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This week’s staff pick is the award winning “The Universe Versus Alex Woods” by Gavin Extence.  It’s a literally laugh out loud and cry book, and appropriate for teenagers to 100+.   It’s got a little bit of science (perfect for this summer’s reading program themes), Vonnegut, and a whole lot of crazy adventure making this a great read for just about everyone.

A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn’t had the easiest childhood. But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.

 

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing …

Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world. “–Summary taken from Goodreads.com


The Universe Versus Alex Woods

Gavin Extence

Published: Jun 25, 2013 by Redhook
Find in the Library


 

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Two of our staffers read this book, and they loved it.  It has secret societies, an unsolvable puzzle (supposedly), and characters you’ll absolutely adore.  Once you get involved in Clay’s story, you won’t want to put it down.  We definitely recommend this winner of the Alex Award, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle.   A perfect summer read, or something to help distract you from the fact that no, it’s not vacation time yet for you, check it out from the Library today!  We have it in regular and large type.

“The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.”– Taken from Amazon.com

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This week’s staff pick isn’t an individual work, but the entire collection of Maya Angelou, who passed on this week.  Maya was a strong civil rights supporter and voice, and her work has affected millions.  She was a truly great literary voice, and will be missed.

We have several of her works if you’d like to bring some home via book, ebook, or audiobook.

 

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Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko is this week’s staff pick, chosen by one of our superb Children’s Librarians!

In this appealing novel set in 1935, 12-year-old Moose Flanagan and his family move from Santa Monica to Alcatraz Island where his father gets a job as an electrician at the prison and his mother hopes to send his autistic older sister to a special school in San Francisco. When Natalie is rejected by the school, Moose is unable to play baseball because he must take care of her, and her unorthodox behavior sometimes lands him in hot water. He also comes to grief when he reluctantly goes along with a moneymaking scheme dreamed up by the warden’s pretty but troublesome daughter. Family dilemmas are at the center of the story, but history and setting–including plenty of references to the prison’s most infamous inmate, mob boss Al Capone–play an important part, too. The Flanagan family is believable in the way each member deals with Natalie and her difficulties, and Moose makes a sympathetic main character. The story, told with humor and skill, will fascinate readers with an interest in what it was like for the children of prison guards and other workers to actually grow up on Alcatraz Island.–Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library”– School Library Journal.

This book is aimed at middle school students, and is a great, interesting read for boys and girls.  It’s also the beginning of a series, so if you or your kids love it, the story continues!

We have multiple copies in print and an audiobook edition.

 

Don’t forget the Library is CLOSED Sunday and Monday (5/25 & 5/26) for Memorial Day.  Get these and other updates on our Facebook, Twitter, and/or blog.