Quick Reads

I thought I knew what being busy meant, but then I had a baby in December, and life is definitely not the same! Maybe you like to read but you don’t like the commitment of a series or a 400-page book. Or maybe you are too busy to pay complete attention to a book for too long. Since I’m trying to get back into the groove of reading regularly again (besides fantasizing about what sleep used to be like), I thought that I would compile a list of quick reads to get started.

The majority of these books have 200 pages or less and all are designed to keep your attention from the very beginning. You could also try reading plays or poetry to pad your reading belt or to try something new.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Night by Elie Wiesel

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Many of these books are considered Young Adult. If this is a genre you have never read before, you’re definitely missing out! I’m kind of a slow reader anyway, but Young Adult fiction tends to move quickly and has language that is easy to follow. The next time you’re here, browse the Teen section of the library or ask a staff member to help you find your next great read.

Do you have your own suggestions of quick, attention-hogging reads? I’d love to hear them!

Happy Reading!

Gothic Classics

We all love classics. Whether it’s Pride and Prejudice or it’s the Great Gatsby, it doesn’t quite matter. Gothic Classics are the classics that combines fiction,  horror, death, and even romance at times. Here’s a list of some amazing Gothic Classics that you should read if you enjoy horror!

Jane Austen’s first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the Gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.-Goodreads

As a fan of Jane Austen, I was surprised to discover this one! I personally haven’t read Northanger Abbey, but even if it is poking fun at the Gothic novels, it is still considered a Gothic classic!

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave. –Goodreads

Who hasn’t heard of Daphne Du Maurier?! She is the face of all romantic Gothic classics! So many people prefer Rebecca over all the other classics and if you read it, you’ll discover why!

 

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?-Goodreads

Once again we come across another classic that I didn’t realize would fall into the Gothic classic genre! Though, it has everything needed to be considered a Gothic classic!

Wuthering Heights, first published in 1847, the year before the author’s death at the age of thirty, endures today as perhaps the most powerful and intensely original novel in the English language. The epic story of Catherine and Heathcliff plays out against the dramatic backdrop of the wild English moors, and presents an astonishing metaphysical vision of fate and obsession, passion and revenge. -Goodreads

Another Bronte on the list! I guess they have something in common! Interesting tidbit I wasn’t aware of: this is Emily Bronte‘s only novel.

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins, and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.-Goodreads

Though I’ve never read this book, reading the summary (placed above in italics) makes it go onto my to-be-read shelf!

The scientist Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with possessing the secrets of life, creates a new being from the bodies of the dead. But his creature is a twisted, gruesome parody of a man who, rejected for his monstrous appearance, sets out to destroy his maker.

Mary Shelley‘s chilling Gothic tale, conceived after a nightmare in 1816 when she was only eighteen, became a modern myth. It is a disturbing and dramatic exploration of birth and death, creation and destruction, and one of the most iconic horror stories of all time.-Goodreads

I haven’t read Frankenstein but I knew Mary Shelley‘s story would land her on this list!

First published in 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker has become the standard against which all other vampire stories are compared and the inspiration for countless film and stage adaptations. Indeed, the name Dracula has been synonymous with the Undead for at least a century, and the original novel still has the power to chill. Come then to Castle Dracula, hidden in the forbidding peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, where an undying creature of evil casts his sights on unsuspecting England. Voyage on the doomed ship Demeter as it carries a monster out of ancient superstition in search of new life and new blood. Tremble as first one woman, then another succumbs to the unholy thirst of the nosferatu, and as a small band of men and women, horrified by the supernatural forces arrayed against them, risk their lives and their very souls to oppose the evil known only as… Dracula.”-Goodreads

As a fan of vampires, I have to say that Bram Stoker‘s story of Dracula is amazing!

A single person—but with two personalities: one that’s noble and kind and another that’s pure, repulsive evil. Robert Louis Stevenson’s engrossing masterpiece about the dual nature of man—and a good doctor whose thirst for knowledge has tragic consequences—serves up all the suspense and satisfying chills one expects from the best horror and science fiction.-Goodreads

This story is amazing and unique in every way! I’m not surprised that this book appears on lists of Gothic classics.

 

All the books listed above are literary masterpieces, which is why they are now known as classics! Though I’ve personally only read a few on this list, I know many people who enjoy them all! They are all available at APLD!

Comment below and let me know what Gothic Classics I missed and which one is your favorite!

 

Carpe Librum!

 

P.S. Thanks to Goodreads for providing the italicized summaries for this blog!

