Library News

Cookbook Club

Monday, June 17, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

This month’s cookbook is Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings by America’s Test Kitchen. Choose a recipe to make and bring your dish to share with everyone at the meeting!

Please register for this session below and pick up your copy of the cookbook at the borrowing desk. Registration and books will be available on May 13th.

“Chris Picks” for June

[Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.]


One piece of my worldview is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I believe we all return. Here are a few books that helped me realize this for myself.

I don’t expect everyone to agree, but if you keep an open mind while reading these books, you may come away with a few more questions about what you believe.

Destiny of Souls is the follow-up to Journey of Souls, in which author Michael Newton, a certified hypnotherapist, puts clients under deep regression to reveal their previous lives. This compelling book will have you rethinking what happens after we pass.

Old Souls
Journalist Tom Shroder followed University of Virginia professor Ian Stevenson to India to research children who remember past lives. I found it fascinating that many of the children (ages 5-8) when shown pictures or brought to their “old” families, could pick out who they were close to in their last life. This is also the first place where I read that birthmarks are sometimes wounds that reveal how people died in their previous lifetime. Whether you believe it or not, these stories of children recalling their last life in great detail may have you reconsidering life and death.

Soul Survivor
“Plane on fire!” “Little man can’t get out!” These are the words of James Leininger, who, a bit after his second birthday, started having nightmares, and not just bad dreams but night terrors, in which the young boy would wake night after night screaming that phrase and others. This behavior continued for months with no resolution. When little James provides details about aircraft that he should not know, his parents become concerned, and then curious.

On Life After Death
Having had a near-death experience myself long before reading this book, and always having a sense that something beyond existed, this book gave me comfort in knowing that others felt the same way and were unashamed to discuss such events.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has been a master at explaining life and death for years and On Life After Death should live in the pantheon of “Life and Death” books (along with her groundbreaking On Death and Dying).

Raymond Moody scored big with his Life After Life book when it first appeared in 1975. I have since read many more of his books, and each one has deep meaning for me.

Reincarnation Blues: A Novel
All Milo wants is to stay with his lover, Suzie, who is also the one he refers to as “death.” The one who helps him cross over during each of his nine thousand-plus deaths. According to author Michael Poore, we each get ten thousand lives to prove we are worth moving into the great beyond.

Does Milo prove his worth? You’ll have to read the book to discover the answer.

Summer@Scranton Block Party

Saturday, June 29, 5:30 p.m.

Join us as we kick off our summer reading season! We’ll have food, crafts, games, music, a petting zoo, and more! Please note that the library parking lot will be closed at 3:00 on June 29 for the block party. Participants should park on Wall Street or in the parking lot across from the library.

“Chris Picks” for May: Flowers

[Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.]


In celebration of the Mayflower, this month will have books with flowers associated with them, in either the author’s name or the title of the book.

Dandelion Wine
Ray Bradbury is a speculative writer I have admired for a long while. Dandelion Wine is set in the fictional town of Green Town, Illinois. The protagonist of the novel is a twelve-year-old somewhat based on Bradbury.

Flowers in the Attic
This is the book that started the V.C. Andrews craze in the late 1970s. The book is about a family of children hidden away in their grandmother’s attic.

Rose Connors
Rose Connors writes mysteries that take place in Sandwich on Cape Cod. The setting is well-drawn; it almost becomes a secondary character. Her books in order of publication follow:

Absolute certainty
Temporary sanity
Maximum security
False testimony

Killers of the Flower Moon
David Grann has quickly become one of my favorite nonfiction writers up there with Erik Larson. Killers recounts the origins of the FBI. In the wake of the murders of wealthy Osage people, the newly formed FBI investigates what happened. As with Erik Larson’s books, I found Killers hard to put down.

Rose Madder
As I have read more books by Stephen King, I have come to understand his popularity. If you have domestic violence triggers, here’s your warning. There’s also a Greek mythology trope woven through the book. This is another King book I surprisingly enjoyed.

“Chris Picks” for April: Pseudonyms

[Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.]


Since this is April (which includes April Fool’s Day), this month we highlight pseudonyms.

How many of these pen names do you know without cheating? Who is the real writer hiding behind? I’ve read at least one book from each of them.

Joe Hill
How many people know who Joe Hill is?  Once you see his picture there will be no denying his genes.

Robert Galbraith
Everyone knows Robert Galbraith now. When the author started using the name, they hoped to remain anonymous for a long time. They were discovered because a sharp-eyed bookstore employee found language and sentence structure similar in tone to the writer behind the pseudonym.

