by Louis Begley
Proud, traditional, and impeccably organized, Albert Schmidt is a buttoned-down lawyer of the old school. But now, after years of careful management, his life is slowly unraveling. His beloved wife has recently died. He stumbles–or is he being pushed?–into early retirement. And his daughter, his only child, is planning to marry a man Schmidt cannot approve of, for reasons he can scarcely admit, even to himself. As Schmidt gropes for resolutions, he finds unexpected hope in an intense passion that comes out of the blue.
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The PageTurners Book Club met on Thursday, October 4 at 6 pm in the Bottom Shelf Room at the Rice Lake Public Library. Seven people attended the discussion. The general consensus was that the dialog was confusing, primarily because it didn’t use punctuation. No one was certain whether Schmidt was speaking to someone or thinking to himself. Nobody was excited about this novel. The average score awarded to this book was 2.5 out of 5 books; the lowest score was a 2 / 5 and the highest score 3 / 5.
Click on the book graphic below to see a full recap of book club members’ opinions.
About Schmidt by Louis Begley is available at the Rice Lake Public Library. There are over five copies of this book in the MORE System. Please visit the card catalog website or call us at 234-4861 to reserve a copy today.
Bride of New France
Laure Beausejour has been taken from her destitute family and raised in an infamous orphanage to be trained as a lace maker. Striking and willful, she dreams of becoming a seamstress and catching the eye of a nobleman. But after complaining about her living conditions, she is sent to Canada as a fille du roi, expected to marry a French farmer there. Laure is shocked by the primitive state of the colony and the mingling of the settlers with the native tribes. When her ill-matched husband leaves her alone in their derelict hut for the winter, she must rely on her wits and her clandestine relationship with an Iroquois man for survival.
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He’s been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear. Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can’t protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy. When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him – and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max’s happiness or Budo’s very existence.
In early 1930s Montana, in the small town of Colton, Maddy Aldridge struggles to make ends meet during the Great Depression. Jeffers Grimm comes to her with a proposition too great for her to turn down: open an illegal speakeasy in the mercantile’s basement, defy Prohibition, and make enough money to make her worries disappear. But, unbeknownst to Maddy, Jeffers has also made a deal with the mob to bring huge quantities of alcohol across the Canadian border and store it in the mercantile. He wants to get rich, regardless of who stands in his way. Jack Rucker used to live in Colton and had been in love with Maddy before he moved away to become an agent for the Bureau of Prohibition. Now, after hearing rumors of a bootleg operation, the Bureau wants him to go back and hide in plain sight. What will Jack do when he finds out what Maddy is up to? Can he and Maddy rekindle the love they once knew? If Jeffers discovers Jack is a federal agent, to what ends will he go to silence him forever?
Goodbye for Now
Sam Elling is a brilliant software engineer, so brilliant that he develops an algorithm to allow grieving people to communicate with their dead loved ones. Initially created to help his soul mate, Meredith, when her beloved grandmother, Livvie, dies; and using previous electronic communication between Meredith and Livvie, he sets up “dead mail” between them. Soon Sam, Meredith, and her cousin establish RePose. Ethical and religious issues arise (as when parents of terminally ill children spend time videotaping rather than living in the moment), and Sam has qualms about how helpful his service really is until he needs it himself.
City of Women
David R Gillham
Berlin 1943, in the midst of war, offers little comfort for the women left behind. Sigrid, a seemingly dutiful wife to a husband serving on the Russian front, copes with a tedious job, a hostile mother-in-law, rationed food, air raids, and the fear of stepping out of line. There is always someone eager to denounce a neighbor for an unguarded moment or outburst. Sigrid has her secrets but holds them close: a Jewish lover from the recent past, and a random event that draws her into a chain of people hiding and protecting Jews. Even though her naïveté takes her to dangerous places, she is wise enough to be cautious. Life becomes more fraught when Sigrid’s wounded husband returns.
William Kent Krueger
Cork O’Connor and Jubal Little are deep in the Minnesota wilderness bowhunting, a long-standing tradition among these two friends, when the unthinkable happens. Little is killed by a stray arrow that turns out to have been O’Connor’s, and he becomes the primary suspect in the murder. He understands full well that he’s been set up. As he works to clear his name and track the real killer, he remembers his long, complex relationship with the tough kid who would grow up to become a professional football player, a populist politician, and the lover of the first woman to whom Cork ever gave his heart. Jubal was known by many for his passion, his loyalty, and his ambition. Only Cork knows that he was capable of murder.