Women’s Murder Club Series

James Patterson, bestselling author of the Alex Cross novels Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, and Pop Goes the Weasel, offers the first of a new series dubbed The Women’s Murder Club, featuring a four-woman team that occasionally works outside the system. None of the gritty darkness or frenzied action is lost in 1st to Die, although the female protagonists offer an even deeper emotional context to this suspense thriller.

Inspector Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department suddenly finds herself in the middle of two horrifying situations: The first is that she’s just learned she has an often-fatal blood disease. The second is a double homicide case she is now heading up that involves the murder of newlyweds on their wedding night. Burdened with Chris Raleigh, a new partner reassigned from the mayor’s office, Lindsay finds that she has too much to deal with and turns to her best friend, Claire, the head ME on the case. Claire offers helpful advice and human, friendly contact amid a job filled with violence, cruelty, and fear.

Soon a fledgling newspaper reporter, Cindy, makes contact with Lindsay looking for a career-making story. Although Lindsay can’t officially comment on the case, the two women form a rapport, and Cindy joins Lindsay and Claire for their weekly meeting. When a second pair of newlyweds is murdered, and later a third, the investigation leads to a prominent crime writer, Nicholas Jenks, who has a history of spousal abuse and a predilection for kinky, dangerous sex games. With the help of an understanding assistant D.A., Jill Bernhardt, Lindsay tries to make a case against Jenks, who even had an affair with one of the slain women. Eventually Jill joins the Murder Club, and the four ladies share private interdepartmental information in an effort to track and stop the killer before he strikes again.

The major subplot — Lindsay’s facing up to her illness even while she learns to fall in love again — carefully compensates for the novel’s coarse scenes of brutality. Lindsay Boxer is’t merely an obsessed cop trailing a maniac; she’s also a terrified woman confronting the onslaught of disease. The story lines balance out to show us the true mettle of someone who puts the safety of others before her own.

Again, Patterson’s skill for producing furiously paced fiction are evident as the novel breezes by rapidly. The short chapters keep the narrative leaping with increasingly taut plot elements, but there’s an emotional commitment that makes our protagonist even more amiable and involving. 1st to Die is a novel that works as an intense series of character portraits that will leave the reader touched and delighted. –Goodreads

This is one of James Patterson’s most popular series and one of the most checked out series we have in our library! If you like Eve Duncan or Rizzoli and Isles, then look no further than James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club Series!

 

 

The #1 bestselling female detective of the past 50 years is back. 

Detective Lindsay Boxer and her husband Joe Molinari team up to protect San Francisco from an international war criminal in the newest Women’s Murder Club thriller.

Three female schoolteachers go missing in San Francisco, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is on the case-which quickly escalates from missing person to murder.

Under pressure at work, Lindsay needs support at home. But her husband Joe is drawn into an encounter with a woman who’s seen a ghost–a notorious war criminal from her Eastern European home country, walking the streets of San Francisco.

As Lindsay digs deeper, with help from intrepid journalist Cindy Thomas, there are revelations about the victims. The implications are shocking. And when Joe’s mystery informant disappears, joining the ranks of missing women in grave danger, all evidence points to a sordid international crime operation.

It will take the combined skills of Lindsay, Joe, and the entire Women’s Murder Club to protect their city, and themselves, from a monster. –Goodreads

The 18th Abduction will be published April 29, 2019. Put your name in for a collection request today!

 

Carpe Librum!

Michael Vey

I’ve personally read most of the books in this series and really enjoyed each book I read. The characters are all unique and the story itself is written well. If you are a fan of Percy Jackson, then look no further than Michael Vey!

To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette’s syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special; he has electric powers. And he’s not the only one, either,

Join Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan as they use their powers and wits to prevent a dangerous organization from achieving its sinister goal of global domination.-Goodreads

Stephanie Plum Series

 

You’ve lost your job as a department store lingerie buyer, your car’s been repossessed, and most of your furniture and small appliances have been sold off to pay last month’s rent. Now the rent is due again. And you live in New Jersey. What do you do?

If you’re Stephanie Plum, you become a bounty hunter. But not just a nickel-and-dime bounty hunter; you go after the big money. That means a cop gone bad. And not just any cop. She goes after Joe Morelli, a disgraced former vice cop who is also the man who took Stephanie’s virginity at age 16 and then wrote details on a bathroom wall. With pride and rent money on the line, Plum plunges headlong into her first case, one that pits her against ruthless adversaries – people who’d rather kill than lose.

