Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: Wild

Reeling from the sudden death of her mother and the crumbling of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed embarks on what she intends to be a journey of self-discovery: a three-month, 1100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild is her account of this trek and the many unexpected things she discovers. At first, she doesn't even have the energy to come to terms with her mother's loss, instead finding herself burdened with a backpack that's almost too heavy to lift, an incredible amount of damage done to her body by the physical exertions of the trail, and the worst weather to hit the region in years. These hardships prove to be just what she needs, however, to untangle her feelings of grief, anger, guilt, and defensiveness. A fascinating account of undertaking a difficult journey in the wild, as well as a brutally honest memoir of one woman's attempt to deal with trauma. - Michelle (Sunset)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11 in Fiction & Nonfiction

In Amy Waldman’s The Submission, a Muslim architect is chosen to design a memorial commemorating a tragic terrorist attack. The decision divides not only the country, but families, friends and neighbors. Should a Muslim be allowed to design the memorial to deaths that were caused by other Muslims? Told from the viewpoint of several different characters with a stake in the process – a juror, the wife of a victim, the architect himself – the novel boldly explores the different ways our society changed after 9/11 and encourages vigorous discussion.

Here are other fiction titles that examine the aftermath of 9/11:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweler, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet.

Falling Man by Don Delillo - Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people.

The Good Life by Jay McInerney - Clinging to a semi-precarious existence in TriBeCa, Corrine and Russell Calloway have survived a separation and are thoroughly wonder-struck by young twins whose provenance is nothing less than miraculous. But on a September morning, brightness falls horribly from the sky, and they suddenly find themselves working side by side at the devastated site, feeling lost anywhere else, yet battered still by memory and regret, by fresh disappointment and unimaginable shock. What happens, or should happen, when life stops us in our tracks, or our own choices do?

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid - Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with his girlfriend eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.


Debunking 9/11 Myths by Popular Mechanics Magazine - Conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001 continue to spread. Now, in a meticulous, scientific and groundbreaking new book, Popular Mechanics puts these rumors to rest.

Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam by Giles Kepel - The late twentieth century has witnessed the emergence of an unexpected and extraordinary phenomenon: Islamist political movements. Jihad is the first extensive, in-depth attempt to follow the history and geography of this disturbing political-religious phenomenon.

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright - A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. 102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn - At 8:46 am on September 11, 2001, 14,000 people were inside the twin towers-reading e-mails, making trades, eating croissants at Windows on the World. Over the next 102 minutes, each would become part of a drama for the ages, one witnessed only by the people who lived it-until now.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Staff Picks: Nature and Discovery

Every month, staff at our Downtown branch read books in a specific fiction genre or nonfiction subject, to familiarize themselves with titles they might not have discovered otherwise. For August, they read nonfiction in the area of nature, environmentalism, and discovery. Here's what staff members read and what they had to say about it:

A Wolf Called Romeo, by Nick Jans
Nick Jans has been photographing wildlife, and especially wolves, for over 20 years.  He tells the story of a wolf they named Romeo who appears suddenly near his home on the outskirts of Juneau, Alaska.  It is rare to see a wolf in the wild, never mind having a wolf befriend the local canine community.  A good story, well written, and a must-read for someone who knows nothing of wolves.  Great recommended resources in the back of the book for more information about wolves. 4 stars

Never Cry Wolf, by Farley Mowat
Naturalist Farley Mowat spent the summer alone studying the wolf population, and developing a deep affection for the wolves. Very well written with great descriptions. 5 stars

The End of Night, by Paul Bogard
A wonderful book, very well written, about the rapid disappearance of darkness. Bogard talks about the issue of light pollution, the benefits of darkness, and what we can do to get it back. 5 stars

There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars, by Bob Crelin
A great children's book that almost mirrors The End of Night for kids. 5 stars

A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
Published in 1948, this is the precursor to Silent Spring. A Sand County Almanac is often hailed as a foundational work of the modern environmental movement.  It’s slow moving, but it talks about preserving the marshlands before anyone else. 3 stars

Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
Written in 1980, this is still an important piece of writing and should be required reading in schools.  Carl Sagan is a very gifted writer who has written what is considered “the best-selling science book ever published in the English language... a magnificent overview of the past, present, and future of science.” 5 stars

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Looking for... World News and Issues?

