Off The Shelves

#BigLibraryRead with Libby!

This fall, get ready to cozy up with a great new book without holds, waitlists, or overdue dates thanks to Libby! Overdrive, Libby’s parent company, is starting another #BigLibraryRead this November, providing all Libby users with free simultaneous reader access to A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger.

Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.

Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.

Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries.

And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.

Join in the conversation with other readers from around the world by visiting biglibraryread.com and selecting the discussion forum. Make a social media post about your reading adventures with the hashtag #BigLibraryRead to be entered for a chance to win a blanket, a new tablet, and some cool Libby swag!

Start reading November 2nd by logging onto Libby and checking out the title. It’s that simple! Not sure how to start reading e-books and e-audiobooks on Libby? Just ask a librarian or give us a call to get set up. This book club ends November 16th, so check out this title as soon as you can!

Bleak Books with Olivia: Verity by Colleen Hoover

Have you ever read a book all the way through just to close it for the last time and say “wow, that was bleak”? Well, I’m here to make the case for those dark, dreary, haunting, and disturbing reads that keep you up at night long after you put them down. Welcome to Bleak Books with Olivia, your resident creepy book lover at the Aurora Public Library District.

I believe I am well overdue to hop on the Hoover Train. Her books have been flying off the shelves at our branches, and film rights have even been purchased already for some of her novels. Verity came to me in a peculiar way: I was in a long-distance book club with friends and we had already read It Ends With Us, another one of Hoover’s standalones. Although I wasn’t a massive fan of that book, my book club convinced me to give Colleen another try with Verity, and boy, I did not know what I was getting myself into.

Amazon.in: Buy Verity: The thriller that will capture your heart and blow your mind Book Online at Low Prices in India | Verity: The thriller that will capture your heart and blow

Verity introduces us to Lowen Ashleigh, a down-on-her luck author barely scraping by in New York City. She is about to be evicted when a wonderful opportunity caused by tragic events presents itself: fellow author Verity Crawford, who has experienced a James Patterson-level of success, was in a car accident and is catatonic, but her bestselling series remains unfinished. Jeremy, Verity’s husband, meets Lowen and asks her to take on the reins and ghostwrite for her to make the fans satisfied. Lowen hesitantly agrees, doubting her abilities, but is still whisked away to the Crawford estate, where she is meant to go through Verity’s notes and finish her series. She moves in with the family, including the couple’s son, Crew, and finds herself falling for Jeremy, the kindhearted pseudo-widow.

But, just up the stairs, Verity lies unconscious, but alive. Lowen can’t seem to shake the feeling that Verity is more aware and awake than first understood. This, paired with a frightening and disturbing manuscript found by Lowen that is seemingly written by Verity before her accident, slowly convinces Lowen that all is not as it seems.

This novel was stunningly unhinged. It was everything that modern Gothic fiction should be: terrifying, shocking, and a little absurd at times. Sure, there were some parts in this novel that made me roll my eyes at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, but for the rest of the novel, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. The end was breathtaking, to say the very least. I would recommend this book just based on pure shock value. Stick with horror, Colleen!

Thank you for joining me on this dissection of one of my favorite Bleak Books. I hope to see you again sometime soon! Please take a look in the Adult and Teen Fiction section at the Aurora and Dillsboro Public Libraries for my favorite Bleak Books, or check out our e-books on Libby. If you are looking for this specific title, you can use our catalog to locate it or ask a librarian for help! If you meet me in the library and have any Bleak Books suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for a new book to disrupt my life for a couple of weeks.

Local History Trivia on Facebook!

Join us on our Facebook page on Mondays at 5 PM all summer long to play our Local History Trivia! Every week we’ll post a trivia question about Aurora or Dearborn County history. Comment the correct answer on the post to be entered for a chance to win a gift card to a local business!

You have until noon the following day to answer! Please post one answer per question. If there is a tie, a random winner will be chosen. If an exact answer is not given, a winner may be randomly chosen from those whose answers are closest. Trivia is open to everyone. APLD employees and their family are not eligible for a prize. Winners will be notified via Facebook Messenger.

All gift cards were paid for by the proceeds of our book sale at the Dillsboro Library!

Bleak Books with Olivia: House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Have you ever read a book all the way through just to close it for the last time and say “wow, that was bleak”? Well, I’m here to make the case for those dark, dreary, haunting, and disturbing reads that keep you up at night long after you put them down. Welcome to Bleak Books with Olivia, your resident creepy book lover at the Aurora Public Library District.

Let’s switch gears for a minute, shall we? I think it’s time to make the case for teen fiction. I turn 24 in a week, but I still love to read teen fiction. Although it’s not aimed at my age group, recent young adult novels have evolved into darker, scarier, and deeper stories that grip you from start to finish, and the only time House of Hollow doesn’t stick out is when it’s blending into the edgy new class of young adult books.

