Archive for the ‘Readers Corner’ Category

Book Displays

Friday, December 19th, 2014

IMG_0497CHIP – Diet & Weight Loss

Cornerstones of Science – Inventors & Inventions (which ties in with this month’s Collaboratory theme)

Nonfiction: Unamerican Activity (poetry by non-Americans)

Genre: Southern Fiction

If you like… John Sandford

If you like… Sophie Kinsella

If you like… Downton Abbey

Fiction: Don’t Judge a book by its Movie (books made into movies)

Mystery: I may be old but I ain’t dead yet

Attention Curtis Patrons: looking for something new to read?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

These titles were recently added to the Bestseller Express collection:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

What I know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown

Deadline by John Sandford

Private India: City on Fire by James Patterson

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from the Lending Services desk.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

Book Review: “The Singing of the Dead”

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

singing of the deadDirty tricks abound in Dana Stabenow’s, “The Singing of the Dead”, the 11th in the Kate Shagak series. Kate Shugak, an Aleutian private investigator living in a generic national park in Alaska is hired to act as a security expert by a Native American woman, Anne Gordaoff, who is running for the Alaskan state senate. Kate needs to protect Anne but also find out who has been sending the candidate anonymous threats.

Anne is doing her political glad handing, her campaign manager will stop at nothing to get her elected, Anne’s husband is finding other ways to interact with the voters, her campaign researcher is finding dirt on Anne as well as her opponent, and her opponent has planted a mole in Anne’s campaign.

Still recovering from a case that went very wrong, killing her boyfriend and leaving Kate with a horrible scar, Kate would rather be anywhere else. But before Kate can get started the campaign researcher is murdered and Kate learns that the researcher was in possession of damning information about both candidates’ pasts. While investigating the murder Kate finds she needs to dig into the past for some answers and the grisly murder of a “good-time girl’ during the Gold Rush days of 1915. Could this unsolved case have a bearing on a present day psychotic killer?

If “The Singing of the Dead”, the 11th novel in the Kate Shugak series, is your first introduction to Kate and the vast, unforgiving corner of Alaska she calls home, it will most likely send you scrambling for installments one through 10. If you’re already a confirmed Shugak fan, it will have you waiting impatiently for number 12. –Kelly Flynn

The novel shifts effortlessly between the present and the past, tracing the career of one of the state’s most notorious “good time girls” from the gold mining era. The author paints a strong, striking picture of the tough life in Alaska 100 years ago and the narrow choice offered women housekeeper or whore. With well-drawn characters, splendid scenery and an insider’s knowledge of Alaskan history and politics, this fine novel ranks as one of Stabenow’s best. Publishers Weekly

Out of This World Science Fiction

Monday, November 17th, 2014

New Science Fiction titles cover a variety of SF sub-genres. Find them on the display wall across from Fiction.

(Click each title to check for availability.)
book cover

Space Opera

Ancillary Justice (2013) and Ancillary Sword (2014) by Ann Leckie, the first two books in the Imperial Radch series.

Now confined to a mortal body cobbled together from interchangeable human parts as the entity called “Breq,” the Artificial Intelligence must survive as an ancillary humanoid being in a galactic empire ruled by an oppressive government — without disobeying the law that forbids AIs from harming their creators.


a-vision-of-fire A Vision of Fire (2014) by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
The first novel from iconic “X-Files” star Gillian Anderson and New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin is a science fiction thriller of epic proportions.

Child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara begins treating an ambassador’s daughter, who starts having violent visions and speaking in tongues right before children throughout the world demonstrate similar mystical symptoms.

The Peripheral (2014) by William Gibson
In alternating chapters, Gibson tells the stories of Flynne Fisher, master gamer in the near future, and Wilf Netherton, London publicist in a more distant future. When the self-centered but well-meaning Wilf inadvertently interferes with Flynne’s time line, Flynne must, via a flesh-and-blood avatar called a peripheral, join Wilf in his time to set things right.


clock-work-daggerClockwork Dagger (2014) by Beth Cato
Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences.

