Check It Out Category: Book Culture

Author Program: Carl Hiaasen Interviews John Sandford

Zoom Program: A Fireside Chat with Author John Sandford, Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m.

Enjoy sitting in on a virtual chat with bestselling thriller author John Sandford on Wednesday, April 14 from the comfort of your own home. Whether you are an established fan, looking for a new series, or simply interested in hearing first-hand about life as an author, you’ll be treated to a lively conversation. This program will be presented via Zoom, and you may register HERE.

As the reader resource tool NoveList describes, “John Sandford stands out for his consistent delivery of riveting characters and intense, richly layered plots in his Prey series, Kidd series, and his stand-alone novels. Crime drives his stories, whether his heroes are the ones solving or the ones committing the crime. Intricate details and graphic violence lend a gritty realism to the tone of these books, while maintaining a fast, suspenseful pace. Quirky characters and witty dialogue relieve the tension. Sandford’s good guys and bad guys alike are intriguing, complex, and realistically flawed.”

If you are interested in giving his books a try but uncertain how to begin with such a long series, here are entry points you might use:

Golden Prey book cover

Golden Prey (2017)
Prey series, #27

A series of audacious robberies compels newly appointed U.S. marshal Lucas Davenport to investigate the possible return of a gang leader who once killed two FBI agents.

Why start here? Series protagonist Lucas Davenport has a fresh start with a new job, and you don’t have to know the backstory to enjoy the thrilling chase that unfolds.

 

Invisible Prey book coverInvisible Prey (2007)
Prey series, # 17

Investigating the seemingly open-and-shut double homicide case involving a pair of wealthy elderly women, Lucas Davenport begins to suspect that the handful of small items that were stolen from the crime scene may have had more significant values.

Why start here? If your taste in crime fiction favors intriguing procedural, this entry offers all the Davenport flavor with heightened emphasis on the puzzles. Bonus: This is recurring character Virgil Flowers’ first appearance with Davenport, and he’ll even go on to have his own series.

 

Mad River book coverMad River (2012)
Virgil Flowers series, #6

When three teenagers with dead-end prospects begin a killing and robbery spree through rural Minnesota, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins a growing number of cops trying to stop them.

Why start here? New release Ocean Prey is the first to pair Davenport and Flowers in equal parts, and this entry shows Virgil’s distinct personality and approach.

 

Certain Prey book coverCertain Prey (1999)
Prey series, #10

Clara Rinker is the best hit woman in the business. She’s been hired by an attorney in Minnesota who wants a rival eliminated. But the witness survives, the attorney starts acting strangely and a big cop named Lucas Davenport gets on her case. There are loose ends popping up everywhere and Lucas is in for the run of his life.

Why start here? For those fascinated by the interplay between hero and villain, such as in TV series Luther, The Fall, or Hannibal, the same dark, titillating satisfaction can be found in this pairing.

 

Rules of Prey book coverRules of Prey (1989)
Prey series, #1

Lieutenant Lucas Davenport is determined to track down a diabolically clever serial killer who leads a double life, carefully picks out his female victims, and taunts the police with notes signed Maddog.

Why start here? For those who cannot bear to jump in mid-series, here’s where it all began!

 

 

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

best young adult books of 2020 best young adult books of 2020

Get ready to add to your TBR list! At the end of 2020, we looked at various “best of” lists and considered the buzziest books at MPPL and–ta dah!–brought you some great reads from a not-so-great year. We’ve selected a little something for all types of readers, whether you’re in the mood for a page-turner or a slow-burner.

Looking for personalized book recommendations? Email teenmail@mppl.org or readers@mppl.org to connect with our book match specialists. Keep reading for a few of our favorite titles, or visit the full Best of YA 2020 list to check out your next read!

These Violent Delights book cover

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

In 1926 Shanghai, eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city

Historical Fantasy; World-building

 

Furia book cover

 

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her fathers’ wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.

Relatable; Inspiring

 

Stamped: Racism, antiracism, and you book cover

 

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

“Reynolds lends his signature flair to remixing Kendi’s award-winning Stamped from the Beginning into a powerful “not a history book ” primer on the historical roots and present-day manifestations of antiblack racism in America.” (from Publishers Weekly)

Issue-oriented; Conversational

 

Enigma Game book cover

 

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Told in multiple voices, fifteen-year-old Jamaican Louisa Adair uncovers an Enigma machine in the small Scottish village where she cares for an elderly German woman, and helps solve a puzzle that could turn the tide of World War II.

Suspenseful; Atmospheric

 

Cemetery Boys book cover

 

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Two sisters–Eri, a fashion model sleeping her way to oblivion, and Mari, a young student–form the center of a novel that documents a series of encounters in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn.

Fast-paced; Enchanting

 

Super Fake Love Song book cover

 

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon

When new-girl Cirrus mistakes self-described nerd Sunny Dae as the lead in a rock band, Sunny rolls with it forming a fake band with his friends, but as the lies continue he risks losing both Cirrus and his friends.

Funny; Romantic

 

Dragon Hoops book cover

 

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

“The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.” (from Kirkus Reviews)

Candid; Triumphant

 

Not So Pure and Simple book cover

 

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

High school junior Del Rainey unwittingly joins a Purity Pledge class at church, hoping to get closer to his long-term crush, Kiera.

Authentic; Thought-provoking

 

Favorite Reads of 2020 from Let’s Talk Books!

Favorite Reads in 2020 from Let's Talk Books

Let’s Talk Books participants share their favorite discoveries of 2020! Let’s Talk Books happens every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 7pm on Zoom (registration required). It’s a bookish hour full of listening to what your neighbors are raving about and sharing your own discoveries! You are welcome to come to every session or just drop in for one. And now, drumroll please, for the favorite reads of 2020 from Let’s Talk Books participants!

Empty Mansions book cover

 

Julia highly recommends Empty Mansions: the Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

A cousin of Huguette Clark and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist trace the life of the reclusive American heiress against a backdrop of the now-infamous W. A. Clark family and include coverage of the internet sensation and elder-abuse investigation that occurred at the end of her life.

Would Like to Meet book cover

 

Another favorite of Julias as well as Cathleens this year was Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters

Ordered by her film agency to acquire a romantic-comedy screenplay by a jaded writer, Evie relies on the assistance of her friends during a haphazard summer spent trying to prove that true love is real.

 

Vanishing Half book cover

 

Nicole enjoyed The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Twin sisters, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

 

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents book cover

 

Nicole also recommends Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns identifies the qualifying characteristics of historical caste systems to reveal how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings, enforced by religious views, heritage and stigma, impact everyday American lives.

 

Alexander Hamilton book cover

 

Howard relished Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

The personal life of Alexander Hamilton, an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who rose to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States, is captured in a definitive biography.

 

the turn of the key book cover

 

Gail thoroughly enjoyed The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware.

When a high-paying nanny job at a luxurious Scottish Highlands home ends with her imprisonment for a child’s murder, a young woman struggles to explain to her lawyer the unravelling events that led to her incarceration.

 

Memorial book cover

 

Janine and Jenny recommend Memorial by Bryan Washington

A Japanese-American chef and a Black daycare teacher begin reevaluating their stale relationship in the wake of a father’s death and the arrival of an acerbic mother-in-law who becomes an unconventional roommate.

 

The Flatshare book cover

 

Another favorite of Janine‘s was The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Entering a flatshare arrangement with a man on an opposite work shift, a heartbroken woman begins exchanging notes with the roommate she has never met and becomes his best friend, and possibly soulmate, through their correspondence.

 

House in the Cerulean Sea book cover

 

Denise highly recommends The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place-and realizing that family is yours.

 

The Sellout Book Cover

 

Chelsea enjoyed The Sellout by Paul Beatty

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.

 

 

Boy the Mole the Fox and the Horse book cover

 

Chelsea and Janine recommend The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this book based on his famous quartet of characters, as they explore their unlikely friendship and learn poignant, universal lessons together.

 

New Waves book cover

 

Jenny thoroughly enjoyed New Waves by Kevin Nguyen

Fed up with discriminating bosses, an Asian-American customer service representative and a talented African-American programmer conspire to steal their employer’s user database before an unexpected setback exposes a secret double life.

 

 

Cathleen delighted in listening to The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

Recovering from a heart transplant while mourning a best friend who did not make it, Ailsa begins a search for her long-absent father that is marked by personal estrangements and questions about starting over.

 

 

Cheers to us all finding more reading gems in 2021!

National Reading Group Month

National Reading Group Month

Rally round, readers and book group enthusiasts! October is National Reading Group Month and we have book discussion resources for you as well as your book club. Our resources include: Books to Go bags (Book Discussion Kits), Book Club How-To’s, Discussion Questions, and more!

Books To Go Bags!

 

Books-To-Go Bags

Each Books-To-Go kit may be checked out for six weeks and includes ten copies of a title, as well as a binder containing information about the book, biographical information on the author, and questions for discussion.

For more information, including how to reserve at kit for your group, you may visit our Books-To-Go webpage.

 

Book Discussion Questions

Staff Created Book Discussion Questions are available online. Can’t find the title your group is discussing? Email us at readers@mppl.org for book discussion questions and anything else book discussion-related or below are a few discussion guide websites.

Lit Lovers
An excellent hub for resources, including: reading guides, book club help, book reviews, and more.

Reading Group Guides
Hundreds of guides from many different publishers are available through the site-a great place to start.

Reading Group Choices
A comprehensive site containing a directory of hundreds of reading guides from a variety of publishers.

 

Completely Booked

Last, but not least, we have a upcoming library-led discussion on October 20th for readers in their 20s & 30s called Completely Booked!

 

Completely Booked book discussion group, Tuesday October 20th from 6 to 7 p.m. Calling all readers in your 20s and 30s, join us for a social book group where we will discuss a variety of genresMeet up with other book enthusiasts every third Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. Registering for the discussion is required to receive the login information.

 

 

 

 

Happy Reading!

 

Summer Reading Starts Monday, June 1!

The Spectacular Reading Race, Adult summer reading challenge, June 1, 2020 through August 31,2020

Ready for a taste of the familiar along with the excitement of new twists? Welcome to Summer Reading 2020 and the introduction of an online tracking tool: Beanstack. This summer you’ll be able to enter your books wherever you are, earning digital badges and chances for virtual drawings all with a few taps of your screen or clicks of your mouse. Also, since Summer Reading starts June 1 and continues through August 31, you have an added month to set your own pace or to explore even more reading activities.

Begin by visiting our official MPPL Summer Reading webpage to discover how to Get Started and to learn what opportunities are available for Adults, Teens, and Young Readers. Each age group is presented with a variety of options of what to read or activities to complete, and you choose what fits your mood best. Challenge yourself to find suggestions of what to read through featured lists, or ask for a personalized suggestion. However you choose to participate, be sure to join us for The Spectacular Reading Race starting June 1!