Iris Hollow just wants to be a normal seventeen-year-old with a normal life, and she does her best to fade into the background at school and in public, but her normal dream is far from reality. When Iris was a child, she and her two sisters, Grey and Vivi, went missing for a month and returned apparently unharmed, but certainly… different. All three sisters’ hair turned the color of snow, matching scars appear on their throats, and each one of them has a new ability more strange and terrifying than they could have imagined. Where did they go? None of the sisters remember. Almost a decade later, Vivi and Grey have left home to live their extravagantly wild lifestyles, leaving Iris with her overprotective widowed mother and nothing but memories of her dead father, who took his life shortly after his daughters returned home.

Iris is finally settling into her seemingly quiet and normal life when her oldest sister, Grey, goes missing. Vivi returns to help Iris search for their sibling, but as they look, the clues they find become increasingly strange, terrifying, and dangerous. Who took Grey, and where did she go? The truth will leave you haunted.

This book was incredibly morbid, haunting, and beautiful all at once. The Hollow sisters were so interesting to read about and were written like real, honest young women. They were tough, honest, imperfect, and brutally beautiful. I cannot recommend this book enough.

So next time you think you’ve run out of things to read, check the teen shelf! You never know what you may find or what may spark your interest. Don’t let the label scare you.

Thank you for joining me on this dissection of one of my favorite Bleak Books. I hope to see you again sometime soon! Please take a look in the Adult and Teen Fiction section at the Aurora and Dillsboro Public Libraries for my favorite Bleak Books, or check out our e-books on Libby. If you are looking for this specific title, you can use our catalog to locate it or ask a librarian for help! If you meet me in the library and have any Bleak Books suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for a new book to disrupt my life for a couple of weeks.

2022 Novelist Reading Challenge: “Maus” by Art Spiegelman

For the second year in a row, NoveList has created a year long reading challenge to help people stretch their reading comfort zones. The challenge gives 24 prompts for readers: 12 for beginners and 12 for aficionados. My goal is to complete all 24 prompts this year. I’ll be making my way through the list and writing reviews about the books I really like. You can find the full reading challenge here.

First up is prompt #17: Read a graphic novel with black and white illustrations. I don’t typically read graphic novels so I was planning on putting this prompt off until later in the year. Then I saw some new articles about controversy over the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, Maus by Art Spiegelman. It was removed from the 8th grade curriculum by a Tennessee school board for its “unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.” There is nothing I love more than challenged books, so I knew I needed to read it.

Maus follows the strained relationship between author Art Spiegelman and his aging father, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor. The novel begins in 1978 with a visit between Art and Vladek. It moves between two timelines, intertwining their visits in present day with Vladek’s stories of his life during the Holocaust. We follow Vladek all the way through the war: from his time as a POW, his time in a ghetto, his multiple hiding spots in between, and finally to his time in Auschwitz and Dachau. He tells of the people and family members he met and lost along the way, and the horrors he faced during those six years. The novel ends after Vladek tells the story of his return to his hometown at the end of the war and his reunion with his wife Anya, Art’s mother. The last panel is an image of Anya’s and Vladek’s tombstone. Anya died by suicide in 1968 and Vladek of congestive heart failure in 1982 before the book was completed.

This book was intense, and it took me a while to get through it. I picked it up and read the first part in one sitting. I usually read books in about 2-4 days, but I had to let this one sit for about a week before I could continue. Maus does not gloss over gruesome details of the Holocaust. Vladek tells stories about murder, violence, torture, starvation, medical experimentation, sickness, and suicide. Maus is one of the best books I’ve read in my adult life. It was difficult, but it was a necessary reminder of a terrible part of the world’s history. Spiegelman said it best, “This is disturbing imagery, but you know what? It’s disturbing history.” I highly recommend this book, even if you’ve read other Holocaust stories in the past. The graphic novel format makes the amazing storytelling that much more impactful.

Check Out All the Books I’ve Read for This Challenge

         

Making the Leap to Adult Fiction

When you’re used to reading books from the Teen Fiction area, it can be challenging to know how to get started with Adult Fiction. Of course, many adults prefer Teen Fiction for the fast pace, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re interested in switching things up and exploring a broader range of literature, you might want to start with books that have been named for the Alex Awards. The Alex Awards are given each year to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18, and can be a great way to try something new. Here are the 2022 Alex Award books, just announced on 1/24/22.

The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec    The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

The Witch’s Heart is perfect for everyone who loves stories based on mythology. It’s a retelling from the feminine perspective of a three-times burned witch in Norse mythology. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a beautiful inter-generational story about an unlikely friendship that develops through an art class intended for patients under end-of-life care. If you liked The Fault in Our Stars, you’ll love this one!

