Library book strategies – managing (or not managing) holds on the new and popular books

Last week I scored big on a library book. My Facebook friends group is about to discuss Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. The holds list is a mile long, but I was able to grab the one-week rental copy (no holds allowed) and read it quickly! It worked out great. (Read my review here.)

But now I’m in a bit of a library holds bind. Many of my other holds on new and popular books have come in at the same time. I have one eAudiobook on my phone and three eBooks on my Kindle and the clock is ticking!

It’s a little ambitious to think I’ll be able to read the three eBooks in the two-week period, but I’m going to try. I’m not so sure if I’ll have time for the eAudiobook, though. The good news about that one is that my eBook hold of the same title is coming up soon!

Here’s what’s on deck. (All book blurbs are from Amazon.)


The Warehouse by Rob Hart

I’ve seen a lot of blog reviews about this one and have already started the audio of this one.

 

Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.

“A thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level . . . and a powerful cautionary tale about technology, runaway capitalism, and the nightmare world we are making for ourselves.”—Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter

Film rights sold to Imagine Entertainment for director Ron Howard!


The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

I didn’t think I’d get this one so fast. My mystery book club at work is going to read it…next June! I’ll probably read it twice.

 

“One of my favorite books of the year.” ―Lee Child

“Cancel all your plans and call in sick; once you start reading, you’ll be caught in your own escape room―the only key to freedom is turning the last page!” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A sleek, well-crafted ride.” ―The New York Times

In Megan Goldin’s unforgettable debut, The Escape Room, four young Wall Street rising stars discover the price of ambition when an escape room challenge turns into a lethal game of revenge.


We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

I saw this one reviewed by a few bloggers and it sounded interesting to me.

 

From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.


Refugee by Alan Gratz

Saw this reviewed and wanted to read it!

 

 

A New York Times bestseller!

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.


We have a feature at our library that allows you to “freeze” specific holds and not lose your place in line. I haven’t tried that, but I’m thinking it would be a good idea.

I’m going to try to read all of them before they are due. Which would you read first? What’s your library book strategy?

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Grammar talk: misspelled words and other confessions

Images: Pixabay

Everyone makes mistakes and I’ve made many over the years. Misspelling or misreading words can certainly get us into trouble, but they are also good opportunities to laugh at ourselves. Here are my top five:

  • I went a long time before I knew how to spell Connecticut correctly: it wasn’t until I was nineteen and got a job in a bank on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. – that’s when the head teller set me straight!
  • I always thought the proper way to describe my neighbors in the next house was to say “next store neighbors.”
  • When I had my own desktop publishing business, I designed a brochure for a small trust company, with a lighthouse as their logo, and misspelled “Beacon” on the cover.
  • Once I took a shower at a summer rental, misread the shampoo label and washed my hair with dog shampoo.
  • Recently, when serving applesauce at dinner, I put the shaker of cumin out instead of cinnamon.

What funny mistakes have you made? Leave your best ones in the comments section!

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Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Evvie Drake Starts Over
by
Linda Holmes

Rating:

If you’re looking for a fun, feel-good romantic comedy, here’s an entertaining story about two people, adrift for very different reasons. Evvie Drake is newly widowed, living in the coastal lobster town of Calcasset, Maine. She and her husband had seemed the perfect home-town couple, but Evvie knows different.

Evvie’s best friend, Andy Buck, is ready to help her jump start her life. After all, she helped him get back on his feet after his wife left. And now, Andy just happens to have a friend who is moving up from New York and is looking for a place to stay, the perfect tenant for Evvie’s attached apartment.

The friend is not just a typical guy, though. He’s the famous, World Series-winning New York Yankee pitcher, Dean Tenney. Dean’s in a bit of a slump, having fallen victim to the dreaded “yips.” Fans are convinced that Dean has lost his stuff for good. Booed off the field, now Dean is taking a break from baseball.

So Dean moves in and he and Evvie strike a deal, declaring two subjects off limits: Evvie’s husband and baseball. It seems like a good basis for friendship, but romantic tension gets in the way. From here, readers are treated to an entertaining advance and retreat campaign, with just the right amount of tension.

At the core of this fun story are likeable characters, great dialogue, plenty of humor and solid themes of love, friendship and family. I didn’t mind that the book followed a familiar plot formula because the reward was the fun I had along the way.

