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This week’s staff pick is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Six stories in one that follow the same reincarnated souls through time, this novel is wildly inventive.  The first part may seem a bit slow, but once you get to the second story, the novel takes off.  A wild, complicated ride that’s well worth the effort, this novel also inspired the movie starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.  Our staffer highly recommends this, or one of Mitchell’s other works – like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a historical novel where once you finish the first part, the story explodes into soap opera worthy drama and high stakes. Psst- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would count for your book that takes place in Asia for the Read Harder Challenge.

“Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.

But the story doesn’t end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.” Taken from Goodreads.com


Cloud Atlas: A Novel

David Mitchell

Published: Nov 20, 2012 by Modern Library
Find in the Library


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This week’s staff pick is a heist thriller that a lot of people couldn’t put down… our staffer loved it, and so we recommend to you: Ghostman by Roger Hobbs.

“In a daring operation, two crooks-for-hire rob an Atlantic City casino. But their heist goes horribly wrong, and only one of them makes it out alive. Now he’s on the run with $1/2 million vacuum-packed into a bundle the size of a briefcase. Little does he know it’s rigged with explosives.

Almost immediately, an expert fixer named Jack is in cross-country pursuit. With less than 48 hours to recover the money, clean up the mess, and–for god’s sake–try not to botch the job”–Taken from Amazon.com

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This week’s staff pick is by Mireille Guiliano, and was read by a staffer for the Read Harder Challenge.  She particularly enjoyed French Women Don’t Get Facelifts and found it full of great advice, stories, and recipes.

The author of the bestselling French Women Don’t Get Fat shares the secrets and strategies of aging with attitude, joy, and no surgery.

With her signature blend of wit, no-nonsense advice, and storytelling flair, Mireille Guiliano returns with a delightful, encouraging take on beauty and aging for our times. For anyone who has ever spent the equivalent of a mortgage payment on anti-aging lotions or procedures, dressed inappropriate for their age, gained a little too much in the middle, or accidentally forgot how to flirt, here is a proactive way to stay looking and feeling great, without resorting to “the knife”-a French woman’s most guarded beauty secrets revealed for the benefit of us all!


French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude

Mireille Guiliano

Published: Dec 24, 2013 by Grand Central Life & Style
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The incomparable Maya Angelou is this week’s Poet of the Week (in honor of National Poetry Month).  She’s been a staff pick before, and she absolutely deserves to be again.  An American author, activist, poet, dancer, actress, and singer, she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.  She was a truly impressive woman, and her writing is beautiful.

You can find out more about her poetry in particular, here.  We recommend The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, which collects her poetry through 1994.   (You can find it at: FDC 811 ANG)

Check out one of her many titles, you can see what’s available in the catalog.

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For this week’s National Poetry Month Poet-themed staff pick of the week, we are highlighting 3 prominent and very different poets.  One is the widely acclaimed Shel Silverstein, the immortal bard William Shakespeare, and the popular children’s poet Jack Prelutsky.

Silverstein is well known for his children’s poetry collections A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends.  You can check out these and some of his other works here.

We’re pretty sure that everyone has read at least one piece of Shakespeare’s work, or at least seen one of the many, many movies based on his work.  The Bard really needs no introduction, so we’ll just connect you to our catalog.

You may or may not know Jack Prelutsky, who writes wonderful children’s poetry like Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast.  He’s quite prolific and we have quite a few of his works in the library.

We hope you enjoy these poets of the week!  We’ll leave you with this:

Where the Sidewalk Ends

from the book “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (1974)

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins,
and there the grass grows soft and white,
and there the sun burns crimson bright,
and there the moon-bird rests from his flight
to cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
and the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
and watch where the chalk-white arrows go
to the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
and we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
for the children, they mark, and the children, they know,
the place where the sidewalk ends.

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