The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion & Baja Lobster and Mango Salad

“‘Lobster, mango, and avocado salad with wasabi-coated flying fish roe and crispy seaweed and deep-fried leek garnish. Correct. My current project is quail boning. It still requires constant effort.'” ~The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Baja Lobster and Mango Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

1 large orange

2 cooked lobster tails, shelled and meat chopped into bite-sized pieces

1/2 firm but ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and flesh diced

1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced

2 finely chopped scallions, white and pale green parts only

2 cups mixed baby greens salad mix

Dressing:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large lime, juiced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Using a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith from the orange. Working over a small bowl, slice between membranes to release the orange segments, letting the juice and segments fall into the bowl (remove the juice for the dressing). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the orange segments to a large bowl. Add the lobster, avocados, mango, and scallions.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lime juice. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice into the dressing and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the dressing over the lobster mixture and toss gently to coat.
  3. Divide the salad greens between 4 glasses or bowls. Spoon the lobster salad on top and serve.

Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

What a perfectly adorable book! In this middle school nod to Cyrano de Bergerac, Gracie’s best friend Sienna begins going out with Gracie’s secret crush, AJ. Frozen by the prospect of texting with AJ, Sienna has Gracie compose witty messages to him.

The characters are so wonderful and lovable that I wasn’t bothered in the slightest by how predictable the story was. I simply wanted to spend more time with them and have everything work out in the end.

I was astounded by how authentically Rachel Vail was able to capture how it feels to be in eighth grade and have your friends, who have all been friends basically forever, suddenly start to “like like” each other and awkwardly traverse this new terrain.

However, reading this book was much more bearable than actually being in eighth grade because Gracie is so charming and funny! Gracie’s clever, wry observations and self-deprecating humor channeled Princess Mia from Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries in a way I didn’t think was possible. (Even Meg herself rated it 5 stars on Goodreads!). Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet and fast read, no matter how many years stand between you and eighth grade.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC VAIL)

Weekly Book List: Week 35 (Published more than 100 years ago)

Northanger Abbey / Jane Austen (1817)

When Catherine Morland, a country clergyman’s daughter, is invited to spend a season in Bath with the fashionable high society, little does she imagine the delights and perils that await her. Captivated and disconcerted by what she finds, and introduced to the joys of ‘Gothic novels’ by her new friend, Isabella, Catherine longs for mystery and romance. When she is invited to stay with the beguiling Henry Tilney and his family at Northanger Abbey, she expects mystery and intrigue at every turn. However, the truth turns out to be even stranger than fiction. (FIC AUSTEN)

Oliver Twist / Charles Dickens (1837-39)

Born in a workhouse, Oliver Twist, an orphan, walks to London where he gets involved with Fagin and his gang of young thieves. (FIC DICKENS)

 

Crime and Punishment / Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1866)

Believing he can commit the perfect crime, Roderick Raskolnikov robs and murders an elderly pawnbroker. He eventually finds himself engaged in a battle of wits with inspector Porfiry, a policeman who is determined to wring a confession from the once confident Raskolnikov, a killer whose conscience is slowly beginning to destroy him. (FIC DOSTOYEVSKY)

Howards End / E.M. Forster (1910)

Howards End, an English country house, passes to the moneyed, the cultured, and then to the lower class. (FIC FORSTER)

 

Les Miserables / Victor Hugo (1862)

Trying to forget his past and live an honest life, ex-convict Jean Valjean risks his freedom to take care of a motherless young girl during a period of political unrest in Paris. (FIC HUGO)

 

Dangerous Liaisons / Choderlos de Laclos (1782)

The Vicomte de Valmont and his former lover, the beautiful Marquise de Merteuil, enter into a personal competition to seduce and betray the innocent in pre-Revolutionary France. (FIC LACLOS)

 

The Jungle / Upton Sinclair (1906)

Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant lured by appealing advertisements, comes to Chicago to make money in the stockyards, but the reality is different from what he expects.(FIC SINCLAIR)

 

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court / Mark Twain (1889)

This satirical novel tells the story of Hank Morgan, the quintessential self-reliant New Englander, who brings to King Arthur’s Age of Chivalry the “great and beneficent” miracles of nineteenth-century engineering and Yankee ingenuity. (FIC TWAIN)

 

The War of the Worlds / H.G. Wells (1897)

The ultimate tale of Earth’s invasion, written by one of the fathers of the science fiction genre. They came from a depleted, dying planet. Their target: the riches of a moist, green Earth. With horrifyingly advanced machines of destruction, they began their inexorable conquest. The war for Earth seemed destined to be … but was it? (FIC WELLS)

The Picture of Dorian Gray / Oscar Wilde (1890)

An exquisitely beautiful young man in Victorian England retains his youthful and innocent appearance over the years while his portrait reflects both his age and evil soul as he pursues a life of decadence and corruption. (FIC WILDE)

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen

Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)

Finding a fresh take on a character that has been around for 40 years is never an easy task, especially if that character has become a beloved pop culture icon. But the first volume in Marvel’s Darth Vader series finds a way to do just that. Taking place after the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, we follow a now disgraced Darth Vader as he tries to not only win back the favor of The Emperor, but craft a secret plot to locate the young X-wing pilot who destroyed the Death Star and find out his identity. This series shows the day to day workings of The Lord of the Sith, and it is nothing short of fascinating. What is striking about this comic is how it manages to inject humor into the story without toning down Vader’s true brutal nature. Often times, Vader finds himself as the straight man to characters far more comfortable joking around then himself. The realistic art style brings depth to each panel, giving emotion to Vader’s lifeless mask and hulking dark figure. The entire comic adds insight to the character of Vader and gives readers a far more intimate depiction of Vader than film audiences have been able to experience. A must read for any Star Wars fan or any one interested in knowing what really lurks behind the mask of one of cinemas greatest villains.