SF Mystery

The Last Policeman Trilogy: The Last Policeman (2012), Countdown City (2013) and World of Trouble (2014) by Ben H. Winters.
When the Earth is doomed by an imminent and unavoidable asteroid collision, New Hampshire homicide detective Hank Palace considers the worth of his job in a world destined to end in six months and investigates a suspicious suicide that nobody else cares about.

captain smith

Humorous SF

Chronicles of Isambard Smith, the lighthearted adventures of Isambard Smith, plucked from a desk job to save the 25th-Century British Space Empire.

The first is Space Captain Smith (2008), followed by God Emperor of Didcot (2009), and Wrath of the Lemming Men (2010).

Review of “China Trade” by S.J. Rozan

Friday, August 29th, 2014

China-Trade“China Trade” is set in New York’s Chinatown.

Lydia Chin, a Chinese American detective, has been hired by the Chinatown Museum to quietly find some precious stolen porcelain.

With her sometime partner, Bill Smith, Lydia follows a trail of clues that send her from high-end art dealers into the world of Chinese gangs.

The case becomes even more complex when the case takes them outside of Chinatown and a killer is set on the loose.

Mysteries have had other Chinese detectives but this mystery novel is the first to feature a Chinese American female detective.

Rozan shows a knack for characterizing Chinatown’s denizens, apothecaries, shops and food.” –“Publishers Weekly”

“Rozan’s Chinatown setting has the ring of authenticity, and Lydia is a true original. A very promising start to what shapes up as a top-flight series.”–“Booklist”

S. J. Rozan is the author of many critically acclaimed novels and has won most of crime fiction’s greatest honors, including the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero Awards. She lives in New York.

— Carol Briggs

Review of “Maisie Dobbs: The Mapping of Love and Death” by Jacqueline Winspear

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

mapping-of-love-and-death-final-1If historical mystery is what you are interested in you may want to read the Maisie Dobbs‘ series by Jacqueline Winspear.

The year is 1914 in the opening of book 7 of the Maisie Dobbs series, “The Mapping of Love and Death”. Michael Clifton, a cartographer, is in California mapping land that he has just purchased, certain that oil lies underneath the soil.

On Michael‘s return to his home in Boston he learns that war has been declared in Europe.

Michael feels it‘s his duty to help and because his father is an expatriate Englishman Michael is allowed to join the British army.

Three years after joining the army Michael is declared missing in action.

We fast forward to 1932. Maisie Dobbs, a London psychologist and investigator, is visited by Michael‘s parents who have recently learned that their son‘s remains have been found in France.

They want Maisie to find the unknown nurse who wrote the love letters that were found among Michael‘s belongings.

Unbeknownst to them Michael‘s autopsy will give Maisie another task.

It is discovered that Michael Clifton was murdered.

Now she must not only find the unknown nurse but also find out who murdered Michael Clifton 18 years ago.

During her investigation Maisie exposes a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to ensnare Michael‘s family as well as herself.

Maisie must not only find a killer but she must also face the impending loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and the unsettling awareness that she is once again falling in love.

Following the critically acclaimed bestseller Among the Mad, The Mapping of Love and Death delivers the most gripping and satisfying chapter yet in the life of Maisie Dobbs.

— Carol Briggs

Review of “Through the Evil Days” by Julia Spencer Fleming

Monday, August 25th, 2014

evil-days-new-lgIn Julia Spencer Fleming’s latest New York Times bestseller, "Through the evil days," Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a fire that soon turns into something just a bit more.

The couple found in the ashes has been shot execution style and a young girl who was staying with them has been kidnapped.

Russ doesn’t need a double homicide right now as he is not dealing well with his impending fatherhood.

Added to that, Clare, who is 5 ½ months pregnant, is not happy that Russ has decided they will spend their honeymoon week at a remote cabin at an Adirondack lake ice-fishing.

