Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category.

Spy Novels

Bond picSummertime is known for “beach reads” and few books add more intrigue to a week on vacation than an exciting spy thriller.  Daniel Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon book The English Girl comes out next week.  Late last year, Stella Rimington, former director of Great Britain’s Mi5, released another book in the Liz Carlyle series called The Geneva Trap.  Each of these authors offers intelligent main characters with a conscience.  Ben Coes also writes a spy series, and his latest is Eye for an Eye: A Dewey Andreas Novel.  By the way, www.fantasticfiction.com is a great website for discovering the chronological order of a book series.

NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly recently released her first novel titled Anonymous Sources.  Another spy novel debut is Terror Red by Colonel David Hunt and Christine Hunsinger.  Both of these books have earned excellent reviews in the industry.

Finally, in honor of James Bond’s 50th Anniversary this year, you could always try a classic Ian Fleming novel!

Running Books

In Quest of GoldJim Ryun is coming to speak at the library on May 20th!  Sign up to come see him, then lace up your running shoes and hit the trails. Afterward, you can recover and relax with a good running book.

Long before “Couch to 5K” and other training programs became popular, there was Jeff Galloway.  He ran in the 1984 Olympics, but has spent his post-competitive career promoting running and training for the rest of us mere mortals.  Books like Galloway’s 5K and 10K Running and his website both provide quality training programs and advice.

Lopez Lomong was a “lost boy of Sudan” before emigrating to the United States, running at an up-state NY high school, and eventually representing the US in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.  In Running for my Life Lopez tells his own inspiring story with both insight and humor.

once a runnerCurrently, the most successful distance coach in the world is Alberto Salazar.  His incredible life story is chronicled in 14 Minutes, another terrific running read.

Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong and Kara Goucher’s Running for Women both offer training strategies, stories, and motivational ideas.

And finally, we move to fiction.  John Parker’s cult classic Once a Runner is the greatest running novel ever written.  Period.

 

American Classics

hair bobSometimes we forget that American literary classics are popular for a reason: they’re usually really good.  Maybe we don’t like them because we HAD to read them in school and never recovered.  Below are a few of my favorites, mostly from the 20th Century.  Yes, I did make students read these when I was teaching high school English, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great reads.

A new movie version of The Great Gatsby [trailer] comes out in theatres this Friday, May 10th.  Fitzgerald wrote several good novels, but he also wrote many excellent short stories.  Two of his earliest and best were “Berniece Bobs Her Hair” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz.”

Hemingway, also famous for his novels, wrote tremendous short stories too.  I like “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” which you can find in The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.

A number of southern women carved out a niche in the canon during the early part of the 20th Century, including Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Conner, Katherine Anne Porter, and Zora Neale Hurston.  You can find story collections or novels by all of them in our library’s collection.

Finally, don’t forget possibly the two greatest American novels ever written: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  I know you read them in school, but the themes of both books still resonate today, and the writing is still fantastic.  Hemingway once wrote, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.”  And To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the few novels where the movie is as good as the book – both classics.  Check them out at the library today!

Baseball Books

Stan Musial cover“Pitchers and catchers report.”  My favorite words of spring!  The ground is covered with snow and the temperature is hovering in the teens while our favorite baseball teams head to spring training in Florida or Arizona.  Despite the cold, it’s always fun to read a few baseball books and dream about warm summer nights, cold glasses of lemonade, and listening to ball games on the radio.

George Vecsey wrote Stan Musial: An American Life about one of baseball’s greatest players, who just passed away a few weeks ago.  Another excellent biography is The Last Hero: The Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant.

Baseball has often been called the intellectual game; George Will and Doug Glanville both provide fascinating insight.  Glanville played for the Cubs, Phillies, and Rangers, and earned his degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  He offers an inside look at baseball in his book The Game from Where I Stand.  Will, long-time columnist for Newsweek, details baseball strategy in his classic Men at Work: the Craft of Baseball. Continue reading ‘Baseball Books’ »

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