Rowayton Library Recommends

Dappled--Baking Recipes For Fruit Lovers

August 10, 2019

Dappled--Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers by Nicole Rucker is a timely addition to our cookbook collection. With peaches and blueberries, blackberries and plums in piles wherever you look, it is wonderful to have some imaginative options for using this bounty. It has a broad range of recipes for both skilled bakers and novices and ravishing photographs. Take a look! (Cookbook)

Working

August 10, 2019

Working by Robert Caro is part memoir, part writing seminar and all-absorbing The renowned author of the biographies of Robert Moses and LBJ decodes his style and purpose in this short (amazing considering the length of his books!) treatise on how he worked. He goes into the methodology of his research in-depth. To say his subjects were complex public figures is an understatement. These books illuminated the way their professional lives were ultimately about the accumulation and use of power and the impact that had on legislation, public works, and people's lives. The daunting amount of material he worked through to write these acknowledged masterpieces is astounding. (Non-Fiction)

In Pain

August 10, 2019

In Pain by Travis Rieder is harrowing. It is subtitled A Bio Ethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids. Surgeries after a serious motorcycle accident catapulted the author into the nightmare cycle of pain treatment with opioids and subsequent, torturous withdrawal. This book was written to help call attention to a system that does not effectively manage these powerful drugs, even when they’re prescribed. (Non-Fiction)

Brunelleschi's Dome--How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

August 10, 2019

Brunelleschi’s Dome--How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King is the History Book Club selection for September. It is a fascinating look at the construction of one of the world’s iconic buildings---the cathedral in Florence, Italy. It was an opportunity to try new designs and engineering tactics. Amazingly the dome took only 25 years to build. The great leap of creating a supporting dome built over thin air vs. using flying buttresses was a huge achievement. The author has written a highly readable book about an exhilarating period in history. (Non-Fiction)

The Nickel Boys

August 10, 2019

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead is an unforgettable read. Set in Florida’s rigidly racist Jim Crow era, the very different characters of Turner and Elroy try and survive in a juvenile detention facility of unimaginable cruelty. It is based on the real story of an FL reform school. It is a sobering, brilliantly written book that shines a light on the racist world where so many struggled to survive. The things that happened to the nickel boys tragically echo down the generations as they struggle to come to terms with their horrific past.

The New Girl

August 10, 2019

The New Girl by Daniel Silva has Gabriel Arron deeply, albeit reluctantly, involved with the Saudis. He finds himself working with the newly powerful Saudi prince who will probably be the next king. The prince’s daughter has been kidnapped and the byzantine politics of the Saudi royal family make it next to impossible to negotiate her release. A ripped from the headlines plot keeps the pages turning as Gabriel tries to singlehandedly right the wrongs of the Middle East.

The Moonstone

August 10, 2019

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is an outstanding read if you are a fan of detective novels but a bit tired of the tropes of the last few years. Originally published in 1868 it’s the story of a cursed diamond from India that is stolen from the young girl who inherits it. It is told from the multiple perspectives of richly drawn characters. It is widely considered to be the first detective novel. It’s a bit long as it was originally serialized, but has plenty of twists and keeps you guessing. Highly recommended.

The Lager Queen of Minnesota

August 10, 2019

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal is the heartwarming story of Helen and Edith, sisters raised on a farm in MN and currently living very different adult lives. Craft beer making and the Midwestern food world are the backgrounds for the warring sisters’ lives. The characters are very relatable, with hopes, dreams, and setbacks ending with a resolution that feels authentic. It’s a great summer read with a sophisticated prose style and exceptional character development. These are people you want to spend time with, root for, and yes, have a beer with!

Deep River

August 10, 2019

Deep River by Karl Marlantes is a sprawling family epic about Finnish immigrants in the early 1900's Washington state, where the old-growth forests supported a burgeoning logging industry.  It’s full of fascinating history. The novel is well-written entertainment focusing on three siblings. It paints a picture of the settlement of the area and the development of the Pacific Northwest.

A Dangerous Man

August 10, 2019

A Dangerous Man by Robert Crais delivers a welcome addition to the popular Joe Pike/Elvis Cole series. Car chases and skullduggery galore all start with a foiled kidnapping. Or was it? Bodies start piling up and the questions keep on coming. A family history that bites the next generation, corporate hijinks, truly nasty bad guys, a rollicking southern CA vibe all come together in short chapters that are like eating candy. Pike is his laconic and deadly self--an irresistible combination. Perfect for the hammock!

Big Sky

August 10, 2019

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson brings the welcome return of Jackson Brodie, originally from the Case Histories series. There is a staggeringly huge cast of characters and interlaced stories to keep track of. It’s beautifully told and despite some serious doings, there are also interjections of humor. Brodie is trying to figure out the dark undercurrent in his seemingly picturesque and peaceful village. The routine life of a PI chasing down unfaithful spouses quickly morphs into a sinister case that requires all his talent to unravel.

Almost Midnight

August 10, 2019

Almost Midnight by Paul Doiron continues the adventures of Mike Bowditch, a Maine game warden. A crime from the past that landed his close friend in jail circles back with the arrival of a new warden. The attention to detail in the description of the settings creates a very strong sense of place, ME is not just the beautiful coastline most tourists see. Mike has to figure out how to keep family and friends safe as the violence escalates.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Season 1 Childrens' Series (NR) 870 minutes

July 21, 2019

MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, Season 1NEW SERIES CHILDREN’S SERIES Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Please, won't you be my neighbor? Stroll down memory lane with this four-disc set featuring 30 iconic episodes from the beloved children's series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, hand-selected by Fred Rogers Productions. Mr. Rogers was a calm and gentle man who taught children about the world around them and guided them reassuringly through a man of the experiences of growing up and getting along with others.

