January 28, 2015

Staff Pick - Sunshine

Rae Seddon, known by everyone as Sunshine, has grown up working in her stepfather's bakery since her teens in a post apocalyptic world where Vampires rule a fifth of the world and the SOF (Special Other Forces) do their best to protect the population.

Sunshine wants nothing more than a normal life making cinnamon rolls for her stepfather and hanging out with her ex boyfriend, Mel.

One night, Sunshine wants to get away from everyone for a while and decides to drive down to the lake, to the house belonging to her father where no one has lived since the wars broke out.

It was a choice one might call the biggest mistake of her life as she's taken captive by Vampires and chained up inside a ball room with another captive of theirs - a vampire named Constantine, who is also chained, and becoming quite hungry.

Sunshine is a story about alliances being made where one might least expect them, and shows that the world might be made up of more shades of grey than anyone might have been able to believe. It's not your typical vampire story, that's for sure.

I really enjoyed reading Sunshine. When I picked it up, I was curious, and not sure what to expect. McKinley often finds a way to spin an old concept, or story, and make it feel new again, and that's what she did here.

So, if you're looking for a new twist on vampires, magic, and the world in general, I'd highly recommend picking up Sunshine by Robin McKinley. If you'd like to check it out, you can find it in our online catalog by clicking here.


January 16, 2015

Staff Pick - Landline

Georgie McCool’s husband, Neal, has left her and she’s trying to keep cool. They’ve been together for fifteen years.

He’s actually only taken their two girls to spend the holidays in Omaha, but he wasn’t happy with her when they left. That’s because Georgie elected to skip out on the Midwestern Christmas to work on her sitcom.

Then something strange happens. Using the old yellow, rotary landline at her mother’s house, she contacts Neal. 1998 Neal, not 2013 Neal. The Neal that left her once before when they had temporarily broken up.

Is she going insane? Hallucinating? Or is she actually talking to the Neal of the past? Between working long hours on scriptwriting and reflecting on her marriage and taking care of herself, Georgie tries to make sense of all this.

Rainbow Rowell is one of my new favorite authors. Both heartbreaking and romantic, Landline also offers moments that will make you laugh. Rainbow’s characters are as real as your best friend, and you’ll find yourself soaring through this read.

If you'd like to check it out, you can find it in our online catalog by clicking here.


January 14, 2015

Oskaloosa Picks - January 14, 2015

Over on Facebook, we asked "What book(s) are you reading?" Here's a look at Oskaloosa's picks this week:

How to Fight Presidents*
by Daniel O'Brien

Plenty of historians can tell you which president had the most effective economic strategies, and which president helped shape our current political parties, but can any of them tell you what to do if you encounter Chester A. Arthur in a bare-knuckled boxing fight? This book will teach you how to be better, stronger, faster, and more deadly than the most powerful (and craziest) men in history. You’re welcome.

by Laura Hillenbrand

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared - Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.

Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

by Rainbow Rowell

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply - but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point. Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She knows that Neal will be upset with her - but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her.

Crown of Midnight
by Sarah J. Maas

As the royal assassin to an evil king, eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien must decide what she will fight for - survival, love, or the future of a kingdom.

by Lysa TerKeurst

Subtitled "making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions," Unglued teaches how to acknowledge, understand, and manage raw emotions that are commonplace to the average woman.

by Stephen King

In a small New England town over half a century ago, a boy is playing with his new toy soldiers in the dirt in front of his house when a shadow falls over him. He looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Jamie learns later, who with his beautiful wife, will transform the church and the town.

by Juliet Marillier

Fifteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured, but when she sets out for Shadowfell, a training ground for a rebel group, she meets a mysterious soldier and the Good Folk, who tell her that she, alone, can save Alban.

If you would like to read any of these books too, you can click on the title and place a hold with your library card number in our online catalog.

Titles marked with a * are not currently available in our catalog. If you'd like to read one of them, we can borrow it from another library through interlibrary loan.

All book descriptions adapted from our catalog or worldcat.org.

January 8, 2015

The Downton Abbey Book Club Part 2

Last spring, we came up with some reading recommendations for our favorite (or least favorite) characters from the popular BBC series, Downton Abbey. With the recent premiere of the 5th season this past Sunday, we thought we'd look at a few more characters. (*Note: If you haven't caught up to the end of season 4, there will be spoilers ahead!)

Character: Tom Branson
Book: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Tom Branson, the former chauffeur, married into the aristocracy and the Crawley family. He could never feel like he really belonged at Downton, especially after the death of his wife, Lady Sybil. Since he's agreed to stay at Downton for his daughter Sybbie, we felt he could use some advice on how to get along best with the family upstairs. Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People offers fundamental techniques in handling people and tips on making people like you.

Character: Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
Book: We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

As the mother figure of Downton, Cora has known disappointment, tragedy and loss. However, her love for her family is as fierce as it is strong.  We think she would relate well with the story of the large and fortunate American family in Joyce Carol Oates' We Were the Mulvaneys. The youngest son, Judd, tries to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaney's former glory and understand their downfall and estrangement. Ultimately, the family manages find a way back to each other through love and healing.

Character: Daisy Mason, Assistant Cook
Book: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

If she were a modern girl, we could imagine the hopelessly romantic Daisy curling up with a good YA read. Daisy has harbored crushes on both Thomas and Alfred, and has attracted the attentions of William Mason and Ethan Slade. Humble but ambitious, she would relate well to Sarah Dessen's Emaline in The Moon and More. Emaline has been with Luke all through high school, but meets Theo in her prospects for an ivy league education. Like Daisy, Emaline yearns for something better, but still feels a connection to her past.

Character: Lady Mary Crawley
Book: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Lady Mary may have a strong will and can be arrogant and cold at times, but we've learned that she too makes mistakes and has known heartbreak and disappointment. We think she would enjoy and benefit from Lena Dunham's collection of essays, Not That Kind of Girl. Falling in love, being alone, having to prove yourself in a room full of men - Lena has been there, and so, too, has Lady Mary. She may particularly relate to “Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)” in which Dunham details her first time, and how the experience didn't quite match up to her expectations.

January 6, 2015

Staff Pick - God's Not Dead

I didn't know what I expected when I decided to watch this movie, but I had seen several of my Facebook friends had posts earlier this summer after they had been to the theater to see it.

A Philosophy professor decides he will pass every freshman student without all the dusty old arguments, if they will simply write God is Dead on their first project. As he collects the papers, everyone is compliant, until Josh refuses to write what he does not believe, even for a passing grade.

The professor issues a challenge for Josh to defend his belief to the entire class and for the rest of the semester, he must stand up for his faith in God even though he risks his relationships and possibly his future. 

I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded and I was also impressed with the way the connecting relationships were handled. I thought it was a great story.

If you'd like to check out God's Not Dead on DVD, you can find it in our catalog by clicking here.