Faithful Place by Tana French (2010)
When Frank Mackey was 19 years old he and his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, planned to run away from their dysfunctional families and their lives in Dublin to build a life together in England. Rosie never shows on the night they plan to leave. Frank waits through the night before he finds a note from Rosie. Assuming that she has changed her mind and has decided to go to England without him, he waits until morning and then leaves his neighborhood for good.
Twenty-two years later, Frank is an undercover cop who keeps in minimal contact with the hard-drinking family that he still blames for driving away his one true love. Then he gets a call from his sister saying that Rosie's suitcase, packed with care in the days before they were to run away, has been found in an abandoned house in his old neighborhood. Frank reluctantly returns to try to understand what happened on that night. Did Rosie really go on to England alone or did someone stop her before she could meet Frank?
This wonderfully written book will draw you in immediately. Even if you manage to guess what happened all those years ago, the motivations of the characters are both shocking and completely realistic.
Faithful Place is available at Chicopee Public Library in the New Fiction section.
Faithful Place by Tana French (2010)
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (1998)
Two out-of-shape, middle-aged men deciding to hike the entire 2,100 miles of the Appalachian Trail is pretty funny. But when one of the men is Bill Bryson, the results are downright hilarious. Bryson recruits an old high school buddy to join him as he makes his attempt. He should have known he was in for trouble when his friend showed up with a backpack full of Ding Dongs and little else. Bryson manages to toss in a good bit of history about the trail for good measure.
A Walk in the Woods can be found at the Chicopee Public Library in the Young Adult section (YA 917.4 Bryson).
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (2001)
Set in San Francisco during the Roaring Twenties, this novel is very loosely based on the life and career of magician Charles Carter. As the book begins, Carter invites President Warren G. Harding on stage to take part in his act. As the audience watches in amazement, Carter chops the President to pieces and feeds him to a lion before restoring him to perfect health. The show is a great success but two hours later the President is dead, and Carter finds himself at the center of some very intense and unwelcome attention. And that's just the first chapter!
Carter Beats the Devil can be found in the Fiction section of Chicopee Public Library.
Winterdance by Gary Paulsen
You'll find this book shelved in the Young Adult section, but that's mostly because many of Paulsen's novels are for younger readers - Don't let that keep you away from this book!
This is a hilarious account of Gary Paulsen's somewhat misguided midlife decision to run the Iditarod - the 1,100 mile dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Winterdance is a terrific dog story, a great outdoor adventure, and a certain cure for the summer heat.
Winterdance can be found in the Young Adult section of the Chicopee Public Library.
If you like Paulsen's writing style and the elements of outdoor adventure, try some of his novels for younger readers, such as Hatchet, Dogsong, and Brian's Return.
Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull (2000)
I can't say enough about this book, only that everyone should read it. This is a novel about love and loss, youth and old age, war and peace, and everything in between.
Patrick Delaney is an 81 year old World War I vet in a nursing home in California. He is old and dying, and he's none too ready to "go gentle into that good night." The novel takes the form of Patrick's diary as he muses over his aging body and looks back on his life - at the nightmare of the War, at the loss of his best friend, Daniel, in the War, and at the brief love affair he had ten years after the war with Daniel's grieving lover, Julia.
Hull's descriptions of the War are breathtakingly realistic, and Patrick is one of the most charming, humorous, and unflinchingly honest narrators you'll ever find in fiction.
Losing Julia can be found in the Fiction section of Chicopee Public Library.
The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith (2010)
The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith is the 11th book in the series that began with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. In this installment, Grace Makutsi, the assistant detective, has her own personal crisis while the agency is asked to resolve several cases. The cases include a woman who wants proof that her husband is cheating, a government biologist who has regretfully deeded his house over to a greedy, conniving girlfriend (and wants it back), and a request to find the beneficiary of $3000 bequest. These stories take their time getting to know characters and moving to their conclusion to make for a leisurely read. The first three books in the series are The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Tears of the Giraffe and Morality for Beautiful Girls.
The Double Comfort Safari Club is available in the New Fiction Section of Chicopee Library.
Book 1: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is available in the Fiction Section of Chicopee Library.
Book 2: Tears of the Giraffe is available in the Fiction Section of Chicopee Library.
Book 3: Morality for Beautiful Girls is available in the Fiction Section of Chicopee Library.
The Adult Summer Reading Program is underway and sign-ups have started. Some of the highlights include a full schedule of Thursday evening concerts, Friday afternoon movies, a BookSwap Table, a discount on fines for using a re-usable bag, and raffle prizes!
Come to the library today to sign up and start reading! The more you read, the bigger chance you have to win!
The first 100 people to sign up get a free re-usable library tote bag!
The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum (2010)
This nonfiction title is as fascinating and absorbing as a murder mystery.
Blum has used her discussions of various types of poisons (like carbon monoxide, arsenic, nicotine, mercury, and cyanide) to tell the story of the very beginnings of what we now know as forensic science. Set in New York City from about 1918 to 1936, a period that included Prohibition, the book centers on two unassuming but incredible men, Dr. Charles Norris, Manhattan's first trained chief medical examiner, and Alexander Gettler, New York's first toxicologist. Between them, these two men essentially invented forensic science.
This book is very well-written and fast-paced - It's chock full of anecdotes about notorious cases, facts about the Jazz Age in New York, and information about the terrible effects of Prohibition.
The Poisoner's Handbook can be found at the Chicopee Public Library in the New Nonfiction section: 614.1309 BLUM.