July Staff Pick: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn was a huge bestseller two years ago, staying on the New York Times’ list for months.

Pat, who picked the book, said about it:

Gone Girl CoverThink Fatal Attraction with Glenn Close in a hip marriage! Everything you think will happen, doesn’t. It’s terrifying for a desperate husband who is accused of murdering the ‘gone’ girl – his wife.

About why the book is especially appealing she said:

You cannot put it down! There are twists, turns, a sociopathic/psychopathic wife who is assumed murdered, quick chapters, believable characters, families in dysfunction, and confused one-sided investigators. This book needs a sequel.

GoneGirlMoviePosterWhile author Gilliam Flynn has no plans for a sequel, the movie is due out on October 3, 2014. The internet was abuzz this week when a new trailer was released.

If you haven’t read it yet, check out a copy and read it before you see the movie this autumn!

June Staff Pick: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

After a month off from staff picks, we’re back in June with one from Meghan!

Lost LakeLOST LAKE by Sarah Addison Allen

Kate has been lingering in a fog throughout the year since her husband died, and it is only when her manipulative mother-in-law threatens to hijack her life that Kate begins to snap to. When her wardrobe-challenged eight-year-old daughter, Devin, discovers an old letter from Kate’s great-aunt Eby, the pair go on the lam to Lost Lake, Eby’s dilapidated resort camp tucked deep in the south Georgia swamplands. Long widowed, with dwindling funds and a diminishing guest roster, Eby may be forced to sell her fading haven to an unscrupulous developer, until Kate’s arrival gives her a new lease on life.

When talking about why she liked this book, Meghan said,

I love Sarah Addison Allen’s books because of their atmosphere, magical realism, and pleasurable endings.

If this sounds like a story you’d enjoy reading too, be sure to click the title above to request a copy. It is also available as an audiobook. Book description from Booklist, copyright 2010.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr‘s latest book, All The Light We Cannot See, tells the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II. The novel was ten years in the writing and highly anticipated. If you haven’t placed a hold for it and would like to, take a look at it in our catalog and request it here.

In the meantime, here are five similar books to tide you over until you can get your hands on it:

Stones From The RiverSTONES FROM THE RIVER by Ursula Hegi

Follows Trudi Montag, a dwarf who serves as her town’s librarian, unofficial historian, and recorder of the secret stories of her people, in a novel that charts the course of German history in the first half of the twentieth century. This book is also stylistically complex and describes the challenges that the characters surmount to survive the Second World War.

Jacob's OathJACOB’S OATH by Martin Fletcher

As World War II winds to a close, Europe’s roads are clogged with twenty million exhausted refugees walking home. Among them are Jacob and Sarah, lonely Holocaust survivors who meet in Heidelberg. But Jacob is consumed with hatred and cannot rest until he has killed his brother’s murderer, a concentration camp guard nicknamed “The Rat.” Now he must choose between revenge and love, between avenging the past and building a future. This book is also atmospheric and depicts the brutality of the War, with characters experiencing its emotional and psychological effects.

The English PatientTHE ENGLISH PATIENT by Michael Ondaatje

With unsettling beauty and intelligence, Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II. The nurse Hana obsessively tends to her last surviving patient. Caravaggio, the thief, tries to reimagine who he is, now that his hands are hopelessly maimed. The Indian sapper Kip searches for hidden bombs in a landscape where nothing is safe but himself. And at the center of his labyrinth lies the English patient, nameless and hideously burned, a man who is both a riddle and a provocation to his companions-and whose memories of suffering, rescue, and betrayal illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. This moving, stylistically complex novel is similar in that it reflects on the brutality of World War II and its lingering effects.

Sarah's KeySARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard-their secret hiding place-and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future. This book is moving and lyrical, and gives a perspective of family relationships in the desperate times of World War II.

The Invisible BridgeTHE INVISIBLE BRIDGE by Julie Orringer

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he promised to deliver. But when he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret that will alter the course of his-and his family’s-history. From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in labor camps, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour.