Located in Graphic Novels (GRAPHIC STAR WARS)

Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Ellen Oh, co-founder of We need Diverse Books, a group that encourages the reading of stories from writers of many different backgrounds, has collected wonderfully diverse of short stories from a group of top middle grade authors, Tim Federle, Kwame Alexander, Grace Lin, and Matt de la Pena, to name a few. Their stories are strong, touching, and often funny snippets of life all around America and beyond. If you read one short story collection this year, let it be this one.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC OH)

Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert & Lemon Custard Pie

“It took MJ one hour forty-seven minutes and three old-fashioneds to eat the entire anniversary pie herself. All that remained in the empty tin were a few smudges of lemon cream sprinkled with flakes of crust, but her stomach didn’t seem to mind the alarming influx of calories.” ~Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert

Lemon Custard Pie

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 eggs, separated

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 unbaked pie pastry (9 inches)

Whipped cream, lemon and mint, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, flour and salt; mix well. Stir in lemon juice and peel; set aside. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; gently fold into lemon mixture.
  2. Pour into pie shell. Bake 1 hour or until lightly browned and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. Garnish with whipped cream, lemon, and mint if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

When I opened Senator Al Franken’s latest, I expected to be amused by his singular brand of wit and homespun, Midwestern wisdom. (Franken, for those who don’t know, is a Senator from Minnesota). I was certainly not disappointed in that assumption. But I was pleasantly surprised that Sen. Franken also delivered a thought-provoking expose of his ascent to the Senate in an extremely narrow race and his experience of working with an intractable body like the US Congress. No matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, you can appreciate his candor and willingness to share his experiences.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (328.73 FRA)

Weekly Book List: Week 34 (Classic Romance)

Pride and Prejudice / Jane Austen

Human foibles and early nineteenth-century manners are satirized in this romantic tale of English country family life as Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters are encouraged to marry well in order to keep the Bennet estate in their family. (FIC AUSTEN)

 

Jane Eyre / Charlotte Bronte

In early nineteenth-century England, an orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess and soon finds herself in love with her employer who has a terrible secret. (FIC BRONTE)

 

Wuthering Heights / Emily Bronte

Against a background of English moors in the 18th century, the lives of two families become intertwined through marriage, passion, and the dominating force of a man called Heathcliff. (FIC BRONTE)

 

Rebecca / Daphne du Maurier

A classic novel of romantic suspense finds the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter entering the home of her mysterious and enigmatic new husband and learning the story of the house’s first mistress, to whom the sinister housekeeper is unnaturally devoted. (FIC DUMAURIER)

 

The Great Gatsby / F. Scott Fitzgerald

Newly rich Jay Gatsby tries to recapture the past and win back Daisy Buchanan, his former love, despite the fact she has married. (FIC FITZGERALD)

 

A Room with a View / E.M. Forster

Lucy Honeychurch falls in love while on a visit to Florence and must choose between fulfilling her social role or following her heart. (FIC FORSTER)

 

Far From the Madding Crowd / Thomas Hardy

After an unfortunate marriage to Sergeant Troy and an affair with Farmer Boldwood, Bathsheba Everdene finally becomes the wife of the man who has always loved her. (FIC HARDY)

 

The Remains of the Day / Kazuo Ishiguro

Stevens, an elderly butler, hopes to rise to the top of his profession, and he remains stoic and unemotional at his father’s death and neglects the opportunity to pursue a relationship with a former housekeeper. (FIC ISHIGURO)

 

Gone with the Wind / Margaret Mitchell

First published in 1936, this book is a historical novel set against the dramatic backdrop of the Civil War. It tells the love story of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. (FIC MITCHELL)

 

Anna Karenina / Leo Tolstoy

Beautiful and charming, Anna lives in a splendid world of her own making. She smokes, rides horseback, plays tennis, takes opium, practices birth control, and–although she is already married–falls in love with a handsome army officer. Anna’s life is played out against a backdrop of dazzling balls and the vastness of Russia’s landscape. (FIC TOLSTOY)

Lumberjanes / Gotham Academy, Volume 1 by Chynna Clugston Flores

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

I love Lumberjanes! I also love Gotham Academy! Do I love this mash-up? Um…not really. It pains me to say it because the concept has so much potential.

Here are the issues that I had with the book: 1) The writing was clunky, without the characteristic flair of these 2 series. Chunks of repetitive dialogue explained what could have been expressed artfully by the panels themselves. 2) The art style was not as dimensional or refined as the original Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy graphic novels. 3) Interactions between the characters were stilted and awkward, not allowing the vibrant personalities I know they have to shine through.

Unfortunately, I don’t recommend this either for die-hard fans or people new to Lumberjanes or Gotham Academy. Stick with the originals for now, at least until these fantastic characters get the crossover they deserve.

Located in Teen Graphic Novels (TEEN GRAPHIC LUMBERJANES)

A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

There’s a new kid in Evelyn’s fifth grade classroom, and his name is Queen. Evelyn is at first curious about him, and then intrigued, and then concerned. He’s definitely different from other boys she knows, and although he is the butt of many a joke, he doesn’t seem to notice. This short (77 pages!) but fine book is a lesson to all of us about kids who are “different” and about being your own person and respecting that in others.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC CASSIDY)

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