There is dissension at St. Alban’s church because of Clare’s 5 ½ month pregnancy and 2 ½ month marriage.

Because of Clare’s unpriestly actions she is not sure if the bishop will decide on a simple scolding, censure, or permanent suspension after his investigation.

She is also worried what affect her previous alcohol and drug use will have on their unborn child.
Hadley Knox is having a terrible January as well.

Her on-again off-again boyfriend, Officer Kevin Flynn has been offered a job at the Syracuse Police Department and he has 7 days to make his decision.

Not only that, Hadley’s ex-husband is in town threatening to take custody of their children if she doesn’t give him the money he wants.

Add to all this, a raging January blizzard. As with Ms Spencer-Fleming’s other mysteries in the series, this is no walk through the woods in Miller’s Kill, New York.

Booklist (starred review) — This novel….is among the best in the series, combining steady action with complex, sympathetic characters and an immersive setting

“It’s amazing Spencer-Fleming manages to carry off a layered plot that opens with an arson, a double homicide and a kidnapping and expands into a broader picture of the drug use, domestic violence and desolation squeezing the life out of this small town.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

— Carol Briggs

Review of “The Thin Woman” by Dorothy Cannell

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

thin woman“The Thin Woman” is Dorothy Cannell’s first adventure with Ellie Simons, an overweight and unmarried interior designer.

Ellie has been invited to a family reunion at her uncle Merlin’s mansion.

To ease her pride Ellie hires an escort, Bentley T. Haskell, a paid escort and writer of erotica, to pose as her fiancé for the weekend. 

All goes well until Uncle Merlin dies and leaves his mansion to the happy couple.

The stipulation being that Ellie lose 63 pounds, Ben is to write a book that doesn’t have a bit of smut in it and they have to find the treasure hidden on Uncle Merlin’s estate. 

Both Ellie and Ben are up to the challenge until they begin to receive threatening phone calls, malicious visitors in the night and clues to a possible murder.
“Cannell makes a delicious debut; discriminatory whodunit fans will want more of her inventions”.
— Publishers Weekly
“A likeable debut — combining fairy tale romance, treasure hunts, and a homicidal mania”. — Kirkus

— Carol Briggs

Review of “Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke

Monday, August 18th, 2014

chocolate chip murder mystery“Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder,” is the first book in Joanne Fluke’s very enjoyable Hannah Swensen mystery series.

Hannah Swensen the owner of The Cookie Jar, a very popular bakery in Lake Eden Minnesota, finds the most punctual milkman in Lake Eden murdered in his truck behind her bakery.

Ron had been shot in the chest and Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunches are scattered all over the floor of the truck and one cookie is still clutched in Ron’s hand.

Hannah decides that in order to clear her cookies reputation she’ll have to find out who killed Ron.

Is the murderer the high school football coach whose wife has been making the rounds with the milkman, or could it be Max Turner, owner of the Cozy Cow Dairy, who may have a secret he wasn’t willing to share with Ron?

Maybe it was the mysterious Mr. Harris who seemed so interested in the property next to the dairy and then disappeared?

And why has Benton Woodley returned to Lake Eden?

Whoever it may be, Hannah better watch her back or she could be the next victim.

Hannah Swensen mysteries are filled with humor, an assortment of nuts including some very human ones and some delicious cookie recipes.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY — “minor lapses in a story satisfyingly packed with plot twists and red herrings. The Pecan Chews recipe is especially recommended.”

LIBRARY JOURNAL — “This mystery is pleasant and easy to take.”

— Carol Briggs-

Review of Michael Connelly’s novel, “The DROP”

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

dropIn Michael Connelly’s novel, “The DROP”, Harry Bosch, a detective in the Open-Unsolved case division, learns that the extension on his DROP, Deferred Retirement Option Plan, has been approved and he has three more years before he must retire from the LAPD. Because Harry’s time at the LAPD is running out he wants to investigate as many cases as they will give him.

