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Empty theatre  book cover
Empty theatre  book cover

Empty theatre

Jac Jemc

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

History knows them as King Ludwig II of Bavaria and Empress Elizabeth of Austria, icons of the late nineteenth century who died young and left behind magnificent portraits and palaces. But to each other they were Ludwig and Sisi, cousins who shared a passion for beauty and a stubborn refusal to submit to the roles imposed upon them. Ludwig, simultaneously spoiled and punished for his softness and "unmanly" interests, falls hard for the operas of Richard Wagner and neglects his state duties in the pursuit of art. Sisi, married at the age of sixteen to her beloved Franzl, bristles at the restrictions of her elevated position, the value placed on her beauty, and the simultaneous expectation that she ravage her body again and again in childbirth. Both absurdly vain, both traumatized by the demands of their roles, Sisi and Ludwig struggle against the ideals they are expected to embody, and resist through extravagance, petulance, performance, and frivolity.

Between the podcast "Noble Blood" and the recent movie "Corsage," you might be familiar with King Ludwig II of Bavaria and his mysterious murder and Empress Sisi of Austria and her beauty habits. Jemc brings these people to life in this historical fiction novel giving meaning to the eccentricities, while also giving us a good dose of humor. Highly recommend. -Anne M

A tulip in winter : a story about folk artist Maud Lewis book cover
A tulip in winter : a story about folk artist Maud Lewis book cover

A tulip in winter : a story about folk artist Maud Lewis

Kathy Stinson

j759.11 Lewis
Art / Art History, Kids, Biographies

"A celebration of a beloved folk artist, and her artistic expression of joy and beauty. Known for her vibrant and cheerful paintings of landscapes, plants, and animals, Maud Lewis' iconic folk art is celebrated around the world. Despite her beautiful art, she spent much of her life living in poverty with rheumatoid arthritis. In this stunning picture book, author Kathy Stinson and illustrator Lauren Soloy bring Maud's world to life: how she captured in her art what she loved most, while navigating the mobility issues caused by her condition. From bright paintings of the sea and countryside, to the flowers and birds she painted on the walls of the small house she shared with her husband, Maud's work continues to delight and inspire viewers young and old."--

Maud Lewis' lively, colorful paintings were inspired by the countryside around her tiny house in Nova Scotia. Disabled by severe rheumatoid arthritis, and with options further limited by poverty, Lewis lived in a tiny house she decorated by painting flowers all over the stairs, walls, and many of her belongings, along with creating landscapes on scraps of wood and cardboard from the dump. Today, her house can be seen, in its entirety, inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, where it was moved after her death in 1970. -Anne W

Leeva at last book cover
Leeva at last book cover

Leeva at last

Sara Pennypacker

jFICTION Pennypacker, Sara

What are people for? That's the burning question on the mind of Leeva Spayce Thornblossom. Fame! says Leeva's mom, the mayor of Nutsmore. Money! says her dad, the town treasurer. With the help of an orphaned badger, a risk-averse boy in a hazmat suit, and the town's librarians, Leeva sets off to discover her own answer--setting off a chain of events that will change Nutsmore forever.

If you enjoy the spirited early-chapter-book Clementine series about an eccentric and opinionated 8-year-old girl and the people in her apartment building, or Pax, the moving middle grade story of the bond between a boy and a fox and the lengths they'll go to in order to reunite after tragedy, try Sara Pennypacker's new middle grade novel, Leeva at Last. Perfectly paired with Matthew Cordell's scratchy illustrations, Leeva at Last is a quest/coming-of-age story that is totally hilarious, profound, and features some fantastic librarians. -Anne W

Legends & lattes : a novel of high fantasy and low stakes book cover
Legends & lattes : a novel of high fantasy and low stakes book cover

Legends & lattes : a novel of high fantasy and low stakes

Travis Baldree


"The much-beloved BookTok sensation from Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes is a novel of high fantasy and low stakes. *The new paperback edition will include a very special, never-before-seen bonus story, 'Pages to Fill.'* Come take a load off at Viv's cafe, the first & only coffee shop in Thune. Grand opening! Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv, the orc barbarian, cashes out of the warrior's life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen. However, her dreams of a fresh start filling mugs instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune's shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners, and a different kind of resolve. "Take a break from epic battles and saving the world. Legends & Lattes is a wholesome, cozy novel that feels like a warm hug. This is my new comfort read."-Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch's Heart"--

It has been a while since I've read anything that was so delightful. "Legends & Lattes" is a cozy fantasy novel, and it reads like a side-story of someone's pet D&D character. I repeat--it is delightful! Fantasy fans will eat it up, but I think it will also appeal to those who enjoy a gentle, romantic read. -Brian

Beatles '66 : the revolutionary year book cover
Beatles '66 : the revolutionary year book cover

Beatles '66 : the revolutionary year

Steve Turner

781.66092 /Beatles
Music, Nonfiction

On the fiftieth anniversary of this seminal year, music journalist and Beatles expert Steve Turner slows down the action to investigate in detail the enormous changes that took place in the Beatles’ lives and work during 1966. He looks at the historical events that had an impact on the group, the music they made that in turn profoundly affected the culture around them, and the vision that allowed four young men from Liverpool to transform popular music and serve as pioneers for artists from Coldplay to David Bowie, Jay-Z to U2.

Since the release of the Get Back series I've been on a Beatles kick. This book covers one of their pivotal years and contains a lot of primary source interview quotes. Turner describes local and global cultural and political landscapes to help ground us in what they were dealing with as artists at the time. -Jason

Apple crush book cover
Apple crush book cover

Apple crush

Lucy Knisley

Graphic Novels, Kids

"Jen is just getting used to her life on Peapod Farm with her new stepsisters, Andy and Reese, but when the school year starts, there are even more changes in store for her."--

I read the prequel to this graphic novel, "Stepping Stones" immediately before diving into "Apple Crush," and I enjoyed them both very much. I have read several of Knisley's adult graphic novels, and am always really drawn towards her illustration style. Both of these stories are semi-autobiographical, and I think a lot of children who have gone through their parents divorce will relate to her experience. "Stepping Stones" is about Jen learning how to live and work on a farm, while "Apple Crush" is more about her adjusting to a new school and the social pressures that come with middle school. Jen gets her first job on a pumpkin patch, and I think most readers will feel a longing for crisp, fall weather, hot cider, and trick-or-treating no matter what season it is currently. I can't wait to find out what the next season holds for Peapod Farm! -Mari


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