Take Ten: Myths Made Over

Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse

If mythology is just Greek to you, maybe you need to approach it in a different way. Instead of trying to remember a list of gods and their attributes from 8th grade, try one of the following contemporary fiction books instead. Reading the following stories – all novels based on Greek myth – about the interactions between mortals and the immortals will probably be more exciting than browsing through a wikipedia page (or that 8th grade textbook…).

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Alcestis – Katharine Beutner

  • Greek heroine Alcetis, known as the good wife because she loved her husband so much that she died to save his life, tells about her childhood, her marriage to the young king of Pherae, and what happened during the three days she spent in the underworld before being rescued by Heracles.

Helen of Troy – Margaret George

  • Married at a tender age to the Spartan king Menelaus, the beautiful Helen bears him a daughter and anticipates a passionless marriage before falling in love with the Trojan prince Paris, with whom she flees to Troy with devastating consequences.

The King Must Die – Mary Renault

  • Theseus joins the bull-dancers in Crete and takes advantage of an earthquake to overthrow the kingdom.

Lord of the Silver Bow – David Gemmell

  • A retelling of the legend of the Trojan War chronicles the exploits of Aeneas, the Lord of the Silver Bow, a powerful warrior known as Helikaon to his friends, as he engages Argurious, a warrior of Agamemnon, in a battle to the death.

The Lost Books of the Odyssey – Zachary Mason

  • A brilliant and beguiling reimagining of Homer’s classic story about the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy.

Olympos – Dan Simmons

  • Achilles and Hector lay seige to the home of the gods, inadvertently triggering a massive conflict between humanity and such powerful beings as Setebos, Prospero, and Caliban.

Penelope’s Daughter – Laurel Corona

  • With her father, Odysseus, away and her mother, Penelope, dealing with power-hungry suitors, Xanthe barricades herself in her room and reminisces about her eventful life, from her humble upbringing among slaves to her years spent in hiding with Helen of Troy to the passion of sexual awakening in the arms of the man she loves.

Ransom – David Malouf

  • A reimagining of the story of Priam’s effort to claim the slain body of his son finds the grief-stricken Achilles striking out against Hector after the death of Patroclus during the siege of Troy, an act that results in a powerful confrontation.

Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

  • Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.

War at Troy – Lindsay Clarke

  • A retelling of the wars fought for the Bronze Age city follows the stories of Paris, Helen, Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra, Achilles, Odysseus, and Hector, in an epic tale in which quarrels among immortal gods mirror the conflicts of the human heart.

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The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1960

I know it’s a little cold out – and our snow has stuck around a lot longer than we probably thought it would – but we should dust off the Way Back Machine anyway and take it for a spin. Of course, we should make it worth the effort, so let’s go all the way back to 1960. Here’s some info to remind you of what the world looked like then…

  • Eisenhower was serving his last month in office after 8-years.
  • The world population was at 3 billion (today, we’ve more than doubled at 7.4 million).
  • Notable births included: Bono, Ian Rankin, Nigella Lawson

Without further ado, here are the New York Times best sellers for the week of December 25, 1960.

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FICTION

1. Hawaii by James Michener

2. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4. The Lovely Ambition by Mary Ellen Chase

5. The Dean’s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge

6. The Last of the Just by Andre Schwarz-Bart

7. Decision at Delphi by Helen MacInnes

8. Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

9. The Leopard by Guiseppe di Lampedusa

10. Sermons and Soda Water by John O’Hara

11. The Listener by Taylor Caldwell

12. Pomp and Circumstance by Noel Coward

13. The Nylon Pirates by Nicholas Monsarrat

14. Rabbit, Run by John Updike

15. The House of Five Talents by Louis Auchincloss

16. The Side of the Angels by Alexander Fedoroff

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NONFICTION

1. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer

2. The Waste Makers by Vance Packard

3. Born Free by Joy Adamson

4. Baruch: The Public Years by Bernard M Baruch

5. The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War by Bruce Catton

6. The Snake Has all the Lines by Jean Kerr

7. The Politics of Upheaval by Arthur Schlesinger

8. Vanity Fair by Cleveland Amory and Frederic Brad Lee

9. Folk Medicine by Deforest Clinton Jarvis

10. Taken at the Flood by John Gunther

11. Enjoy, Enjoy! by Harry Golden

12. The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater

13. My Wilderness by William O. Douglas

14. Felix Frankfurter Reminisces by Felix Frankfurt

15. How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market by Nicolas Darvas

16. The Liberal Hour by John Kenneth Galbraith

Artistworks!

artistworksIt’s never too early to talk about resolutions, right? Well, in case you’re starting to think about learning something new (whether or not you actually craft the idea into a resolution), you might want to pick up an instrument – and then pick up a book or two on lessons. You now also have the option of an online lesson, courtesy of our newest service, ArtistWorks.

Artistworks offers beginning to intermediate lessons – for kids as well as adults – in a variety of musical instruction. There is also a course on art, in case you’re interested in expressing your creativity along those lines. Create an account using your Library card, and start learning right away!

From piano to guitar to voice, you’re sure to find the course that “artistworks” for you!

Book Club

We’re entering a new year of book club next month, so we thought we’d try and spice things up a little with our January read, Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. We’ll be discussing this book at 5:30 PM on January 10, so pick up a copy and drop in for refreshments and a lively conversation.

If you can’t make it into the Library physically, you can still share your opinion. If you have a Goodreads account, check out our Group – TFPL Book Posse – and comment on our thread there. You can also leave a comment on our Book Club Jan 2017 page here. And, as we get closer to Jan 10, we’ll give you opportunities to share with us through Facebook and Twitter.

