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Rene, Evergreen Library

The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann is an interesting read. The main character, Emil Larsson, works in customs as a "sekretaire." In his private life, he becomes involved in card games at Mrs. Sofia Sparrow’s house. Sparrow runs gaming out of her home for the town's influential people. But are there more to the games? Mrs. Sparrow convinces Emil to let her do a prediction through her fortunetelling cards, drawing a set of eight cards called the Octavo. The goal of Emil’s Octavo is for him to find someone to love and marry. Mrs. Sparrow also draws an Octavo for herself. The characters bound to Emil and Mrs. Sparrow's Octavos intertwine with each other and with historical events. If you are looking for a novel that is a bit different, this may be the one for you!

Bonnie, Lakewood Library

The World to Come by Dara Horn

Attending a singles gathering at a New York art museum leads to trouble for television quiz-show writer Benjamin Ziskind. Not romantic trouble, at least not at first, but legal trouble when Benjamin sees a Marc Chagall painting he’s convinced once belonged to his family -  so he picks it off the wall and takes it home.   In a deftly woven story, author Dara Horn delves into the painting’s history, starting with a Russian Orphanage in the 1920s to the Vietnam War to see how the painting changed hands over generations. If you enjoy charming literary fiction that explores questions of moral responsibility and love, then don’t miss this title.

Christina, Lakewood Library

Many of us are facing the conundrum of caring for our aging parents.  Some of us are in the sandwich generation – we still have children and teens at home and we are caring for aging parents as well.  And some of our parents are far away in another state or city. There are new realities and limitations to navigate as we proceed on this path and we are proceeding as we ourselves are aging.  It is a daunting task and fraught with twists and turns along the way.  We want the best for our parents and want to continue being with them and taking them special places.  And we wonder, are we doing this special trip or event for Mom & Dad or because we can’t bear knowing that they are no longer able to enjoy such an outing.  Here are a few resources to help you.

Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of our Elders by Mary Pipher - This exploration into the period of transition which marks the beginnings of old age offers a compassionate view of ways to build communication between generations.  Pipher examines the trials of aging in contemporary America--for all those involved.  The miniature biographies, told with respect and empathy, reveal not only a complicated reality but diverse possibilities as we all age.  We hope this “field guide” to a foreign landscape will be a help and a resource.

Story of my Father by Sue Miller - “This is the hardest lesson... for a caregiver: you can never do enough to make a difference in the course of the disease," Miller writes in this thoughtful remembrance of her relationship with her father as he succumbs to the ravages of Alzheimer's disease.

A Bittersweet Season: Caring for our Aging Parents and Ourselves by Jane Gross - In telling the story of her own struggle to learn how to care for her aging and ailing mother, this New York Times journalist offers helpful insights and advice to other caregivers who feel overwhelmed.  She offers advice for those already caring for their aging and dying parents and issues a wake-up call to those who think they are prepared should the time come.  Gross debunks misconceptions about assisted-living facilities and offers eye-opening anecdotes about Medicare and Medicaid, including how her own upper-middle-class mother ended up on Medicaid and virtually penniless due to health-care costs.  This is a well-researched and thought provoking resource for end of life care.

Caring for Your Aging Parents: An Emotional Guide to Nurturing your Loved Ones while Taking Care of Yourself by Raeann Berman - This book contains much needed direction to lots of resources for aging individuals that family members can use.The authors talk about specifics (finding living arrangements, dealing with memory loss, conversations to have with aging parents while it is still possible to have them) and then give suggestions as to how to proceed.  And for us who are in the middle of this wild ride, they give ideas for the caregiver to stay healthy and well.

Carol, Arvada Library

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Seventeen year old Evie O'Neill is sooo bored living in a small town in Ohio in the 1920’s. She is sure life is passing her by, so she spends her time defying her parents, drinking bathtub gin, and generally causing havoc. As punishment, her parents decide to send her to live with her Uncle Will, who is the curator of a folklore and occult museum known by all as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. Evie is thrilled with her “exile” to Uncle Will’s in New York City, and soon finds herself hanging out with a Ziegfeld girl, her piano player roommate, a pickpocket, and her best friend Mable. When Uncle Will is called upon to help with a series of occult related murders, Evie worms her way into the investigation. She soon finds that she knows more than she can say, without giving away her “special” supernatural talent. As she tries to help, she meets other 17-year-olds who all seem to have talents as well, and together they work to save the future from a great evil trying to come back from the past.

Veronica, Columbine Library

The Old Buzzard had it Coming by Donis Casey

An ugly abusive drunk is murdered, and Alafair Tucker is an Oklahoma farm mother who discovers an ability to figure out "whodunit," just when her family needs her help the most. 

This is the first book in a series of historical fiction novels by Casey set in Oklahoma in the years between 1912 and 1920.  Her work paints a vivid picture of farm life in this era, while entertaining us with a mystery that needs untangling.  The characters are homespun and hard-working, and some of Alafair’s favorite farm recipes are also included.