  

Here’s another mythology-based book, this time in graphic novel format. Lore Olympus, Volume I depicts the love story of Hades, the god of the Underworld, and Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and goddess of spring. Described as both joyful and heart-rending, Light from Uncommon Stars brings together the lives of a young transgender runaway, a violin teacher who’s sold her soul to the devil, and a refugee alien star-ship commander.

 

The Library of the Dead is a dystopian novel set in Scotland. Ghost talker Roya uses her Zimbabwean magic to investigate the mysterious disappearances of missing children. Book two of this series is scheduled for publication in April of 2022. How Lucky is the story of Daniel who has a good friend, a routine that involves football game day in the South, and a debilitating disease that has robbed him of body control and speech. When he is the only witness to a kidnapping, it causes several issues that might risk his life.

   The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

If you enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, you’ll also like  Malice, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Kate Quinn is a great author for anyone who likes historical fiction with strong female leads. The Rose Code is set during World War II and revolves around the work done by the women at Bletchley Park. Read this, and then look for Quinn’s new book, The Diamond Eye, coming out in March 2022

  

Winter’s Orbit is science-fiction but combines the intrigue of a thriller and the passion of a romance. An arranged marriage between a prince and a diplomat is meant to strengthen alliances, but suspicions of conspiracy and murder force the new husbands to lay aside their own secrets and work together. The only non-fiction book on this year’s list, Crossing the Line tells about brothers from a disadvantaged neighborhood who find their passion in the sport of polo.

Although I’ve only read 2 of these books, so far, they all sound great for both teens and adults! You can find the titles from previous Alex Awards at https://www.ala.org/yalsa/alex-awards.

We don’t have all of these books yet, but we’ll do our best to get the book you want, if you just let us know!

5 Things You *Probably* Didn’t Know About Anne Perry

 

“The Cater Street Hangman,” Perry’s first published book

 

1. Her first book wasn’t published until she was 41.

Perry began writing when she was in her twenties; however, her first book wasn’t picked up for publication until many years later. During the time in between, she held various jobs in clerical work, retail, and fashion, and was also a flight attendant and a limo dispatcher for some time. Despite all these jobs, she knew writing was what she wanted to pursue. She has now published over 100 books, including 3 published as recently as this past year. Her fifth Daniel Pitt book is scheduled to be released sometime in 2022.

2. She won an Edgar Award for her short story “Heroes.”

Perry’s story “Heroes” first appeared in the 1999 anthology Murder and Obsession and won the Edgar Award for Best Short Story in 2001. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. Named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe, a pioneer in the genre, the awards honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater published or produced in the previous year.

3. She had no formal schooling past the age of 13.

Perry was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of 6. She was so severely ill that she missed three years of schooling. Luckily, her mother taught her to read and write, so she was able to catch back up when she returned to school at age 10. However, at 13 she fell seriously ill again and left school permanently.

4. She’s lived in at least five different countries.

Perry was born in London, England in 1938. Her family moved around frequently in her younger years, and sent her to the Bahamas to live with a foster family in hopes that the warmer weather would be better for her illness. As a teen, she moved back with her family to a small island off the coast of New Zealand. In her 20s, Perry returned to England for a while, but eventually made her way to the United States for five years. She once again returned to England when her stepfather became seriously ill. She currently lives in Scotland.

Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme

5. Her real name is Juliet Hulme.

Perry changed her name after serving five years in prison for murder. At 15 years old she met Pauline Parker. The girls initially bonded over the debilitating illnesses they both had as children, but their relationship quickly became obsessive. When Perry’s family decided to send her to South Africa, the girls could not stand the thought of being separated. Perry’s parents offered to pay for Pauline to come along, but Pauline’s parents refused, thinking it would be best to separate the friends for a while. The girls decided that the only thing keeping them apart was Pauline’s mom Honorah. They believed the only way to stay together was to kill her. Pauline and Juliet planned an outing with Honorah under the guise of a goodbye for Juliet, who would be leaving soon for South Africa. The three of them went on a walk down a wooded path in Victoria Park when the girls bludgeoned Honorah to death with a brick. They were quickly caught, and were both sentenced to five years in separate prisons. The two have not spoken since.

Books by Anne Perry

     

Get Your Cookie On!

Yes, it’s that time of year when ovens across America are heating up, sprinkles are purchased, and cookbooks are inspected for the perfect selection of Christmas cookie recipes. Whether you’re baking only for your family, or whether you’ll be gifting dozens of cookie trays, now is the time to choose your recipes and gather your ingredients. Yes, you can find individual recipes online, but why not check out a whole book?

