As part of the Summer Reading Program, HPL staff members get together to talk about the books they are currently reading!

HPL Staff (LtoR) - James, Greg, Leti, Martha-Rae, Pat and Caitlin

James – Hartford History Center staff
The Unwinding by George Packer
“This tells the social history of well known people as well as the not so well known people, and how history has shaped each of them. He writes history from the viewpoint of different people, and how history shaped their lives.”

Ever since the financial crash of 2008 and the ensuing Great Recession, which only now these five years later is starting to recede, like many Americans I have been in search of insight into the workings of this great capitalism and democracy machine in which we live. The first book coming to hand to enlighten on this question is by George Packer — The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. I should note up-front that, as the title signals, the news is not good for the demos. An “inner history,” Packer’s tale is most vividly related by the cogs in the machine, those whom a Frank Capra movie would portray as “the little people.” – Carla Seaquist, Huffington Post


Greg – Education Coordinator
The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes
“Bizarre in a good way. I thought it was a true story based on the voice. I liked it, and would recommend.”

The new book is a mystery of memory and missed opportunity. Tony Webster, a cautious, divorced man in his 60s who “had wanted life not to bother me too much, and had succeeded,” receives an unexpected bequest from a woman he’d met only once, 40 years earlier. The mother of his college girlfriend, Veronica, has bequeathed him £500 — a legacy that unsettles Tony, pushing him to get in touch with Veronica (their relationship had ended badly) and seek answers to certain unresolved questions. – New York Times Book Review

Leti – Park Branch Manager
The Block Captain’s Daughter by Demetria Martinez
“She writes in a very poetic way. She writes stories of people, from dream state to reality, first person to second person. I Would also recommend her other book, Mother Tongue.”

Americans are familiar with the challenges of illegal Mexican immigration into the US, but are much less accustomed to learning about the experiences of such immigrants after they’re in the country. In The Block Captain’s Daughter, Demetria Martinez introduces us to six characters and the relationships they share, describing each and their environments through the others’ eyes and voices. – Foreword Reviews

Martha Rea – Senior Library Assistant
Icarus and Love by Antoinette Brim
“I’ve read this book multiple times, I continually pick it up ot read it again. You can tell the author reads a lot, she gets in the minds of her characters.”

Icarus in Love, Antoinette Brim’s second collection, certifies the presence of a very fine poet among us.  This entire collection is a strong reminder that assessing old ways of being is necessary work and loving the self is necessary work. Antoinette Brim is obviously at the point of assured command of her craft.  The way she sifts through the past and reworks the deepest fibers of her experience is amazing evidence of the poet’s heart and skill.  Her riffs on the work of other poets ring like music. I love so many, but I’ll list “The Female Body” and “Woman Sees Starry Night” and “33 Jackson Street Aubade”–simply great poems. -Eloise Klein Healy, Poet Laureate of The City of Los Angeles


Pat – Campfield Branch Manager
The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones
“Highly recommend, craftily written. The author manages to weave multiple stories together in a way that makes it interesting to read.”

Holly Goddard Jones follows up her terrific book of short stories, “Girl Trouble” (2009), with an equally impressive novel set in the same hard-luck Kentucky town near the Tennessee border. The robust cast includes Emily, a 13-year-old who finds a body in the woods and keeps it a secret; Susanna, a schoolteacher whose hard-living sister, Ronnie, has disappeared; and Wyatt, a lonely factory worker hazed by his younger colleagues. An eerie air hangs over the novel, but Ms. Jones has a talent for making even scenes apart from the central mystery feel suspenseful. She also has a precise eye and empathy to burn, bringing each of her many characters to well-rounded life. – New York Times Book Review


Caitlin – Social Media Coordinator
Falling by Christopher Pike
“This book has so many different little stories going on, and Pike is able to weave them all together. It has intrigue, mystery, a kidnapping, a faked death, a serial killer, and an FBI agent who can’t seem to get herself out of trouble. Highly recommend.”

Matt Connor is falling. He has lost his obsession (he thinks love) to another man so he goes for the logical; he fakes his own death.  The plan is flawless, the entails perfected.  Matt Connor dies and a new man is born. Kelly Feinman is falling. She is an FBI Agent with a hero complex who loses her family and almost her life. Tracking a serial killer known as “Acid Man” on her own Kelly is in for a big surprise when she finally finds him. Kelly may survive, but she doesn’t learn from her mistakes. Falling, is filled with twists, turns and surprises. Nothing and no one are ever what they seem to be. At the heart this is a compelling tale of human nature and is worth the read. – All My Writers Review


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