Benjamin Black
John Banville is someone I look forward to reading with each book he releases. As with Jonathan Carroll, another of my all-time favorite writers, Banville’s elegant prose makes me slow down and marvel at his art. Benjamin Black is his pen name, and he still has the talent to make you stop in the middle of a sentence and take in the magic of his words.

Richard Stark
I had no clue that Stark is Donald Westlake’s most successful pseudonym. I’ve read books authored by both Stark and Westlake and thought they were penned by different people. That’s how impressively Westlake hides behind his pseudonym.

John le Carré
I had no clue that le Carre is a pen name. Upon learning the reason he chose to use a pseudonym, I understand why he did so.

“Chris Picks” Books for March: Airplanes

[Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.]


Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper
By Geoffrey Gray
I love this story! During Thanksgiving week 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, Washington bound for Seattle. When in the air, Cooper opened the briefcase he had carried on and showed a flight attendant a bomb he said he had made. He demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. Flight 305 landed in Seattle. Cooper released all the passengers, and the plane took off again. This time it was carrying Cooper, a flight attendant, and three pilots. Cooper demanded to be flown to Mexico. Sometime during the flight, he jumped out of the plane using the plane’s aft stairs. No one ever heard from him again.

Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle
By Marc Gonsalves
In February 2003 three American contractors, Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes, and Keith Stansell were travelling to South America when their plane went down. They survived the plane crash only to be captured and held hostage for over five years by FARCAt just under 500 pages, this book held me in its spell from the first page. Out of Captivity is more than a story of these three people. What initially drew me to their story was the tale of their rescue.

A team of rescuers had infiltrated FARC and had spoken with FARC members who were holding 15 hostages including Marc, Tom, and Keith. The rescuers had made plans with FARC to meet and take the hostages to another location. Even the hostages were unaware of the plan, and it wasn’t until everyone was in the air aboard helicopters that the infiltration team took off their masks and revealed that the hostages were now free and were being taken to a secure location.

Into the Abyss: An Extraordinary True Story
By Carol Shaben
In October 1984 a commuter plane crashed in Alberta, British Columbia, killing six people. Four survived. This is the story of how the four survived and the bonds they made during that time.

When I Fell From the Sky: The True Story of One Woman’s Miraculous Survival
By Juliane Koepcke
Juliane Koepcke’s parents were scientists in the South American jungle. Juliane grew up with an exceptional knowledge of the forest, and this served her well when she was just seventeen. While traveling by plane with her mother back home to South America, the plane flew into a massive thunderstorm and everyone on board died. Juliane was the only survivor, but how she survived is the story. She fell two miles while still strapped into her plane seat and crashed into the leafy canopy of the very forest she grew up in.

Lost Horizon
By James Hilton
Along with The Scarlet Letter, Lost Horizon ranks high on my all-time classics list, in the top five.
Escaping the war in China, passengers on a plane are taken to a valley in the Himalayas where time seems to have stopped. I remember reading Lost Horizon for the first time in 1978 while in eighth grade. As with The Scarlet Letter, I have read the book a few more times since then, and I like it more each time I finish.


“Chris Picks” February Books

[Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.]


I know. I know. January had us thinking about Spring with our baseball theme. Now we’re back in winter mode. February is the heart of winter, so why not?

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel
By Katherine Arden
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and like Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment and Kim Wilkins’ The Veil of Gold, The Bear and the Nightingale is a folklore tale set in old Russia (the 14th century). Young Vasya joins the Frost King to save her village.

A Winter’s Tale
By Mark Helprin
The New York Times singled out A Winter’s Tale as one of the best works of American fiction published in the late 20th century. It’s not difficult to understand why with its timeless themes of love, the human spirit, and New York City. A theme that caught my interest is the subplot of Peter Lake’s multiple lives, as I firmly believe in past lives.

Snow
By John Banville
John Banville has long been one of my go-to writers since I first read The Book of Evidence years ago. It looks like Snow is going to be a new series with Detective John Strafford. Strafford is called to Wexford Ireland to investigate the death of a priest during the middle of a snowstorm. Will he unravel the mystery? Banville is a master (like William Trevor) of intellectual fiction without pretense. Don’t miss out on either writer.

Endurance
By Alfred Lansing
Endurance is the story of Ernest Shackleton’s plan to cross Antarctica on foot. This is a heart-pounding book.

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern
Some debut novels stay with you long after you have read them, and The Night Circus is a book that continues to resonate in my heart and mind. Filled with my favorite magic, The Night Circus unfolds in a different town every night. Two young magicians take center stage in this story as one competes to better the other. As sometimes happens with two competitors, Celia and Marco develop feelings for each other. This does not bode well.