Bleak Books with Olivia: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

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.

Ah, finally, a return to my comfort zone: a dark academia murder mystery. After finishing Michaelides’s first novel, The Silent Patient, I was ravenous for more. Here in Bleak Books world, we love a good, shocking, knock-you-off-your-feet psychological thriller, and boy did Michaelides deliver. Then, after that book left a void in my life, I read the description for his next release: another psychological thrill ride with a crazy twist ending, but this time, with a dash of dark academia, the genre that’s taking the literary world by storm right now. So of course I put my name on the waiting list and read it as fast as possible as soon as I got it. Now, it’s time to reflect on the madness that is The Maidens. Let us begin, shall we?

Amazon.com: The Maidens: 9781250304452: Michaelides, Alex: Books

Mariana Andros is a group therapist living alone in London, grieving the sudden loss of her husband. Her niece, Zoe, calls her from school at Cambridge one evening in distress. There’s been a murder and Zoe’s best friend is the victim. Mariana comes to comfort Zoe, whom she raised as one of her own after her parents were tragically killed in a car accident, but she ends up staying to investigate the strange murder after she comes across an odd and seemingly sinister group of students led by the charismatic Classics professor, Edward Fosca. These girls call themselves the Maidens and have dedicated their lives to Fosca, whose strange and enigmatic presence combined with his talent for lecturing has drawn the interest of many students and faculty alike. Mariana finds herself drawn into the intertwined lives of these young women as one by one, they are picked off by the killer. Mariana knows in her heart it must be Fosca, but the truth is never all that it seems.

Set against the old, vine-covered academic setting of Cambridge University, this gripping story will shock you to your core. I was enthralled from start to finish, so invested in Fosca’s life that I felt I was a Maiden myself at times. Throughout the book, personal letters written by the killer themselves are sprinkled in, creating a three-dimensional image of a murderer before we ever meet them. The end is something you will NEVER see coming, I guarantee it. I would recommend reading The Silent Patient first, just because!

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. If you are looking to check out this specific title, please look on the New Books shelf at the Aurora Public Library. 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.

June Dollar-a-Bag Book Sale

Our Dillsboro branch will be holding its Dollar-A-Bag Book Sale on June 18th & 19th. You’ll find something for everyone on your list – mysteries, thrillers, romance, classics, westerns, travel, crafts, DIY, DVDs, audio books, CDs, children’s books, large print, magazines, cookbooks and much, much more.

The sale takes place in the Dillsboro basement on Friday the 18th from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday the 19th from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  New books are added to the collection every week, so shop early and often! Bags will be provided.

Summer Reading Scavenger Hunt!

Go on a safari and search for animals in the windows of local businesses for our Summer Reading Program Scavenger Hunt! Just pick up a recording sheet during our open hours to get started at the Dillsboro or Aurora Public Libraries. There will be a different scavenger hunt in Aurora and in Dillsboro, so make sure to pick up the correct recording sheet at the correct library! Prefer a night safari or an early morning hunt? You can start your scavenger hunt at any time of day on or after June 1st.

Images of animals will be posted in the windows of several local businesses for you to find along with a QR code that links you to books about the animal you found! Once finished, return the completed recording sheet back to the library to get the password into Beanstack to get your badge! Not using Beanstack? You can receive a sticker for your hard work once your recording sheet is turned in. Please hunt safely and responsibly!

Ready to get hunting? The scavenger hunt kicks off on June 1st and ends July 24th.

The Aurora Public Library District would like to thank participating local businesses for their support and cooperation for our scavenger hunt!

Tails and Tales is Now Open!

Our Summer Reading Program Tails & Tales is kicking off on June 1st and will run through July 24th. We invite you to stop by the Aurora Public Library or the Dillsboro Public Library and get started with our Summer Reading Challenge. Folks of all ages can participate by reading and completing activities throughout the next 2 months. You can earn badges and prizes all along the way. We have also rolled out a new way to participate through Beanstack. You can sign up your entire family and track your reading on a home computer or mobile device. We also have a  traditional paper log available if that’s how you want to participate.

We are beginning to offer some in-person programs at the library. These programs usually require advance registration and may have limited attendance to allow us to still provide social distancing. Call the library or talk to any librarian to see what is available for your age group.

One program everyone can participate in is our Animal Scavenger Hunt. Grab your tracking sheet at one of the library buildings and try to locate the animals posted in local businesses around town. There there are versions for both Aurora and Dillsboro, so choose your location, or do both!

Have a great Summer!

Dollar-a-Bag Book Sale

Our Dillsboro branch will be holding its $1-A-Bag Book Sale on May 14th & 15th. You’ll find something for everyone on your list – mysteries, thrillers, romance, classics, westerns, travel, crafts, DIY, DVDs, audio books, CDs, children’s books, large print, magazines, cookbooks and much, much more.

Hours are Friday the 14th from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday the 15th from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  Shop early and often. New books are continuously being added to the selection.

Dollar-a-Bag Book Sale

Our Dillsboro branch will be holding it’s $1-A-Bag Book Sale from April 16th-17th. You’ll find something for everyone on your list – mysteries, thrillers, romance, classics, westerns, travel, crafts, DIY, DVD’s, audio books, CD’s, children’s books, large print, magazines, cookbooks and much, much more.

OR, if you’re preparing for spring cleaning, pick up some books about home organization and tidiness! Maybe add some fresh, new titles to your collection!

Hours are Friday the 16th from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday the 17th from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  Shop early and often. New books are continuously being added to the selection.

February $1 a Bag Book Sale

 

Stop by the Dillsboro Public Library on Friday, February 19th and Saturday, February 20th for our $1 a Bag Book Sale! We have a large variety of used books available for purchase, including a considerable amount of teen and children’s books!

The sale is located in the basement of the Dillsboro Public Library and is open during regular business hours. We have bags waiting for you to fill!

Have some used books you’d like to donate? You can drop them off at Aurora or Dillsboro, though we ask that large donations be taken directly to Dillsboro.

Racial Equity Resources

Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester On the Playground: Our First Talk About Prejudice by Dr. Jillian Roberts I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoet

The Aurora Public Library District was recently awarded a $1,000.00 Advancing Racial Equity Collection Development Grant by Indiana Humanities with funds from Lilly Endowment Inc. This grant has allowed the Aurora Public Library District to add a variety of materials to the Library District’s collection in regards to diversity, systemic racism, inequitable policing, and protest. The materials purchased through this grant were selected from a list of over 100 titles that had been curated by librarians, with input from humanities scholars. 

Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer (DVD) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

It is the hope of the Aurora Public Library District that these materials will help our communities learn about racial equity. In selecting titles to purchase, it was the goal of the Library District to offer materials that are appropriate for all ages and in a variety of formats. There are picture books to share with young children, books to encourage frank family discussions, and items to challenge us all to better understand the events that have taken place in our country over the past months and years. Reading a book or watching a DVD on racial justice can serve as an entry point, but we also hope that these resources will lead to deeper reflection and to conversations throughout our community. Lists of the purchased items have been provided to local educators for use in their classrooms, and we also welcome their use by other community organizations.

The purchased materials will be on display at the Aurora Public Library and the Dillsboro Public Library throughout the month of November. A full list of the new items is available on request.

This is My America by Kim Johnson Guilty Until Proven Guilty (DVD)  Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Banaji and Greenwald