Archive for September, 2018

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

September 27, 2018

[Sara]

The audiobook of Soul of an Octopus was wonderful– I am often wary of books narrated by the author, but maybe unnecessarily so. Since Sy Montgomery narrated, she was really able to bring out the thrills and emotions that she really experienced throughout this span of time with the octopuses. (Yes, even though I knew “octopuses” is the plural, I found out from this book that a word like this with a Greek root cannot have a Latin plural– thanks Sy.)

I find both animal consciousness and octopuses so fascinating– this was the perfect book to gain insight and vicarious experience with the animals. Much of it was set in the familiar locale of the New England Aquarium as well, so it felt very real. The reader gets to know individual octopuses intimately through Montgomery’s own experience, and the book left me inspired to read more about animals’ psyches.

I rarely get so into nonfiction– this was definitely a winner. Great narrative style and a New Hampshire author to boot. I’m interested in reading more books by this author, such as Birdology and The Good Good Pig, and as a children’s librarian and mom I’m thrilled that she writes for all ages!

This book is available free to library members on both Hoopla and Overdrive, as well as at Wiggin.

Other Books by Sy Montgomery:
For Children
For Teens

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

September 21, 2018

[Tricia]  This is the second of Naomi Novik’s books that I have read and loved (Uprooted was the first). She writes rich and lovely fantasy novels featuring, especially in the case of Spinning Silver, complex and strong women characters. This is a very loose re-imagining of Rumpelstiltskin, and I am a sucker for re-imaginings of fairy tales and legends and classics. It is set in a frozen, snowy Russian (?) village but there are other colder and foreboding worlds you encounter as well. It has a similar feel to the Winternight series by Katherine Arden, which I also love. If you’re a fan of snowy, atmospheric re-tellings of fairy tales, then you’re in for a treat.

The audiobook of Spinning Silver is on Libby/Overdrive.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

September 17, 2018

 

[Tricia]  This book took me by surprise. From what I’d read about it, it seemed to be something along the lines of The Rosie Project – a quirky, funny story about an adult, possibly on the autism spectrum. However, this book has more in common with A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman. There are funny parts, but it has also deals very starkly with loneliness, loss, trauma and mental illness. The book takes place in Scotland and I listened to the audio version which has a wonderful narrator with a lovely accent. If you liked A Man Called Ove, you might give this one a try.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

The Glitch, by Elisabeth Cohen

September 11, 2018

[Lesley] The Glitch centers around Shelley Stone, CEO of a successful personal tech company. The company produces The Conch – an Alexa-like personal assistant that you wear just behind your ear. The Conch helps you keep track of your schedule, gives you information about things in your surroundings, lets you make or take calls, send emails, texts, etc. And that’s not all! The Conch gives you a reminder of someone’s name so you never have to fake it or apologize. The Conch also gets to know its wearer – your preferences, relationships, even some memories – so that it gets more and more useful as well as more and more indispensible.

Shelley is a true believer in Conch and a driven, ambitious leader. Her success has not been accidental. It seems like there isn’t a single part of her life that she hasn’t strategized and controlled perfectly. When things begin to spin out of control, Shelley does her best to maintain her composed exterior (and interior) while reeling from the strange, inexplicable things that are happening.

Cohen does a great job creating this character and then pulling the rug out from under her. I also appreciated the somewhat cynical, tongue-in-cheek look at start up tech companies and personal assistants like Siri and Alexa. To enjoy this book you’ll have to be ready for a twisty/turny ride. Just when you think you know what it is about, it shifts. Is this about a kidnapping? A tech heist? Cloning? Corporate takeover? Espionage? This is a fun, quick read with some lightly touched-upon questions about personal identity, the meaning of “success,” and who is in charge – us or our tech?

Other good reads about tech in our lives:
The Circle, Dave Eggers (recommendation post)
Jennifer Government, Max Barry
Pattern Recognition, William Gibson
Spirits in the Wires, Charles de Lint

 

And, of course, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
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