I recommend Evvie Drake Starts Over to readers who are looking for the perfect book to curl up with on the weekend. Do you like romantic comedies? What are your favorites?

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My Friend Anna – The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

My Friend Anna – The True Story of a Fake Heiress
by
Rachel DeLoache Williams

Rating:

In 2017, Rachel Williams, a young woman working for Vanity Fair magazine in New York, made friends with a 26-year-old woman named Anna Delvey. Delvey was living in a swank hotel and claimed to be a German heiress. The two became fast friends and Anna brought Rachel into her world, treating her to expensive restaurants, nightclubs, workouts, saunas, and pedicures. Anna claimed to be negotiating a big idea – a private art club, housed in the historic Church Missions House on Park Avenue. A couple months later, Anna invited Rachel and two others to join her on a lavish, all-expenses paid vacation in Marrakech, Morocco.

That’s where it all went south. When Anna’s credit cards didn’t work in Marrakech, she persuaded Rachel to put the charges on her own cards, including a Vanity Fair American Express expense account, assuring Rachel she’d pay her back as soon as she talked to her bank. The charges totaled over $62,000 and Anna began to drag her feet. After two months of promises (my favorite line from these conversations: “Would Bitcoin be okay?”), Rachel began to understand that she’d been conned.

My Friend Anna is the story of how Rachel, 29, dealt with being duped out of a large amount of money, which included providing authorities with information and evidence that led to Anna’s arrest. The charges were grand larceny and theft of services from Rachel and others of more than a quarter million dollars. Rachel testified at her trial and wrote this book.

This story has gawkers’ appeal. You read it because you want to know how anyone could fall for a scam like this and you’re glad it’s not you! The author fell for her friend’s tales of wealth and billion dollar trust fund. And her fatal mistake was taking out her own credit card to cover the costs of their vacation. I didn’t feel too sorry for her, however. The book deal and HBO’s purchase of the story have probably taken the sting out of this friendship gone wrong.

That said, I tore through the story and enjoyed reading how it all unraveled. I especially liked the text message exchanges, which while they were repetitive and a bit whiny, reflected Rachel’s desperate attempts to get her money back. I would have liked to know more about Anna, whose past is revealed late in the book. For most of the story, she’s an enigma.

Of course, when I finished, I wanted to see just who these people were. To round that out, here’s a good interview from ABC Nightline:

So all in all, a good, fast read, a little light on substance, but entertaining.

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Social media book groups – are you in one?

About fifteen years ago, my college friends and I decided to start some kind of remote book club. We all lived in different places, but we were looking for a way to stay connected. This was before social media, back when email was the big thing. So we settled on an email book club. It was fun!

Emails can get cumbersome, though, so we eventually moved over to a Facebook group and lots of new friends and family joined. It was great to have a larger group and a much better way to talk about a book.

But life went on and, although we stayed in touch with each other through the group, the book reading fell off…

We’re back on track now and next month we are going to read Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. I just got my hands on the book and I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend!

Are you in a social media book group? Leave a comment and tell me how it works!

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood
by
Truman Capote

Rating:

A non-fiction novel. What is that, exactly? Many believe that the pioneer of this genre was Truman Capote. His best selling book, In Cold Blood, is a chilling depiction of a senseless murder. In a 1966 New York Times interview with George Plimpton, Capote explains his decision to write a book about the brutal 1959 murder of a Kansas family:

The motivating factor in my choice of material—that is, choosing to write a true account of an actual murder case—was altogether literary. The decision was based on a theory I’ve harbored since I first began to write professionally, which is well over 20 years ago. It seemed to me that journalism, reportage, could be forced to yield a serious new art form: the ‘nonfiction novel,’ as I thought of it.

The result was In Cold Blood. Published in 1966, it became an instant success and is considered Capote’s masterpiece.

On November 14, 1959, Herb Clutter, his wife, Bonnie and their two teenage children, Nancy and Kenyon, were brutally murdered in their Holcomb, Kansas home. Their killers, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, were two ex-cons looking for fast cash. They’d heard that the Clutters had a safe full of money and drove over 400 miles across the state to rob the family. When they discovered there was no safe, and very little cash, the two men killed the Clutters in a rage.