Do you have a student doing a pro/con issues report? Are you interested in the big issues around the world and looking for more thorough news coverage? Global Issues in Context brings together articles from news sources and academic resources on topics such as the environment, women’s rights, and world conflicts. Most articles are available in full text, just as they appeared in their original sources, including copyrighted articles not available in a free Google search.

To access Global Issues in Context, start at and hover your mouse over the purple RESEARCH tab. Then click Databases A-Z, and scroll down to choose Global Issues in Context. You’ll need your library card and PIN if you’re signing in from home. Then you can choose a popular topic from the main page or use the search bar at the top to find your own topic.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Library Closed: Find reading recommendations!

All four branches of the Chandler Public Library will be closed on Monday, September 1 for Labor Day. We will reopen on Tuesday with normal hours.

Searching the catalog for new books to put on hold while the library's closed? You can still find our new and recommended book lists in our new catalog! Visit and do any search in the search field. (It can be as simple as "dogs.") Then scroll down to find the Recommended, New, in the sidebar on the left. Clicking any book title in any of these lists will take you right to the catalog entry so you can place your hold!

We also have book lists on our website. From our homepage at, click READ - Book Lists. These lists are also linked to the catalog, so a great new read is just a click away!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The September LibraryReads List!

The latest batch of librarian favorites are here! We've included descriptions* below and you can head to the LibraryReads website to see brief reviews submitted by librarians from across the country. We'd love to hear what you think about the titles, let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

Top 10 Books Loved by Librarians in September

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Published: September 15, 2014

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.

Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel
Published: September 9, 2014

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad #5) by Tana French
Published: September 2, 2014

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says, I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. The Secret Place, a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper.

Rooms: A Novel by Lauren Oliver
Published: September 23, 2014

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance. But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb. The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Published: September 9, 2014

Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child's welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts. But Fiona's professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. But Jack doesn't leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case—as well as her crumbling marriage—tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.

The Distance: A Thriller by Helen Giltrow
Published: September 9, 2014

Charlotte Alton has put her old life behind her. The life where she bought and sold information, unearthing secrets buried too deep for anyone else to find, or fabricating new identities for people who need their histories erased. But now she has been offered one more job. To get a hit-man into an experimental new prison and take out someone who according to the records isn't there at all. It's impossible. A suicide mission. And quite possibly a set-up. So why can't she say no?

Horrorstor: A Novel by Grady Hendrix
Published: September 23, 2014

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Columbus, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds—clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Published: September 16, 2014

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

The Witch with No Name (The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison
Published: September 9, 2014

Rachel Morgan's come a long way from the clutzy runner of Dead Witch Walking. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more. But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now. To save Ivy's soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.

Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley
Published: September 2, 2014

In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D'Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed. Now, two generations later, Alessandro D'Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather's masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands-at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D'Ascanio's magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake's disappearance-and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro. But the closer Celia gets to learning the first Celia's fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back...

Which one will you read first?

If you need help placing a hold with your Chandler Public Library card, give us a call at 480-782-2800. 

If you'd like more book recommendations, browse our Book Lists page or check out the previous LibraryReads lists.

*Book descriptions from the publisher.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Staff Picks: Suspense and Thrillers

Every month, staff at our Downtown branch read books in a specific fiction genre or nonfiction subject, to familiarize themselves with titles they might not have discovered otherwise. For June, they read suspense and thriller novels. Here's what staff members read and what they had to say about it:

Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane
Gripping, very good writing. Liked the beginning, the movie is almost word for word. Make time to read it all in one go. 3 ½ stars

Blue Heaven, by C. J. Box
Great book, won the 2008 Edgar Award. Lots of plots going on, it all takes place within a 48 hour time frame. Great description, a stand alone, a definite grabber. 5 stars

The Butterfly’s Daughter, by Mary Alice Monroe
Begins with the monarch butterfly migration, very interesting, and good description. 4 ½ stars

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett
Starts off with a bang where the main character’s partner is killed. First in a 5 part series. 3 stars