Carol, Arvada Library

Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is one of the most interesting characters in suspense fiction today.  He is the creation of co-authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  These authors have written 12 novels in which Pendergast appears.  Aloysius X. Pendergast is a Special Agent of the FBI from New Orleans.  He is described as corpse pale, with white blonde hair, silver eyes, is fairly tall, but has a slight frame.   He wears only black suits, and drives a pair of 1959 Silver Rolls Royces.  He is in the FBI but only takes a salary of $1 per year, as he comes from old Louisiana money. He has been in the Special Forces, holds a double doctorate from Oxford, and is also an expert in the eastern art of Chongg Ran. A master of disguise, Pendergast has the ability to solve puzzles that rivals Sherlock Holmes.
We met him first in Relic, 1995, followed by Reliquary, 1997, both set in the New York Museum of Natural History. The newest Pendergast book is Two Graves, 2012, which moves from New York’s Dakota building to the jungles of Brazil. The books often have a supernatural aspect to them and are always page turners. So pick up the first Pendergast and enjoy!

Judy, Belmar Library

The Light Between Oceans: a Novel by M. L. Stedman

In the aftermath World War I, Tom Sherbourne is still recovering psychologically from the war when he takes the job as lighthouse keeper on tiny Janus Island off the coast of Australia.  He hopes the solitude and steady job will help him recover from the devastating memories of the wounded, the dying and the killing.
He never expected a young woman from the mainland town to be attracted to him, let alone want to marry him. Tom and Isabel are deeply in love when they marry and settle on the remote island.  Life goes relatively well until she suffers 2 miscarriages and then a stillborn birth. Shortly after, a boat washes up on the shore and inside it Tom and Isabel find a baby girl and a dead man.  Undone from her losses, she begs Tom to let her have time with the baby before they notify the authorities.  Against his better judgment, he relents but this decision and subsequent actions will lead to a family and to a love that he never knew he could feel. It will also lead to his downfall and ruin.  This first novel brilliantly persuades us to suspend any simple judgments of how a good man could make such a wrong decision.

Jo, Golden Library

 The Mouse That Roared by Leonard Wibberley

The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny nation forgotten by the world, struggles to cope with a financial crisis and with the modern world. The humorous novels chronicling the Duchy of Grand Fenwick’s inventive solutions and international misadventures were written during the frigid depths of the Cold War.  The “Mouse” novels brought the welcome release of laughter to readers who were themselves trying to cope with frightening times. These satiric novels offer new generations of readers insightful, humorous views of life in a time of fear and international intrigue that still ring true today.
 Leonard Wibberley, a prolific 20th century Irish author, spent much of his writing life in the United States and his 100+ works included fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, short stories, articles and screenplays.  Wibberley is perhaps best known for his book The Mouse that Roared, the first in the satiric “Mouse” series. The book was later made into a motion picture starring Peter Sellers and Jean Seberg.
 In addition to printed books available for checkout from JCPL, some of Wibberley’s short stories and articles are available for reading online through JCPL’s Ebscohost database.
Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, children of Leonard, are also writers, and some of their works are available through JCPL.

Kay, Golden Library

As scientists uncover more and more secrets of the brain, that knowledge is making its way into books to be read and enjoyed by all. Below is an assortment of some of the most popular; from personal stories to improving your own life to shedding light on events in history.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, 2011
This book is listed on many best books of 2011 lists. Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The author reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. Reading this book will surely change the way you think about thinking.

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks, 2012
With his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr. Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture's folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination, present in us all, is a vital part of the human condition.

Brain on Fire: my month of madness by Susannah Cahalan, 2012
The story of twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan and the life-saving discovery of the autoimmune disorder that nearly killed her -- and that could perhaps be the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history.

The Brain that Changes Itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science by Norman Doidge, 2007
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, the author traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed - people whose mental limitations or brain damage were seen as unalterable.

The Age of Insight: the quest to understand the unconscious in art, mind, and brain: from Vienna 1900 to the present by Eric R. Kandel,  2012
Age of Insight takes readers to Vienna in 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind--our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions--and how mind and brain relate to art. It is a wonderfully written, superbly researched, and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities.

Ros, Evergreen Library

Thomas Jefferson said “never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.” Mark Twain, on the other hand, proposed “never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” Both philosophies have merit, but only Jefferson’s is admired.
Procrastination is, for many of us, a major source of stress. A good New Year’s Resolution (should you get around to making one) is to find ways to deal with procrastination. Here are a few resources to help you take on the problem.
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore - A lot is promised in the title of this book. It is straightforward and optimistic, with many examples. The first part looks at the why’s and how’s of procrastination. There are exercises that the reader can use to determine what is behind their own procrastination habits. With this groundwork established, the book looks at ways to deal with putting things off. There are many suggestions, including the “unschedule”, where work is scheduled around set times for exercise and rest. A final chapter discusses how to deal with others who procrastinate.
Procrastination: Why We Do It, What to Do About It Now by Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen - Similar to The Now Habit, this book also gets into the psychology of procrastination, and it also offers tips on how to change. There is more emphasis on the reasons we put things off, with a chapter on delving into your past in order to determine how procrastination has become a coping mechanism. 
The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing by John Perry - A book about getting things done by putting them off, this little text offers a very amusing contrast to the previous two titles. The author acknowledges that he is a procrastinator, but has found ways to turn that into a positive. For instance, he has found procrastination to be an effective tool in getting other nasty things done instead. If the task you should be working on is too much for you to deal with, turn instead to the second and third items you are putting off. They will seem much more appealing by comparison, and this will allow you to finally get around to them. The author brings humor and intelligence to the process of what he calls “structured procrastination.” There are useful tips here in this lighthearted book.


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