The Hidden World: How to Train Your Dragon Children's Movie (PG) 105 minutes

July 21, 2019

THE HIDDEN WORLD: How To Train Your Dragon  – CHILDREN’S MOVIE (PG) DreamWorks Animation brings a surprising tale about growing up, finding the courage to face the unknown and how nothing can ever train you to let go. What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic trilogy spanning their lives. When the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth. In this last chapter, Hiccup and Toothless will finally discover their true destinies, and dragon and rider will fight together to protect everything they’ve grown to treasure.

Dumbo Childrens' Movie (PG) 111 minutes

July 21, 2019

DUMBO– CHILDREN’S MOVIE (PG) A Disney legend returns for a whole new generation. Acclaimed director Tim Burton presents the reimagined CGI Dumbo. Dreams soar to the Big Top when a baby elephant that can fly saves the day! Starring Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin.

Patrick Melrose (NR) 302 minutes

July 21, 2019

PATRICK MELROSE -NEW SERIES (NR) Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a powerhouse performance as English aristocrat Patrick Melrose in this “devastating and brilliant adaptation” (The Economist) of the novels by Edward St Aubyn. Chronicling the hilarious highs and devastating lows of his tumultuous life, this blackly humorous drama follows Patrick from his childhood trauma at the hands of an abusive father (Hugo Weaving) and neglectful mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh), to the peak of his heroin addiction, and his attempts to stay sober and support his family. “Beautifully acted by an exceptional cast” CNN

Marcella Season 2 (NR) 379 minutes

July 21, 2019

MARCELLA, Season 2– SERIES (NR) DC Marcella Backland (Anna Friel) is a London police detective haunted by violent blackouts. When a body is found inside a wall, Marcella is horrified to discover that she knew the victim: a young boy who went missing years ago while walking home with her son. As more corpses turn up, Marcella wades through a complex web to catch a serial killer, but her deteriorating mental state threatens to derail the investigation. Also starring Jason Hughes, Victoria Smurfit, Ray Panthaki, Jamie Bamber and Peter Sullivan.

Killing Eve Season 2 (NR 360 minutes

July 21, 2019

KILLING EVE, Season 2(NR) SERIES Picking up where season one left off, we follow Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh)as she navigates the fallout of stabbing love-drunk psychopath and career assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). The series asks, who is killing Eve? Is it Villanelle, intent on revenge, Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) willing to put anyone in danger if it means justifying the ends, Eve’s husband, Niko (Owen McDonnell), protecting the woman he married even if it means stopping her from living her life fully, or is it Eve herself, who is drawn so deep into the darkness that there is no return? Just as twisted and glorious as ever, surely it can’t be long before both Eve and Villanelle are circling ever closer to one another--no matter how toxic that relationship is.

Kidding Season 1 (NR) 242 minutes

July 21, 2019

KIDDING, Season 1(NR) NEW SERIES  Jim Carrey stars as Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, an icon of children's television, who for the last three decades has been a beacon of kindness and optimism to both children and adults alike. But when his family life starts to unravel, Jeff discovers that keeping it all together isn't as easy as 1-2-3. The result: a kind man in a cruel world facing a slow leak of sanity that begs the question--how can you be good, when everything has gone so bad? Frank Langella, Judy Greer, and Catherine Keener also star in this dark comedy from executive producer Michel Gondry.

Endeavour Season 6 (NR) 360 minutes

July 21, 2019

Endeavour, Season 6(NR) SERIES It’s 1969, and things have taken a darker turn for the old Cowley team. With Endeavour (Shaun Evans), Thursday (Roger Allam) and the gang now scattered across Oxfordshire, it takes a series of brutal crimes--including the death of a young schoolgirl, a fatal act of sabotage, a deadly campaign of gossip and rumor in a picturesque village and a murder at the Bodleian Library--to reunite them. Now joined by former adversary DCI Ronnie Box (Simon Harrison) and his sidekick DS Alan Jago (Richard Riddell), the gang must battle crime and corruption to finally solve their greatest challenge--the truth behind George Fancy’s death.

Detective Montalbano Seasons 33-34 (NR) 216 minutes

July 21, 2019

DETECTIVE MONTALBANO, Seasons 33-34– FOREIGN SERIES (NR) Italian with English Subtitles: Murder, betrayal, office politics, temptation. Filmed in Ragusa, Sicily and based on the international best-selling mystery novels by Andrea Camilleri. THE OTHER END OF THE LINE:The Vigata police are working exhausting nights assisting immigrants arriving by boat to Sicily. Just as they get a break, a terrible local crime also comes to their attention: a tailor Montalbano recently hired to make a suit has been found slaughtered in her shop. The woman appears to have been well-liked by her staff and the community, and her death leaves Montalbano reeling. A DIARY FROM 1943: A long-hidden diary opens a window to tragic events from the Allies' occupation of Sicily during WWII. While Montalbano tries to decipher the diary's references, a 90-year-old businessman is murdered in his home. It’s up to Montalbano to figure out if there's any connection between the diary, the murder, and another 90-year-old (Dominic Chianese) who’s come home to Vigata from America.

Us (R) 117 minutes

July 21, 2019

US MOVIE (R) A New Nightmare from Jordan Peele, director of Get Out. Another original nightmare, starring Lupita Nyongo and Winston Duke as Adelaide and Gabe Winton. An endearing American family pitted against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgangers of themselves. To get away from their busy lives, the Winston family takes a vacation to Santa Cruz, CA with the plan of spending time with their friends, the Tyler’s. One day at the beach, their young son, Jason, almost wanders off, causing his mother Adelaide to become protective of her family. That night, four mysterious people break into Adelaide's childhood home where they're staying and the intruders look like them, only with grotesque appearances.

Little (PG-13) 109 minutes

July 21, 2019

LITTLE – MOVIE (PG-13) Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall), a take-no-prisoners tech mogul, wakes up one morning in the body of her 13-year old self (Marsai Martin) right before a do-or-die presentation. Her beleaguered assistant April (Issa Roe) is the only one in on the secret that her daily tormentor is now trapped in an awkward tween body, just as everything is on the line.

