Thursday, May 5, 2016

Take a trip with SAGA

Today's post is a book review written by our student staff member, Ash Aycock. Consider picking up this book at Grafton this May Term!

Forbidden Love. Interplanetary warfare. Secret assassins. Tree spaceships.

In SAGA, a graphic novel series written and illustrated by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples, you witness all of these things and more! A space opera like no other, an unlikely duo fights against all odds to save their child from those that would have them all dead, simply for loving each other. Mix in an assassin with a conscience and his partner, a cat who can tell if you're lying, along with an entire universe of quirky characters, SAGA is sure to take you on the ride of your life.

Now, I know what you might be saying: "Graphic novels, ew." Sure, I get it, graphic novels aren't for everyone, especially in a world run rampant with Marvel and DC superheroes. But I implore you to give SAGA a chance. Beautifully illustrated and with characters you're instantly protective of, SAGA explores the lengths we'll go for love in a universe that would rather squash your dreams than let them come to fruition. SAGA is funny, sad, sexy, and compelling. By the time you finish one of the novels, you're instantly reaching for the next. And if that doesn't convince you, there's a cat that talks. That's gotta be worth something, right? You can find SAGA in Grafton's Bestseller collection!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fates & Furies: Epically Awesome

Lauren Groff's Fates & Furies is a sweeping, surprising novel that is a joy to read and talk about. Mathilda and Lotto are captivating despite, and because of, their faults. Novels that are readable, span decades and successfully reveal profound truths about life are rare. In my opinion, Fates & Furies belongs among them.

I delighted in Mathilda. The leading woman of Groff's story, Mathilda is no Mary Sue or Manic Pixie Dream Girl. In fact, she's described on more than one occasion as far from conventionally pretty. Secondary characters wonder rudely behind her back at the attraction between Lotto and Mathilda. It's Lotto's refreshing ability to see the beauty in everyone that ignites his initial attraction for Mathilda and her ability to manage Lotto that keeps them together. I adore how Mathilda's character bucks the convention of the beautiful and petite heroine. She's broken, and strong, and to me very real (if a bit frightening).

I won't go on (spoilers!), but it's clear I'm a big fan. Pick up Lauren Groff's Fates & Furies at Grafton library this May term. You can find it in the Bestseller collection. If you read it, stop by the library and let me know how you liked it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Mystery? The Westing Game

Today's post is a book review written by our student staff member, Emma Reger. Consider picking up this book at Grafton this May Term!

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is one of the best mystery books I have ever read (and I’ve read a lot of mysteries). The story begins when an odd assortment of characters are gathered to a new apartment community called Sunset Towers, which, as the book points out, is strange because Sunset Towers faces East and there are, in fact, no towers. The characters who are called to the Towers are the mysterious Samuel Westing’s sixteen heirs, and when he is murdered, it is up to the heirs to figure out which one of them committed the crime in a bizarre game set up in Westing's will. The narrator divulges that one heir steals, one sets off bombs, and one isn’t even supposed to be there in the first place.
 Paired off into teams of two, and given $10,000 dollars to help, the teams race to figure out the solution first, for the winner receives Westing’s entire 200 million fortune. Each team is given a set of clues and told that it is what they don’t have that counts more than what they do. The teams must decide whether to work together to combine their clues or try to go it alone. Throughout the story, skeletons in many of the heirs’ closets are revealed, there are ghosts (or worse) and more murder and plenty of hidden identities.

Outside of being a mystery, The Westing Game touches on subjects such as how to deal with insecurity, neglect, grief, and loneliness, while continuing to move through the story at a quick speed. The vocabulary is rather simple, but if you are looking for a fast, fun read as the year winds down, and even though it is an easy one, The Westing Game is definitely entertaining, puzzling, and clever enough to keep you interested. You can find The Westing Game in Grafton's circulating collection.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Discovering Witches

Today's post is a book review written by our student staff member, Ash Aycock. Consider picking up this book at Grafton this May Term!

If you're like me, a history nerd with a secret love for all things witchy, then A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is the perfect book for you!

"Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell."

That may be the general gist of A Discovery of Witches, but the first book in Deborah Harkness's All Soul's Trilogy is one I absolutely could not put down.  In a world filled with Twilight and Vampire Academy novels, I think it's rare to find a modern fantasy that is able to pull from actual history while keeping the story exciting and fresh. That manuscript Diana Bishop accidentally pulls from the Bodleian at the beginning of the novel? Yeah, that's an actual manuscript that's been missing for a couple hundred years!

A Discovery of Witches pulls from historical events, our cultural obsession with the supernatural, and our secret love of spicy romances (in this case a heterosexual one, but hey, we can't always get what we want) to create one awesome debut novel. Deborah Harkness's fantasy adventure is fun, fresh, dark, and oh so fun to read. Give this book a shot and you'll be wanting to take the next plane to Oxford in search of your own vampire lover, or, in my case, a secret and forgotten historical manuscript. Find this title in Grafton's bestseller collection!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Meet our student workers: Ashley

Where are you from? 
I am from New York, but I live now in Fairfax, VA

What are you studying?
Music and a minor in religious studies

Favorite book?
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Favorite song?
Honey by Mariah Carey

Favorite thing about Mary Baldwin College?
The freedom of expression while learning new things and getting to know new people.

Favorite quote?
"Keep your heels high and your standards higher."

Best thing about working at Grafton Library?
Being in a comfortable work environment that helps you strengthen your skills in the work place, as well as in your education.