Teen books aren’t just for teens. They are well written, engaging books that are grabbing the attention of all ages – maybe because a younger family member introduces the book, or because the story is being made into a movie, or perhaps because it has won an award. Whatever the reason, here are some fantastic teen books that we think you should read.
A teen book is any book or story that has primary appeal to teenagers. This usually translates into young protagonists exploring their place in the world. Sometimes this coming of age is completed in a contemporary, realistic setting, but more often than not lately, these big questions are answered through tableaus of mortal danger and dystopian settings.
The following list is not comprehensive. It’s not a list of award winners. It’s not a list of the best sellers. It’s not a list of the newest, hottest, most daring or whatever “-est” adjective you can think of. It is a list of titles found on YA Lit bloggers’ websites that I thought sounded like they might appeal to adult readers interested in YA Lit. Hopefully some of these titles will appeal to you.
The Chocolate War (1974)
by Robert Cormier
Jerry Renault is forced into a psychological showdown with Trinity School’s gang leader, Archie Costello, for refusing to be bullied into selling chocolates for the annual fund raising.
The Mockingbirds (2010)
by Daisy Whitney
When Alex, a junior at an elite preparatory school, realizes that she may have been the victim of date rape, she confides in her roommates and sister who convince her to seek help from a secret society, the Mockingbirds.
My Beating Teenage Heart (2011)
by C.K. Kelly Martin
Two unexpected and heartbreaking deaths cause the lives of two very different teenagers to become intertwined as one struggles to deal with his grief and stay in this world, and the other finds herself inexplicably caught between this world and the next.
Once Was Lost(2009)
by Sara Zarr
As the tragedy of a missing girl enfolds in her small town, fifteen-year-old Samara, who feels emotionally abandoned by her parents, begins to question her faith.
Rats Saw God (1996)
by Rob Thomas
In hopes of graduating, Steve York agrees to complete a hundred-page writing assignment which helps him to sort out his relationship with his famous astronaut father and the events that changed him from promising student to troubled teen.
The Space Between Trees (2010)
by Katie Williams
When the body of a classmate is discovered in the woods, sixteen-year-old Evie’s lies wind up involving her with the girl’s best friend, trying to track down the killer.
The True Meaning of Smekday (2007)
by Adam Rex
When her mother is abducted by aliens on Christmas Eve (or “Smekday” Eve since the Boov invasion), 11 year-old Tip hops in the family car and heads south to find her and meets an alien Boov mechanic who agrees to help her, and save the planet from disaster.
The Cottage at Glass Beach
By Heather Doran Barbieri
Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, Nora Cunningham is a picture-perfect political wife and a doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she, along with the rest of the world, learns of the infidelity of her husband, Malcolm. Humiliated and hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters, Annie, seven; and Ella, twelve, and takes refuge on Burke’s Island, a craggy spit of land off the coast of Maine. Just as she begins to regain her balance, her daughters embark on a reckless odyssey of their own, a journey that will force Nora to find the courage to chart her own course and finally face the truth about her marriage, and her long-buried past.
Far Side of the Sky
By Daniel Kalla
The Japanese Imperial Army rampages through China in 1938 and tightens its stranglehold on Shanghai, a city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews. Dr. Franz Adler, a renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence and flees to Shanghai with his daughter. At a refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, but Sunny’s life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor murders her father. The danger escalates for Shanghai’s Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation and disease, Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open and protect his family from a terrible fate.