Hotel Mumbai (R) 124 minutes

July 21, 2019

HOTEL MUMBAIMOVIE (R) A true story of humanity and heroism, vividly recounting the 2008 siege of the famed Taj Hotel by a group of terrorists in Mumbai, India. Among the dedicated hotel staff are the renowned chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and a waiter (Dev Patel) who choose to risk their lives to protect their guests. As the world watches, a desperate couple (Armie Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi) is forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to protect their newborn child. Critics are hailing this film.

Crypto (R) 122 minutes

July 21, 2019

CRYPTO– MOVIE (R) Follow the money. Until it follows you!  A gripping, timeless cyber-thriller, with Kurt Russell and Alexis Bledel. When Wall Street banker Martin (Beau Knapp) is sent back to his hometown bank branch in upstate New York, he uncovers suspicious cash flow through a local gallery selling million-dollar paintings. As Martin traces links to a violent global mob, he realizes he’s put his nearby family in grave danger. This searing action tale also stars Luke Hemsworth (Caleb) and Vincent Kartheiser (Ted). Fear is the ultimate currency!

The Magnificent Migration--On Safari with Africa's Last Great Herds

July 12, 2019

The Magnificent Migration--On Safari with Africa’s Last Great Herds by Sy Montgomery focuses on the great wildebeest migration on the Serengeti. This massive migration maintains the African savannah ecosystem, which supports innumerable types of wildlife. The author, with the aid of magnificent photos, shows how the team tracked the animals as they follow the grasslands, invariably arriving at a spot when the grass is the most nutritious. The book also includes accounts of other impressive migratory feats (our favorite is the arctic tern; they live 30 years or more and fly the equivalent of three round trips to the moon during their lifetime). (Non-Fiction: Informational)

Liberty Arrives--How America's Grandest Statue Found Her Home

July 12, 2019

Liberty Arrives--How America’s Grandest Statue Found Her Home by Robert Byrd is the story of the statue’s design, execution, shipment and final placement in New York Harbor, where she has greeted millions of immigrants since her dedication in 1886. When she first arrived she remained in crates while money was raised for her pedestal. That effort was essentially the first crowdfunding campaign, spearheaded by Joseph Pulitzer in his newspaper The World. Fascinating historical details are cleverly integrated with illustrations of the whole process.

(Non-Fiction: Informational)

Exploring According to Og the Frog

July 12, 2019

Exploring According to Og the Frog by Betty G. Birney continues the adventures of  Humphrey the Hamster’s best friend. He’s in a tank at Longfellow School where all his needs are taken care of but where he is quite honestly a bit bored. He learns a lot listening to the children’s lessons and has his share of exciting journeys to places like Planet Sofa. Og loves to sing and there is a helpful sing along key in the back of the book so everyone can join in. This is a very funny book with a frog’s eye view of the classroom world. (Early Reader)

Truman

July 12, 2019

Truman by Jean Reidy is the story of an intrepid tortoise who lives in New York City, right above the honking, noisy No. 11 bus line. He leads a peaceful existence with his devoted owner Sarah until one day enough different things happen in his routine that he realizes life has changed. Sure enough, Sarah gets on the bus and leaves. Yikes! He is determined to find her.  A sweet resolution ensures Truman and Sarah will begin sharing adventures in the bigger world.

Puppy Truck

July 12, 2019

Puppy Truck by Brian Pinkney is a vibrant, imaginative look at pets. A young boy wants a puppy but only has a truck. That doesn't stop him from having great adventures with his puppy truck. This is a perfect read-aloud since you can be the vrooming voice of a truck and the barking noise of a dog all at once. The bright paintings perfectly capture the high energy of a young child and a playful puppy/truck.

Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas

July 12, 2019

Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey is comical. Brian the piranha is trying to convince a school of piranhas that eating fruit is a good plan. They vehemently disagree, despite his best efforts to extol the virtues of melons, bananas, and peas. They finally chew up a fruit bowl but are unmoved; bums are still best!

The Pawed Piper

July 12, 2019

The Pawed Piper by Michelle Robinson is so adorable. A little girl pines for a cat; she visits her grandmother’s cat Hector but longs for one of her own. She comes up with what looks like a grand idea to lure a cat to her home, but it backfires rather spectacularly. All ends well in this endearing story with lovely illustrations. Not just for cat lovers!

A Normal Pig

July 12, 2019

A Normal Pig by K-Fai Steele celebrates the big umbrella covering "normal". Pip the spotted pig revels in art, playground time, lunch and varied home life. All is well until one day a new pig arrives and loudly points out how she is different. Naturally, this is upsetting, and she begs her parents to at least make her a “normal” lunch. They realize it’s time for a family trip to the big city where Pip can see there are a dizzying variety of pigs in the world. This gives her the courage to be proud of her differences, and share her delicious lunch!

Max Attacks

July 12, 2019

Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt is a hoot. Max the cat is intrigued by the swishy fishes in the bowl on the table and dreams of fish stew. Easily distracted by attack opportunities represented by the resident dog, a catnip bird, a shoelace, a basket of dirty socks, (just to name a few) he ultimately makes one last soggy effort. At the end of the day a happy, tired Max is content to dream of fishes in their waterbed. The characters expressions are priceless.

Hold Hands

July 12, 2019

Hold Hands by Sara Varon is a rhyming ode to the joy of hand holding. Lively, colorful graphic art supports the premise that everything is better when you hold hands. All circumstances are safer, less scary, more fun, more interesting--in short holding hands is where it’s at. The connection is clearly demonstrated in a variety of familiar situations, and some unusual ones as well. Enjoy this imaginative tour of the benefits of a special connection we often take for granted.

