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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Best Books of 2017 - Did Your Favorites Make These Lists?

It's our favorite time of the year here at About Books! As one year ends and another begins, we reflect on the highlights of the last twelve months. What have we learned? How have we grown? And perhaps most importantly, what great books did we miss? The end of 2017 means best books of the year lists are everywhere, and they have something for everyone. Use them to build your 2018 list of hot, new books you may have missed or to size up what you read in 2017 against the critics.

Did your favorite books make these lists? Happy Browsing!

Washington Post "Best Books of 2017"



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Virtual Reality in Fact and Fiction

With Oculus Rift headsets and touch components now readily available, the virtual world is becoming more of a reality. However, science fiction authors have been looking ahead towards its possibilities for decades. What does the future hold for our virtual lives? The following books explore the theme in fact and fiction.

Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality, Elias Aboujaoude

Stanford psychiatrist Aboujaoude explores the phenomena of the e-personality and how it may impact our day-to-day lives even when we are offline. The author asserts that all of us possess an e-personality which may differ in subtle or extreme ways from our in-person self. Most of us are bolder and more impulsive online whether purchasing products, sending email or posting to social media- and even more so when anonymous in chat forums or interactive games. The author suggests guidelines for managing the potential dangers of this contemporary phenomenon.

Virtual Reality, Josh Gregory

For young readers age 8-12, this new guide explains the latest in virtual reality technology as well as the history and future innovation prospects.

Ready, Player One, Ernest Cline

There’s still time to read this science fiction gem before the movie comes out in 2018! In the year 2044, fossil fuel exhaustion and climate change have degraded the quality of life on Earth. Most humans escape the bleakness by entering the virtual reality world of OASIS. In OASIS they can access any book ever written, explore other planets and have endless adventures. Even more compelling, the creator of OASIS, who was obsessed with 80s pop culture, left a fortune to whomever could solve a complex puzzle after his death. Trivia from that decade are the keys to unlock the prize. With stakes so high, some are willing to kill to win.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

“This Snow Crash thing--is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?” Juanita shrugs. “What's the difference?” Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for the Mafia while living in a converted storage unit and hacking in his spare time. But in the virtual world known as the Metaverse, he’s an elite sword fighting warrior on a mission to track down a deadly virus – Snow Crash – that has the power to destroy both worlds. Cyber punk villains and robot dogs populate this action-packed adventure. Some say this book predicted the online world Second Life.

-Suzanne LaPierre, City of Fairfax Regional Library

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What's on Your Librarian's Shelf? Great Falls Reads

Ever wondered what that friendly librarian at your local library is reading? Take a peek below to see titles that have staff at Great Falls excited this month. See something intriguing? Click on the title to find out more. Take a minute to let us know what has you excited as well, either in the comments below or in a branch. We always have time to share a really great book!

The Last Days of Night
by Graham Moore. Part legal thriller and part love triangle, the story of the intense battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the invention of the lightbulb is told from the perspective of Westinghouse’s inexperienced young lawyer.  - Lynn Anderson

Voices by Arnaldur Indridason. It is a few days before Christmas, and someone has killed Santa- oops!  The story takes place at the Grand Hotel in downtown Reykjavik, and there is no shortage of suspects between the hotel staff and the visiting international hotel guests. This is the third book in the popular series that started with the book Jar City. - Sandy Souleles

The Frozen Hours by Jeff Shaara. This is a novel about the Korean War, specifically the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, and the egotism of MacArthur. - Fredda Ruppenthal

All Rights Reserved
by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. Speth is turning fifteen, and that means it’s time for her to start paying up for every word she speaks and every gesture she makes. Two seconds of screaming will cost her $1.98 while a word like supplication will cost $32. What will be the cost of Speth’s vow of silence and can she afford to resist her society’s oppressive norms? - Hallie Jackson

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. A Pulitzer winner about three generations of the Stephanides family from Greece to Detroit to Germany. At the same time serious and funny, every day and out-there, told by an intersex narrator named Cal. - James Cullen

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
by Dani Shapiro. After a patron returned this book, I checked it out hoping I would feel less guilty about not writing for days and struggling to write in general. Dani Shapiro shares thoughtful lessons she has learned as a writer and a teacher in the hopes of making a connection with her family, friends and fellow writers.  - Michelle Pepino

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. For fans of My Name is Lucy Barton. Strout expands the lives of peripheral, hometown people mentioned in My Name is Lucy Barton in a series of short stories, separate, yet gently woven together. They form a hymn to life, certainly laced with sadness but great wisdom as well. - Lois Glick

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen. If you’re in need of a few hours of pure charm with a dash of laughter as well as tears, download this book. With the lightest of touches and a witty, perceptive eye, Rosen traces the dress, “borrowed” from Bloomingdale’s for nine different occasions with momentous results. - Lois Glick