The New York Times Book Review calls Stephanie Plum “a Jersey girl with Bette Midler’s mouth and Cher’s fashion sense.” In Stephanie Plum, Evanovich has created a resourceful and humorous character who stands apart from the pack of gritty female detectives. –Goodreads

Stephanie Plum is a 26 book ongoing series that is filled with just enough romance and laughter to keep you reading on! If you’re a fan of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series and are sad that it’s ended, this is a series for you! If you’re looking for a series to start, look no further!

 

Carpe Librum!

 

Charley Davidson: A Series

Finally, I’d found a series that I could enjoy and stay entertained with! Darynda Jones‘ Charley Davidson series is the perfect series for romance lovers, mystery lovers, paranormal lovers, and even action lovers! Charley Davidson is the heroine of this beloved series (Of course! It’s named after her!), and she is amazing and kicks butt! Reyes Farrow is her love interest and is drop dead amazing and swoon-worthy! Cookie is her beloved best friend who keeps Charley on her feet! Every character within this series is so amazing and likable that you can’t help but love each and everyone of them, despite their faults!

Private investigator Charlotte Davidson was born with three things: looks; a healthy respect for the male anatomy; and the rather odd job title of grim reaper. Since the age of five, she has been helping the departed solve the mysteries of their deaths so they can cross. Charley’s dealing with a being more powerful – and definitely sexier – than any spectre she’s ever come across before. With the help of a nuisance skip tracer, a dead pubescent gang member named Angel, and a lifetime supply of sarcasm, Charley sets out to solve the highest profile case of the year and discovers that dodging bullets isn’t nearly as dangerous as falling in love. –Goodreads

Darynda Jones makes it her mission in writing to portray Charley as human, even though she’s supernatural, Charley makes mistakes and suffers with the same things that anyone would–all while the dead pass through her! She struggles with her life and everything she goes through in the series, that it’s sometimes hard to read her describe how she feels. Though, Darynda Jones will make anyone laugh! Charley is a hilarious and unique character that stays the same beloved person through the whole series!

If you enjoy Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series, then Charley Davidson should be your next series to read! There’s twelve books out and the thirteenth and final book comes out this January! Be on the look out!!!

Twilight: 10 Years Later

We thought we were in the Twilight clear since the release of the last movie was released six years ago, didn’t we? However, this year is the tenth anniversary of the release of the movie Twilight, which came about three years after the first book in the series was published. And while I will never recommend reading Twilight for literary purposes, the series still makes me a bit nostalgic. Ten years ago, I was a freshman in high school; I was the perfect age and in the perfect place for all of the hype that suddenly surrounded the books and movies, and, boy, did I fangirl hard.

The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer is nothing short of problematic in all kinds of areas, but when you’re fourteen, it seems like the greatest love story ever told. I wasn’t thinking about how accurate the representation of certain cultures were in the novel, or that Bella Swan might have been suffering from Stockholm Syndrome a little bit; I was too busy trying to decide if I was Team Edward or Team Jacob, like 75% of my high school (For the record, I was Team Edward). For me, the series is definitely something to cringe about now, but it will always have a special place on the bottom of my bookshelf because I still can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

I’ve heard the Twilight series compared to the Harry Potter series in that the books got kids (and adults) reading. My philosophy has always been that it doesn’t matter what you’re reading as long as you’re reading something, because if you’re reading, you’re learning. My little sister recently discovered Twilight and is currently devouring the series as fast as she can. While I want to recommend other books to her, with more powerful female characters, diverse characters, and accurate representation of various cultures, I’m stopping myself because I’m just glad she’s reading. And I’m glad that she’s enjoying what she’s reading, too. Who am I to dictate what people should be reading? Who am I to judge them based on their reading preferences?

I will gladly congratulate the Twilight movie franchise on its tenth anniversary, as well as the book series for getting people to read. It can even be argued that Twilight helped popularize the paranormal subgenre in teen, young adult, and adult fiction, which is still one of the most checked out subgenres from our shelves to this day.

So enjoy reading or rereading Twilight and watching the movies in honor of the anniversary! And don’t let anyone tell you anything different!

Happy Reading!

Jodi Picoult: Standalone and Controversy Queen

Jodi Picoult’s first novel — Songs of a Humpback Whale — was published in 1992, after she graduated from Princeton University with a degree in creative writing in 1987. She has been steadily releasing new fiction ever since, taking on more controversial and current events topics with each new release. Her newest novel, A Spark of Light, takes on the hot button issues of gun control and women’s reproductive rights. In total, Picoult has authored 25 novels so far that have been translated into thirty-four languages in thirty-five countries, as well as five Wonder Woman comic book issues for DC Comics, short stories, and a Broadway musical. Five of her novels have even been made into movies.