The Hidden Alphabet

July 12, 2019

The Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is whimsical and unique. It's a lift the flap alphabet book that illustrates each letter with an object, animal or bird while hiding the actual letter behind the image. It’s a beautiful and educational book that is guaranteed to engage younger readers.

Can I Keep It?

July 12, 2019

Can I Keep It? by Lisa Jobe has exceptional illustrations. A young boy is in search of the perfect pet. His mother patiently explains why animals like to live in their natural environments, not in their house. After successive attempts to entrap the perfect pet one follows him home, much to the relief of a certain mouse. Very enjoyable!

The Superpower Field Guide to Moles

July 1, 2019

The Superpower Field Guide to Moles by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Nicholas Frith, features Rosalie the bionic burrower. Her arms are miraculously strong and you can't be impressed at the amount of dirt a mole can move. They create side tunnels for dirt storage, are prodigious worm eaters (thus the pantry tunnels) who have figured out how to store them through winter. It's a bit gross but fascinating, read on! Moles have never been so interesting.

(Non-Fiction/Informational)

Moon! Earth's Best Friend

July 1, 2019

Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Stevie Lewis, continues her rollicking, educational series on various planets. Full of fascinating facts--did you know the moon was formed from crash trash after a meteorite hit earth? They're cousins! Other moons in the solar system get their due. The tides that are pulled twice a day due to the moon's gravity remind us it is always there, even when we can't see it. There is a detailed appendix full of information about our best friend in the sky.

(Non-Fiction/Informational)

Homes in the Wild, Where Baby Animals and Their Parents Live

July 1, 2019

Homes in the Wild, Where Baby Animals and Their Parents Live by Lita Judge is charming. Her gorgeous, heartwarming illustrations support many examples of different types of homes. Some are hidden, some can be over miles of country, some are nests in trees, some are built by the animal architects, and some are borrowed. When the animal family is safe and sheltered it’s a home! Highly recommended.

(Non-Fiction/Informational)

Waiting For Chicken Smith

July 1, 2019

Waiting for Chicken Smith by David Mackintosh is wonderful. Summer friendship is a very special thing and the young boy who waits for Chicken Smith to appear revels in his memories of all their special times together over the years. His pesky sister keeps yelling at him to come over but he doesn't listen. The reader can see what is ahead before the boy, but the magic of the beach and a special visitor create a sweet ending. The illustrations are original and beautiful.

Sea Glass Summer

July 1, 2019

Sea Glass Summer by Michelle Houts. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Is a lovely story of the tales that a piece of glass might tell. Thomas is visiting his grandmother for the summer in her seaside cottage. He explores the shoreline and collects the sea glass he finds. His vivid dreams, which are shown in charcoal drawings, are of the imagined events that might have resulted in the broken glass he finds in his present-day explorations.

1 to 10

July 1, 2019

1 to 10 by Mies Van Hout might be the cutest counting book around. It starts with 1 belly and continues, with each expressive animal lending their personality to the numbers. The bright colors command attention and the pages are big enough for small fingers to move around the animal and count arms, wings, teeth, etc. This book is fun for both adults and children.

My Fourth of July

July 1, 2019

My Fourth of July by Jerry Spinelli is a joyous celebration of this favorite summer holiday. It starts with the preparation for a day to be spent at the community park. The young boy is over the moon excited about being in charge of critical things like dusting the deviled eggs with paprika and not forgetting the cherry pie. The festivities in the park are classic, old fashioned events like sack races, softball and face painting. Of course, it all concludes with a fireworks display and a tired and very happy little boy. The illustrations by Larry Day are colorful and engaging.

Lola Goes to School

July 1, 2019

Lola Goes to School by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, covers a big step for Lola--the first day of school. The getting ready rituals will feel comfortably familiar to many families. Lola has some trepidation about being on her own but she successfully navigates the activities and finds new friends. This is a lovely, peaceful story that will build any preschooler’s confidence that they too can have a fun first day.

Let Me Sleep, Sheep!

July 1, 2019

Let Me Sleep, Sheep! by Meg McKinley, illustrated by Leila Rudge, is a humorous take on counting the sheep. Amos is just starting to count when the bossy sheep arrive in his bedroom and start making demands. He is flummoxed by their need for a fence but gamely gets to work. Young bedtime readers will appreciate the complaining sheep and Amos’s efforts to please them.

How to Read a Book

July 1, 2019

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, with art by Melissa Sweet, comes just in time for summer reading. The author's poem was originally written for reading Aloud Day in 2010. The stunning collage art in neon colors perfectly imagines the wonder of entering the world of a book you never want to end.

Horse and Buggy Paint it Out

July 1, 2019

Horse & Buggy Paint it Out by Ethan Long is very cute. The horse is painting a mural but really just making a huge mess as Buggy points out. Buggy feels strongly Horse needs a plan but Horse says he has one in his head. As his mural stubbornly refuses to take shape Buggy hovers anxiously, hoping to help. At last a serious tumble knocks some sense into Horse and a partnership is forged.

Bear Came Along

July 1, 2019

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham is a story about a group that accidentally forms as they make their way down a river. It all begins with a curious bear, who didn’t even realize he was beginning a big adventure until froggy hopped on. On they go, picking up more friends and barreling down the river until …….