I was curious about this book, but I had avoided it for many years. I don’t like reading violent crime stories, but as a Capote fan, I knew I had to read it. While the story is about the crime and the investigation, it is equal parts a picture of a small middle-American farming town and a psychological study of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith. While I had no sympathy for these men, I was fascinated with their back stories. Hickcock’s insistence on robbing the Clutters, along with Smith’s unpredictable reactions to people and situations led to killings that may not have happened on a different day.

Capote and his childhood friend, Harper Lee, went to Kansas to research the story and compiled over 8000 pages of notes. They were granted numerous interviews with Hickock and Smith, who by then, had confessed and were in jail awaiting trial. They moved to death row after their convictions, where Capote continued to interview them until their hangings. He became particularly attached to Perry Smith and related to his unhappy childhood.

In Cold Blood was first published as a four-part serial in The New Yorker in 1965. It was published in book form the following year. How Capote organized this vast amount of information and assembled the story is extraordinary.

Capote made a lot of friends in Kansas, but he also made some enemies. He was particularly close to the lead investigator, Alvin Dewey, but Duane West, a prosecuting attorney, hated Capote. West called the book “garbage” (but he didn’t read it) and claimed that it wasn’t factual. He said that Capote made Dewey into a hero, when the real hero was a man named Rohleder, who captured important evidence in his photographs. Some townspeople felt they were not accurately portrayed and others have criticized the account as being inaccurate. My sense is that there were a lot of big egos in town and readers need to decide for themselves.

What is definitely true is that Capote’s writing is excellent, as I expected. And as a side note, this book isn’t nearly as violent as current true crimes and thrillers. Have you read In Cold Blood? What did you think?

For more Truman Capote, visit these links:

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
“House of Flowers”
“La Côte Basque”
Who’s That Author? Truman Capote
The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

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Who’s That Author? Truman Capote

I just finished reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, a book Capote termed a “nonfiction novel,” based on the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Capote, with his childhood friend, Harper Lee, researched the story and Capote wrote what is considered his masterpiece. While I work on my review, here’s some background information about Truman Capote.

Book Club Mom

Truman Capote/Image: Wikipedia

Which Truman Capote do you know? The author who wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood? The life of the party and confidante of New York socialites? The host of the famous 1966 Black and White Ball in New York? The frequent guest on The Dick Cavett Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and The Mike Douglas Show? He was all of these.

Truman Capote (1924 – 1984) was an American author who wrote fiction, nonfiction and plays. Capote had a big personality and loved to mingle and gossip with high society. A flamboyant dresser with eccentric taste, Capote was open about his homosexuality. He was also a serious writer, dedicated to his craft.

Capote was born in New Orleans. His father was a con-man and his parents separated when he was a toddler. He spent his early years with relatives…

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Here comes fall – books to match the season!

It’s not quite fall, but I’m already thinking fall colors. Colorful sweaters and flowers are obvious, but have you seen these fall-colored books? What looks good to you?


Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson:

An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming. “Red at the Bone is fall’s hottest novel.”—Town & Country


Underland by Robert Macfarlane

From the best-selling, award-winning author of Landmarks and The Old Ways, a haunting voyage into the planet’s past and future.

Hailed as “the great nature writer of this generation” (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.


The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett, the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, returns with her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone’s radar. Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.


A Door in the Earth by Amy Waldman

From the author of the national bestseller The Submission comes the journey of a young Afghan-American woman trapped between her ideals and the complicated truth in this “penetrating” (O, Oprah Magazine), “stealthily suspenseful,” (Booklist, starred review), “breathtaking and achingly nuanced” (Kirkus, starred review) novel for readers of Cutting for Stone and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.


I always get excited looking at book covers and these all look good to me, especially The Dutch House and Red at the Bone. What would you add to your list?

Note: all links and descriptions are from Amazon.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Amy Tasukada

Genre:  Gay romance and thrillers

Books:
The Yakuza Path Series:
Blood Stained Tea
Better Than Suicide
One Thousand Cranes
The Deafening Silence

Would it Be Okay to Love You? Series and Book 1
Year One Book 2
Happy Merry Christmas Book 3
Year Two Book 4
Year Three Book 5

What’s your story and how did you become a writer?  I was an only child so would make up stories while I played with my toy horses. Soon I wrote those down. Eventually, I found I enjoyed writing Japanese inspired gay fiction most. I write everything gritty mafia thrillers to fluffy, contemporary romance. I enjoy weaving exciting tales of suspense, love, and gore.

