Saturday, February 25, 2017

Week 8: Women's Lives and Relationships Annotation

Something Borrowed
By Emily Giffin 

Publication Date: April 1, 2005

Number of Pages: 352 pages

Geographical Setting: New York City, NY

Time Period: Current

Series: It is not a series, however, it does have a prequel titled The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone and a sequel titled Something Blue

Plot Summary: Rachel and Darcy have been best friends for as long as they can remember. They do everything together, but Darcy is always a little bit ahead. She makes more money, has a better job, is a little bit younger, and now she is getting married first. Her fiance, Dexter, is gorgeous and successful and one drunken night, he and Rachel end up in bed together. Despite knowing that this is the biggest betrayal between two friends, Rachel continues to see Dexter in secret. The reader follows Rachel's conflicting emotions as she must decide who she is and what her heart really wants. Set against the backdrop of New York City and a summer house in the Hamptons, this is a fairly light but forgettable beach read.

Subject Headings:       Triangles (Interpersonal relations) -- Fiction.        
                                    Risk-taking (Psychology) -- Fiction.        
                                    Female friendship -- Fiction.        
                                    Single women -- Fiction.
3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced, Character-driven, Upbeat

Similar Authors and Works:
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
  • You Could Do Better- Stephanie Lehmann
    Slightly similar to Something Borrowed, this book is about a bride-to-be finds her life turned upside down when she begins to have an affair before her wedding day. 
  • The Last Year of Being Single - Sarah Tucker
    A light-hearted chick lit novel, this is about a confused woman who is torn between the two men in her life.
  • The Romantics- Galt Niederhoffer
    The main characters finds herself in a similar situation to Rachel, she is the bridesmaid in a wedding where she was once, and possible still, in love with the groom.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
  • Talking As Fast As I Can- Lauren Graham
    Gilmore Girls star discusses her life on screen and off in this fast-paced memoir. 
  • The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo- Amy Schumer
    Comedienne Amy Schumer discusses her often sexually explicit love life in this fast-paced, humourous, and heartfelt memoir.
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)- Mindy Kaling
    Mindy Kaling is like a real life Rachel- she is down to earth, the girl next door, and adorably confused. In this book, she shares her observations on life, love, and friendships. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Week Seven Prompt:

I decided to write my prompt on celebrity inspired book clubs. The article this week discussed Oprah's Book Club and the impact it had on the books she selected. Almost all of them became bestsellers and stayed on the bestseller's list for dozens of weeks. The study mostly looked at the statistics and did not delve into why this happens or give an opinion on whether it is a good or a bad thing. It is obviously a good thing for the authors of these sometimes obscure books to get recognition and sell millions of copies. Many of books were published years before they were picked for the book club.
While many feel that Oprah's books shouldn't be given so much credit and that there are other books out there that are possibly better, I just think that it's great that people are reading. I don't necessarily care what they are reading. Getting people to open up a book is hard enough; hopefully reading one of her recommended books will lead them to more books. I have personally read several of the books on Oprah's Book Club list such as Sula, White Oleander, She's Come Undone, and The Pillars of the Earth. I loved each one of these and thought they were well written and powerful stories. Just because Oprah is suggesting them doesn't mean they aren't exceptional works.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 7: Science Fiction Annotation

Sleeping Giants
By Sylvain Neuvel 

Publication Date: April 26, 2016

Number of Pages: 304 pages

Geographical Setting: North America

Time Period: Current

Series: Themis Files

Plot Summary: When young Rose Franklin accidentally falls into a great pit in South Dakota, she stumbles upon what scientists determine is a giant metal hand. Years later, she is a scientist herself working on discovering the other pieces of the giant metal body that are buried hundreds of miles below the ground all over the globe. With a team of other scientists and military personnel, they try to determine where this body came from, why it was put in the earth, and what it is capable of. Told almost entirely through interviews and journal entries, this science fiction novel is a fast read that will leave the reader wanting to know what will happen next.