Every Day is Saturday--Recipes and Strategies for Easy Cooking any Day of the Week

June 28, 2019

Every Day is Saturday--Recipes + Strategies for Easy Cooking any Day of the Week by Sarah Copeland is a great cookbook for young children are featured The aim is to showcase personal stories, creative thinking, and ease of prep. It’s augmented with beautiful photographs to give cooks the confidence to try new dishes. (Cookbook)

Barcelona Cult Recipes

June 28, 2019

Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch is a revelation. Starting with the fact that “tapa” means lid, begun as a piece of ham placed across the top of a wine glass to keep the flies from getting in. This book shows you the many, many ways that word has been translated into the universal code for delicious appetizers. Beautiful photographs will inspire you to hop a plane to Spain after you have prepared the totally yummy stuffed eggplant. (Cookbook)

Native Plants for New England Gardens

June 28, 2019

Native Plants for New England Gardens by Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe is a primer for all who want to join the local pollinator pathway. It’s inspiring to read about plants that support entire ecosystems on their own. Every plant comes with a detailed description and at least one large color photo. The book is a common sense guide that anyone can and should take a look at. (Non-Fiction)

The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777

June 28, 2019

The British are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 by Rick Atkinson, is the first volume of a planned trilogy covering the Revolutionary War. The author is known for his superbly researched narrative histories. The early years of the Revolution swing wildly from catastrophe to success and back again, honing the leadership of George Washington, the diplomatic skills of Ben Franklin, and polishing the talents of a large cast of committed patriots. The story is also told from the British perspective, and there is a lot of attention paid to the ordinary men and women caught up in the conflict. The writing is vivid which makes it a page-turner--no small feat for a history book! (Non-Fiction)

The Summer Country

June 28, 2019

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig is fascinating historical fiction. It takes place in Barbados, beginning in 1854 with the arrival in Bridgetown of Emily Dawson, a parson’s daughter. She is the “poor relation” of a wealthy plantation-owning family. It's a Victorian drama told in two time periods. It’s old fashioned in some ways but rich in character development and plot. The author has clearly done her research on the class system and the impact of slavery. This is a very good read.

Those People

June 28, 2019

Those People by Louise Candlish is a perceptive story of what happens when the “wrong” sort of people moves into a neighborhood. What would you be willing to do to rid your formerly perfect street of the ruinous couple determined to trash it? The arrival of the unwelcome newcomers unleashes a lot of long-simmering tensions in marriages, between brothers, and among neighbors. It's fascinating to watch people driven to consider solutions they ever thought they would countenance.

The Paris Diversion

June 28, 2019

The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone is a fast-paced, well-plotted thriller that takes full advantage of its Paris setting. The Moore family lives in Paris and has a multitude of secrets that they keep from each other and the world at large. They are trapped by actions from their past and a rapidly unfolding plot that threatens to undo their future. Loaded with diverse personalities and snatched from the headlines plot twists, it definitely keeps your attention.

The Guest Book

June 28, 2019

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake is a page-turning summer potboiler. Set in Maine, it follows a powerful “tribe” of WASPs, aka the Milton family, through three generations marked by too many bad decisions. The fallout never seems to end. The island bought in the 1930s that is the family refuge functions as a character as well. This is a multi-generation family saga with some tragic elements. The prose is smooth so the book flows well.

The Flight Portfolio

June 28, 2019

The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer is a novel about a little known refugee rescue operation based in Marseille in the early years of WWII. The Nazi’s are tightening the noose in occupied France and Varian Fry has been sent by a committee in New York to arrange for the escape of designated artists and writers. Varian is a real figure, the rest of the characters, other than the recognizable artists, are fictional. It is a gripping story that weaves wartime love affairs, friendships, and narrow escapes into a very well written novel full of characters you come to care about. The author did a tremendous amount of research, which shows in the realistic descriptions and a strong sense of place.

The Flatshare

June 28, 2019

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is a meet-cute romance conducted via post-it notes. Two people in desperate need of cash come up with the idea of a shared flat where they do not overlap physically at any one time. Naturally, there is a need to communicate on some level, so notes that grow increasingly detailed are exchanged. Even though you can see the conclusion fairly early on it’s fun to go for the ride and watch the relationship develop. There are a lot of amusing dialogues.

Evvie Drake Starts Over

June 28, 2019

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes is a story of friendships as much as a romance. It takes place in Maine which for some is the land of second chances. How they appear and what we do with them is the heart of the novel’s premise.  Evie has been heartbroken and essentially housebound since the death of her husband a year ago, but not for the reason you think (until the second page when you find out).  A surprise tenant in her cottage who is struggling with his own demons offers a chance to reengage with life. Everyone has secrets that slowly emerge as cautious steps are taken to live a little. This is perfect for the beach!

Conviction

June 28, 2019

Conviction by Denise Mina uses a true crime podcast to accelerate the plot. Anna is a “trophy” wife, living a normal existence when everything turns upside down. Her past is about to become her present. This is a very modern, complex thriller which is doubly enjoyable because of the humor. Can you outrun your past with the help of an aging rock star at the same time you try and solve a murder? It’s huge fun keeping up with Anna. The podcast is a unique plot device that gives the book added relevance and pizzazz.

The Body Lies

June 28, 2019

The Body Lies by Jo Baker is fiendishly clever. The main character is a professor who has moved to a rural university to teach writing after a scary attack when she lived in London left her a bundle of nerves. Her husband has stayed in London but comes up on the weekends. Her creative writing class harbors a budding author whose work is dangerously close to the truth of some terrible events. The suspense is ratcheted up quickly and the creepy atmosphere between fictional essays and reality blurs the line. It’s very suspenseful.

Wonder Park (PG) 85 minutes

June 17, 2019

WONDER PARK– CHILDREN’S MOVIE (PG) June (Sofia Mali), an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals--only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she's the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland. Written by Wulf97

Norm of the North: King SIzed Adventure (NR) 90 minutes

June 17, 2019

NORM OF THE NORTH: King Sized Adventure– CHILDREN’S MOVIE (NR) While Norm (Andrew Toth ) and his friends are preparing to celebrate his grandfather’s (Brian Dobson) wedding, trouble is stirring in Misty Mountain. There, Norm meets an archaeologist named Jin (Simon Hayama) and learns that a priceless Chinese artifact has been stolen by Dexter, (Michael Dobson) Jin’s old partner. With the help of his lemming friends, Norm must embark on a journey across the world to help recover the artifact and return home in time for his grandfather’s wedding? Only time will tell.

