature.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Lincoln, an IT guy, is charged with monitoring the newsroom’s email correspondence. He falls in love with one of the reporters through her silly digital missives to her co-worker. Will he have the courage to approach her in real life?

 

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Sleepless in Seattle

Thanks to the wiles of his worried son, a widowed father, Sam, becomes a reluctant guest on a radio call-in show. He’s an instant hit with thousands of female listeners who deluge his Seattle home with letters of comfort. Meanwhile, inspired in equal parts by Sam’s story and by classic Hollywood romance, writer Annie Reed becomes convinced that it’s her destiny to meet Sam. There are just two problems: Annie’s engaged to someone else and Sam doesn’t know yet that they’re made for each other.

Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook

Divorced preschool teacher Sarah Hurlihy’s first mistake is letting her bossy sister write her personal ad. Her second mistake is showing up to meet her first date in more than a decade. Now she’s juggling her teaching job, her big, rollicking, interfering south-of-Boston Irish family, and more men than she knows what to do with. 

 

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Michael

When the rumors of the existence of an angel reach an exploitative newspaper, washed-up journalist Frank Quinlan smells a scoop. He sets off to track down the alleged angel and bring him back to Chicago in time for Christmas.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett 

An angel and a demon must find the child Antichrist on the verge of the apocalypse. It’s a hilarious tale told with wry British humor.

A Season of Angels by Debbie Macomber 

This heartwarming novel is about three ditsy yet well-meaning guardian angels who return to Earth during Christmas to answer the prayers of three lovelorn souls.

 

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Julie & Julia

This movie contrasts the life of chef Julia Child in the early years of her culinary career with the life of Julie Powell, a New Yorker who aspires to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in a year. 

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell 

Based on her popular blog, Julie Powell resolves to reclaim her life by cooking every single recipe in Julia Child’s legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a single year. 

My Life in France by Julia Child 

Julia Child recounts her life in France, beginning with her first days at Le Cordon Bleu after World War II.

Mother Day’s Reads

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Who introduced you to books? My mother, a teacher turned children’s librarian, instilled a lifelong love of literature in me through bedtime stories to audiobooks in long car trips to chatting about our current reads.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity, ask your mom for a book recommendation or her favorite when you were growing up.  It will give you great fodder for Sunday brunch.

If you’re looking for some reads to honor the day, consider these:

 

Picture Books

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman

Someday by Alison McGhee

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse

Memoirs

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt

Best Friends, Occasional Enemies by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

Novels

Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

A Grown-up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson

Tuscan Holiday by Holly Chamberlin

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

A Perfect Life by Danielle Steel

Free Comic Book Day: May 7!

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It’s the 15th anniversary of Free Comic Book Day! The first Saturday of May is when comic book shops across the world give out over 6 million comic books–free of charge.

We partner with local Parker-based comic book store, CollectorMania, to hand out free comic books on Saturday. We’ll have selection for kids, teens and adults, while supplies last. These will include super hero stories like Marvel’s Civil War II and DC’s Suicide Squad; kid favorites such as Pokémon, DC Super Hero Girls, Grumpy Cat, Sonic the Hedgehog; stories that feature classic characters like Strawberry Shortcake, Pink Panther, and Archie; and TV tie-ins featuring series such as Doctor Who, The SimpsonsFirefly, and many more*. (*Titles are not guaranteed and may vary by location).

Stop by any Douglas County Libraries location on Saturday, May 7!

5 Great Cookbooks for a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta!

Cinco de Mayo is on Thursday! The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, but it’s not commonly celebrated in Mexico. In fact, it can feel a little like May’s St. Patrick’s Day—an excuse to imbibe a little too much at all day happy hours. But we love the excuse to cook up a themed meal. Here are a few great cookbooks to get you started on your meal planning:

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Salsa makes a big impression on your appetizer table. Find your favorite in this great cookbook that has 60 authentic salsa and mole recipes from salsa quemada to chunky hatch chile salsa.

Simple Food, Big Flavor

Aarón Sánchez’s passion for food has placed him among the country’s leading contemporary Latin chefs. He’s appeared on Chopped, Chefs vs. City and Heat Seekers. His cookbook breaks down classic Latin cuisine by showing how several base recipes can become many fantastic dishes. For instance, his chorizo would make a great appetizer in Chorizo and Potato Empanadas  or turn them into a side with Black Beans with Chorizo and Chipotle Crema.

Mexico: The Cookbook

This book is comprehensive bible of authentic Mexican home cooking written by a living culinary legend. Author Margarita Carrillo Arronte is a chef, author, TV host, restaurateur and global ambassador of Mexican cuisine. Her 30 years of researching, teaching and cooking Mexican food has resulted in 700 recipes from across the country, which showcases the diversity of Mexican cuisine. There are SO many recipes, that we suggest you just open the book to a random page. It’s sure to be a delicious addition to your meal.

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Muy Bueno

Yvette started the Muy Bueno blog because she wanted to honor her grand grandmother’s memory and preserve their family recipes. Once the blog gained a following, she wrote this cookbook with her mother and her sister. The cookbook includes some fantastic drink recipes including a Blood Orange Mezcal Margarita or Persimmon Mojito. She also has some great tamales and enchiladas for mains. (Also: She’s a local author! She lives in Denver).

Fiesta at Rick’s

Rick Bayless, Top Chef Masters winner, has several great Mexican cookbooks. This one stands out as the best for planning a party. He offers four complete menus for parties ranging from a Luxury Guacamole Bar Cocktail Party for 12 to a Classic Mexican Mole Fiesta for 24. There are great recipes for snacking, dynamic cocktails and delicious street food mains.

Other notable mentions: Pati’s Mexican Table, Fresh Mexico, and Tacos, Tortas and Tamales

Also for desserts, you can’t miss: My Sweet Mexico