Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!
July 20, 2015
Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan
by Dudgeon, Piers
B Barrie, J.M. DUD
The adventures of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys have enchanted children for decades. But how did J. M. Barrie invent such a fanciful world? Were the ideas entirely his own, or were they appropriated from children’s make-believe games? After exhaustive research, Piers Dudgeon has presented his compelling, if somewhat sensationalistic, theories. He suggests that Barrie’s chance meeting with the Llewelyn Davies boys had been carefully planned, and that many of the events in Peter Pan had been directly lifted from his observations of the boys’ games. Barrie is portrayed as a manipulative Svengali, who uses hypnosis and magical writing to bend the will of everyone around him. Did this manipulation have something to do with the premature deaths of parents Arthur and Sylvia, and even of some of the children years later? Was Peter Pan really a “demon boy” who convinced children that death is an adventure? Was Barrie a sacrificing uncle who selflessly took the orphaned boys under his wing, or was he a puppet-master with ulterior motives? Although some of Dudgeon’s ideas may seem far-fetched, they are definitely thought-provoking. After reading Neverland, you will never view Peter Pan in the same way again.
— Recommended by Heidi Holmer, Lawrence Library
July 13, 2015
American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest
by Nordhaus, Hannah
What would you do if you read stories about your great-great-grandmother, Julia, haunting a bed and breakfast in Santa Fe New Mexico; stories that your great–great-grandfather had tortured her and possibly murdered her? In American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest, Hannah Nordhaus used this excuse to research and discover her family; from their origins as 19th Century German Jews to their life in the New Mexico frontier and beyond. During this search she talked with historians, psychics, distant relatives, and ghost hunters; read newspaper articles and personal diaries and visited the German city Julia was born and raised in, a concentration camp where many of Julia’s family members died, and the Las Posada, the old family home in Santa Fe, New Mexico trying to find the essence of her great-great-grandmother and what drove her to the madness that eventually ended her life. The ghost stories and information on psychics and other paranormal investigators are mixed in with the historical aspects of the history of the Staab family. A must read for anyone who is interested in real life ghost stories or family histories.
--Recommended by Judy Clem, Garfield Park Library
July 6, 2015
by Mandel, Hilary St. John
“No more ballgames played under floodlights. No more trains running under the surface of cities ... No more cities ... No more Internet ... No more avatars.” This is Mandel’s compelling story about the end of civilization. A deadly virus dubbed the Georgian Flu arrives in the middle of the United States via a flight from Russia. The disease kills 99 percent of the world's human population within 48 hours, leaving a remaining one percent at the mercy of a new chaotic world.
This handful of people who are either immune to the disease or just lucky take first steps into a new life, attempting to survive without everything we now take for granted. Twenty years after the initial holocaust, a travelling band of actors and musicians set out to find the lost members of their troupe, not knowing where their journey through the ravaged landscape may ultimately lead them.
Pivotal characters include Arthur Leander, who died playing King Lear in Toronto the night the plague began and Kirsten, who shared the same stage, playing one of Lear's daughters as a little girl.
The narrative alternates between post-apocalyptic world and pre-pandemic world, around a set of survivors intertwined with Arthur. Mandel smoothly navigates between past and present, brilliantly connecting the characters and guiding them to an ultimately beautiful and surprising finale.
This is a stunning, transcendent novel that richly deserves the accolades it received.
— Recommended by Emily Talbott, Nora Library
June 29, 2015
The Colour of Magic
by Pratchett, Terry
SF P9122co 1989
The original Discworld novel and the first in the Rincewind saga, The Colour of Magic is award winning author Sir Terry Pratchett's initial offering into the fantasy genre. Set in a world situated on the back of the massive space turtle A'Tuin, the book follows the misadventures of the failed wizard, Rincewind. Employed as a tour guide by the four eyed foreigner Twoflower (the world's first tourist), the wayward wizard is charged with keeping the naive newcomer safe from the multitude of dangers he encounters as he sight sees his way across the continent and beyond. Simultaneously light hearted and poignant, The Colour of Magic will suck readers in from the first page. It is a must read for fans of science fiction and the perfect introduction to a series that has been nothing but a delight for more than 30 years and across 40 books.
--Recommended by Josh Crain, East Washington Library
June 22, 2015
by Burgess, Matt
First, the title. Uncle Janice? Who can resist at least taking a look at a book with a title like that? You can, you’re a stronger person than I am. Then the people: Janice Itwaru, a woman with a mother fluttering into dementia, co-workers with stories to tell, bosses with their own agenda. Queens: with its own rhythms, its own heartbeat, its own secrets. Everybody lies, everyone has their own agenda, you wanna get by in that world, it’s what you do. Janice is on the edge, one month to go until she escapes, or rather, moves up the next rung on the ladder. One month, but the bosses, the criminals, her past, her present—stumbling blocks, one after another. Totally dysfunctional, all of it, and yet Burgess wades in, gathers all the threads, weaves a story with a voice that is hard to resist. He’s created—or maybe recreated—a world that is chaotic, messy, filled with gray areas and pitfalls, nobody’s the good guy and yet everybody has some good if you peel down a few layers. Remember the TV series M*A*S*H, how you were laughing at Hawkeye’s antics one minute, then, boom, something horrifying and you’re caught mid-laugh, something stuck in your throat and now you’re crying? Uncle Janice is like that, funny, and dark, and horrifying and endearing. And any author who can evoke that roller coaster of emotions is an author worth a second look.
Uncle Janice is also available as a downloadable e-book.
--Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library