In just one day Bosch is given two cases. The first case dates back to the 1989 rape and murder of a young woman. The problem is the DNA that was found matches a 29 year old convicted rapist who was only 8 years old when the crime was committed. Could this be possible, an 8 years old rapist-killer, or has the Regional Crime Lab made a horrible mistake.

The second case involves the death of George Irving, son of the police department and Harry’s worst enemy, Councilman Irvin Irving. Irving has demanded that Bosch investigate his son’s death. Harry is called to the Chateau Marmont, the scene of the incident, to investigate the death. Did George, jump, fall or was he pushed from the balcony of the hotel.

Councilman Irving is pressuring Harry for a quick answer but until all the evidence is fully examined any of the three scenarios are possible. While investigating both cases, Bosch discovers a serial killer who has hidden in plain sight for 30 years and a political scheme that reaches back into the dark history of the police department.

“Mr. Connelly, a former journalist, is a master of mixing realistic details of police work and courtroom procedure with the private feelings and personal lives of his protagonists, and of building suspense even as he evokes the somber poetry inherent in battling the dark side.” (Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal)

“Each of his books is so much more than the sum of its parts….Connelly writes true-to-life fiction about true crime. What makes his crime stories ring true is that they’re never really over.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times)

— Carol Briggs

2014 Maine Readers Choice Awards @ Curtis

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

The 2014 finalists for the Maine Readers' Choice Award have been announced:

Benediction by Kent Haruf

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Golem and the Jinni : A Novel by Helene Wecker

Transatlantic: a novel by Colum McCann

Voting will take place in September. (Details on how to vote for your favorite finalist will be posted on the Curtis Library website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.)

The winner will be announced in October.

Curtis Staff 2014 Summer Reading Picks

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Peggy Smith – Technical Assistant

My summer reads are The Kept – James Scott, Winter of the World – Ken Follett, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

Andrea Cronkite – Library Assistant

I recently finished “Wolves in the Land of Salmon” by David Moskowitz. I’m looking forward to reading new novels by two New England writers: “The Bone Orchard,” by Mainer Paul Doiron, and “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands,” by Vermonter Chris Bohjalian.

Pamela Bobker – Adult Services Librarian

This summer, I plan to read all four of the Maine Reader’s Choice finalists, starting with TransAtlantic by Colum McCann. I will also read The Funeral Makers by Maine author Cathie Pelletier for my book group, and for fun, I hope to read something creepy by Ruth Rendell!

Hanne – Library Assistant

Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture
by Dana Goodyear

Delicious! By Ruth Reichl

Mediterranean summer : a season on France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella / David Shalleck

Pass the polenta : and other writings from the kitchen / Teresa Lust.

Paula Tefft – Library Assistant

I just finished for the Monday Afternoon Book Group, God’s hotel: a doctor, a hospital, and a pilgrimage to the heart of medicine by Victoria Sweet. I’m listening to Ruth Reichl’s Delicious: A Novel. I’m currently reading Relish: my life in the Kitchen ( a graphic novel) by Lucy Knisley, and also, The other typist by Suzanne Rindell. Eleanor Lincoln Morse, An Unexpected forest: a novel.

Joanne Pennington – Technical Assistant

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman, Dance of the Reptiles by Carl Hiaasen, Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman, The Painter by Peter Heller, The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham, The White Lioness by Henning Mankell, Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman, The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg, Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James

Michael Gorzka – Virtual Services Coordinator

The Girl on the Stairs by Barry Ernest, Getting Things Done by David Allen

Carol Briggs – Library Assistant

The Thin Woman and Down the Garden Path by Dorothy Cannell one of our Fall 2014 visiting mystery authors; Grace: (eventually) an audiobook by Anne Lamott; A street cat named Bob and how he saved my life by James Bowen; and Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery.

