Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Cover of Wuthering Heights

One of my quarantine books was Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I had gotten it through a Blind Date With a Book program from another library, taken in by the vague promise of a semi-haunted gothic manor in the countryside. Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped it to find Wuthering Heights. They tricked me into taking out a classic!

Wuthering Heights is a book that I somehow never read in school, and something that never sounded appealing to me – the idea of a tragic romance wasn’t really my style, and I was used to seeing romanticized images of the famed characters of the story, Cathy and Heathcliff. However, I was determined to finally read it, and what better time to do so than when you’re stuck indoors most of the day due to quarantine?

I was wrong about this book. It’s not a romance. There is romance of a sort in here, but this is a dark, bleak book, and very uncomfortable. It’s a book about abuse, anger, obsession, and revenge. It’s difficult to like any of the characters in the book save maybe a few – and even there I’m not quite sure. Because of the subject matter, it wasn’t an easy book to read. I’m not even sure I can honestly say I enjoyed reading it. Do we ever really enjoy reading or watching difficult, dark things? But I don’t think that makes them any less worthy of our attention.

So, how do I feel about it? This is a question I’ve been thinking over the past few days since finishing the book. I believe I liked the book, in a sense. I feel it was a good book, perhaps even a great book. I don’t know if I’ll ever revisit it because it was so dark. But I’m glad that I read it, and when a book has you thinking about it days after you’ve finished, I think that says something about it. There’s a sort of wildness to the book that is difficult to explain.

Included in my edition were a couple forwards by Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre and perhaps the most famous Brontë sibling. It also included an introduction by another author. All of this was interesting to read in order to get an insight in both Emily Brontë’s life and of the entire Brontë family. This has made me a whole lot more interested in learning more about the family, and of Emily Brontë.

If you ask me in a week, or in a month, or in a year, it wouldn’t shock me if my opinion of this book changes over time. I do recommend checking it out at some point if this book at all intrigues you (maybe not during quarantine – perhaps go for something lighter!). And if you do end up reading it, I’d also recommend looking up Kate Beaton’s funny webcomic portrayals of scenes from the book in her comic Hark! A Vagrant.

– Anne, BPL

Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams

Cover of Murder In the Mystery Suite

This is book one of six in the Book Retreat Mystery series.

Jane Steward, a widow with 6 yr old twin boys, runs Storyton Resort. Storyton is a resort that caters to people who love to read. It is situated in the hills of Virginia. Jane runs the resort with her Great Aunt and Uncle. Business is slow and to generate more revenue, Jane comes up with the idea of having a themed week. All guests are to come dressed as their favorite literary detective. The week goes well until one of the guests turns up dead.

I LOVE this book! As I write this review, I have not yet finished it. I was enjoying it as I do most all cozy mysteries, but without giving anything away, I got about a quarter of the way through the story and WOW! Something happens that adds a whole new dimension to the story. The book is very well written, the characters are wonderful and surprising. I can’t say enough about this book. Now I must stop this review and go finish reading the book. I hope you all give this a try and enjoy it as much as I do. I will definitely read the whole series.

– Carol, Mystery Buff BC

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

Cover of Phoebe and Her Unicorn

A while back, I was browsing through the stacks of a bookstore, looking for a good new comic to read. I love, love, love graphic novels and was hoping to find something new, and I soon found myself looking through the kids’ section, waiting for something to catch my eye. Cue Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson. The pink and sparkly cover featuring a happy girl and unicorn immediately caught my attention. And upon opening it, I saw an introduction from Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, claiming, “…Phoebe and Her Unicorn is nothing less than the best comic strip to come along since Calvin and Hobbes.” Very high praise, and, being a Calvin and Hobbes fan myself, I decided to check it out.

This book is the first of a number of collections of the comic strip. We’re introduced to a precocious 9-year-old girl named Phoebe who one day meets an arrogant, self-absorbed unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils (no, really). After inadvertently saving the unicorn, Phoebe is granted one wish, and the result is a friendship between the unusual pair. The rest of the book introduces Phoebe’s family and classmates as she navigates the world with her new unicorn pal.

I love this comic! It’s legitimately funny and took me by surprise. I highly recommend it!

– Anne, BPL

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven - cover

This book had me from the first page and I didn’t put it down till I reached the last. No matter what your beliefs about afterlife, this is an incredible story of humanity, love and loss. You’ll find yourself wanting more from each character that you meet. The gruff main character Eddie will pull at your heartstrings as you learn more and more about, his life and those that helped shaped him.

