Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction, Thrillers

While You Wait XI: The House in the Pines and The Light We Carry

In December, the popular upcoming fiction book was a thriller, and the non-fiction book was a celebrity memoir. And in January… it looks like people are hankering for more of the same! Get on those waitlists now, and check out our readalikes in the meantime!

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been spending time with all summer.

Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can’t account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer—the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.

At her mother’s house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father’s book that didn’t stand out to her earlier. To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon, all roads are leading back to Frank’s cabin. . . .

Continue reading “While You Wait XI: The House in the Pines and The Light We Carry”
Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction, Thrillers

While You Wait X: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six and Spare

The books that everyone in Sheboygan is waiting for in December are a new thriller (always a popular genre to curl up with in winter) and, perhaps unsurprisingly, another celebrity memoir – this time from Prince Harry, coinciding with the new Netflix documentary. Both of these books have long waitlists, so get on them now – and, while you wait, check out some of our suggested read-alikes!

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

What could be more restful than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s generous brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’ll be three couples on this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare.

A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep.

How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

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Posted in Nonfiction

The Library Has Baking Pans!

Did you know that the library is prepared for your holiday baking needs with more than just cookbooks – that we now have baking pans and tools available for checkout? I have to admit that I’ve made use of this collection a few times already (and my coworkers seem happy with the results!). If you just need a dino pan for your kid’s birthday but don’t need to make a dino cake every week, don’t shell out for your own cake pan, just borrow one. Aren’t planning on making yule log cakes all year round? We’ve got a yule log pan for that! Below, I’ll highlight a couple of the pans we have, the recipes I made in them, and my absolute favorite baking book. If you want to see all the pans we have, they’re in the catalog here!

The All-Purpose Baker’s Companion by King Arthur Baking

King Arthur Baking (previously King Arthur Flour) is my absolute number-one go-to for baking recipes. They have tons of recipes on their website as well, but this way, I won’t use up all the paper in the printer with all the wonderful recipes I find. It also has general baking information like ingredient substitutions (including making things gluten-free) and various tips and tricks for when something just isn’t working. I mean, it’s over 500 pages! You can’t go wrong.

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Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction, Thrillers

While You Wait IX: Mad Honey and Live Wire

We’re back to the regular format of one fiction book and one non-fiction book this month! This time, we have a new entry in a popular series: Colleen Hoover’s new book is due to come out next month. The non-fiction book is another memoir – it seems like people can’t get enough of reading about people overcoming their past difficulties, especially if it comes with some Hollywood/celebrity drama!

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can trust him completely…

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

Continue reading “While You Wait IX: Mad Honey and Live Wire”
Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Nonfiction, Romance

While You Wait VIII: It Starts With Us and I’m Glad My Mom Died

We’re back to the regular format of one fiction book and one non-fiction book this month! This time, we have a new entry in a popular series: Colleen Hoover’s new book is due to come out next month. The non-fiction book is another memoir – it seems like people can’t get enough of reading about people overcoming their past difficulties, especially if it comes with some Hollywood/celebrity drama!

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.

Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the “gripping, pulse-pounding” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Perfect Neighbors) bestselling phenomenon It Ends with Us left off. Revealing more about Atlas’s past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband, it proves that “no one delivers an emotional read like Colleen Hoover” (Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author).

Continue reading “While You Wait VIII: It Starts With Us and I’m Glad My Mom Died”
Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction, Thrillers

While You Wait VI: The House Across the Lake and Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive

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!

The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

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.

Continue reading “While You Wait VI: The House Across the Lake and Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive”
Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction, Thrillers

While You Wait V: The It Girl and Out of the Corner: A Memoir

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.

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

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.

Continue reading “While You Wait V: The It Girl and Out of the Corner: A Memoir”
Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Nonfiction

While You Wait IV: The Hotel Nantucket and Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life

Did I actually write at the beginning of April that it felt like spring? I take everything back. But you can at least pretend you’re on a nice vacation with The Hotel Nantucket, one of the most popular upcoming releases here at the library. On the non-fiction side, we have a memoir by Delia Ephron – if the name is familiar, she’s Nora Ephron’s sister, and together they wrote the screenplay for You’ve Got Mail. And as always, since both of these books have waitlists, I’ve put a few read-alikes together as well!

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map.

And while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise, complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center, there’s a lot of drama behind closed doors. The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts, and the hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?

Continue reading “While You Wait IV: The Hotel Nantucket and Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life”
Posted in Adult, Nonfiction

GATEKEEPING in Pop Non-Fiction

Have you ever met anyone who takes it upon themselves to decide what or who does and does not qualify for a particular group or designation? That’s a gatekeeper folks, and they are the worst. Gatekeepers are all over the place, but the first that come to mind exist in fandoms like Doctor Who (CW for language), heavy metal (CW for language), and believe it or not: public libraries. This is counterintuitive, no? Libraries are meant to welcome all. ALL. EVERYONE. So who is doing the gatekeeping? I see gatekeeping pop up in conversations about whether or not listening to an audiobook is “really” reading (it is!) and don’t even get me started about the total lack of respect reading communities have for romance as a genre. There’s also this ongoing literary fiction vs chick lit “debate” because obviously anything women like is less-than /s. 

Additionally, these days I have been noticing gatekeepers lurking in our hallowed halls of non-fiction. The narrow view I encounter in the course of my work is that only very SERIOUS books about SERIOUS things like WAR and MEN are “real” non-fiction and everything else is a fluffy nonsensical waste of time. The point being missed by these non-fiction gatekeepers is that non-fiction encompasses all aspects of our lives. Non-fiction as a collection is vast, deep, and wide, and is certainly not limited to dusty academic screeds about World War II and, oh, I don’t know…Ulysses S. Grant. Below, I highlighted several subsections of the non-fiction side of the library that are not only very popular, but full of excellent information. Click on each title to see the catalog listing which often features a brief description.