I have read about half of her novels so far and am always eager to see what she will come out with next. Currently, I’m reading her newest, A Spark of Light, which drew me in from the very first scene.

The majority of Picoult’s books deal with heavy topics, like school shootings, racism, suicide, and the Holocaust. The characters in her stories are never strictly black or white, but are filled with gray areas and ambiguities that make you question what you thought you believed in as well. She also never comes down one way or the other on issues, either, and leaves many endings open-ended, allowing the reader to decide for himself or herself what he or she wants to believe. Sometimes after reading one of her novels, one doesn’t know what to believe anymore, or what side of an issue one should be on. Novels that make me think are my favorite kinds of novels.

Picoult is also known for her dramatic courtroom scenes, where lawyers will believably attempt to argue for or against characters and issues, but who come with their own baggage as well. It is also guaranteed that there will be a twist right at the end of every novel that the reader will not see coming, no matter how closely they are following along. I always hate when I can figure out the ending before the author gives it to me, so I usually read the last few pages of the book once I get into it to see if I’m right. With Picoult, I am always confused by the last few pages and never see the twist coming even though I know it’s going to happen.

But one of the best things about Picoult’s books as that they are all — with the exception of her young adult duology she co-wrote with her daughter — standalones. Her books are perfect for when you need to take a break between series, or are waiting for the next installment to come out, or even if you’re just looking for quick reads. There are some recurring characters spread across some of her standalones, but you don’t have to have read any of her other novels that these characters are featured in. But be careful; most of the time the characters’ actions and what they’re not saying speak louder than what they are saying, so sometimes you have to do some reading between the lines.

Try these out:

Handle With Care

The Pact

Nineteen Minutes

The Storyteller

Plain Truth

Leaving Time

Second Glance

My Sister’s Keeper

Salem Falls

Or any of her other novels! Then come find me and we’ll discuss at length.

Happy Reading!

Mary Poppins Returns

There is a lot of hype surrounding the new Disney movie Mary Poppins Returns, which is to be released December 19, 2018, and the Aurora Public Library District is here to help you jump on the bandwagon! Keep a lookout for an Author Biographies blog featuring P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins and all of her adventures. In the meantime, check out Saving Mr. Banks to hold you over.

The first book in the Mary Poppins universe, Mary Poppins, was released in 1934, with subsequent adventures periodically released all the way up to 1988. We have several of these titles available both digitally and physically to check out.

Mary Poppins Returns is actually intended to be a sequel to the popular 1964 film Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. And while the film is similar to the books created by Travers, it has become its own entity entirely. In other words, you don’t have to read the books in order to watch and understand the film, which is definitely still one of my favorites. The sequel promises to deliver all of the magical realism elements present in the original, as well as new musical numbers. I have high hopes that this new movie will be able to bridge the gap between generations; maybe it will even become as iconic as the childhood staple that is the original!

Starring Emily Blunt as the titular Mary Poppins, and including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns has been anticipated since its announcement in September 2015. Dan Van Dyke is also going to make an appearance in the new film, so we can only hope that the Queen of Genovia herself (Julie Andrews) will follow suit!

Watch the trailer here.

Can you tell I’m more than a little excited? It’s bound to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Spook-tacular Titles for Halloween

It’s getting spookier and spookier as Halloween draws closer, from classic scary movies and ghost hunting shows clogging up the TV, to orange-and-black-packaged candy going on sale, to the decorations and costume ideas beginning to crowd your social media feeds. What better way is there to get you in the mood for Halloween than to check out some books about real-life haunted houses and ghost stories?

Check out these spook-tacular titles:

Haunted Indiana by Mark Marimen

Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard

Eerie Haunted Places by Molly Kolpin

Haunted Hotels Around the World by Megan Cooley Peterson

Grave’s End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado

Timeless Towns and Haunted Places by J.R. Humphreys

Hoosier Folk Legends by Ronald L. Baker

Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales by Angela Shelf Medearis

Haunting Urban Legends by Megan Cooley Peterson

Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings by Tom Ogden 

Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators by Tea Krulos

When Ghosts Speak: Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits by Mary Ann Winkowski

Don’t forget to check out OverDrive for even more creepy titles. And if you’d rather watch a scary movie, the Aurora Public Library District has got you covered there, too! Still can’t get enough? Ask for recommendations for horror fiction. There are several staff members on hand who would love to point you in the right direction!

Happy Reading!