Subject Headings:       Giants -- Fiction.        
                                    Robots -- Fiction.        
                                    Women physicists -- Fiction.  
3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Unconventional, Fast-paced, Thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works:
 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
  • The Martian- Andy Weir
    While not about alien artifacts, this novel features a lot of scientific references that fans of Sleeping Giants will appreciate.
  • Sphere- Michael Crichton 
    Both of these books are about the discovery of alien artifacts with a heavy amount of science. 
  • Blindsight- Peter Watts
    This book also includes a team of researchers; they are sent to discover an alien transmission on a distant comet.
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
  • Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future- Martin Ford
    This book discusses how technological advances will eventually lead to artificial intelligence that will take over our jobs and lives. 
  • The Second Machine Age- Erik Brynjolfsson
    With the advancement of technology, this book discusses how we can stay ahead of the game when it comes to education, jobs, and corporations. 
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future - Ashlee Vance
    This is an autobiography of an innovator, entrepreneur, and inventor. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Week Six Prompt:

I have come up with an innovative way to promote romance books in the library. It is a little bit risque, but hear me out... a Fifty Shades of Grey display! This would be a great time to do one because the second movie was just released and everyone is excited about it again. But this would not be just any run of the mill, throw books on a table display. For this display, I plan on taking over one of the study rooms, blacking out the windows, and decorating it completely in red, like the "Red Room of Pain."  Inside would be books that are recommended if you enjoyed Fifty Shades. Maybe "sexy" music or the soundtrack would be playing. I initially thought that you should show your card to enter the room, but that might discourage nervous patrons. So instead, I think there would be signs outside the door stating that you should be 18 to enter, enter at your own risk, etc. There wouldn't really be anything overtly inappropriate in the room, but the mystery of what is inside would be intriguing to patrons and maybe they'll check out a book or two.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 6: Horror Annotation

By Joe Hill

Publication Date: March 8, 2011

Number of Pages: 368 pages

Geographical Setting: New Hampshire, United States

Time Period: Current

Plot Summary:
Suspicion falls on Ig Parrish after his high school sweetheart, Merrin Williams, is found brutally raped and murdered in the woods. In dealing with the pain, Ig goes on a drinking binge and wakes to find a pair of horns growing out of his head. With these horns comes the ability to hear what people truly think of him and each other. He also finds that he can force people to do all of the terrible things that they have only thought about doing. These new powers allow him to conduct his own investigation of his beloved's death with horrifying results. Throughout his journey, we are shown the history of the star crossed lovers' romance as well as a glimpse into the killer's mind. We come to find that, despite Ig's demonic appearance, there are greater monsters and devils in the world. 

Subject Headings:     Revenge -- Fiction.        
                                  Devil -- Fiction.
3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Character-driven, Intensifying, Darkly humorous

Similar Authors and Works:
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
  • You Suck- Christopher Moore: You Suck has both the humorous and paranormal elements that are found in Horns. It is about a man who wakes up to find that his girlfriend is a vampire.
  • Revival- Stephen King: I would be remiss not to include a book by Joe Hill's father Stephen King. This novel is about a man who is forever changed by a local preacher and the supposed powers he possesses.
  • Coldheart Canyon- Clive Barker: Both books involve men with physical deformities; this one features a Hollywood actor who undergoes surgery and ends up seeking refuge in a seedy place.
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
  • The Stranger Beside Me- Ann Rule: This is Ann Rule's own account of her acquaintance with serial killer Ted Bundy. It shows that you can't always see the evil in people.
  • The Innocent Man- John Grisham: Similar to Ig Parrish's experience, but based on true events, this is the story of a young man who is accused of the murder of a local waitress.
  • Devil’s Knot- Mara Leveritt: This is the true account of the West Memphis Three. They were three teenage "gothic" boys who were convicted of the molestation and murder of three young boys despite conflicting evidence.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Kirkus-style Review


by Stephen King

Publication date: 2011

Publisher: Scribner

Page count: 849

ISBN: 978-1451627282

If you were given the opportunity to change history, would you do it? Even if it meant changing the whole world?

Jake Epping is an English teacher from Maine who makes friends with an older diner owner, Al, who has a little secret. In his storage closet, there is a portal that takes whomever steps through back to 1958.  It is with this portal that Al wishes to go back and stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is his belief that this will change the course of history- stop wars and save lives. The problem is that time traveling has taken a toll on his body, so he must enlist the help of Jake to carry out the deed. After reluctantly agreeing, Jake is thrown into a past of model cars, the birth of rock n' roll, school dances, and sweet gals. Despite finding the love of his life and settling down in a small town, Jake is constantly hounded and haunted by his mission and the knowledge of what needs to be done. The question is, can he do it and what will be the consequences? The renowned horror writer Stephen King takes a step outside his genre with this supernatural historical thriller and the world should be glad he does. Though the page count is high, the story flies by as you become absorbed in the idyllic 60s and the ever intertwining lives of our main character Jake and the soon to be assassin of America's 35th president. 