Unforgotten Season 3 (NR) 270 minutes

June 17, 2019

UNFORGOTTEN, Season 3NEW SERIES (NR) When human remains are found by a highway near London, Cassie (Nicola Walker) and Sunny (Sanjeev Bhaskar) is called in. Dogged work leads the team to a sixteen-year-old girl who went missing on the eve of the millennium. A close-knit group of old school friends holds the key to what happened. Is one of them capable of murder? Cassie is determined to correct the mistakes made in the original investigation no matter the personal cost.

Unforgotten Season 2 (R) 272 minutes

June 17, 2019

UNFORGOTTEN, Season 2NEW SERIES (R) DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) face an impossible cold case. A lawyer. A nurse. A schoolteacher. Police officer. These four suspects are the pieces of the puzzle. But as Cassie and Sunny put this picture together, the more blurred it becomes. The investigation will question their assumptions about the most damaged and destructive in society. When a victim becomes a criminal, is punishment the same as justice?

Unforgotten Season 1 (NC-17) Adults Only 270 minutes

June 17, 2019

UNFORGOTTEN, Season 1NEW SERIES (NC-17) Adults Only When a body is discovered in a derelict building, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker), one of the Met's smartest detectives, must untangle lies that have been covered up for nearly 40 years. With her partner, DI Sunil "Sunny" Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) they narrow the list to four suspects. Each of them has something to hide. As their deceptions are discovered, the people they love most begin to wonder what else they might be capable of. Nothing, in this case, is black and white. Can you ever really know the people closest to you? What secrets have they buried?

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Season 1 (NR) 399 minutes

June 17, 2019

TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN, Season 1NEW SERIES (NR) When CIA analyst JackRyan (John Krasinski)stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers, his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies.

Outlander Season 4 (NR) 746 minutes

June 17, 2019

OUTLANDER, Season 4 – SERIES (NR) Season Four continues the story of Claire and Jamie Fraser as they try to make a home for themselves in colonial America. The Frasers in North Carolina is at another turning point in history, the edge of the American Revolution. Along the way, the Frasers cross paths with notorious pirate Stephen Bonnet in a fateful meeting that will haunt the family. Meanwhile, Brianna and Roger grow closer in the twentieth century but make a shocking discovery that has the following in Claire’s footsteps.

Finding Joy Season 1 (NR) 156 minutes

June 17, 2019

FINDING JOY, Season 1–(NR) NEW SERIES Amy Huberman created. wrote. and stars in this quirky, life-affirming Irish comedy with a “satisfyingly filthy sense of humor” (The Irish Times). Routine-loving Joy is having a tough time after a messy breakup with her live-in boyfriend, Aidan (Lochlann O’Mearain).  Then a promotion forces her to step out of her comfort zone as she replaces her network’s star vlogger, the Happy Hunter.  The job sends Joy to unusual places where people find bliss: wrestling matches, wellness retreats, hot yoga and more, all while filming her discomfort. Even with the help from her roommate (Aisling Bea), will Joy be able to accept the changes in her life and find the happiness of her own?

Delicious Season 3 (NR) 181 minutes

June 17, 2019

DELICIOUS, Season 3– SERIES (NR) In Series 3, hoteliers Gina (Dawn French, French & Saunders) and Sam (Emilia Fox, Silent Witness) are looking to expand their business, but when dishy restaurateur Mason Elliot (Vincent Regan, The Royals) arrives on the scene, resentments bubble forth that could implode their partnership. Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) also stars in this "irresistible" (The Observer, UK) British drama.

Call the Midwife Season 8 (NR) 506 minutes

June 17, 2019

CALL THE MIDWIFE, Season 8SERIES (NR) Season 8 continues to explore complex medical and personal stories on the midwifery and district nursing rounds. It is now 1964 and times are changing, from the introduction of the contraceptive pill and the availability of a new cancer-screening program to the new construction of high-rise buildings. The nuns and nurses continue to face a variety of challenging issues including cleft palate, sickle cell, and illegal abortion. And for one on the team, romance could be on the horizon.

The Upside (PG-13) 127 minutes

June 17, 2019

THE UPSIDE– MOVIE (PG-13) Brian Cranston, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Hart. A recently paroled ex-convict, Dell (Kevin Hart), strikes up an unusual and unlikely friendship with a quadriplegic billionaire, Philip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston), in this hilarious comedy. From worlds apart, Dell and Philip form an unlikely bond, bridging their differences and gaining invaluable wisdom in the process, giving each man a renewed sense of passion for all of life’s possibilities. Inspired by a true story, this heartfelt comedy also stars Aja Naomi King and Juliana Margulies. The Upside succeeds in being a very American film by going to the dark side and coming out laughing!  See also, in our Foreign Films section, the French film, Intouchables.

Miss Bala (PG-13) 104 minutes

June 17, 2019

MISS BALAMOVIE (PG-13) ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH Languages  Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) drives to Tijuana, Mexico, to visit her best friend who is competing in the local “Miss Baja” beauty pageant. During the night out, her friend is abducted and Gloria finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game being played by the CIA, the DEA, and a charismatic yet ruthless cartel kingpin. Finding a power, she never knew she had, Gloria plays one organization against the other as she seeks to rescue her friend. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness and strength. This edge-of-your-seat action thriller is being hailed as a "kick-ass origin story for a new kind of action hero" (Variety)

A Madea Family Funeral (PG-13) 109 minutes

June 17, 2019

A MADEA FAMILY FUNERALMOVIE (PG-13) A joyous family reunion becomes a hilarious nightmare as Madea (Tyler Perry) and the crew travel to backwoods Georgia, where they find themselves unexpectedly planning a funeral that might unveil unsavory family secrets.

