It’s a little odd this month! One of the most popular and requested books is… Ugly Love, which was published in 2014! So rather than choose one fiction and one non-fiction, I’m going to give you that book with a couple read-alikes, and then the most popular and requested book that’s actually new (which is, unsurprisingly, Janet Evanovich!) Plus, this way you get a choice between romance and mystery.
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.
Never ask about the past. Don’t expect a future.
They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.
New to the Library this month are several titles that encourage kids to look and listen carefully. Learning to look and listen carefully are important when considering all aspects of learning.
When we look and listen carefully we are slowing down, allowing time to pay attention to the smaller details like the sounds of words while learning to read. When we make careful observations through looking and listening, we notice details about the world around us, helping to build basic science skills and background knowledge to support later learning. And focusing in on one thing at a time is a principle of mindfulness, which is known to decrease stress levels and allow for more productive learning. Check out these titles from our collection and PBS LearningMedia activities to encourage active looking and listening.
Look, I don’t like camping, okay? Sleeping in a tent for more than one night is not restful. Being hot and stinking of bug repellent is not restful. Peeing in a hole is not restful. Plus, ax murderers live in the woods, which is not restful. The closest I ever get to camping is booking a creepy motel room that is woods-adjacent. Last year I drove up to Duluth and the scariest part was the last leg north of Spooner that is mostly pine forest and nothing else. NOTHING ELSE. This is not my element. I kept checking my gas gauge even though I knew it was full. Miles and miles would pass without seeing another car. Should my rental break down I was certain that murderers and sasquatch lined the highway, just beyond my line of sight, I knew it in my bones! Imagine my relief when I spotted Superior in the distance after cresting a hill. Civilization. Anyplace with Kwik Trip stations every three blocks is civilized, you see. While I personally do not cope well with the wide-open spaces, and being for-real scared, I thoroughly enjoy being pretend-scared from the comfort of a rented room while on vacation. If I can see woods from the room, all the better. Below, I listed several books with spooky woods featuring heavily in the plot.
Small Spaces (2018) by Katherine Arden Horror isn’t just for adults. That’s right, children can and should have the everloving hell scared out of them on the odd occasion. Books are a great way to scare your children. For instance, Small Spaces deals with the horror of grief as well as the more existential threat of wood-dwelling creatures that come out in the dark to eat you. Scary! Small Spaces is the first in a horror trilogy and I really think Arden gave us all a little gift with these books since parents and kids will both enjoy the series. The stakes are high and the woods are dark and dreadful. Age up with Arden and check out her gorgeous Winternight Trilogy which is basically Russian fairy tales updated for a mature readership. Save it for cold weather, tho.
In the Woods (2007) by Tana French This is the first book in Tana French’s beloved Dublin Murder Squad series. One of my favorite tropes in mystery fiction is when the traumatized youth grows up to be seemingly well-adjusted but then must confront the source of their trauma. In this case, the protagonist’s childhood friend vanished without a trace twenty years earlier and now a similar crime has happened in the same woods. Dublin Murder Squad books can be read in any order, but I think In the Woods is the right place to start this astonishing series.
Near the Bone (2021) by Christina Henry I love books about wreaking revenge on terrible men. I like books about monsters and being scared in the woods. Near the Bone combines all of these elements to great effect. A young woman and her husband live far away from civilization in the mountains. The man controls the woman’s every movement and has done for a very long time until an unseen and howling beast throws his carefully isolated life into chaos. Perhaps the unseen terror in the woods will mean salvation from the known horror of the young woman’s captor.
Watchers (1987) by Dean Koontz This is not a good book, but it was a GREAT vacation read. The premise hooked me right away. Our protagonist crosses paths with a friendly golden retriever who manages to warn him from walking any further into the Oregon foothills. See, the golden retriever is super smart, see, and the laboratory that created him also made this super smart malevolent thing, right, that is basically the evil counterpart to the very good boy golden retriever, see. Oh and also the dog can tell if people are good or evil. And also also the creature has a psychic link with the dog! And it stalks the man and the dog! And there is a pretty lady in need of rescuing! I liked this book for a vacation read because it required very little brain power to enjoy or understand. My main criticism is that Koontz should refrain from writing sex scenes. This book came out in 1987 so maybe he got better at it, but lord was I a-cringing.
