Tag Archives: Genre Feature

Genre Feature: Unreliable Narrators

Unreliable Narrators are one of the best ways to build twists and turns into a book. There’s something thrilling and somewhat horrifying about not being able to trust the very person telling the story. Below are some of the best unreliable narrators from our library.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

 

 

 

 

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Genre Feature: After the Apocalypse

For a library that’s very fond of Mysteries, you’d be surprised at how much post-apocalyptic fiction we have. Sometimes it’s nice to see that humanity will keep on pushing through, even after everything ends. And sometimes, it’s just a relief to read about someone whose life is in a much worse place than yours. Whatever your reasons, we’ve got a book for you.

 

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

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Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world. Continue reading

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Genre Feature: Long-running Series

YA series are usually clearly numbered on the spines – just look at the Harry Potter or Diary of a Wimpy Kid series–but adult book series are rarely so clearly numbered. Here are a couple of the most popular adult book series currently camouflaged around our library shelves.

Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher Series

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After leaving the US Army as a major in its military police at age 36, Reacher roams the United States taking odd jobs and investigating suspicious and frequently dangerous situations.

Each book in the series is a self-contained story, and the plot of each book relies very little on the prior books in the series.

 

 

 

Jacqueline Winspear‘s Maisie Dobbs Series

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In 1929 London, former servant Maisie Dobbs starts her own business as a psychologist and investigator in this unique and gripping historical mystery series.

 

Best to read these in order. Don’t worry – we have them all.

 

 

Louise Penny‘s Chief Inspector Gamache Series

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Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life in Three Pines, finding long buried secrets–and facing a few of his own ghosts.

These whodunnits are perfectly fine as stand alones, if you don’t want to read the whole series. Heads up, though, that many of our regular library patrons are absolutely addicted to this series.

 

 

 

Laurie R. King‘s Marry Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series

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It is 1915, and Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees, when he meets fifteen-year-old Mary Russell—gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, with an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes. Under his reluctant tutelage, 20th century Miss Russell proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective.

These can be read out of order, but do build on each other so are better in order.

 

 

Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire Series

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Sheriff Walt Longmire deals with the murders and mysteries that crop up in Wyoming’s Absaroka County.

This series is now also a TV show available on Netflix.

 

 

 

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Genre Feature: Oversized Books

Not all books are small enough to fit on the shelves. Here are some of our coolest oversized books – the ones that sit in weird corners and on top of odd shelves just waiting to go home with someone.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan and John Rocco
C01_DH_PJGreekGods_frontcoveronly.jpg“A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously?  Because I don’t need the Olympians mad at me again.  But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.”

So begins Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic—and sarcastic asides—to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who’s who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back.

 

 

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain, Philip Stead, and Erin Stead

images.duckduckgo.com.jpgJohnny, forlorn and alone except for his pet chicken, meets a kind woman who gives him seeds that change his fortune, allowing him to speak with animals and sending him on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. In the face of a bullying tyrant king, Johnny and his animal friends come to understand that generosity, empathy, and quiet courage are gifts more precious in this world than power and gold.

Yeah, that Mark Twain. This delightful storybook was pulled from the archives of his unfinished works and completed by the Steads.

 

 

 

 

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randal Monroe

images.duckduckgo.com.pngThis book explains things in the style of Up Goer Five, using only drawings and a vocabulary of the 1,000 (or “ten hundred”) most common words. Explore computer buildings (datacenters), the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the things you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you’re made of (cells).

From the delightful writer of the webcomic xkcd comes a picture heavy, delightfully sarcastic explanation of all manner of cool science-y things.

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Genre Feature: Verse Novels

Did you know that there are entire novels written in poetic verse? Like so many poems, they tend read quick but carry quite the emotional punch.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

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“So, I have to know,” he says, “what are you?”
But just because he has to know doesn’t mean I have to tell him anything.

It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

Written by a Middlebury College Alumn!

 

 

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

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And I know now that all the time I was trying to get
out of the dust,
the fact is,
what I am,
I am because of the dust.
And what I am is good enough.
Even for me.

Billie Jo is just a fourteen year old farm girl trying to survive unspeakable loss while living in the dust bowl during the Great Depression.

Hesse currently lives in Vermont!

 

 

 

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

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Even the silence 
has a story to tell you. 
Just listen. Listen.

Growing up both in her Grandparents’ South Carolina and her mother’s New York City, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. This is the true story of how she grew up in limbo between the two places, and how she discovered she wanted to be a writer no matter how hard it was for her to read.

 

 

 

 

Love that Dog / Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech

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Sometimes
when you are trying 
not to think about something
it keeps popping back in your head
you can’t help it
you think about it
and 
think about it
and 
think about it
until your brain
feels like
a squashed pea.

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won’t stop giving her class poetry assignments — and Jack can’t avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.

Especially about the dog he loves that isn’t with him anymore. And that stupid cat his parents got him afterwards.

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

movie.jpgYou ever laughed so hard
nobody in the world could hurt you for a minute,
no matter what they tried to do to you? 

Fourteen-year-old LaVaughn is determined to go to college–she just needs the money to get there.

When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom.

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YA Spotlight: LGBT Gems

Contrary to popular belief, LGBT characters do more than come out to their families and forge forbidden relationships. Don’t believe me? Try one of these books from our YA collection.

George by Alex Gino

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Be who you are.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part…because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan.

 

 

every day by david levithan

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Every day a different body. Every day a different life.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

 

Six of Crows / Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugoc5d19c013a5014e5cdac3d127b4d9c29.jpg

No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist. Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

(Two book duology – both in our collection.)

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Genre Feature: Rock and Roll Biographies

Looking for a little Rock and Roll in your life? Try some of these biographies.

Life by Keith Richards

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“There’s something beautifully friendly and elevating about a bunch of guys playing music together. This wonderful little world that is unassailable. It’s really teamwork, one guy supporting the others, and it’s all for one purpose, and there’s no flies in the ointment, for a while. And nobody conducting, it’s all up to you.”

With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock and roll life. Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane.

 

 

Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz

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“But every artist is, to some extent, a thief; the trick is to get away with it by making of it something new. Dylan at his best has the singular ability not only to do this superbly but also to make the present and the past feel like each other.”

Growing up in Greenwich Village, Sean Wilentz discov­ered the music of Bob Dylan as a young teenager; almost half a century later, he revisits Dylan’s work with the skills of an eminent American historian as well as the passion of a fan. Drawn in part from Wilentz’s essays as “historian in residence” of Dylan’s official website, Bob Dylan in America is a unique blend of fact, interpretation, and affinity—a book that, much like its subject, shifts gears and changes shape as the occasion warrants.

 

Born to Run by Bruce Springstein

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“No one you have been and no place you have gone ever leaves you. The new parts of you simply jump in the car and go along for the rest of the ride. The success of your journey and your destination all depend on who’s driving.”

In which Springstein vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

 

Anybody else sense a theme in these covers?

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