Click the titles to visit our online catalog and place a request for any of these books. Descriptions and cover images are from the library online catalog, descriptors of how these books are similar to All The Light We Cannot See are from Novelist.

April Staff Pick: Assassination Vacation

For our April Staff Pick, which comes a little later in the month, let’s look at a recommendation from Emily (who, for full disclosure, is me…since referring to myself in the third person just felt weird).

AssassinationVacationAssassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell, is an exploration of the places in America with connections to the first three US Presidential assassinations. Vowell explains how these places and the collective memories of significant people and events related to the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley have been shaped and in some cases manipulated by the historical tourism industry. Assassination Vacation reads as part pop history, part travelogue and part (irreverently) witty essay.

I really liked this book and enjoyed reading it because of the characters. Even though it is a nonfiction book, there were definitely characters. I found the section on President Garfield to be particularly interesting, and he an especially interesting character. Also, Sarah Vowell herself, and her friends and family were all really great, vivid characters.

Assassination Vacation is also available in Large Print, as a Book on CD, and as an OverDrive eBook in Kindle Book or Adobe EPUB eBook formats. Vowell has written several other books on American history and culture, including The Partly Cloudy PatriotTake the Cannoli: Stories from the New World, and Unfamiliar Fishes.

Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Shortlist

The American Library Association has announced the six books shortlisted for the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, awarded for the previous year’s best fiction and nonfiction books written for adult readers and published in the United States.

FICTION

 

bookcover (3)AMERICANAH by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

One of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of the Year, from the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.

This book is also available through OverDrive as an eBook.

 

bookcover (4)CLAIRE OF THE SEA LIGHT by Edwidge Danticat 

From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town in Haiti where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.

This book is also available through OverDrive as an eBook.

 

bookcover (5)THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt

The highly anticipated third novel from the author of The Secret History and The Little Friend, this book was called “an extraordinary work of fiction” by Stephen King. It also just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year.

This title is also available in Large Print, as a Book on CD, and through OverDrive as an eBook and an eAudiobook.

 

 

NONFICTION

 

bookcoverTHE BULLY PULPIT: THEODORE ROOSEVELT, WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF JOURNALISM by Doris Kearns Goodwin

One of the Best Books of 2013 as chosen by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Time, USA TODAY, Christian Science Monitor; as well as a Starred Review from Booklist.

This title is also available in Large Print, as a Book on CD, and as an eBook through OverDrive.

 

bookcover (1)FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL: LIFE AND DEATH IN A STORM-RAVAGED HOSPITAL by Sheri Fink

Fink, who also has an M.D. and Ph.D., won the Pulitzer Prize for the investigative reporting on which this book is based. Five Days at Memorial also received a Starred Review from Booklist.

This title is also available through OverDrive as an eBook and an eAudiobook.

 

bookcover (2)ON PAPER: THE EVERYTHING OF ITS TWO-THOUSAND-YEAR HISTORY by Nicholas A. Basbanes

A Best Book of the Year: Mother Jones, Bloomberg News, National Post, Kirkus Reviews, and a Starred Review from Booklist.

From an author of several books about books:  A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passions for Books, Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World, and A Splendor of Letters.

 

Click the various links above to find these titles in various formats in our library catalog and through OverDrive.

Spotlight on New Historical Fiction

If you enjoy history, but like a good story to go along with it, you may have already discovered the genre of historical fiction. If not, consider this your introduction.

Your librarian can help you to find a great historical novel set in any era using tools such as NoveList. Or follow the link to our library database page and under the heading for literature, click on ‘NoveList’ (or ‘Remote Access’ from home) to access this useful resource for readers.

Take  a look at these works of historical fiction, recently added to the shelves at Sewickley Public Library. You can follow the linked titles to find them in the library catalog, where you may request a copy for pickup.

 

The Pagan LordTHE PAGAN LORD: A NOVEL by Bernard Cornwell

The seventh and latest in the ‘Saxon Tales Saga,’ also referred to as ‘The Warrior Chronicles’ and ‘Saxon Stories,’ this book is by “the move prolific and successful historical novelist in the world today,” according to a Wall Street Journal review. The Pagan Lord continues Cornwell’s epic telling of the making of England in the middle ages and the struggle to unite Britain, centering on the stories of Alfred the Great and his descendents. If you are an Anglophile or love Viking stories (or both!), this book and series will have appeal.

