Laurie’s Pick: Homegoing

It is a librarians eternal task to answer the question, What should I read next? The librarians here at Y.P.L. are attempting to answer that question with our Staff Picks series. Each entry will include a different recommendation from a staff member.

Todays Staff Pick is brought to you by Laurie Hogue, our Assistant Director!

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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I’m recommending this book because…

Homegoing is a debut novel by Yaa Gyasi that left me wanting more. This novel is a multi-generational tale that takes the reader through the harrowing existence of two half-sisters who were born in Ghana in the 18thcentury through eight generations, leading to present day.

The introductory characters are Effia and Esi, whose paths do not cross and they are completely unaware of one another. as they live in different villages. The lives of the sisters end up very different, setting a trajectory for the many generations to come.

What I know now, my son: Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home. I’m sorry you have suffered. I’m sorry for the way your suffering casts a shadow over your life, over the woman you have yet to marry, the children you have yet to have. – Yaa Gyasi,Homegoing

The reader is not at all sheltered from the horrors endured, this is a story full of heartache and unimaginable circumstance, strength and endurance; it is beautifully written and has rich and developed characters despite the manageable size. Although I felt completely emotionally spent when it was through, this story and the characters have stuck with me, and probably always will.


 

Interested in readingHomegoing?

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Monica’s Pick: The Rules of Magic

It is a librarians eternal task to answer the question, “What should I read next?” The librarians here at Y.P.L. are attempting to answer that question with our Staff Picks series. Each entry will include a different recommendation from a staff member.

Today’s Staff Pick is brought to you by me, Monica Thomas, Y.P.L.Technology Coordinator!

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The Rules of Magicby Alice Hoffman

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I’m recommending this book because…

Honesty time: I had no idea that one of my favorite movies, Practical Magic, was based on a book. When the news dropped that a prequel to Practical Magic was being released, I knew I had two books to add to my list!

I read Practical Magic first, and I enjoyed it, but it was a little forgettable. You definitely don’t need to readPractical Magicto enjoy and understandThe Rules of Magic. (But if you’re like me, you probably will anyway.) The Aunts, who were one of the best parts about the movie, are barely in the first book, and not at all the eccentric, fun characters I remembered and adored.

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Aunt Jet and Aunt Frances mixing up some midnight margaritas inPractical Magic (1998), a scene tragically not found in the book!

To my delight,The Rules of Magic is all about Aunt Frances and Aunt Jet (for most of the book, just Frances and Jet) as they grow up in 1960s New York City, developing their powers. The story is beautiful, tragic, and remarkably human. Yes, they’re witches, butThe Rules of Magic is about so much more than curses, herbs, and superstition. At its heart, it’s a story of family, relationships, and the heartache that shapes us into who we are.

Im fated to lose everyone I ever love, April said. I already know that.
Of course you are, Jet responded in her calm, measured tone. Thats what it means to be alive.
Alice Hoffman,The Rules of Magic

The story spans several decades against the backdrop of real events like the Stonewall riots and the Vietnam War, and ends wherePractical Magic begins. By the time I closed the back cover, I felt like I really knew these characters, like I had been through a lot with them. It was one of those books I was sad to finish, because even though I followed these characters from adolescence to old age, I just didn’t want it to end!

I adore the Frances and Jet I got to know in this book more than theirPractical Magic movie versions, because they are real, fleshed-out women instead of just the eccentric, powerful aunts of Sally and Gillian. It’s a book I will revisit many more times over the years.

(Although, the midnight margarita scene will always be headcanon. I can’t help it.)


 

Interested in readingThe Rules of Magic?Click one of the options below:

Check the availability of our physical copy.

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Staff Picks: At the Water’s Edge

Adult Collection/Local History Librarian: Becky Bray
Adult Collection/Local History Librarian: Becky Bray

In this week’s post, I thought I would ask a fellow staff member about what they are reading. So I sat down with the lady in charge of the Adult Collection to find out what book she’s into at the moment.

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What book are you reading?

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen which came out in March of 2015

What other books is the author known for?

She has written several books, but is probably most known for Water for Elephants.

What is the book about?

This is a novel of secrets, relationships, betrayal, and monsters — both real and imagined. The novel begins in Philadelphia in 1944 and ends in Scotland, where the main characters are in search of the Loch Ness monster. The two main male characters are both wealthy and have lead a sheltered life of privilege, and have been deemed ineligible to serve in the military. One has married beneath his station in life, and she reluctantly follows the two across the Atlantic in a time of war. While the female character learns to appreciate the beauty of the Scottish Highlands and the people (becoming stronger in character as time goes by), the men are treated with contempt by the locals. Thus begins the deterioration of their relationships and while searching for the elusive Loch Ness monster, other monsters are revealed.

What have you liked (or disliked) about this book?

I enjoyed this novel and I would recommend this for anyone who wanted a good read that did not require a lot of attention todetail. I enjoyed the main female character and I felt the author described the paths she had to walk to survive, whether of her own choosing or not, very realistically. I’m not usually drawn to novels that take place during WWII. The author included many rich details of the daily struggles of life in Scotland during the war, but it was secondary to the main story line.

A daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII. — Harper’s Bazaar

Tell us what you think. Does this book sound interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.You can grab the book from our catalog in either Large Print or eBook. Need help navigating the catalog? Be sure to check out one of our previous posts.