Kate Wing – Substitute Librarian

Wonder — RJ Palacio
The Forgotten Garden — Kate Morton
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child — Bob Spitz
Visit Sunny Chernobyl — Andrew Blackwell
Gift from the Sea — Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Defending Jacob — William Landay

Paul Dostie – Information Services Librarian

Lovers at the Chameleon Club: Paris 1932 by Francine Prose; Frog Music by Emma Donoghue; A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger and Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

The Biography neighborhood is now in place!

Friday, January 31st, 2014

biography neighborhood-shelvesPreviously, biographies were interfiled with the subject/field of the biographee. For example, biographies of scientists were in the 500s with all of the science books.

What we’ve done is pull out all of the biographies and autobiographies and shelved them together and still in Dewey Decimal order. This new Biography neighborhood is shelved near the reference desk on the second floor.

What: biographies and autobiographies. Usually not memoirs, which cover only a small portion of a person’s life.

Where: 2nd floor, near reference desk. Look for signs stating “Biography”

How to find a biography: Biographies are still in Dewey Decimal order, just placed in a more browsable collection. When you search for an item in the catalog, the call number will be preceded by "Biography."

Why: We are striving to create a more user-friendly, browsable collection. For years, Curtis library members have been asking us for a biography section. We listened! We want to make our collections easy to find and irresistible to browse.

Need Help?

Just ask a Curtis Librarian!

Curtis Staff Picks for The Best Books of 2013

Thursday, December 26th, 2013


Pam Jenkins – Youth Services Manager

Adult book – And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Kids’ book – fiction – Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Kids’ book – nonfiction – Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd

Cheer Allen – Technical Assistant

The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman
A young girl, Jade, and her father immigrate to America from China in 1923. Jade does not realize that her father had made plans for her life in this new country but she is determined to change what her life would have been like had she remained in China and under her father’s rule.

Chris Eames – Lending Services Manager

Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye by Zac Unger. It’s a non-fiction, eco- adventure based on a climate change research trip to the town of Churchill, Manitoba with his family (wife and 3 small children) to view the polar bears. Quite funny. Highly entertaining while also presenting a different view of the polar bear plight!

Pamela Bobker – Volunteer Services Coordinator

The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 by Jasper Fforde (ages 10-14years)

ruth rendallAnd The St. Zita’s Society by Ruth Rendell

Joanne Pennington – Technical Assistant

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Paul Dostie – Librarian

My favorite for this year is The Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon. It is the story of a South Korean held as POW in North Korea who emigrates to Brazil on his release. Yoon is a short story writer and this is his first novel. The writing has a poetic grace and he treats his topic with a humanity that I can only hope to emulate.

Vicki Stevens – Lending Services Manager

There are so many good ones….maybe Orphan Train by Chistina Baker Kline and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.


Paula Tefft – Technical Assistant

I am now reading The Rosie project by Graeme Simsion – it’s proving to be good!

Michael Heath – Operations Manager

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (mystery)

Carol Briggs – Technical Assistant

I think Louise Penny’s How the Light Gets In was my favorite new book this year.

David Delois – Bookkeeper

Wild Tales by Graham Nash


Michael Gorzka – Virtual Services Coordinator

Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy by Vincent Michael Palamara

Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit by Joseph McBride

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.

What were your favorite books that came out in 2013?

Post your picks for the best books of 2013 on the Library’s Facebook page or email them to

Just Desserts Mystery Discussion Group – Tuesday, January 7, 6:30pm

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Donna LeonOn Tuesday, January 7th, the Just Desserts Mystery Discussion Group will convene to discuss the Commissario Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon.

All of you mystery aficionados and sweet course enthusiasts are cordially invited to attend!

Desserts are potluck-style so you are welcome to bring something to share.

Date and time: Tuesday, January 7th, from 6:30 PM to 7:45 PM

Location: 2nd Floor Seminar Room (near the Reference Desk)

Sarah Brown | 725-5242 ext. 229 |

Schedule and reading list: Just Desserts Discussion Group

Though he did not believe, he was not untouched by the magic of belief …
— Donna Leon, Death and Judgment