How do you balance your work with other demands?  I try to stay really organized and break everything into smaller task so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. I also get up two hours before work to get the writing done before anything else.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life:  There was a tea house in my home town that I would go to almost weekly. All my friends would go and we’d get dressed up and drink proper British style tea.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I am a huge planner. My last outline was over 18,000 words. I even have someone read over my outline and make comments to edit. I want everything already figured out when I start the rough draft.

Could you write in a café with people around?  More often people distract me when I’m at a café, but there’s a really good Korean café nearby. Their booths are built into the wall. So it feels like you’re in a cave. I can write there just fine.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it?  Though all of my books take place in Japan and with Japanese characters I do not write any extensive dialogue in Japanese.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now?  My favorite book is In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. It’s an epic French classic and I love the descriptions.  I recently finished Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro. It’s about a second generation Korean coming of age in Japan.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  I like eBooks because they are cheaper and I always feel like I read faster on them.

Do you think print books will always be around?  Yes, there are some people who enjoy holding a book.

Would you ever read a book on your phone?  I do this as a last resort like when I’m standing in line at the Post Office and it’s taking a long time.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else?  Does my desktop computer count? Give me a computer over a tablet or phone any day. I want a keyboard and mouse!

How long could you go without checking your phone?  During the weekend I never look at it. During the week I’ll poke around it.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening?  I recently got into non-fiction audiobooks. I do about half an hour of stretching in the morning since I’ve herniated two discs in my spine about a year ago. It’s a nice way to get those non-fictions books I’ve wanted to read out of the way.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? I spend a lot of time on YouTube, but probably do a bad job promoting my books there. I’m fond of Facebook, too.

Website and social media links:
Website – https://www.amytasukada.com/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/amytasukada
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/amytasukadaofficial/
Twitter: @amytasukada

Awards/special recognition:  My first two thriller novels won an honorable mention at the Rainbow Awards for thrillers.


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Library Book
by
Susan Orlean

Rating: 3.5

On April 29, 1986, a devastating fire tore through the hallways and stacks of the Los Angeles Public Library. It raged for over seven hours before firefighters could put it out. When it was over, 400,000 books had been destroyed and 700,000 books damaged.

The city’s Central Library, built in 1926, had no sprinklers, no fire doors and many fire code violations. That explains why it took so long to contain the fire, but what caused it? Was it faulty wiring? Was it arson? It’s never been determined, but for a while, a man named Harry Peak was a suspect. Peak was a charmer and a compulsive liar who enjoyed being in the spotlight. He claimed to have been there, then he changed his story, many times. Peak was arrested, but never charged.

The Library Book is a look at the “single biggest library fire in the history of the United States” and how the library coped with this major loss. It’s also a detailed chronicle of the city’s library system. From 1844, when the earliest library in Los Angeles was established, to present day, where library staff work at the beautifully restored Central Library.

I enjoyed reading The Library Book, but it wasn’t what I expected. I thought I was going to be reading a mystery about the fire, but discovered that the book is more of a sentimental history book about libraries and librarians, patrons and administrators. As a library worker, I related to a lot of the descriptions and agree with the author’s observation that libraries are much more than a place to get books. They are as much community centers as they are places of enrichment, learning and exploration.

I also liked reading about how the city saved many of the damaged books, by freeze drying them for two years, with help from McDonnell Douglas, Airdex and NASA. Library staff helped too, just days after the fire, by sorting through and packing books to be shipped off for restoration. I would have liked more on this part of the story and was frustrated to instead find many strung-together chapters with little connection to the fire.

To be fair, the book’s title is true to what’s really inside: a book about a library. But publicity and hype made it sound different to me. I’m glad I read it and learned a few things, but I thought it was a little boring. However, anyone who has special attachment to libraries or childhood memories about visiting them will enjoy the descriptions.

I found a very interesting video about the fire and you can watch it here:

 

Have you read The Library Book? What did you think?

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