Books

Lunch and a Book meets on the second Thursday of every month from noon to 1:00 p.m. No registration required. Participation is encouraged.

January 2019

Lilac girls : a novel by Martha Hall Kelly
Also available in: print | e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook | large print

So, you've downloaded FaceApp and learned that you're going to look very suave when you're older. But just how does FaceApp magically age you so accurately?

FaceApp uses a type of artificial intelligence and machine learning called an artificial neural network. Investigate a little more about artificial intelligence and the latest in technology with some of these fiction and non-fiction titles (no technical background required!):

Fiction

Plum rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Also available in: e-audiobook

Every third Monday of every month, the Adult Contemporary Book Club meets in the Community Room at 7PM to discuss books the group voted on to read. By far, the one author the group picked 7 times was...Jodi Picoult! She is our favorite author! We'll be reading her newest book, A spark of light, on Monday, September 16. Please join us! 

Leaving time : a novel by 1966- Jodi Picoult

Throughout her blockbuster career, Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that "not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us" (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new novel, she has delivered her most affecting work yet--a book unlike anything she's written before. For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother's whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who'd originally investigated Alice's case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they'll have to face even harder answers. As Jenna's memories dovetail with the events in her mother's journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.

My sister's keeper : a novel by 1966- Jodi Picoult

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness. Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

On July 18, John Glenn would have turned 98. John Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962 and later served as a United States Senator from Ohio. In 1998, NASA invited him to join the team aboard the space shuttle Discovery and at the age of 77, he became the oldest human ever to do so. He never gave up on his dream or fascination with flight. John Glenn was part of an elite group of astronauts known as the Mercury 7 who became national heroes. That historic mission was immortalized in the 1983 movie, The Right Stuff, starring Ed Harris as the iconic John Glenn. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 95. Godspeed, John Glenn.

The time was the late 1940s. World War II had just ended and the United States was entering into a new kind of war, a Cold War. New technology and the development of high-speed aircraft became one of the centerpieces of this new kind of conflict. The race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union had just begun. Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best-selling book, The Right Stuff tells the heroic story of Chuck Yeager (the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound), the Flying Fraternity and the Mercury Astronauts – the first Americans in space. The bravery and daring exploits of these men captured the imagination of the American public during the 1940s and 1950s,and The Right Stuff re-creates these breathtaking events in emotionally riveting and suspenseful detail. 

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers, that made The Right Stuff a classic.

Many of the authors we've chosen through the years have published new titles! Here's a list of what to read next from Adult Contemporary authors and enjoy reading throughout the 62 Days of Summer! 

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.

Lost roses : a novel by Martha Hall Kelly

It is 1914, and the world has been on the brink of war so often, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the tsar's Winter Palace, the famous ballet. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia's imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortune-teller's daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya's letters suddenly stop coming, she fears the worst for her best friend. From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg and aristocratic countryside estates to the avenues of Paris where a society of fallen Russian émigrés live to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways. In her newest powerful tale told through female-driven perspectives, Martha Hall Kelly celebrates the unbreakable bonds of women's friendship, especially during the darkest days of history.

The NASA New Horizons probe was launched January 19, 2006. After several years, it reached Pluto and spent the summer of 2015 studying the dwarf planet at a distance closer than any spacecraft before. The probe traveled closest to Pluto on July 14, 2015 and continued on to study more of the Kuiper Belt. Learn more about the far reaches of our solar system with these resources.

Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook

On this day, July 8, 2011, Atlantis made its final liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After 31 years of manned space flights into the Earth's orbit and back, the Space Shuttle program was officially retired from service. The shuttle program launched 135 missions, traveled 542,398,878 miles, and flew 21,152 orbits around the Earth, carried 355 people and 3.5 million pounds of payload. The purpose of the program was to transport crew and cargo from Earth to orbit, but its mission expanded to the International Space Station. There were 133 successful flights, but 2 very tragic failures. Both the Challenger and Columbia missions lost 7 crew members each. Want to learn more? Here's some resources to get your started!

On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated on reentry before the nation's eyes, and all seven astronauts aboard were lost. Author Mike Leinbach, Launch Director of the space shuttle program at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center was a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed an area of rural east Texas the size of Rhode Island for every piece of the shuttle and her crew they could find. Assisted by hundreds of volunteers, it would become the largest ground search operation in US history. For the first time, here is the definitive inside story of the Columbia disaster and recovery and the inspiring message it ultimately holds. In the aftermath of tragedy, people and communities came together to help bring home the remains of the crew and nearly 40 percent of shuttle, an effort that was instrumental in piecing together what happened so the shuttle program could return to flight and complete the International Space Station. Bringing Columbia Home shares the deeply personal stories that emerged as NASA employees looked for lost colleagues and searchers overcame immense physical, logistical, and emotional challenges and worked together to accomplish the impossible. Featuring a foreword and epilogue by astronauts Robert Crippen and Eileen Collins, and dedicated to the astronauts and recovery search persons who lost their lives, this is an incredible, compelling narrative about the best of humanity in the darkest of times and about how a failure at the pinnacle of human achievement became a story of cooperation and hope.

The real-life techno-thriller from a bestselling author and aviation expert that recaptures the historic moments leading up to the launch of the space shuttle Columbia and the exciting story of her daring maiden flight. Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and recently declassified material, Into the Black pieces together the dramatic untold story of the Columbia mission and the brave people who dedicated themselves to help the United States succeed in the age of space exploration. On April 12, 1981, NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral. It was the most advanced, state-of-the-art flying machine ever built, challenging the minds and imagination of America's top engineers and pilots. Columbia was the world's first real spaceship: a winged rocket plane, the size of an airliner, and capable of flying to space and back before preparing to fly again. On board were moonwalker John Young and test pilot Bob Crippen. Less than an hour after Young and Crippen's spectacular departure from the Cape, all was not well. Tiles designed to protect the ship from the blowtorch burn of re-entry were missing from the heat shield. If the damage to Columbia was too great, the astronauts wouldn't be able to return safely to earth. NASA turned to the National Reconnaissance Office, a spy agency hidden deep inside the Pentagon whose very existence was classified. To help the ship, the NRO would attempt something never done before. Success would require skill, perfect timing, and luck. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, Into the Black is a thrilling race against time and the incredible true story of the first space shuttle mission that celebrates our passion for spaceflight.

 

Did you miss our Pants Storytime this week? Don't worry, here's what you missed, plus a few more suggestions so you can create your own pant-astic storytime at home, complete with songs and stories.

Don't need a full storytime? Borrow a rhyme when you need a short distraction, or check out these materials and spend a few minutes reading together.

From Storytime

 

IF YOU'RE WEARING PANTS (Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It)

If you’re wearing pants and you know it, clap your hands

If you’re wearing pants and you know it, clap your hands

If you’re wearing pants and you know it, and you really want to show it,

If you're wearing pants and you know it, clap your hands.

[continue with stomp your feet, peekaboo, shout hurray!]

.

 

Fire up the grill and test out some new recipes to celebrate National Grilling Month.

Weber's ultimate grilling by Jamie Purviance

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