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Archive for Category: Reading Room
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Reading List: Game of Thrones vs. Wolf Hall

   Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

This year, there are two great book-related reasons to watch TV on Sundays. The first is Game of Thrones season 4, based on the immense fantasy series Song of Ice and Fire by George RR. Martin. Past seasons have brought no end of surprises, and Martin himself was quoted as promising that the surprises will continue, no character is completely safe.

The second reason is Wolf Hall, based on the Booker Prize-winning tome of the same name by Hilary Mantel starring Damien Lewis of Homeland as Henry VIII. The plot mainly focuses on the rise of Henry's chief adviser, Thomas Cromwell, and his role in Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn.

Both series are entertaining, and share many similarities (bombastic kings, ruthless queens, devious plots, and plenty of medieval-style punishment). Of course they are also quite different. So whether you prefer the fantasy, adventure and dizzying cast of Game of Thrones or the heavy historical insight and intrigue of Wolf Hall, here’s some suggestions to satisfy your craving for noble ambition corruption and power on those six days between episodes. Hover over each book cover to see a description. Click on a cover to go to the book in the library's catalog.

Wolf Hall:

Queen's Gambit, by Elizabeth Freemantle The Queen's Lover, by Francine du Plessix Gray Tides of War, by S. K. Tillyard Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, by Eric Ives Thomas Cromwell, by Tracy Borman The Marriage Game: a novel of Queen Elizabeth I, by Alison Weir Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett The Tudors (Showtime series) starring Jonathan Rhys Myers


Game of Thrones:

Half a king (Book 1 - Shannara trilogy) During a tumultuous period in the Four Lands, young Druid Aphenglow stumbles on a dangerous secret about an Elven girl's heartbreak and the vanished Elfstones. Set seven years after the High Druid series. Legends : short novels by the masters of modern fantasy The kingdom of the Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lann... Book Jacket Image of item The Plantagents: The warrior kings and queens who made England: The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this history, Jones resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world. In this remarkable book, Thomas Penn re-creates the story of the tragic, magnetic Henry VII—a controlling, paranoid, avaricious monarch who was entering the most perilous years of his long reign.  Rich with drama and insight, Winter King is an astonishing story of pageantry, treachery, intrigue and incident—and the fraught, dangerous birth of Tudor England.

   Posted in Books, Reading Room, Resources | No Comments »

Spring into spring with new fiction!

   Saturday, March 21st, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Spring is finally here, so is our bi-monthly round up of new fiction! Highlights from the presentation on March 20th are listed below. Hover your cursor over each book cover to view a brief description. Click on the image to go to the item in our catalog. The full list of books is available on our website. Join us for our next presentation, in two months, on May 22.

   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »

Twisted Threads by Lea Wait

   Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by: Christine Sharbrough, Head of Reader Services & Circulation

Image of itemA decade after she left Haven Harbor, Maine, Angie Curtis returns after receiving news that the remains of her mother have been found.  Raised by her grandmother, Charlotte, since the disappearance of her mother, Angie believed she was abandoned.  Now there is evidence not only that her mother was murdered, but that Angie knows the killer. When a member of Charlotte’s needlepointing business dies under mysterious circumstances, it starts to look like the two murders may be connected.

Twisted Threads is promising start for a new series.  If you enjoy crafting mysteries, try Maggie Sefton’s knitting series starting with Knit One, Kill Two or Laura Childs’ scrapbook series starting with Keepsake Crimes.

I love cozy mysteries.  They are perfect for a snowy day spent reading with a cup of tea and my lap cat.  Stay warm!

   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »

Slip into Slipstream

   Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Get in trouble Vampires in the lemon grove Thunderstruck tenth of december color master x

I learned this week, thanks to an article in the Wall Street Journal, that I actually have a favorite genre. Technically, it’s not a genre; it’s more of a technique or style, but being a reader who has never before been able to claim a more specific taste profile than "general fiction," I could now say that I’m a fan of Slipstream. This term, while not really new, has recently been gaining more of an audience. Slipstream was actually coined back in 1989, by critic and author Bruce Sterling, in an essay addressing the evolution of his genre. He was eager to separate what he considered to be true science fiction, from the stories that simply incorporated elements of the genre. So he called this area of science fiction “slipstream.” He explains the genre thus:

It seems to me that the heart of slipstream is an attitude of peculiar aggression against "reality." These are fantasies of a kind, but not fantasies which are "futuristic" or "beyond the fields we know." These books tend to sarcastically tear at the structure of "everyday life."

And he goes on to describe other characteristics. The whole essay is available online here.

Before, I would often apply the term magical realism, or realistic fantasy to the stories I preferred to read most, but that never quite seemed adequate. Sometimes the stories would contain charming supernatural creatures, mysterious plant life or visitors from another time or dimension. Other times the stories simply presented a reality that was slightly off kilter, creating an almost dreamlike atmosphere, and would make little attempt to directly address the dissonance. Kelly Link, in a recent NPR interview, describes her stories, many of which are written in this way, as adhering to a “night time logic”, similar to the way the mind, while asleep, sort of accepts the events in a dream, events that would confound us when awake.

I’ve collected some of the titles that fit this type into a Pinterest board on our Chelmsford Library Pinterest page,and included links for a few recent examples above. So, the next time you’re feeling a bit mischievous or playful, or would like to read something a little more out of the ordinary, try one of these books.

   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »

Seconds, a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O`Malley

   Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 - by: Christine Sharbrough, Head of Reader Services & Circulation

secondsOk, I've been on a binge of graphic novels this past month. But, that's because there are so MANY that are SO GOOD!! This one has to be my reigning favorite (outside of the Marvel and DC Universes that is). It tells the story of a rather prickly restaurant owner and chef, Katie. The restaurant, Seconds, is doing a brisk business and Katie wants to open an additional restaurant across town.  The location is in a less desirable area but the building has historic charm.  Life is good.

After a series of mishaps and accidents at the restaurant, her life is starting to seem not so good. One night after work, she falls asleep wishing she could reverse all the bad that has happened.  Waking in the night she finds a mysterious girl crouching on her dresser. (Stay with me here) As the girl slowly disappears from view, Katie finds a small notebook and a red mushroom left behind.

Within the notebook is a recipe for a do-over, a second chance to make things right. All Katie has to do is write down her mistake in the notebook, eat the mushroom, and things will go back to the way they were. Katie, a type-A personality, cannot be happy with making things the way they were however.  She succeeds in finding the source of the red mushrooms and begins redoing her entire life over and over to disastrous results.

With chibi-like characters, bright coloration, and unusual framing for a comic, it is a delight to the eyes yet remains a cautionary tale. How many second chances can you have without your life becoming unrecognizable as your own? The answer lies within.

   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »

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