The full list of books in the ‘Saxon Stories’ can be found on Bernard Cornwell’s website. If this series and setting sounds intriguing and you’d like to begin at the beginning, the first in this series is The Last Kingdom: A Novel.

The Ghost of the Mary CelesteTHE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE by Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin’s latest work of historical fiction explores the unanswered questions surrounding the Mary Celeste, an American merchant vessel found adrift off the Spanish coast in 1872, cargo intact but the entire crew vanished with no signs of foul play.

Martin has written other acclaimed works of historical fiction. Mary Reilly, a retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the point of view of a young female servant, won both the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award. And Property, which tells the story of a plantation master’s wife and her slave on a sugar plantation near New Orleans in 1828, won the Orange Prize (now called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction) and was named one of the 10 best historical novels by The Observer in 2012.

The Wife, The Maid, and The MistressTHE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS by Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon’s debut novel, set in Jazz Age New York, The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress is an fictionalized account of the real disappearance in 1930 of Justice Joseph Crater. The investigation is undertaken by newly promoted police officer Jude Simon, who proceeds by questioning three women in Crater’s life: his wife, his mistress, and his maid (who also happens to be Simon’s wife). The mystery winds its way through speakeasies and involves the most notorious gangsters of the day.

 

Of course, these are only three recently written historical fiction novels, set in three eras, and in three different geographic settings. There is sure to be a great work of historical fiction set in whatever time period or in whatever place interests you.

New Pittsburgh Book

A great new book featuring the people and places of Pittsburgh has recently been published, and you can now find it at Sewickley Public Library.

Click the title to find the book in our online catalog, from which you may place a hold.

Pittsburgh PraysPITTSBURGH PRAYS: THIRTY-SIX HOUSES OF WORSHIP, by Abby Mendelson, with Tim Fabian and Brian Cohen.

A summary from the library catalog: With stirring narrative and beautiful photography, Pittsburgh Prays takes us on a journey to the massive cathedrals and private chapels, synagogues, mosques and temples of Greater Pittsburgh.The book highlights not only sacred places, and piety, but also the love that created and maintains these houses of worships of all faiths, foci of communities and neighborhoods. More than bricks and mortar, each building represents the lexicon of Pittsburgh history – and generations dedicated to the greater good.

Also, read this review by Marylynne Pitz in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to learn more about Pittsburgh Prays: Thirty-Six Houses of Worship.

Fascinating New Nonfiction for Spring

We Will SurviveWE WILL SURVIVE: TRUE STORIES OF ENCOURAGEMENT, INSPIRATION, AND THE POWER OF SONG, by Gloria Gaynor and Sue Carswell

Remarkable stories reveal that “I Will Survive” has reached people from all walks of life and touched their lives in thousands of unique ways. From individuals triumphing over illness to those suffering from the painful loss of a loved one to others piecing their lives together after bearing witness to national tragedy, “I Will Survive” has become an emotional anthem for them and for millions of Gloria Gaynor’s adoring fans around the world. In We Will Survive, Gloria shares forty of these inspirational, true stories about survivors of all kinds – individuals who have found comfort, hope, and courage through the power of this one song.

For the Benefit of Those Who SeeFOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO SEE: DISPATCHES FROM THE WORLD OF THE BLIND, by Rosemary Mahoney

In the tradition of Oliver Sacks’s The Island of the Colorblind , Rosemary Mahoney tells the story of Braille Without Borders, the first school for the blind in Tibet, and of Sabriye Tenberken, the remarkable blind woman who founded the school. Fascinated and impressed by what she learned from the blind children of Tibet, Mahoney was moved to investigate further the cultural history of blindness. As part of her research, she spent three months teaching at Tenberken’s international training center for blind adults in Kerala, India, an experience that reveals both the shocking oppression endured by the world’s blind, as well as their great resilience, integrity, ingenuity, and strength.