Isn't it Romantic? (PG-13) 88 minutes

June 17, 2019

ISN’T IF ROMANTICMOVIE (PG-13) New York City architect Natalie (Rebel Wilson) works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to be asked to deliver coffee and bagels than to design the city’s next skyscraper. And if things weren’t bad enough, Natalie, a lifelong cynic when it comes to love, has an encounter with a mugger that renders her unconscious.  Upon waking, she discovers that her life has suddenly become her worst nightmare--a romantic comedy--and she is the leading lady.

Happy Death Day 2U (PG-13) 100 minutes

June 17, 2019

HAPPY DEATHDAY 2U– MOVIE (PG-13) It's déjà vu all over again for Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), the feisty sorority sister who solved her own murder by repeatedly reliving her death. When the masked campus killer mysteriously returns to terrorize Carter Davis’ (Israel Broussard) roommate, Ryan Phan (Phi Vu), Tree cycles through another time loop of clever chills and suspense in Happy Death Day 2U, the inventive follow-up to Blumhouse's hit thriller Happy Death Day.  Just how many deaths separate Tree from a truly happy birthday?

Greta (R) 99 minutes

June 17, 2019

GRETAMOVIE (R) A Really Scary Movie! Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz), a sweet, naive young woman trying to make it on her own in NY City, doesn’t think twice about returning the handbag she finds on the subway to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and aching loneliness. Having recently lost her mother, Frances quickly grows closer to widowed Greta. The two become fast friends--but Greta’s maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as Frances discovers that nothing in Greta’s life is what it seems in this suspense thriller by Neil Jordan. Wildly Entertaining. Riveting Nail-Biter’s.

Gloria Bell (R) 122 minutes

June 17, 2019

GLORIA BELLMOVIE (R) Gloria (Julianna Moore) is a free-spirited divorcee who spends her days at a straight-laced office job and her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. After meeting Arnold on a night out, she finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of dating, identity, and family.

Five Feet Apart (PG-13) 116 minutes

June 17, 2019

FIVE FEET APARTMOVIE (PG-13) Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) is a vibrant, fun-loving 17-year old. Unlike most teenagers, Sheila has to spend much of her time living at a hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. When Stella meets Will (Cole Sprouse), a charming and rebellious fellow patient, she feels a powerful connection but restrictions dictate that she and Will maintain a safe distance between them. As their feelings grow, Stella and Will face a life-changing question: How does love feel when even a single touch is off limits?

Cold Pursuit (R) 119 minutes

June 17, 2019

COLD PURSUITMOVIE (R) Featuring a wildly entertaining mix of dynamic action and dark humor, COLD PURSUIT stars Liam Neeson as Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver whose quiet family life is upended after his son's murder. Nels begins a vengeful hunt for Viking, the drug lord he holds responsible for the killing, eliminating Viking's associates one by one. As Nels draws closer to Viking, his actions bring even more unexpected and violent consequences, as he proves that revenge is all in the execution.

Captain Marvel (PG-13) 124 minutes

June 17, 2019

CAPTAIN MARVELMOVIE (PG-13) Witness The Rise Of A Hero! Marvel Studios' takes you on a spectacular adventure from the 1990s, tracing the path of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the universe. When a galactic war reaches Earth, she meets young agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) at the center of a maelstrom, leading to her ultimate destiny as an Avenger. An Origin Story Like No Other!

Smoke, Roots, Mountain, Harvest

June 2, 2019

Smoke, Roots, Mountain, Harvesby Lauren McDuffie, subtitled Recipes and Stories from my Appalachian Homeis organized seasonally and has many delicious sounding and imaginative recipes. Creamy squash and chanterelle bread puddings were one of our favorites. Her writing is clear and the recipes are interspersed with anecdotes about the area where she grew up. It’s also a gorgeous book. (Cookbook)

101 (One-hundred and one) Epic Dishes

June 2, 2019

101 Epic Dishes by Jet and Ali Tila is loads of fun to page through and actually cook from. The vibrant flavors combined with their relaxed “can do” approach to cooking is infectious. They focus on the touches and/or additions that make well-known dishes such as roast salmon, turkey meatballs, mashed potatoes, and banana bread extra special. Highly recommended for cooks of all levels. (Cookbook)

A Way to Garden--A Hands on Primer for Every Season

June 2, 2019

A Way to Garden--A hands-on primer for every season by Margaret Roach is an excellent overview of the sport of gardening. She is a widely admired garden expert. “A garden without a gardener is a jungle waiting to happen” but if you follow her lead you can tame the beast. She has divided the year into 6 sections lasting roughly 2 months each. She has good ideas, like buying early/middle/late varieties of your favorite plants to extend bloom time (daffodils and peonies can have 6 week long cycles if you follow this advice). Plentiful tables and photographs bring creating natural, pleasurable outdoor spaces within reach of everyone.

(Non-Fiction)

Save Me the Plums

June 2, 2019

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl covers her challenging tenure as editor of Gourmet magazine just as the print world began to shift radically. She’s brutally honest about the personalities and some bold decisions she made about what to publish, the inevitable rise of bean counting, and the opportunities she had to hobnob with the top chefs at that time. She's a good, clever writer willing to point out her own missteps. (Non-Fiction/Memoir)

The Other Americans

June 2, 2019

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami uses multiple narrators to illustrate the varying impacts of a hit and run that kills a Morrocan immigrant in central CA. Everyone has a position that they need to protect, principally his daughter, the witness, the detective assigned to the case, an Iraqi war veteran, and the driver. Nora, the grief-stricken daughter, has been trying to escape from the dusty town where she grew up facing taunts for being different. She returns to seek justice for her father. Nothing about that mission is easy, as she fights against an atmosphere of casual evil and deeply rooted prejudice. It’s a novel about family, a mystery, and a devastating examination of prejudice. Highly recommended. (Non-Fiction)