Keep the sequel (The Next Person You Meet in Heaven) close to you – you’ll want it immediately after you turn the last page of this book.

– Amy, FOBPL

One Summer by Nora Roberts

This book is a sweet bit of fluff. Wanderlust is mixed with a reluctant but blooming romance between 2 gifted photographers given the assignment of traveling the United States to take photographs of what inspires them. On the road, in only the company of one another, these 2 artistic but totally different personalities, learn to appreciate each other’s very different perspectives on what makes the perfect photograph.

Just as film develops to reveal moments captured by the photographers lens, these 2 characters develop a mutual respect for one another and an intense love for one another. Their journey reveals a past of severe Post-trauma for one, a past of dreams lost for the other but a strength within them both to break down the barriers they have carried with them for too many years and love again.

– Joanie, BPL

Jumanji Movie Marathon

Jumanji movie covers

Our JUMANJI MARATHON

JUMANJI

We first enjoyed Robin Williams and crew in the original Jumanji DVD Rated PG.

Robin Williams played Alan, Bonnie Hunt was Sarah, and Kirsten Dunst & Bradley Pierce were the unwitting children when all of them were swept into the game. The story is of a young boy who disappears for 26 years, and returns to his home amid total chaos and wonderful and terrifying adventures.

JUMANJI: Welcome to the Jungle

New Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan Rated PG 13 (stronger language)

Four teenagers in detention, all completely opposite in characteristics, and an old video game console in the basement. What could go wrong? SO many things!! I don’t want to warn you, just be ready!!

Keep your eyes open for the nuances that link the stories together.

JUMANJI: The Next Level

Same Cast as Jungle, Rated PG 13 again.

This story opens a short time later, but the game has changed, and the graphic continue to improve. I won’t give away the changes, but they are ”not in Kansas anymore”. You will need to be attentive to all the switches, and you will again find links and bridges to the other stories.

We highly recommend an evening of popcorn & Jumanji, chuckles and gasps (and sweaty palms) – and the drum beats go on!!!

– Beth, Mystery Buff BC

Watership Down by Richard Adams

I decided that this was the time to introduce my kids to Watership Down via audiobook. The kids started their journey with the rabbits on Monday. It’s a hit. We all listen to it during breakfast before the kids zip off to homework and chores. This trustee gives it two thumbs up!

– Alyshia Jensen, Trustee

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

In this book, the first of a trilogy, we follow Kelsea Raleigh, a young princess, as she comes out of hiding in order to claim her throne. This might sound like a typical fantasy story featuring a spunky young princess, but it’s deeper (and darker) than you might expect. While definitely a fantasy novel, there are sci-fi elements too as we realize that Kelsea’s ancestors sailed to this new land to escape modern technology. The capital of her kingdom is called “New London,” a very familiar sounding name, so as you read the book, you wonder what happened in the past, and if this is really a dystopian novel after all.

Kelsea’s quest to retake the throne is not an easy one. A lot of people would prefer her dead. There is a lot of political intrigue in this novel, and a lot of violence, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Some have even compared it to Game of Thrones. I’m not sure I would go quite that far, but it’s definitely a great read and I recommend it. The mysteries, secrecy, and the fleshed-out characters will keep you wanting to read more.

– Anne, BPL

Hellstrom’s Hive by Frank Herbert

A mad entomolgist’s efforts to create a utopian society filled with members bred to sacrifice themselves for the survival of the collective hive has become the world’s greatest threat. The outside world becomes more and more suspicious over Dr. Hellstrom’s unusual farm and scientific studies, labeled as Project 40.

When agents are sent undercover to discover what might be happening at Hellstrom’s Farm but then disappear, the agency becomes highly alarmed. More agents are sent in but no one is prepared for discovery of the absolute abomination that Dr. Hellstrom’s Project 40 has become.

– Joanie, BPL

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

In the book, the author explores parenting, gender issues, unconditional love, and family all in one well-written book that I couldn’t put down!

When three-year-old Claude asks to wear a dress and refers to being a girl when he grows up, parents Rosie and Penn realize they are in a situation for which they are painfully unprepared. Doing everything they possibly can to support their child, Rosie and Penn help Claude transition into Poppy. She’s thrilled to be Poppy and blossoms into a happy, joyful child. Yet problems soon arise when keeping a secret as big as ‘Poppy’ becomes a secret that ends up keeping the entire family.

Frankel weaves a layered, complex, and rich story exploring themes of self-identity, self-loathing, and self-esteem in the transgender community. Highly Recommended! ~Rebecca, BPL