Looking for a few good books? Come by the library this summer and see what others are suggesting, and leave your own suggestions, too!

Now through August 13th, 2017, the Dublin Library is asking adults to share three recent reads that they have enjoyed and three adjectives to describe each title. Come in and see our display at the library and fill out our Three Good Books form.

When you turn in your Three Good Books form you will be entered in our twice-monthly drawings for $5 gift certificates to Starbucks. Enjoy a snack or drink with your beach read!

Here are Three Good Books submitted by some Dublin Library staff…

Adult Librarian Diane’s choices:

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
Teen Fiction
smart, endearing, romantic

A Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab
Fantasy set in alternate Londons (book 2)
thrilling, engaging, clever

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
Fiction- Family Saga
engrossing, intense, eye-opening,

 

Teen Librarian Mary’s picks:

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, by Kate Moore
Non-fiction (history, science)
Engrossing, poignant, unsettling

Bull, by David Elliott
Teen/YA (verse, mythology)
Entertaining, twisted, comical

Daughter of the Pirate King, by Tricia Levenseller
Teen/YA, Fantasy/Adventure
Fun, sarcastic, daring

Adult Librarian Eugene’s books:

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
Historic Fiction
Informative, ante-bellum society, gripping

Rocket Girl, by George D. Morgan
Biography (of author’s mother, a space scientist in the 1950s)
Inspiring, informative, presentation of societal attitudes

City of Women, by David R. Gillham
Historic Fiction (Berlin in last years of Third Reich)
Thriller, spies, resistance

Now that you have some good books to read, sign yourself up for Alameda County Library’s online Summer Reading Program for all ages!  It’s not just for the kids. No matter how young or old you are, you can read books and do activities to earn free books and enter a grand prize drawing. Just register online, log the time you’ve read and/or do the activities listed to earn points.

That should keep you busy and entertained this summer! As always, come in to the library or contact us for more reading and listening suggestions.

handmaidstale

Transfixed by the hulu series based on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Of course you’ll want to read the original book, but why not also try some of these books that hit some of the same notes as the series and the book? Dark yet compelling, these novels are frightening plausible dystopias and/or are literary speculative fiction with philosophical themes. Give one a try and tell us what you think!

Handmaids Reads

Dystopias and Post-Apocalypse Stories:

Atwood created another grim tale of the future with Oryx and Crake, a title that with dark humor explores a world devastated by bioengineering and ecological disasters. It is the first in a trilogy, alongside The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. Another dystopic tale that slowly reveals its disturbing truths, Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro is a haunting novel about coming to terms with one’s pre-ordained role in society.

In Children of Men, P.D. James imagines the societal upheavals brought on by the human race’s unexpected sterility. It is 2021, no babies have been born since 1995, and an Oxford historian is drawn into a revolutionary movement.  Or, for a more straightforward end-of-the-world title, try Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. While not really tackling heavy issues like The Handmaid’s Tale, it is one of more lyrical and memorable entries in the growing field of dystopian and post-apocalyptic tales.

Feminism in Speculative Fiction:

If it’s the feminist edge in The Handmaid’s Tale that intrigues you, try When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan. A speculative riff on The Scarlet Letter, this novel follows Hannah Payne, a woman whose skin is dyed red for the crime of having an abortion. Or, for a thought-provoking exploration of gender wrapped into a science fiction story, look no further than Ursula K. Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness, in which a human ambassador is sent to a world where the inhabitants can change their gender whenever they choose.

Octavia Butler’s science fiction often tackle issues of race, class, and gender. For readers who don’t really want the world-building and futuristic settings of the previous titles, you might like Butler’s time-traveling story Kindred. It tells the story of Dana, a black woman, who is repeatedly transported to the antebellum South, where she must protect her white ancestor.

Described as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Mean Girls, Only Ever Yours, by Louise O’Neill, is a Young Adult title set in a future world where girls are created and raised solely to please men.  With few good options, young women find themselves competing against one another for prized positions.

Class Oppression & Rebellion:

More action-packed and less literary than Atwood’s books, Pierce Brown’s trilogy may appeal to those who want a tale set in a bleak future society torn by class divisions, but also want to see the oppressed rise up in revolt. The first title in the series is Red Rising.

For a somewhat out there suggestion, try The Bees, by Laline Paull. Yes, this book is literally about bees.  But it’s also about a strictly hierarchical society where Flora 717, a sanitation worker and a member of the lowest caste in her hive, gets woke to her status and the inequities inherent in her society.

You can find the titles discussed in this post in the library’s catalog by searching for “handmaid’s reads”.

Have a title you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments.

Also of interest: Check out the book covers for Handmaid’s Tale from various editions around the world.

 

The 2017 Pulitzers have been announced. Have you read a Pulitzer lately?

This year’s winners, with the judge’s commentary are:

FICTION:

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.

Previous Fiction Pulitzer winners.

GENERAL NONFICTION:

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond

For a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty.

Previous General Nonfiction Pulitzer winners.

BIOGRAPHY OR AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, by Hisham Matar

For a first-person elegy for home and father that examines with controlled emotion the past and present of an embattled region.

Previous Biography or Autobiography Pulitzer winners.

HISTORY:

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, by Heather Ann Thompson

For a narrative history that sets high standards for scholarly judgment and tenacity of inquiry in seeking the truth about the 1971 Attica prison riots.

Previous History Pulitzer winners.

POETRY:

Olio, by Tyehimba Jess

For a distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.

Previous Poetry Pulitzer winners.