This haunting yet powerful novel will stick with readers for years to come.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Week Five Prompt:

          If I am being honest, I felt the two book reviews for The Billionaire's First Christmas were awful. The writers clearly did not proofread their work; they were full of spelling and grammatical errors. Forcing myself to look beyond that, it was like I was listening to a friend tell me about a book. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can make you feel connected to the writer, but it definitely did not feel professional. If I were looking to purchase eBooks for my library, I would not be impressed by these reviews and likely would not purchase the title. Also, as far as I can tell, this book is not a romantic suspense. It appears to be a typical holiday romance- unlikely couple meet and fall in love.
          The reviews for Angela's Ashes, on the other hand, are fantastic. They give you a taste of what the book is like without giving the whole plot away. I personally own a copy of the book and have been meaning to read it for years. These reviews make me want to pick it up right now. I would definitely want to add this title to my library's collection. 
          It may not be fair that one book is reviewed more than others, but it is an accurate representation of our capitalist society. Books that are written or published by well known names are more likely to reviewed, bought, and read. That being said, the library is more likely to purchase these books because patrons will want to read them. That's not to say that there aren't books out there that deserve more attention, they just aren't being promoted well enough. As for negative reviews, I appreciate reading the good and the bad about the book. Publishers obviously do not want that information out there because they are trying to sell a product, but as a buyer, I don't want to make a bad purchase. When I was buying for my library, I would almost always use reviews to determine whether we should purchase the book. The only exceptions were when I was already familiar with the author. I would often look at Kirkus Reviews, Booklist reviews, and School Library Journal reviews.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Secret Shopper Assignment

When entering my unnamed library, I looked around to see if there was a Readers’ Advisory area and I easily found a sign that said “Information Services.” As I approached the desk, I saw signs for various programs the library was offering as well as an occasional handout about computer help and services. I did not see any booklists, though there were several book displays around the area including a Valentine’s Day/romance display.

Upon approaching the desk, I was a little bit nervous. Despite being on the other side of a readers’ advisory transaction often enough, I typically do not ask strangers for book recommendations. However, the sole librarian sitting there greeted me with a polite smile and “Hello, can I help you with something?” I asked him if he could recommend a good book to read. He looked taken off guard slightly and then said with a chuckle that he actually did not get that question often enough. He began by asking what was the latest book that I had read or that I had enjoyed. “In readers' advisory transactions, you need above all to create a climate that encourages readers to talk about books and authors. A good open question that works for readers' advisers is “Can you tell me about a book you've read and really enjoyed?”” (Ross, Nilsen, & Dewdney, 2002, p. 162). I replied that I had really liked Horns by Joe Hill and he quickly inquired whether I wanted another book from the horror genre. After confirming that I did, he suggested that I tried reading some Stephen King because he is Joe Hill’s father. I said that while I love Stephen King, I wanted something a little shorter. He said that Stephen King had written a series of shorter books with the main character of Bill Hodges. I knew that this was more of a mystery series and told him I wasn’t really interested in mysteries. I have to admit, I was trying to make the process a little more difficult for him.

It was at this point that the librarian turned to his computer and said he was going to look at Goodreads. He said he had just read about a good horror story but could not remember the name. The computer was slightly angled towards me so I could see what he was looking up. Under his “want to read” list he found the title Swan Song by Robert McCammon. While it sounded interesting, it was close to 900 pages long. I reiterated that I was looking for something shorter. I could tell that he was starting to flounder a bit when he asked if I thought about reading some other Joe Hill books. I told him I had already read a few, but was looking for something shorter or faster paced. I quickly added, however, that I did not want a compilation of short stories, to which he seemed disappointed. He said his next suggestion would have been H.P. Lovecraft, whom I am not a fan.

It honestly seemed that he was about to give up, but I did not want to leave empty handed, so I added that I had loved The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King; it was a short paperback and was about a little girl getting lost in the woods. After a moment, he said he would check Novelist, which I was happy to hear. After typing in the title, he found the title read-alikes and the first one on the list was Micro by Michael Crichton. He read the description off to me and added that the book was about 400 pages long, but that it was described as fast-paced. It sounded really interesting and I knew I had taken up enough of his time. I asked if the library owned any copies and he said that there were four available and handed me the call number and pointed me in the right direction. At this point, I would have let the patron know they could come back if they had any troubles or more questions, but he did not.

              I was happy with the whole experience. I felt that the librarian was attentive and focused on my query and genuinely wanted to find a book that I would like. No one else approached the desk during this time, so I did not feel rushed by him or anyone else. While he was not specifically a readers’ advisory librarian, he was knowledgeable of different resources and I would definitely go back to him for another recommendation. We seemed to have similar book interests. Overall, I thought the experience was successful.