DanubiaDANUBIA: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF HABSBURG EUROPE, by Simon Winder

For centuries much of Europe was in the hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors, they saw off-through luck, guile and sheer mulishness-any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere-indeed the history of Europe hardly makes sense without them. Danubia, Simon Winder’s hilarious new book, plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Full of music, piracy, religion and fighting, it is the history of a strange dynasty, and the people they ruled, who spoke many different languages, lived in a vast range of landscapes, believed in rival gods and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna.

TrainTRAIN: RIDING THE RAILS THAT CREATED THE MODERN WORLD – FROM THE TRANS-SIBERIAN TO THE SOUTHWEST CHIEF, by Tom Zoellner

Tom Zoellner loves trains with a ferocious passion and chronicles the innovation and sociological impact of the railway technology that changed the world, and could very well change it again. From the frigid trans-Siberian railroad to the antiquated Indian Railways to the futuristic MagLev trains, Zoellner offers a stirring story of man’s relationship with trains. Zoellner examines both the mechanics of the rails and their engines and how they helped societies evolve. Zoellner also considers America’s culture of ambivalence to mass transit, using the perpetually stalled line between Los Angeles and San Francisco as a case study in bureaucracy and public indifference. Train presents both an entertaining history of railway travel around the world while offering a serious and impassioned case for the future of train travel

The Monkey's VoyageTHE MONKEY’S VOYAGE: HOW IMPROBABLE JOURNEYS SHAPED THE HISTORY OF LIFE, by Alan de Quieroz

In The Monkey’s Voyage, biologist Alan de Queiroz describes the radical new view of how fragmented distributions came into being: frogs and mammals rode on rafts and icebergs, tiny spiders drifted on storm winds, and plant seeds were carried in the plumage of sea-going birds to create the map of life we see today. In other words, these organisms were not simply constrained by continental fate; they were the makers of their own geographic destiny. And as de Queiroz shows, the effects of oceanic dispersal have been crucial in generating the diversity of life on Earth, from monkeys and guinea pigs in South America to beech trees and kiwi birds in New Zealand. By toppling the idea that the slow process of continental drift is the main force behind the odd distributions of organisms, this theory highlights the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the history of life.

My Life in MiddlemarchMY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH, by Rebecca Mead

Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not. In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot’s masterpiece-the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure-and brings them into our world.

Me, Myself, and WhyME, MYSELF, AND WHY: SEARCHING FOR THE SCIENCE OF SELF, by Jennifer Ouellette

As diverse as people appear to be, all of our genes and brains are nearly identical. In Me, Myself, and Why, Jennifer Ouellette dives into the minuscule ranges of variation to understand just what sets us apart. She draws on cutting-edge research in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology-enlivened as always with her signature sense of humor-to explore the mysteries of human identity and behavior. Readers follow her own surprising journey of self-discovery as she has her genome sequenced, her brain mapped, her personality typed, and even samples a popular hallucinogen. Bringing together everything from Mendel’s famous pea plant experiments and mutations in the X-Men to our taste for cilantro and our relationships with virtual avatars, Ouellette takes us on an endlessly thrilling and illuminating trip into the science of ourselves.

To find any of the above titles in the online library catalog, click the titles. From there, you may also place a hold for pickup.

New Mysteries in March

Take a look at these new mysteries, of all varieties, just arrived at Sewickley Public Library. Remember to click the titles of any book in this post to see them in our online catalog, where you may place a hold.

 

Death Comes to the VillageDEATH COMES TO THE VILLAGE, by Catherine Lloyd

Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of his village home to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil façade of the village begins to loom sinister. Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend, Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major’s suspicions offers a welcome diversion-but soon presents real danger…

Death Comes to the Village is the first in Catherine Lloyd’s “Kurland St. Mary Mysteries.” Be one of the first to get swept up into a new mystery series!

THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, by Mary Jane Behrends Clark

Aspiring actress and wedding-cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her pastry skills at the renowned French Quarter bakery Boulangerie Bertrand when a ghastly murder rocks the magical city. Though Piper has a full plate decorating cakes for upcoming wedding celebrations, she’s also landed an exciting but unnerving role in a movie being shot in the Big Easy. When the murderer strikes again, leaving macabre clues, she thinks she can unmask the killer. But Piper will have to conjure up some old black magic of her own if she hopes to live long enough to reveal the truth.

That Old Black Magic is the fourth in Clark’s “Wedding Cake Mysteries.” If this sounds interesting and you haven’t read the first three, check out To Have and To Kill.

Rosemary and CrimeROSEMARY AND CRIME, by Gail Oust

Piper Prescott, a transplanted Yankee living in the South, has got her sass back. Recently divorced, Piper decides to pursue a dream she’s secretly harbored: owning her own business, Spice it Up!, a spice shop in her adopted hometown, Brandywine Creek, Georgia. But Piper’s grand opening goes awry when the local chef who’s agreed to do a cooking demo is found stabbed. Not only did Piper find the body, she handled the murder weapon and doesn’t have a witness to her alibi, making the case look like a slam dunk to brand new police Chief Wyatt McBride. Desperate to uncover the truth-and prove her innocence-Piper enlists the help of her outspoken BFF Reba Mae Johnson to help track down the real culprit.

Rosemary and Crime is also the first in a new mystery series by Gail Oust.

NANTUCKET SAWBUCK, by Steven Axelrod

When Nantucket homeowner Preston Lomax is killed in his McMansion, everyone on the island could be a suspect. Chief of Police Henry Kennis, a newcomer from California, finds himself investigating with help from the State Police. Together they solve the case–or so it appears.

The Blood PromiseTHE BLOOD PROMISE, by Mark Pryor

In post-Revolution Paris, an old man signs a letter in blood, then hides it in a secret compartment in a sailor’s chest. A messenger arrives to transport the chest and its hidden contents, but then the plague strikes and an untimely death changes history. Two hundred years later, Hugo Marston is safeguarding an unpredictable but popular senator who is in Paris negotiating a France/U.S. dispute. The talks, held at a country chateau, collapse when the senator accuses someone of breaking into his room. Theft becomes the least of Hugo’s concerns when someone discovers a sailor’s chest and the secrets hidden within, and decides that the power and money they promise are worth killing for. But when the darkness of history is unleashed, even the most ruthless and cunning are powerless to control it.

This is Mark Pryor’s third Hugo Marston mystery. If you like this description but want to start from the beginning, check out The Bookseller.

LION PLAYS ROUGH: A LEO MAXWELL MYSTERY, by Lachlan Smith

The Maxwell brothers are living together in Oakland while Leo, chafing in his role as junior attorney in his former sister-in-law’s small criminal defense firm, is on the lookout for the big case that will make his reputation. He thinks he’s found that when a mysterious woman nearly runs him down, then appears at his office to hire him to defend her brother on a murder charge. One problem: Leo hasn’t actually met the client when he sets out to investigate what seems like a hot tip on a burgeoning scandal in the Oakland Police Department. Leo takes a series of photographs that seem to blow the lid on deep-set corruption in the Department, however when he brings these pictures to the attention of the District Attorney’s office, he quickly learns that all is not as it seems, beginning with Leo’s client and the alluring woman who hired him.

This is Lachlan Smith’s followup to the beginning of his Leo Maxwell mystery series after his debut, Bear is Broken.

Hunting ShadowsHUNTING SHADOWS, by Charles Todd

Inspector Ian Rutledge is summoned to the quiet, isolated Fen country to solve a pair of seemingly unconnected murders before the killer strikes again in August 1920. Despite his experience, Inspector Ian Rutledge can find no connection between the two deaths. Then the case reminds Rutledge of a legendary assassin whispered about during the war. His own dark memories come back to haunt him as he hunts for the missing connection-and yet, when he finds it, it isn’t as simple as he’d expected.

Hunting Shadows is the 16th Ian Rutledge mystery, by Charles Todd. A list of all sixteen in order can be found here on Goodreads. If you want to start at the beginning, check out A Test of Wills.