Once More We Stars

June 2, 2019

Once More We Saw Stars by Jason Greene is the tragic story of the accidental death of his two-year-old daughter Greta. She was hit by a falling brick while sitting on a bench with her grandmother. The family's grief is overwhelming, but they are able to make the decision to donate her organs in the midst of a terrible time. He writes very clearly and honestly about the stress of grief on a marriage. This is a book about resilience and survival overcoming overwhelming sorrow. (Non-Fiction)

The First Wave

June 2, 2019

The First Wave by Alex Kershaw is the story of “the D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II.” This is the story of the soldiers who first landed on the Normandy beaches on D-Day. There is a quote at the beginning that neatly says it all--you can manufacture ammunition and weapons but you cannot buy valor or pull heroes off an assembly line. This riveting book tells the story of the infamous day that turned the tide of the war. The focus is on the minute by minute battle. Lots of first-person quotes make for fascinating reading. (Non-Fiction)

Elements of Family Style

June 2, 2019

Elements of Family Style by Erin Gates is an excellent book about creating elegant spaces for everyday life. She understands how to combine durability with good looks in high traffic areas, has great storage ideas, and generally sage advice such as when to splurge and when to save. Practical suggestions are augmented with many photographs. It’s a helpful, realistic take on designing for life as it is actually lived. (Non-Fiction)

Women Talking

June 2, 2019

Women Talking by Miriam Toews is a novel whose plot is based on a series of sexual assaults in an isolated Mennonite community in Bolivia in 2009. The author raised a Mennonite, has given the illiterate women who were drugged and raped a fictional voice. The book is structured as the minutes of the meeting they held to decide what to do once the truth of the "ghost rapes" by men in their colony is known. Do they try and leave, and is that even possible, or do they forgive? How much can they change the community to make it a place they can thrive? The book is thought to provoke and unusual; the voices of the women echo long after the book is finished.

With Our Blessing

June 2, 2019

With Our Blessing by Jo Spain is a well-done detective/police procedural.  It's the first of a series, set in Ireland. The back story is a familiar issue from recent news--the historic convents who ran laundries which sometimes virtually imprisoned unwed mothers. The horrific crime which opens the book sends the team on a search through the past and a potential revenge motive. The characters of both the nuns and police are complex, weaving elements of their personal lives into their responses to professional pressures.

Tight Rope

June 2, 2019

Tight Rope by Amanda Quick is a diverting romance. The heroine is a trapeze artist, which makes the backstory unusually interesting. It’s a bit “perils of Pauline” initially but then becomes a good cat and mouse spy book. The author is good at interjecting humorous elements too. This is a classic beach read, just in time for summer!

If She Wakes

June 2, 2019

If She Wakes by Michael Koryta is terrific. He is a master of suspense and does not disappoint. His heroines are wonderful characters that range from a young woman suffering from “locked in” syndrome after a suspicious accident, her brave sister, and an auto claims adjuster with a traumatic past. The mystery is twisted and attracts a truly evil killer who leaves a bloody trail as he searches for a valuable secret. The dialogue is sharp and realistic and the setting feels spooky. This is an excellent, very suspenseful page-turner.

Metropolis

June 2, 2019

Metropolis by Philip Kerr is the prequel to the outstanding Bernie Gunther series. The harried, Berlin detective is trying to survive in 1928 Berlin. It’s the beginning of his career in the Murder Consortium. It’s Bernie’s origin story and a close up of the chaotic environment in Berlin at that time. A killer is on the loose and despite numerous clues, the hunt is frustratingly fruitless. This series is rightfully well known for excellent character development and a strong sense of place. This is a good way to get in at the beginning and get hooked.

The Island

June 2, 2019

The Island by Ragnar Jonasson is a well-crafted police procedural that starts with a present-day crime which may hark back to a killing that occurred ten years before.  The author steadily ratchets up the suspense via multiple narrators and a fluid timeline that emphasizes the catastrophic consequences that can arise from unintended acts. It takes full advantage of the gorgeous but lonely Icelandic landscape to deepen the malevolent atmosphere. It also has a good handle on police department politics.

Our House is Round

May 10, 2019

Our House is Round by Yolanda Kondonassis is “a kid’s book about why protecting our earth matters.” It’s an introduction to the basics of climate change, the importance of recycling, using less energy, and includes a helpful “Messy Planet Action Plan” at the conclusion. Anyone can embrace this short list of doable suggestions. Without being preachy this brightly colored book delivers the message that there are steps you can take to make a difference. (Informational)

The Lost Forest

May 10, 2019

The Lost Forest by Phyllis Root and Betsey Bowen is a true story about a mapping mistake that saved an old growth forest in Minnesota. As the USA grew, the pressure to map all the land in the nation increased. Surveyors marked off quadrants and measured their way across land that ultimately became states like Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa. In the fall of 1882 a crew mistakenly marked a forest area as a large lake, preserving the trees until a forest ranger stumbled on them in 1958. They are now part of a national forest in MN and one of the few old growth areas to survive. It was named the Lost Forest--now found and preserved for all to enjoy. (Informational)

Crossing on Time

May 10, 2019

Crossing on Time by David Macaulay is about “steam engines, fast ships and a journey to the new world”. The author immigrated from the UK to the USA as a ten year old on the SS United States, the last of the great steamships, built in 1951. This beautifully detailed book explains the inner workings of the huge ship. The illustrations are gorgeous and perfectly capture the history of ocean travel and the excitement of an ocean voyage. (Informational)

Big Magic For Little Hands

May 10, 2019

Big Magic for Little Hands by Joshua Jay is fascinating. He is an internationally acclaimed magician who has explained how to perform 25 “astounding illusions”. Young magicians will be amazed at how quickly they can master these tricks by following his careful instructions. The “how to” illustrations are clear and he includes good advice about conquering stage fright and controlling an audience. This book is educational and entertaining for all. (Informational)