In a Dark, Dark Wood (2015) by Ruth Ware The best mysteries feature isolated locales, unreliable narrators, and lots of wild twists and turns. Ruth Ware has a knack for just such a mystery. In A Dark, Dark Wood takes place of course, in the middle of an isolated wooded English settlement. A group of old friends gathers for a traditional “hen do” and piss-up before one of them gets hitched. Things start out fun enough but then something goes very, very wrong. How did the power get cut off if no one can come in or out? If a stranger came into the house, where are their footprints in the snow? And it goes on like that. Most satisfying.
Here are some additional spooky woods-adjacent books to enjoy from the safety of your hotel room. Poolside enjoyment is also acceptable:
Please, enjoy camping on my behalf. Just like Homer Simpson, I prefer to be where my food and bed is. If none of the above titles hold any appeal, please reach out to us for book recommendations or consider using our book recommendation tool Your Next Five Books which will provide you with personalized book picks. Either way, we love hearing from you.
Mead has a fairly extensive movie selection. But did you know we also have WWE matches on DVD? Today’s post is a sampling of what Mead has. As usual, I’ve included the description from the catalog for each item.
Two more popular books with some readalikes! Unsurprisingly, the popular fiction book is a new thriller – it’s one of our most popular genres. The non-fiction book was more of a surprise. It sounds interesting – a woman’s memoir of working as a maid to support her family – but it’s a few years old at this point. I’m not sure why it suddenly has a hold list again, but there you go – perhaps it’s just gotten some very good word-of-mouth!
Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is powerful; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous.
One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye—and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.
Every month, librarians across the country pick the ten upcoming titles they’re most excited to read. This month’s picks include a deliciously creepy take on Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the story of an 8 year old girl forced to attend Weight Watchers, and a pair of romance novels that grapple with the intersection of love and mental health.
A retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher, Kingfisher’s latest adds the creepiest of flesh to the bare-bones tale by Poe. Complete with a scary, isolated mansion and eerie behaviors of the residents, this version not only makes perfect sense within the original narrative, but adds a depth of understanding that suddenly makes all the pieces fall into place. For fans of Mexican Gothic, The Haunting of Hill House, and The Night Stranger. —Sheri Stanley, Gulfport Library
Despite preferring to sit very still, even indoor kids like me enjoy summer weather. We might not want to move around very much, but we have our ways of utilizing the longer, warmer, brighter days. For instance, when the weather warms up I go a little bananas and fill my backpack with snacks, a blanket, and books to take with me to the beach. I find someplace in the shade (we burn easily, you see) and make myself comfortable. Since Lake Michigan is conveniently close, and since Sheboygan has minimum three beautiful beaches to lounge on, I never have to think very hard about how to spend my days off. Parking isn’t a problem and my gas bill doesn’t exist because I ride my bike. This is what my low-maintenance summers are shaped like and it never gets old. Below, I listed several fantastic books that pair nicely with summer escapism. For book recommendations that are tailored to a specific taste, please consider using Mead Library’s Your Next Five Books book recommendation service.
This is the story of a boy and his father who share a love for measuring things. How long, how fast, how tall, how fluffy, fancy or bouncy, Rafa and his papá work together to make comparisons of everyday objects around their home. After reading this story, try measuring and comparing things around your home. Give your child a ruler and go on a scavenger hunt to find things that are exactly 12 inches long. Or use a non-standard unit of measurement and find something that is the same length as your hand, or the same height as your favorite toy. Other books about measuring that I enjoy are “Inch by Inch” by Leo Lionni and “Ants Rule” by Bob Barner. Make sure to listen to this catchy tune by Ozomatli on PBS KIDS Rock.
It’s the start of a new month, and I’ve got another selection of two popular books (with waitlists, of course!) as well as a few things to tide you over while you wait. It’s not surprising that Ruth Ware has another book that everyone is dying to read; if you like thrilling mysteries and intricate plots, you should definitely check this out. And on the non-fiction side, actress Jennifer Grey has a memoir coming out that will take you from 1970s Malibu through 1980s Hollywood and all the way up to her present hard-won life.
Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.
Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.
It will be June four days after this post goes up. Almost impossibly, the sixth month of the year is already at hand. How have you treated your time so far in 2022? Did you spend time with the ones you love? Did you learn anything new from watching Wheel of Fortune? Did you mark off any squares on your 2022 Bookish Bingo Challenge? If so, awesome! If not, there is a whole other half a year left to reach your bingo reading goals.
To keep the bingo challenge exciting, and to assess who is reading the Mead blog, I would like to give the first five people to email me a super secret and valuable prize. Email email@example.com by July 10th to get in on the prize action. Your email should include at least one book that checked off one square of the Bookish Bingo 2022 card. That means even if you haven’t marked off a single square til June, you can still win a fabulous prize. Just like on Wheel.
Below, I explore some approaches to crossing off a square on your Bingo card to help get the reading challenge juices flowing:
Read a book from a Little Free Library
This might be my favorite square. There are no limits beyond the receptacle from which you find your book. It’s hard to walk more than a few blocks in Sheboygan without encountering a Little Free Library. There’s a map one can refer to in order to find the “official” LFLs throughout Sheboygan. This means the LFL “host” has officially registered with the Little Free Library organization. Take a look at the map HERE. It’s not required to register and you will find many fold more “unofficial” Little Free Libraries than the official ones listed on the map. My personal favorites in Sheboygan include the one outside the John Michael Kohler Arts Center on the 6th Street-side, the one on the corner of 7th and St. Claire, and the one near the YMCA. Not to say these are the BEST, they just happen to appeal to me, personally.
Read a memoir by a comedian
Yes, Seth Rogan was only a standup during his teenage years before landing his first starring role on Freaks and Geeks, but lord was this book good, so I am including it. I LOLed so hard I cried at several passages. Also, if you have the means, I am begging you to listen to this in audio format. The cast of famous voices is staggering and I had to keep looking up if the person I was hearing was the person I thought it was.
That’s the thing about comedian memoirs, though. They tend to translate very well into audio productions. We see a similar effect with the work of Amy Poehler (Yes Please; 2014), Tina Fey (Bossypants; 2011), and Steve Martin (Born Standing Up; 2007). Below, I listed several other highly acclaimed comedian-penned memoirs that can be found on Hoopla or Overdrive/Libby, in addition to the hard copy:
The Last Black Unicorn (2017) by Tiffany Haddish
Fresh Off the Boat (2013) by Eddie Huang
Why Not Me? (2015) by Mindy Kaling
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (2012) by Jenny Lawson
Dear Girls (2019) by Ali Wong
You’re in luck if you enjoy the above work and want more, since most of the authors I listed have published more than one humorous title. In the case of Steve Martin, he’s also published more “traditional” fiction offerings such as his 2000 novella Shopgirl. It never hurts to investigate back catalogs, in any case.
Read a book about food that isn’t a cookbook, or the food memoir, as it were
Cookbooks are excellent for reading, don’t get me wrong, but the food memoir is where it’s at for some deep and delicious narrative goodness. Julia Child was a wonderful writer and the memoir of her time in France is such a delight. The “warbling giantess” is so full of curiosity, humor, warmth, and SNARK! that is not always evident when watching her on one of her many iconic cooking shows. Julia has several non-cookbook-books to her name, but if you aren’t a Child stan like I am, perhaps one of the below titles would be of interest:
The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard (2020) by John Birdsall
Kitchen Confidential (2000) by Anthony Bourdain
How to Cook a Wolf (1942) by MFK Fisher
Garlic and Sapphires (2005) by Ruth Reichl
The Cooking Gene (2017) by Michael Twitty
If you are in need of a 2022 bingo card stop into the library and ask at the first floor desk. If you have completed a row across, down, or diagonally, submit your sheet at the first floor desk to receive a small prize. Bingo cards that are completely full will be entered into a drawing at the end of 2022 for a big prize. In the meantime, don’t forget to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a crack at receiving a mid-year bingo incentive! In lieu of that, we are always happy to help find books that fit bingo squares, or for any reading goal you have in mind. Please also consider using our book recommendation tool Your Next Five Books which can be found HERE.