New and Notable Books from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

This collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library, at the base of the stairs.

Rebecca Makkai, The Hundred Year House (Viking 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3613.A36H85 2014

“Charmingly clever and mischievously funny, Makkai follows her enthusiastically praised first novel, The Borrower (2011), with an intriguingly structured tale—each section takes a step back in time—set on a fabled, possibly haunted estate north of Chicago. After the alleged suicide of its beautiful first matriarch, Laurelfield was turned into an artists’ colony in 1906 and thrived until an even more mysterious turn of events led to the property’s return to strictly private use. Now, at the turn of the twentieth century, Zee, a Marxist English professor who grew up in Laurelfield, is living in the coach house with her jobless husband, Doug, who is supposed to be working on a book about a former artists’ colony resident. Not only does Zee’s imperious mother inexplicably stonewall his research, but Zee’s batty stepfather also invites his unemployed son and artist daughter-in-law to live in the coach house. Such close quarters provide the perfect setup for farce and scandal, and Makkai choreographs both in a dazzling plot spiked with secrets and betrayals hilarious and dire. Her offbeat characters and suspenseful story could have added up to a stylish romp. Instead, Makkai offers that and much more as she stealthily investigates the complexities of ambition, sexism, violence, creativity, and love in this diverting yet richly dimensional novel.” –Donna Seaman, starred review Booklist

Andrew Lewis Conn, O, Africa (Hogarth 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3603.O542O23  2014
“The Grand brothers are known for their silent movies. With Micah directing and Izzy behind the camera, their comedies have been pleasing crowds for years, but in 1928, trouble looms. While the advent of talkies threatens the brothers’ livelihood, Micah’s interracial affair and penchant for gambling put them in physical danger, as well. With these perils lurking at home, their producer sends them to the jungles of central Africa to collect never-before-seen footage that he hopes will change the fate of their studio. Ultimately, though, it’s the brothers who will be most changed by their expedition. Stretching from New York to Africa to California, Conn sets the stage for the golden age of Hollywood with carefully placed contemporaneous events, then challenges that milieu with anachronistic behavior and dialogue. The result is a satirical, heartbreaking tale of disillusionment and self-discovery that, with its Jewish filmmakers, desegregated liaisons, and homosexual awakening, takes on the state of prejudice both then and now. History aficionados may quibble about the details, but classic film buffs will be enthralled.” –Cortney Ophoff, review Booklist


New and Notable Books from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

This section is found on the 2nd Floor of Library, at the base of the stairs.

Smith Henderson, Fourth of July Creek (Ecco 2013) LAW- McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3608.E52737F68 2014

“Dedicated social worker Pete Snow lives in remote, impoverished Tenmile, Montana, in part because he’s hiding out from the fallout of his own fractious divorce and in part because he knows that poverty breeds dysfunctional families, and there are plenty of kids who need his care. When he is summoned to open a file on Benjamin Pearl, a nearly feral 11-year-old boy who is suffering from malnutrition, he comes into contact with the boy’s father, Jeremiah, a paranoid survivalist who mints his own money and is convinced that the end-time is near. Pete soon learns that the FBI is also interested in Jeremiah, targeting him as a homegrown terrorist. Meanwhile, Pete’s own family is in crisis; his teenage daughter has vanished, and his ex-wife can’t do much more than drink and pray. First-novelist Henderson not only displays an uncanny sense of place—he clearly knows rural Montana and its impassable roads, its dank bars, its speed freaks and gas huffers—he also creates an incredibly rich cast of characters, from Pete’s drunken, knuckleheaded friends to the hard-luck waitress who serves him coffee to the disturbed, love-sick survivalist. Dark, gritty, and oh so good.” -Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist starred review.

Heather O’Neill, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night (Farrar Straus & Giroux 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR9199.4.O64G57 2014

“The girl of the title is Nouschka Tremblay; she and her twin brother, Nicholas, are the 19-year-old children of Étienne Tremblay, a once-famous folksinger and composer who, though his career is now in eclipse, is still celebrated. The twins, high-school dropouts and adrift, are famous, too, their every move reported in the tabloids. Set in Montreal in the 1990s, the story, told by Nouschka, follows her attempts to straighten out her life even as her brother’s becomes ever more erratic. Raised by their elderly grandfather, the twins live together on the edge of poverty, and Nicholas has resorted to petty thievery to support himself. Meanwhile, Nouschka has become a student in night school, hoping to receive her high-school diploma, go on to college, and become a writer. Her plans are interrupted when she falls in love with Raphael, who may be schizophrenic. Complications ensue. O’Neill (Lullabies for Little Criminals, 2006) has written a marvelously intriguing novel of a family in dissolution, each member of which is richly and memorably characterized. A secondary theme involving the Quebec separatist movement evokes the possible separation of the intense bond that has characterized the twins’ lives. The book is beautifully written, particularly rich in simile and metaphor. Compulsively readable, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is a delight for any night.” -Michael Cart Booklist Starred Review


Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection


The recreational reading (McNaughton) collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase

China Miéville, The City & The City, (Del Rey Ballantine Books, 2009) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   PR6063.I265C58 2009  

Fantasy author Miéville (Looking for Jake, 2005) puts his own unique spin on the detective story. Inspector Tyador Borlu, a lonely police detective, is assigned to the murder of a young woman found dumped in a park on the edge of Beszel, an old city, decaying and mostly forgotten, situated in an unspecified area on the southeastern fringes of Europe. But Beszel does not exist alone; it shares much of the same physical space with Ul Qoma. Each city retains a distinct culture and style, and the citizenry of both places has elaborate rules and rituals to avoid the dreaded Breach, which separates the two across space and time. This unique setting becomes one of the most important and well-developed characters in the novel, playing a pivotal role in the mystery when Tyador discovers that his murder case is much more complex than a dumped body, requiring “international” cooperation with the Ul Qoman authorities. Eschewing the preliminary world-building techniques of many fantasy books, Miéville dumps the reader straight into Tyador’s world of crosshatching and unseeing, only gradually developing and explaining his one-of-a kind setting. Suggest to readers who enjoyed Michael Chabon’s alternate-history mystery, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007), or to fans of the futuristic urban setting in A. L. Martinez’s Automatic Detective (2008). An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans. –Jessica Moyer


Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

The recreational reading (McNaughton) collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase. Jonathan-franzen-freedomJonathan Franzen, Freedom (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   PS3556.R352F74 2010 Patty, a Westchester County high-school basketball star, should have been a golden girl. Instead, her ambitious parents betray her, doing her grievous psychic harm. Hardworking Minnesotan Walter wants to be Patty’s hero, and she tries to be a stellar wife and a supermom to Joey and Jessica, their alarmingly self-possessed children, but all goes poisonously wrong. Patty longs for Richard, Walter’s savagely sexy musician friend. Walter’s environmental convictions turn perverse once he gets involved in a diabolical scheme that ties protection of the imperiled cerulean warbler to mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia. Richard is traumatized by both obscurity and fame. Joey runs amok in his erotic attachment to the intense girl-next-door and in a corrupt entrepreneurial venture connected to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The intricacies of sexual desire, marriage, and ethnic and family inheritance as well as competition and envy, beauty and greed, nature and art versus profit and status, truth and lies—all are perceptively, generously, and boldly dramatized in Franzen’s first novel since the National Book Award–winning The Corrections (2001). Passionately imagined, psychologically exacting, and shrewdly satirical, Franzen’s spiraling epic exposes the toxic ironies embedded in American middle-class life and reveals just how destructive our muddled notions of entitlement and freedom are and how obliviously we squander life and love. –Donna Seaman (Review from Booklist)