TRUE CRIME

Invisible (2018) by Stephen L. Carter
The subtitle of this true crime book tells us everything we need to know: “The forgotten story of the black woman lawyer who took down America’s most powerful mobster.” I’m in. I don’t even care which mobster is being referred to, I want to read about the smart lady being smart in a world that didn’t make space for people who look like her. 

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (2003) by Job Krakauer
Y’all. This book. It’s a history lesson on the absolute bananas story of the Church of Latter Day Saints as well as the shocking crime the church’s most controversial tenets helped precipitate. Under the Banner of Heaven is getting the small-screen treatment, and I am going to watch the hell out of it, but this book is not to be missed. Krakauer is kind of a stud in the pop nonfiction world, and most of his titles bear a closer look; Into Thin Air (1997) and Into the Wild (1996) are two of his other most-popular titles, both with well-received screen adaptations.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994) by John Berendt
Forget the movie adaptation. It does no justice here. If you have not had a chance to read this book in the last thirty or so years, there’s no time like the present. Midnight is a true crime book that reads like a zany caper novel crossed with the society gossip pages, but people really died. Non-fiction gatekeepers would NOT include this book in their list of REAL non-fiction, and that truly is their loss. 

BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR

Know My Name: A Memoir (2019) by Chanel Miller
A must-read for anyone who is baffled at the unmitigated nightmare of rape culture, and why the justice system is so preoccupied with protecting the perpetrators of rape, but not so much the victims (hint: it’s misogyny). 

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures (1997) by Anne Fadiman
My Sheboygan public school experience in the 1980s and 90s could have been so much richer if lessons about the culture and experiences of our Hmong immigrant neighbors had been incorporated into the regular curriculum. We can make up for this deficit ever so slightly by reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

Essays

Men Explain Things To Me (2015) by Rebecca Solnit
Solnit is one of the best American essayists of all time, and she’s still in her prime. This 2015 collection features her arguably most famous essay, Men Explain Things To Me (2008) which you can read HERE. Solnit was able to articulate how infuriating it is to be doubted as an expert in your field, often by men, and managed to help coin the term “mansplain”. Real queen shit, you know?

Bad Feminist (2014) by Roxane Gay
Another luminary in the essayist community. Gay is an acute cultural observer who writes from the perspective of a black woman of size in a world that wants us to be small and quiet. Gay’s observations on feminism, politics, and popular culture is some of the most engaging writing published so far in the 21st century. Her influence is more profound than one may realize, as she has been writing for the excellent Black Panther: World of Wakanda graphic novel series.

POPULAR SCIENCE

Hallucinations (2012) by Oliver Sacks
Sacks has been gone for seven years now, but I don’t think I will ever stop recommending his work. He dedicated his life to neurology and learning about brain function, eventually becoming a compassionate giant in his field. Sacks’ career was punctuated by publishing collections of what are essentially case studies every few years. Hallucinations was his penultimate work, and I cannot bring myself to read his final book Gratitude, because I do not feel like weeping openly. He wrote Gratitude knowing he would die within months from terminal cancer, so he took the opportunity to document his own brain decline. Oliver Sacks was a generous, patient, brilliant person and the world is poorer without him. His most famous work includes Awakenings, which was adapted into a major motion picture, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat (1985), still excellent 40 years later. 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca Skloot
The fascinating tale of how the polio vaccine was developed, as well as an examination of the infuriating and ongoing history of black bodies being used in industry without consent or compensation. 

The Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer (2010) by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Massively, perennially popular, book club pick til the end of days. Read it to learn what all the heartbreaking fuss is about. Why is science so often heartbreaking?

If the inclusion of any of the above listed titles fills you with impotent rage, the gatekeeping is coming from inside the house. Let people enjoy things. I will probably never read anything by Brene Brown, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the value everyone else finds in her work. Let’s stop measuring the perceived worth of the media we love against the media other people love. I think it’s weird that people will go out of their way to denigrate other people’s favorites & this is my small bid to encourage thought before judgement.

As ever and always, do not hesitate to reach out for more book recommendations (consider using the Your Next Five Books tool HERE) or help requesting material. You can reach Mead librarians by emailing publicservices@meadpl.org or call 902-459-3400. Go on now, go on and git.

Posted in Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction, Thrillers

While You Wait III: The Investigator and Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff

April is finally here, and it even feels a little bit like spring today! And with the new month comes another pair of popular upcoming books. This time, John Sandford has a new book coming out (and it’s the beginning of a new series!). On the non-fiction side, it looks like de-cluttering hasn’t gotten any less popular. And since both of these books have waitlists, I’ve put a few read-alikes together as well!

The Investigator by John Sandford

By age twenty-four, Letty Davenport has seen more action and uncovered more secrets than many law enforcement professionals. Now a recent Stanford grad with a master’s in economics, she’s restless and bored in a desk job for U.S. Senator Colles. Letty’s ready to quit, but her skills have impressed Colles, and he offers her a carrot: feet-on-the-ground investigative work, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.

Letty is partnered with a DHS investigator, John Kaiser, and they head to Texas. When the case quickly turns deadly, they know they’re on the track of something bigger. Lorelai and her group have set in motion an explosive plan . . . and the clock is ticking down.

Continue reading “While You Wait III: The Investigator and Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff”