Wives – Fictional and Real

I’m not very fond of the trend of creating a book title based on the profession of the main character’s spouse. However, that’s not enough to keep me from reading a good book. Here are a selection of books from the Aurora Public Library District collection based on the theme “________’s Wife.” I’ve grouped the books into totally fictional characters, novels based on a historical women, and a couple of actual biographies.

I love biographical fiction, so I’ll begin with those books. The Engineer’s Wife is the story of Emily Warren Roebling who married into the engineering family that designed both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati. Emily worked closely with her husband on the Brooklyn Bridge and carried on engineering duties when her husband was injured during the construction.

The Engineer's Wife by Tracey Emerson Wood The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin The Emancipator's Wife by Barbara Hambly

Anne Morrow Lindbergh is, of course, The Aviator’s Wife, written by Melanie Benjamin. Benjamin has also written biographical fiction about Lewis Carroll, Babe Paley, and Mrs. Tom Thumb. Mary Todd Lincoln was a controversial figure in her day. You can read about her in The Emancipator’s Wife as well as several books by Jennifer Chiaverini.

The Clergyman's Wife by Molly Greeley  The Centurion's Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

For all you Jane Austen fans, The Clergyman’s Wife is about Elizabeth Bennett’s friend Charlotte who marries the unbearable Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice. Davis Bunn and Janette Oke are both well-known as writers of Christian fiction, so if you enjoy biblical fiction, you should check out The Centurion’s Wife.

The Salaryman's Wife by Sujata Massey  The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani  The Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope

The Salaryman’s Wife is set in Japan and is the first book in a mystery series. Adriana Trigiani and Joanna Trollope are both popular writers of domestic fiction.

If your reading tastes run more to actual biographies, try The Zookeeper’s Wife, set during World War II or Shakespeare’s Wife about Anne Hathaway.

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer

To find more “wife” books, just type the word “wife” into the catalog search box and then use the collection filters on the left side of the page to choose Adult Fiction or Adult Biography.

Meet Flavia de Luce

If you enjoy cozy mysteries, but are looking for something with a different twist, with a bit of quirkiness, you really need to meet Flavia de Luce, the heroine of a long-running series of books by Alan Bradley. The hook is that the detective is a precocious 11-year old girl with an expert knowledge of chemistry, especially poisons. Set in a post-World War II English village, Flavia lives with her father and a pair of irritating sisters in their ancestral home. Call her inquisitive, or even nosy, but Flavia’s knowledge of her neighbors’ eccentricities comes in handy as dead bodies keep turning up. The books are best read in order, so start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

An Irish Country Doctor Series

If you’ve fallen in love with the latest PBS version of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, you should try the Irish Country Doctor book series by Patrick Taylor. Although Taylor’s books are fictional and Herriot’s books are based on his real experiences as a country vet, the books have much in common. In both series, a medical practitioner fresh from college begins a new life working for an older doctor in a rural setting.

Set in Northern Ireland, these books, filled with plenty of local color and small-town eccentricities, have kept readers coming back for more since 2004. The latest entry, An Irish Country Welcome, was published in 2020.

An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor      An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

An Irish Country Wedding by Patrick Taylor     An Irish Country Welcome by Patrick Taylor      

Children’s Book Awards 2021

Every winter, the library and publishing worlds eagerly anticipate the announcement of the Youth Media Awards. For publishers, it’s a chance to celebrate the critical success of their books. For authors and illustrators, the awards represent the the highest honors in children’s literature and virtually guarantee the books will be in publication for many, many years. For librarians, it’s just one more reason to share the “best of the best” with library patrons. Here are the 2021 winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, the John Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

 

 

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The 2021 medal winner, We Are Water Protectors, was illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. The book was inspired by indigenous-led movements which have sounded an alarm about the need to protect our nation’s waters.

 

 

 

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

 

 

In contrast to the Caldecott, the John Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished American book for children. It typically, though not aways, goes to the author of a chapter book. If you love books based on folklore, you need to read When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller! Here’s teaser from the publisher’s description, “Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

 

 

 

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

 

The winner of the 2021 Coretta Scott King Author Award is Jacqueline Woodson for her book Before the Ever After. This novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when the father’s glory days as a professional football player have passed and he experiences the long-term physical effects of his career. Woodson has won numerous book awards including the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award and the 2014 National Book Award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. She was the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

The Coretta Scott King Book Committee also awards an annual illustrator award and an award for “New Talent.”

 

 

You can view the full list of Youth Media Awards here, including the Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning readers, and the Schneider Family Book Award which honors authors and illustrators who present an artistic expression of a disability experience.

Must Read Teen Fantasy

Some of these series have been around awhile and others are much newer. Whichever you prefer, these are great choices for teens and adults who enjoy reading fantasy.

Laini Taylor made a huge splash in the publishing world with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. She followed these books with Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

After a long pause, Kristin Cashore has returned to the Graceling Realm series this month with the publication of Winterkeep. Graceling was the first book written, but Fire is described as a prequel-companion book.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore Fire by Kristin Cashore Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Leigh Bardugo describes the fantasy world she created for her Grisha trilogy as influenced by Imperial Russia, rather than medieval England, and as more repeating rifles rather than broadswords. Start now, and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in this world before the Netflix series premieres in April. Bardugo has other related books that are also set in this fantasy world.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy by Traci Chee is described as intricately plotted and culturally diverse with a lyrical writing style. It’s a swashbuckling world filled with pirates and assassins!

 The Reader by Traci Chee The Speaker by Traci Chee The Storyteller by Traci Chee

Here are some more “first books” in great fantasy series. Let us know which you like, and what new fantasy book you’re looking forward to.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir  Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

 

The Brontes Live On

If you love classic literature, you probably already know that there are many, many recent novels that tie into the plots created by Jane Austen. Novelists have also taken the opportunity to rework or reimagine the novels of the Bronte sisters, with Jane Eyre probably the most common source material. The books range from prequels to novels about the Brontes to modern updates. Let us know which of the original Bronte novels you love, and which retelling you enjoy!

Adele by Emma Tennant  The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Jane by April Lindner My Plain Jane by Hand, Ashton, and Meadows Jane Steele by Lyndsay Fay

The House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Together We Read

For the next two weeks (February 10-24), you have the opportunity to participate in an online community of readers all reading Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. This title is available through The Indiana Digital Download Center (IDCC) with no waitlists or holds! It’s available as both an ebook and audio-book, and we also have print copies at the library. The IDCC also has special features like an author interview, discussion questions, and the chance to participate in discussion with other readers.

This romance is a perfect choice for February!

One of the most beloved romantic comedies of 2020, Love Lettering is a heart-melting and touching story that fans of Tessa Bailey, Jen DeLuca, and Emily Henry cannot miss. In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts a woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy.

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for her New York City clientele. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his polished fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore a deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late.

Virginia Rep Presents Harriet Tubman

The Aurora Public Library District has been missing the opportunity to watch performances by the Virginia Repertory Theatre , since they have been unable to travel during the Covid pandemic. Now you have the opportunity to watch one of their most popular performances from the comfort of your home. Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad will be a perfect activity for you and your family to watch, especially during this month when we celebrated African American History.

To watch Harriet Tubman, just go to https://vimeo.com/477784116. You’ll need to sign in using the Pass Code: D#sp5M 

This link and pass code will be active through the month of June, so watch as many times as you like.

You can also watch the Cast’s question and answer session at: https://va-rep.org/show_harriet_extras.html

harriet Tubman with a lantern

 

Don’t forget to learn about some of the great library books we have on the Underground Railroad, by checking out my previous blog.

 

Love Monsters in the Library??

It’s time to pick up your February Take-It Make-It craft kit. The kits are available at both the Dillsboro and the Aurora Public Library.

We’d love to share your creation on the Library’s social media pages. If you’re willing to share, just send a photo of your completed craft to stephanie@eapld.org and tell her it’s OK to post this picture!

The Underground Railroad

As we begin African-American History Month, you may want to consider some picture books to share with your family. One of the topics that is popular with our Library patrons is the Underground Railroad. Students often study this in school, so a Library book on the same topic is a perfect way to expand on their classroom activities.

A Good Night for Freedom by Barbara Olenyik Morrow

 

A Good Night for Freedom is especially noteworthy because it is set in Indiana at the home of Levi Coffin, a Hoosier who helped thousands of slaves escape to freedom. The Levi Coffin House, located in Fountain City, Indiana, is now a registered National Historic Landmark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The journey to freedom was extremely hazardous, and slaves relied on the North Star to point the way to Canada. Deborah Hopkinson also uses the common belief that slaves looked for safe houses designated by certain quilt patterns in her book, Under the Quilt of Night.

Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah HopkinsonFollow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

 

 

 

Shane Evans uses minimal text in Underground, but the illustrations brilliantly show the danger of escape and the triumph of arriving in a place of freedom. Moses by Carole Weatherford focuses on the religious faith which led Harriet Tubman to become the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Underground by Shane Evans Moses by Carole Weatherford

If your children become really interested in this topic, we also have some chapter books that would be great to read together.

Trouble Don't Last by Shelley Pearsall River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury Bright Freedom's Song by Gloria Houston