The Infinite Tides
By Christian Kiefer
Capt. Keith Corcoran, “genius” mathematician, engineer, and astronaut working aboard the International Space Station, discovers during his deployment that his 16-year-old daughter has died in a car wreck and his wife, embroiled in an affair, wants a divorce. Once back on the ground, Keith takes an indefinite vacation from NASA while battling recurring migraines and his sudden solitude, and hanging out at the local Starbucks, where he befriends Peter Kovalenko, an impetuous Ukrainian former astronomer presently working at Target. The two alienated men soon bond and share their various misfortunes while smoking pot, drinking beer, and stargazing through Peter’s telescope in an abandoned suburban lot. Keith’s stasis and confusion stem, in part, from his uncertain job status, but his newfound relationships enable him to strive toward a self that will persevere and survive his losses.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story
By Liane Moriarty
Ellen O’Farrell is a successful hypnotherapist with a thriving practice; a new boyfriend, Patrick; and a newly found emotional distance from her unconventional upbringing. Content for the first time in recent memory, Ellen realizes how tenuous her happiness is when Patrick lets her know that his ex-girlfriend, Saskia, has been stalking him ever since they broke up. As a mental-health professional, Ellen realizes that Saskia isn’t a violent stalker who needs a restraining order but a jilted former lover who probably just needs a listening ear. But when Saskia’s methods of surveillance become more extreme, Ellen has to decide how much longer she’s willing to put up with Patrick’s former life if she wants to be a part of his future.
The Red House
By Mark Haddon
Shortly after their mother’s death, wealthy doctor Richard invites his estranged sister and her family to accompany him on holiday in the Welsh countryside with his new wife and teenage stepdaughter. Angela, a teacher grieving in a much less clinical fashion than her brother, convinces her husband and their three children to come on the premise that it’s the best, or only, vacation they can afford, and so begins the novel’s seven-day drama—each relative descending on the country manse with an obligation either to invite another or to attend on another’s behalf.
The Summer House
By Marcia Willett
Matt has always felt that there was something missing in his life. His mother kept all his childhood memories in a small inlaid wooden box, along with many photos of Matt as a child. But something about these photos has always puzzled Matt. Why doesn’t he remember those clothes? The toys? And where, in the photos, is his sister Imogen? Imogen and her husband, a country vet, are living in a rented cottage with their gorgeous baby but must soon move on. Since her childhood, Milo has assumed the role of honorary father. Knowing how she loves it, he offers to sell them the Summer House, a charming folly in the grounds of his beautiful ancient house on Exmoor, but Imogen’s marriage is threatened when her husband refuses to live so far from his practice. Meanwhile, Matt begins to discover the strange and tragic secret which has affected his whole life.
Christian is an idealistic and impoverished young writer who, newly arrived in Montmartre, is haphazardly inducted into a circle of young Bohemians led by Toulouse-Lautrec. A comedy of mistaken identities ensues, quickly enmeshing the young poet in a love triangle involving the unobtainable and consumptive Satine, queen courtesan of the Moulin Rouge, and the foppish Duke of Roxbury, his villainous rival for her affections.
No one ever paid much attention to Muriel and her humdrum small town life, so she and her best friend Rhonda decide to leave it behind and head for the big city… where they end up having the exciting adventure of their lives! What’s more, soon everyone takes notice when Muriel becomes engaged to a handsome and popular sports hero!
A young mute woman and her child travel to New Zealand in the 1800s for an arranged marriage to a farmer. After the marriage she meets another man, and the competition for her love begins. Just one of the men realizes that her affections can only be won through her beloved piano.
The story of Australian pianist David Helfgott. He suffers as a child under his father’s ambitions and as a young man defies his father’s wishes in order to pursue his dreams. At the beginning of a great concert career, he experiences a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized, but later returns to the concert hall. Tells the story of rebellion and of individuality through the eyes of a pianist whose major form of self-expression is found in the keys of his instrument.
Nickie Ferrante and Terry McKay meet on an ocean liner and fall deeply in love. Though each is engaged to someone else, they agree to meet six months later at the Empire State Building if they still feel the same way about each other. But a tragic accident prevents their rendezvous, and the lovers’ future takes an emotional and uncertain turn.
It’s all about love and holiday cheer in London. The Prime Minister is smitten with his caterer; a widower’s young son nurses the ultimate schoolboy crush; a writer falls for his Portuguese housekeeper; a devoted wife and mother copes with her potentially unfaithful husband; and a lovelorn American is desperately attracted to a colleague.
Christian, an idealistic and impoverished young writer who, newly arrived in Montmartre, is haphazardly inducted into a circle of young bohemians led by Toulouse-Lautrec. A comedy of mistaken identities ensues, quickly enmeshing the young poet in a love triangle involving the unobtainable and consumptive Satine, queen courtesan of the Moulin Rouge, and the foppish Duke of Roxbury, his villainous rival for her affections.
Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun meet one evening at a carnival. But they are separated by Allie’s parents who disapprove of Noah’s unwealthy family, and move Allie away. When Allie doesn’t hear from Noah after several years, she meets and becomes engaged to a handsome young soldier named Lon. Allie, with her love still alive for Noah, stops by Noah’s home to check on him. Seeing that their reunion has rekindled a passionate romance, Allie must now choose between true love and the match that her parents approve of.
After hearing a man confess his love for his dearly departed wife on a call-in radio show, a woman falls deeply, inexplicably in love with him. Deciding he is her destiny, she treks across country on a wildly romantic impulse to meet him.
A human baby accidentally ends up at the North Pole and grows up among the elf community. Buddy, as he comes to be known, knows that he’s “special”. When he’s 30, Buddy learns from Santa that he’s really a human. He decides to go in search of his father, to find out where he belongs. He walks to Manhattan, and is immediately run over by a cab. His father at first rejects him and Buddy ends up in a department store where other elves are working. But all the while, things are looking bad for Santa Claus. When Santa crashes his sleigh in Central Park, it’s Buddy’s moment to shine.
Gilbert Cates was a renowned Producer and Director of films and tv shows. He was most notable as the producer of some of the Academy awards shows. He, also, was a professor at UCLA where he founded their department of Theater, Film and Television. He passed away a couple of days ago on October 31st. His death is under an investigation. Here is a list of his films that the library owns:
It’s hard to find porridge, a chair and a bed that’s “just right” nowadays, as a little girl is about to find out. Goldilocks, a little girl with a big imagination, has her life changed forever when she wanders into the home of some furry, but friendly, bears.
A childless witch steals a baby girl and whisks her away to a tall tower to raise as her own and calls her Rapunzel. Rapunzel turns into a lovely but lonely young woman with the longest golden hair in the land. When a handsome Prince sees her, it’s love at first sight. He begs her to let down her hair so he can use it as a ladder and come face to face with the woman of his dreams. Will it be curtains for Rapunzel when the Witch finds out about the Prince?
Bill Cosby stars as Blue, an inner-city father struggling to save enough money to buy a house for his family. His obsession with money causes him to neglect his family. When his son (Dennis Hines) is diagnosed with fatal sickle-cell anemia, Blue realizes his priorities need to change.
On May 11, 2011, Conaway was found unconscious from what was initially described as an overdose of substances, believed to be pain medication, and was taken to Encino Tarzana Medical Center in Encino, California, where he was listed as being in critical condition and in a coma. On May 26, 2011, Conaway’s family took him off life support after doctors decided there was nothing they could do to revive him. Conaway died the following morning at the age of 60.
Babylon 5 is an outer-space way station, a port-of-call for diplomats, entrepreneurs, and scalawags of all species. Commander Jeffrey Sinclair–aided by chief security officer Michael Garibaldi, Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova, and resident telepath Talia Winters–tries to keep apprised of all the intrigues swirling around his little corner of the galaxy, but things invariably spiral out of control.
Louie De Palma is a cantankerous taxi dispatcher for a New York City taxi company. He tries to maintain order over the varied collection of strange characters who drive for him. As he bullies and insults them from the safety of his “cage,” they form a special bond among themselves, becoming friends and supporting each other through the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.
Toula is a quiet, devoted daughter in a big, crazy Greek family. Working in her father’s restaurant, she hides behind her family and keeps the world at a distance. One day at the restaurant she finds herself pouring coffee for a man who inspires her to change her life, and the way she sees the world–forever.
Robbie Hart is a master of ceremonies, left at the altar at his own wedding. He becomes someone who can only destroy other people’s weddings until he meets a waitress named Julia. Julia, however, is about to have a wedding of her own and may be lost forever.
A romantic comedy about love, marriage and other events you just can’t plan for. Mary (Jennifer Lopez) is a successful, work obsessed wedding planner in San Francisco who finally finds a man of her own (Matthew McConaughey), or so she thinks. He turns out to be the groom in the biggest wedding of her career. Will she get the job or the guy?