Archive for June, 2016

Summer Reading Challenge – Read a Pulitzer Winner

Girl_OutdoorsHow’s your Summer Reading going? Hopefully, you’ve carved a few minutes out of barbecuing, swimming, landscaping, running-the kids all over, and general dealing-with-the-heat-time to sit down and read. And though it may be easy to pick up a fluffy read, we’ve challenged you to read something with a bit more substance. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or dry.

The Pulitzers are awarded each year to recognize achievement in American writing, which means that you’re getting a critically acclaimed read. But some of those can be fun, or exciting, or just plain unputdownable. Here are our choices for some Pulitzer winners that should keep you interested (even if you only have a few minutes between coming and going this summer).



All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (2015)

Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor (1956)

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (1989)

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2008)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1983)

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (1986)

Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener (1948)



The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (2011)

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (1998)

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman (1963)

Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America by Garry Wills (1993)

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (1975)



Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth A. Fenn (2015)

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis (2001)

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed (2009)

A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (1991)



Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1997)

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss (2013)

Growing Up by Russell Baker (1983)

John Adams by David McCullough (2002)



The Simple Truth by Philip Levine (1995)

Time and Materials by Robert Hass (2008)

The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck (1993)


The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1987

Let’s zoom back a number of years – 29 to be exact – and take a look at what we were doing, and thinking, and reading way back when. The year is 1987 and:

  • Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January.
  • Ronald Reagan, during a June visit to West Berlin, demands “tear down this wall.”
  • Teens (and many adults) may live to regret the time they will spend in the next year trying to win “The Legend of Zelda,” which is released in August.

And what books did we look to for information or escapism? Check out the titles below, all appearing on the New York Times Best Sellers list for the week of June 21, 1987.



1. Misery by Stephen King

2. The Haunted Mesa by Louis L’Amour

3. Pale Kings and Princes by Robert B. Parker

4. Fine Things by Danielle Steel

5. Heiress by Janet Dailey

6. Windmills of the Gods by Sidney Sheldon

7. Empire by Gore Vidal

8. The Timothy Files by Lawrence Sanders

9. More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow

10. The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough

11. The Eyes of The Dragon by Stephen King

12. Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy

13. Sphere by Michael Crichton

14. Destiny by Sally Beauman

15. Texasville by Larry McMurtry



1. The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

2. Hammer by Armand Hammer with Neil Lyndon

3. Cultural Literacy by E. D. Hirsch Jr.

4. Communion by Whitley Strieber

5. A Day in the Life of America

6. The Different Drum by M. Scott Peck

7. Love, Medicine & Miracles by Bernie S. Siegel

8. Glory Days by Dave Marsh

9. Hold on, Mr. President! by Sam Donaldson

10. Everything to Gain by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

11. Grace by James Spada

12. A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein

13. This ‘N That by Bette Davis with Michael Herskowitz

14. The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

15. The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Take 10: Not Lost in Translation

As part of our Summer Reading challenges this year we threw out an interesting dare – read a book that was translated in English from another language. There are a ton of good stories to read in languages like French, Russian, or Chinese, but not all get translated into English. Those that do are definitely worth reading.

We’ve put together a list of some great titles you should check out, even beyond our summer reading challenge. Give one of these a try – you might get caught up in the story, but you shouldn’t get lost in translation.


The Art of Hearing Heartbeats – Jan-Philipp Sendker

  • A successful lawyer suddenly disappears leaving behind his wife and daughter. Neither have any idea where he might be until they discover an old love letter written years ago to a woman in Burma. Daughter Julia takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of her father’s past as she uncovers a tale that will reaffirm the listener’s belief in the power of love.

The Bat – Jo Nesbo

  • When a young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney is murdered, Harry is sent to Australia to assist with the investigation. (First in a series)

The Feast of the Goat – Mario Vargas Llosa

  • Returning to her native Dominican Republic, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral discovers that Rafael Trujillo, the depraved dictator called “the Goat,” still reigns over his inner circle, which includes Urania’s father, with brutality and blackmail.

Ines of My Soul – Isabel Allende

  • A work of historical fiction chronicles the brave deeds and passionate loves of a spirited woman who journeyed to the New World and helped found a nation.

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

  • An ode to George Orwell’s “1984” told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.

My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante

  • Beginning in the 1950s Elena and Lila grow up in Naples, Italy, mirroring two different aspects of their nation. (First in a series)

Palace Walk – Najib Mahfouz

  • The first book of the Cairo Trilogy recreates turn-of-the-century Cairo, with characters who are simultaneously disciplined and sensual.

Silent House – Orhan Pamuk

  • Awaiting the arrival of her grandchildren in her home outside Istanbul, bed-ridden widow Fatma shares memories and grievances with her late husband’s illegitimate son until his cousin, a right-wing nationalist, involves the family in the Turkish military coup of 1980.

Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky

  • A story of life in France under the Nazi occupation includes two parts–“Storm in June,” set amid the chaotic 1940 exodus from Paris, and “Dolce,” set in a German-occupied village rife with resentment, resistance, and collaboration.

 The Three-Body Problem – Cixin Liu

  • Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project’s signal is received by an alien civilization on the brink of destruction, which plans to invade Earth; meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus, which offers much more book and author information.

Summer 2016 Music Playlist!

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Summer Reading 2016 is here! Our theme this year is “Exercise Your Mind: Read!” Of course, reading is a great way to get your mind moving, but Twin Falls Public Library is also interested in helping you get your body moving as well. And, what could be more motivating than some music to inspire you to move?

Luckily, TFPL offers our patrons a subscription to Freegal – a great database of music from the Sony Music Catalog – and from which you can download 5 free songs a week. You can find new hits, oldies but goodies, and cool beats from around the world (they even have a few comedy albums). And, if you need help getting started, we’ve put together a Summer Reading Playlist of songs to get you moving – we dare you to sit still while you listen!




Back in Black by AC/DC (Album: The Complete Collection)

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (Album: The Essential Bruce Springsteen)

The Cup of Life by Ricky Martin (Album: La Copa de la Vida)

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson (Album: HIStory: Past, Present, and Future – Book 1)

Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (Album: The Essential Survivor)

Get Lucky by Daft Punk f. Pharrell Williams (Album: Random Access Memories)

Get the Party Started by P!nk (Album: Greatest Hits…So Far!!!)

Gonna Make You Sweat by C&C Music Factory (Album: 14 Top Hits of 1991)

Groove Is In the Heart by Deee-Lite (Album: Ultimate Club Dance 90s)

I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry (Album: Ultra Dance 10)

Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic (Album: Ultimate Club Dance 90s)

SexyBack by Justin Timberlake (Album: FutureSex/LoveSounds Deluxe Edition)

Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson (Album: Greatest Hits – Chapter One)

Snap Yo Fingers by Lil Jon (Album: Snap Yo Fingers – Single)

Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson f. Bruno Mars (Album: Uptown Funk)

Yeah! by Usher f. Lil Jon and Ludacris (Album: Crunkest Hits)