 

Want more award winners? Download our list of Fiction Winners and check out a book today!

blinddatereview

Looking for something good to read? Here are a couple reviews submitted from our Blind Date with a Book program. If you checked out a blind date book and haven’t yet turned in your review, be sure to bring it in to the library by Tuesday, March 7 to be entered into our prize drawing. We’ll be giving away two separate prizes: a gift certificate to Dublin’s Nothing Bundt Cakes and a gift card for two adult admissions to Regal Cinemas.

Book Review by Emily for:
availableman-cover

An Available Man, by Hilma Wolitzer

Was it a love match? What did you like/not like about it?

This blind date was off to a rocky start but I decided to stick it out and am so glad I did. A little choppy with the progression of relationships but great imagery and overall story line. Definite tear-jerker.

Tell us three adjectives that describe this book:
Sad, encompassing, passionate

 

Book Review by Roberta for:
wildsnail-cover
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Was it a love match? What did you like/not like about it?

Yes, it was a love match! Winner of the 2011 John Burroughs Medal Award for Distinguished Natural History and the 2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Non-fiction, this natural history memoir is a jewel! This tiny book is a beautiful and loving ode to the humble, fascinating creature: the SNAIL. I like every word: the 17th, 18th, and 19th century references, the beautiful haikus, the loving, intense observation of the author and the calm, joyful experience of reading this prayerful little masterpiece.

What did I not like? Well, based on the title, I probably would never had picked up the book… yet I am so grateful to have had this “Blind Date.” FYI, snails are blind and deaf, yet they manage quite well. Read it for a calming adventure into nature

Tell us three adjectives that describe this book:
Inspirational, informative, absolutely beautiful

obama

The New York Times’ book critic Michiko Kakutani recently sat down with President Obama to talk about his reading habits and reflect on what particular titles, and books in general, have meant to him during his time in office. It’s a fascinating read, both the article and the transcript of the interview.

We’ve collected the books mentioned by title in these articles here for your convenience.

 

obama-reads-graphic

Some highlights from the interview:

Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson: “I loved her writing in part because I saw those people every day. And the interior life she was describing that connected them—the people I was shaking hands with and making speeches to—it connected them with my grandparents.”

The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin: “The scope of it was immense.  So that was fun to read, partly because my day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty—not something to worry about. Aliens are about to invade.”

Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison: “[It] is a book I think of when I imagine people going through hardship. That it’s not just pain, but there’s joy and glory and mystery.”

In addition to the books listed by title, Obama gained insight from presidential biographies, the writings of Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, and others.

Read the full article, “Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books,” on the New York Times website.

Also see the White House posting about Obama’s summer reading lists from 2016 and 2015.

libfaves-graphic

Ever wonder what your librarians were reading, but were too shy to ask? Well, here’s a list of the top ten books tweeted by librarians and library staff as their favorites from 2016 (#libfaves16). There’s a good mix of literary fiction, science fiction, non-fiction, and even a couple young adult titles to try!

libfaves16-covers

Highlights include:

Dark Matters by Blake Crouch – A mind-bending, relentlessly paced science-fiction thriller, in which an ordinary man is kidnapped, knocked unconscious–and awakens in a world inexplicably different from the reality he thought he knew.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – A moving and powerful teen novel featuring Natasha, a scientifically minded girl whose family is hours away from being deported, and Daniel, a first generation Korean American who strives to live up to his parents’ expectations.

None of these titles tickle your fancy? There were a ton of other Best of 2016 lists that came out at the end of the year. One blog has attempted to compile all the online year-end book lists in one spot. They helpfully describe each list, from the generic “top books” to the more precise “top women’s fiction on audio.”

Or, for those who want an interactive “Best of” list, try NPR’s Book Concierge. Not only can you browse through picks by select NPR critics, but you can combine appeal factors to dial down to specific interests. It not only includes traditional categories like “Mysteries” and “Historical Fiction,” but also more unique traits like “Ladies First” or “It’s All Geek to Me.” So, if you’re looking for a literary, international book, that’s not too long you can select “Rather Short,” “Seriously Great Writing,” and “Tales From Around the World,” and boom… you’ve got three great titles to try!

Librarian Tip: Are the titles you’re interested in all checked out? Try looking at last year’s lists! Going back to previous year’s award-winners and best of lists are a great way to find quality reads available now. Here are the Librarian Faves from 2015 and 2014, and NPR’s Book Concierge from past years.

womenrockscience

Excited about the new movie Hidden Figures, about African-American women mathematicians who helped NASA win the Space Race? You should also check out the book that inspired the movie and these other biographies of women in the sciences.

women-scientists

Some highlights from our list:

Lab Girl by Hope Jaren – A paleobiologist traces her childhood in her father’s laboratory, her longtime relationship with a brilliant but wounded colleague and the remarkable discoveries they have made both in the lab and during extensive field research assignments.

The Glass Universe, by Dava Sobel – The little-known true story of the unexpected and remarkable contributions to astronomy made by a group of women working in the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s.

womeninsciencejAlso don’t miss this great children’s book:
Women in Science: 50 fearless pioneers
who changed the world
, by Rachel Ignotofsky-
A charmingly illustrated book profiling women scientists
around the world and throughout history, from the
ancient Greek mathematician, philosopher, and
astronomer, Hypatia, to Marie Curie, physicist and chemist.

 

Or, if you want more movies with female scientists in the lead, we’ve got you covered there, too!

womeninscience-dvds

Bletchley Circle | Contact | Ghostbusters | Gorillas in the mist | Gravity

Don’t see your favorite female scientist book or movie on our list? Let us know in the comments!