Whether online or in person, we hope you join us in a great book discussion!

Pearl Harbor Attack at 75 Years

USS Arizona, at height of fire, following Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (LOT 11710-1; Library of Congress)

This year marks the 75th Anniversary (Dec 7), and with that milestone comes a number of books written about the event and its aftermath. Pick up one of these titles – both new and classic – to learn more about the “Day of Infamy.”

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At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor – Gordon W. Prange

Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack – Steve Twomey

Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor – Robert B. Stinnett

Day of Infamy – Walter Lord

Fields of Battle: Pearl Harbor, the Rose Bowl, and the Boys Who Went to War – Brian Curtis

A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor: Betrayal, Blame, and a Family’s Quest for Justice – Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan

Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, 1941 – Stanley Weintraub

Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness – Craig Nelson

Seven Days of Infamy: Pearl Harbor Across the World – Nicholas Best

Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor – James M. Scott

Best of 2016

Although many of us are probably glad to see the end of such a crazy year, it’s time to look back. But we promise we’ll only look at something we can all get behind – books!

The “Best of” lists are out, and it’s always interesting to see the differences in opinion among those in the book world. Each year, we look through the lists of Amazon.com, The New York Times, and Publishers Weekly and create another list of the books they highlight that TFPL actually owns (and, we’re proud to say, we usually carry most of them). So, if you’re interested in picking up a highly-recommended read, peruse one of these lists:

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Another tradition at this time of year is to survey our staff and ask what their favorite reads were for the past year. Whether we have read something published in 2016 or in years past, we’re always happy to share (and recommend) what we’re reading. Here’s what we loved this past year:

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PUBLISHED in 2016

Alamo All-Stars – Nathan Hale (Stephanie)

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet: Book 1 – Ta-Nehisi Coates (Katie)

Calamity – Brandon Sanderson (Cody)

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow – Rainbow Rowell (Erica)

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena (Susan)

The Crown – Kiera Cass (Sarah W.)

The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make – Erin Gleeson (Kasi)

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles (Jennifer)

Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard (Hannah)

Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (Erica)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne (Hannah)

The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman (Jessica)

Joan of Arc: A History – Helen Castor (Gerson)

Kill 6 Billion Demons – Tom Parkinson-Morgan (Sara S.)

League of Dragons – Naomi Novik (Stephanie)

Love and Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch (Amy)

My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout (Jennifer)

Nine Women, One Dress – Jane L. Rosen (Susan)

The Other Side of Infamy: My Journey Through Pearl Harbor and the World of War – Jim Downing (Katie)

The Passenger – Lisa Lutz (Sara S.)

The Secret History of World War II: Spies, Code Breakers, and Covert Operations – Neil Kagan and Stephen G. Hyslop (Rebekah)

Traces of Guilt – Dee Henderson (Amy)

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World – Rachel Ignotofsky (Kasi)

You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice – Tom Vanderbilt (Cody)

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PUBLISHED BEFORE 2016

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America – Kathryn J. Edin and Luke H. Shaefer (Jennifer)

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (Jessica)

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest – Stephen E. Ambrose (Katie)

Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer (Sarah W.)

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith (Jennifer)

Contact – Carl Sagan (Kasi)

Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones (Sara S.)

The Four Feathers – A.E.W. Mason (Gerson)

Golden Son – Pierce Brown (Jordan)

Hollow City – Ransom Riggs (Cody)

I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust – Livia Bitton Jackson (Rebekah)

Letters from Skye – Jessica Brockmole (Susan)

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott (Rebekah)

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom (Susan – audio version)

Morning Star – Pierce Brown (Jordan)

Nimona – Noelle Stevenson (Erica)

The Painter’s Daughter – Julie Klassen (Amy)

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard (Hannah)

Red Rising – Pierce Brown (Jordan)

The Selection – Kiera Cass (Emily)

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo (Erica)

Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut (Kasi)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith (Sarah W.)

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved my Life – James Bowen (Stephanie)

Terrier – Tamora Pierce (Stephanie)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han (Emily)

Uprooted – Naomi Novik (Sara S.)

With Every Letter – Sarah Sundin (Katie)

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 2009

We’re gearing up for Thanksgiving, so let’s make today’s trek to the past just a short hop – I think you can remember most of these, right? (And, if not, you might want to bulk up on the broccoli next week!)

In addition to the books listed below, 2009 was the year that:

  • Somali pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama; Captain Richard Phillips was rescued four days later. (April 8)
  • Michael Jackson died. (June 25)
  • Windows 7 launched, replacing the much maligned Windows Vista OS. (October 22)

Take a quick ride back and pick up one of the books you missed reading the first time around! Titles are from the New York Times Best Seller list for the week of November 22, 2009.

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FICTION

1. Ford County by John Grisham

2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

3. Kindred in Death by J. D. Robb

4. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

5. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

6. True Blue by David Baldacci

7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

8. Pursuit of Honor by Vince Flynn

9. The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

10. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

11. No Less Than Victory by Jeff Shaara

12. Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly

13. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

14. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

15. Heat Wave by Richard Castle

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NONFICTION

1. Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

2. Superfreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

3. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

4. Arguing with Idiots by Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe and Others

5. The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

6. The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe

7. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

8. The Sellout by Charles Gasparino

9. Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin

10. When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson with Jackie Macmullan

11. The Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi

12. True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy

13. Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

14. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

15. Bon Jovi by Jon Bon Jovi