We have great cookbooks in print at the library, and we have a nice selection of digital cookbooks, if that’s what you prefer.  Check out these seasonal selections as you plan your holiday baking. Some have cookie recipes only, but others contain a variety of items for every sweet tooth.

Cake-Mix Cookies by Camilla Saulsbury Favorite Cookies by the William Sonoma Test Kitchen The Great Christmas Cookie Swap by Good Housekeeping

Christmas Baking by Mia OhrnThe Christmas Cookie Deck by Lou Seibert Pappas Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays by Jeanne Sauvage

Betty Crocker Christmas Cookies American Cookie by Anne Byrn Christmas Cookies

Baking for the Holidays by Sarah Kieffer Christmas with Paula Deen The Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 14

    Christmas Cookies by Better Homes and GardensCookies for Christmas by FamilyFun magazine

   No-Bake Cookies by Camilla Saulsbury  Best-Ever Cakes & Cookies by Family Circle

 

Diverse Voices

One of the hottest topics in the publishing world these days is the effort to provide books with a variety of authentic perspectives. You will sometimes see #OwnVoices used to designate books written by authors who share an identity with a main character. Often the character is part of a marginalized community. Examples would be Native Americans, people with physical or mental disabilities, immigrants, survivors of abuse, or people in the LGBTQ+ community. These authors bring the richness of personal experience to their writing, and the books often serve to challenge our preconceived ideas about people who are not like us. Reading these books can stretch us intellectually and emotionally and can also help us see the universal human traits that bind us together.

Here are some #OwnVoices selections from the library collection that are great choices for different ages.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick D. Barnes Dreamers by Yuyi Morales Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

El Deafo by Cece Bell George by Alex Gino Amina's Voice by Hena Kahn

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper Americanized by Sara Saedi

A Pure Heart by Rajia Hassib Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi  The Round House by Louise Erdrich

For help in finding just the right books for you and your family, ask one of our staff members or check out these resources.

This database from Teaching Books allows you to search for diverse books by genre, age level, or cultural identity. This resource is provided by the Indiana State Library, so just select that you are an Indiana resident to get into the database.

DiverseBooks.org also provides great resources for parents, teachers, and librarians, including explaining the importance of diversity in the world of books.

Bleak Books with Olivia: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Have you ever read a book all the way through just to close it for the last time and say “wow, that was bleak”? Well, I’m here to make the case for those dark, dreary, haunting, and disturbing reads that keep you up at night long after you put them down. Welcome to Bleak Books with Olivia, your resident creepy book lover at the Aurora Public Library District.

Spooky season is upon us, friends, and you know what that means! All things thriller, horror, and cheesy 80’s slasher have returned to my reading list! After scouring the dark corners of the internet for something truly terrifying to read, I came across Riley Sager (or should I call him by his real name, Todd Ritter?). Sager hit it out the park on his first try with Final Girls, a hair-raising novel that follows Quincy Carpenter as she adjusts to her new life as a member of a club no one wants to be a part of: the “Final Girls”, or girls who survived horror movie-level murderous rampages. Just as she starts to settle into this unsettling reality, each one of the “final girls” is picked off one by one. All of his novels have a sense of that classic 80’s horror flick that I just love. I just had to see what all the rage was about, and picked up his newest novel, knowing I wouldn’t regret it.

Survive the Night follows Charlie, a college student in 1991, who is looking for a ride home, and fast. Her roommate was brutally murdered by a serial killer just a couple months ago, and she is riddled with guilt. She may have not been the one who killed her, but she did leave her roommate and best friend alone at a bar that fateful night after a massive fight, and may have even seen the killer, but she just can’t bring herself to remember their face. She posts a carpool request in the student commons and soon meets Josh, a charming older man who offers to drop her off on his way home to Ohio from Olyphant University. The journey starts off smooth, but soon, Charlie develops a suspicion that Josh isn’t who he claims he is. He may even be the Campus Killer himself.

What ensues in this novel is a rollercoaster of events that had me visibly gasping in coffee shops and gripping the armrests of my plane seats. I see lots of book reviews that say “Gripping from start to finish” or some variant of that phrase, but I never truly experienced that until this book. Considering this is my first Riley Sager novel, Id say he’s just gained a permanent fan. He knocked it out of the park on this one, and I can’t wait to read more.

Thank you for joining me on this dissection of one of my favorite Bleak Books. I hope to see you again sometime soon! Please take a look in the Adult Fiction section at the Aurora and Dillsboro Public Libraries for my favorite Bleak Books, or check out our e-books on Overdrive or Libby. If you are looking for this specific title, you can use our catalog to locate it or ask a librarian for help! If you meet me in the library and have any Bleak Books suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for a new book to disrupt my life for a couple of weeks.