Spotlight on Memoir: New Biographies

Recently the library has added several new memoirs to its biography collection. Telling a story from the author’s life, rather than the story the author’s life, memoir is a special category of autobiography. Memoir has become an increasingly popular literary nonfiction genre in recent years.

Below, take a look at three memoirs Sewickley Public Library has recently added to its shelves. You may click on the titles to see the books in our online catalog, from which you may place a hold.

Glitter and GlueGLITTER AND GLUE: A MEMOIR, by Kelly CorriganBooklist Review

When mother of two Corrigan struggles with cancer, she remembers a mother she never met more than 20 years earlier in 1992 in Australia. Back then, seeking money to enhance the next leg of her round-the-world travels, Corrigan became the nanny for a widower, John, whose family five-year-old Martin and seven-year-old Milly as well as a garage-living stepson and an in-law-apartment-living father-in-law had just lost their matriarch to cancer. Though it’s a true story, Corrigan has changed the names and some of the details to disguise identities. Here, the memories of her work as companion, surrogate mom, and onetime lover to various family members are filtered through Corrigan’s experiences, good and bad, of herself as mother and herself as daughter (her mom’s admonitions and pronouncements, served up in italics, support the young nanny as well as the text, then and now). The flavor of what a youthful, journal-writing Corrigan probably once hoped this book would be a spectacle of travel and awesome experience comes through in the writing but doesn’t disturb this touching, hard-won paean to mothering and parenting, living and losing.–Kinney, Eloise Copyright 2010 Booklist

This book is also available in Adobe EPUB eBook format via OverDrive.

Flyover LivesFLYOVER LIVES: A MEMOIR, by Diane JohnsonBooklist Review

The author of shrewd and scintillating novels about Americans abroad, Johnson (L’Affaire, 2003; Lulu in Marrakech, 2008) grew up in Moline, Illinois, A pleasant place, surrounded by cornfields, I had always longed to get out of. And so she did, as she crisply and wittily recounts in this stealthily far-reaching family history. Johnson’s personal story gains resonance in harmony with a remarkable set of memoirs written by her ­great-­great-great grandmother, Anne, born in 1779, and Anne’s daughter, Catharine, a teacher who, after a tortuous nine-year engagement, married a doctor only to endure his depression and long absences and the deaths of all but one of her nine children. Johnson perceives that her skilled and strong foremothers lived daunting yet satisfyingly useful lives. Adeptly structured, incisive, funny, and charming, Johnson’s look back delves into deep questions of history and inheritance, from the impact of America’s many wars on the Midwest to the transforming changes in modern women’s lives to her own adventures as a novelist and screenwriter raising a large, blended family, living overseas, and keenly observing cultural differences, personal quirks, and timeless commonalities.–Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

The Answer to the Riddle is MeTHE ANSWER TO THE RIDDLE IS ME: A MEMOIR OF AMNESIA, by David MacLean - Booklist Review

While studying in India on a Fulbright scholarship in 2002, Ohio native MacLean abruptly lost consciousness and came to his senses in a Hyderabad train station minus any memories of his name or reasons for being there. Luckily, a kindly station attendant took pity on the presumably drug-addled foreigner and found him refuge in a well-run mental hospital where he hallucinated his way back to reality as friends and parents were contacted. So begins this riveting, sad, and funny memoir from PEN literary award-winner MacLean, expanded from an essay featured on the radio show, This American Life. Contrary to the station agent’s assumption, however, MacLean’s amnesia was triggered by an allergic reaction to Lariam, a common antimalaria agent that receives a scathing critique here. In addition to short-circuiting his memories, the drug’s aftermath forced MacLean to get reacquainted with his parents, a girlfriend, and his rationale for coming to India in the first place. His work is both a sharply written autobiography and an insightful meditation on how much our memories define our identities.–Hays, Carl Copyright 2010 Booklist

For more memoir suggestions, please visit the Reference Desk at Sewickley Public Library, where a librarian can help you to choose a title of interest.