Staff Pick: Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Today’s staff pick comes from Dennis, who wrote about Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner:

On New Years Day 1973, schoolteacher Roseann Quinn was stabbed to death in her New York City apartment by John Wayne Wilson, an unbalanced drifter she had met only a couple of hours earlier in a local bar. The crime, surrounded by a haze of sordid rumors about the life of a single woman in the depths of the sexual revolution, became an immediate tabloid sensation. Coverage of the case inspired novelist Judith Rossner to write Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which begins with the capture of the murderer of Theresa Dunn, a New York City schoolteacher. The killer, Gary Cooper White, is nonplussed when he learns of her profession — “Boy, some of the people they got teaching kids, I’m keeping mine out of school.”

The novel then retraces the life of Theresa from early childhood to violent consummation. Rossner’s imaginative reconstruction of Quinn is remarkable for its ambiguity. Theresa’s first sexual relationship, with a manipulative professor, is a case in point — although the professor is a thorough (and thoroughly believable) bastard, Theresa is not a simple innocent victimized by an older man in a position of authority, but neither is her sexual awakening a purely positive experience. Her double life is lampshaded by the lives of her two sisters — one, married and boring, the other, liberated but miserable. The same dichotomy is expressed in the two men with whom she carries on simultaneous relationships in the latter half of the novel — James, the caring lawyer who connects with her emotionally, and Tony, the violent hoodlum who both arouses and satisfies her lust. It is this lust which connects her to Gary and his world, but it is her fear of losing an empty freedom which drags her down to her end.

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When an adaptation is — gasp! — better than the book

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I saw this article on Book Riot recently, and it made me think of instances where I really feel the movie is better than the book. I know . . . blasphemy, right?  But, the article makes some good points, like how sometimes, the best medium to tell a story isn’t necessarily a book.

Annika Barranti Klein gives some examples in her article, like the recent movie Carol, which is the movie adaptation of The Price of Salt. She writes, “Carol in the book is an object. She is only described as Therese sees her. Carol in the movie must, by necessity, be a full person –- indeed, be the main character. Somehow, the movie achieves this while staying true to the book –- and the sum of its parts makes it, in my view, superior to the book.”

I’ve also had experiences where I have read a book, then see a movie, and feel like I enjoyed the movie more.  One of these books is Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I enjoyed the book, but I prefer the movie adaptation because I feel it’s a bit smoother (and I like some of the changes that the movie made to how some of the characters relate to each other). I also prefer the movie adaptation of Practical Magic over the book. While I enjoy many of Alice Hoffman’s books, I felt that the movie adaptation was better (perhaps because every time I see that movie, I wish I could just live in that world. Maybe as one of the sisters).

As always, I leave it up to the reader — but do you have any adaptations that you prefer over the book? We welcome comments!

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Let’s read up on literary scandals!

The literary sphere isn’t all smiles and handshakes. Read up on Flavorwire’s Top 5 literary scandals (A Million Little Pieces, believe it or not, isn’t the first or last!), and get your hands on the wave-making titles mentioned, below:

howard-cantour1. Daniel Clowes’ “Justin M. Damiano,” in The Book of Other People, ed. Zadie Smith ripped off by Shia LaBeouf in the short film

Clowes had never met or spoken with LaBeouf. And the film actor quickly took to Twitter to fire off a series of apologetic tweets:

“Copying isn’t particularly creative work,” LaBeouf wrote. “Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.”

Later, LaBeouf explained. “I lifted the text, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.”

Later still, another series of apologies followed after it was revealed that LaBeouf had copied his original apologies from articles about him on other websites. So LaBeouf was in the strange position of apologizing for his apologies.

2. The Angel at the Fence by Herman Rosenblat, a discredited Holocaust memoir

3. Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs:

The real-life Turcotte family, the basis for the “Finch” family in the book, filed a suit saying the author fabricated parts of their lives to sensationalize them. Burroughs denied the accusations, stating: “It’s still a memoir, it’s marketed as a memoir, they’ve agreed one hundred percent that it is a memoir.”

4. Awful Disclosures by Maria Monk:

Monk exposed various scandalous events that, according to her, had occurred at the Hotel Dieu convent in Montreal. She claimed convent nuns were having sexual relations with priests from the neighboring seminary who supposedly entered the convent through a secret tunnel. … [A] fuller investigation concluded there was no evidence Maria Monk “had ever been within the walls of the cloister.”

5. Clifford Irving’s never-to-be-published fictional autobiography of Howard Hughes, for which he served 17 months in jail; Irving later accounted the scandal in his true-crime memoir The Hoax, which was later made into a movie — also called The Hoax — starring Richard Gere.

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The October LibraryReads list is up!

oct-libraryreads-collageThe October list of books is up on LibraryReads! Every month, LibraryReads spotlights the top 10 books that are getting love from librarians across the country. If you click on that link, you’ll see the whole page of selections and will also see the small review by a librarian (including one of our Library’s staff this month!). You’ll find all of these in our catalog (or ask any of our friendly staff!).

This month’s selections are:
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
The Trespasser by Tana French
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Crosstalk by Connie Willis
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
All The Little Liars: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery by Charlaine Harris
Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths
The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

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This Week’s #Q&Ink

KBriding-book-2Tattoos have unique meaning to each individual. A person chooses their ink based on a personal connection. Throughout the month of September, SLPL would like to provide patrons with inspiring readings related to their art. Send a photo of your tattoo to and a Librarian will match your ink with a read. Or Tweet us a photo and use the hashtag #Q&Ink

Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii by Susanna Moore

We have a great program coming up on September 29th called “Q and Ink.” Our panel of five local tattoo artists will talk about the artistic process behind stunning designs. You’ll learn about how the medium of tattoo ink affects design, how artists work with clients to create or enhance a design, current trends in tattooing, and more. Whether you have ink of your own, or are just interested in the evolution of a tattoo from concept to completion, our experienced panelists are sure to enhance your knowledge of this significant form of art and expression.


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More #Q&Ink

Tattoos have unique meaning to each individual. A person chooses their ink based on a personal connection. Throughout the month of September, SLPL would like to provide patrons with inspiring readings related to their art. Send a photo of your tattoo to and a Librarian will match your ink with a read. Or Tweet us a photo and use the hashtag #Q&Ink


The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

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Conflict in Fiction: Try All Three Tasty Flavors!

Some more or less recent iterations, for your reading pleasure:

Man vs. Nature: Annie Proulx’s Barkskins
Man vs. Man: Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
Man vs. God(/Fate): Alan Dean Foster’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Man vs. Society: Jonas Karlsson’s The Room
Man vs. Self: Jacob Rubin’s The Poser
Man vs. No God: Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting

Man vs. Technology: Madeline Ashby’s vN
Man vs. Reality: Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Man vs. Author: Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

Have a few examples of your own? Please share them with us!

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If we tell you not to touch, then we’re sure you can’t resist…

September marks when many libraries create displays to draw attention to books that have been challenged and/or banned over the years. Banned Books Week is September 25th through October 1st, but we’ve got a display in Center for the Reader all month long!

This year, Banned Books Week focuses on the issue of diversity. It has been estimated that over half of all banned or challenged books “are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom*.”

“It’s alarming to see so many diverse voices facing censorship,” says Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition. “2016’s Banned Books Week is an important moment for communities to join together in affirming the value of diverse ideas and multiple viewpoints. By shining a light on how these ideas are censored, we hope to encourage opportunities to create engagement and understanding within our communities, and to emphasize the fundamental importance of the freedom to read.”

And now that you know that there are books that have been banned or challenged, aren’t you curious to know what they are? Come in to Center for the Reader and see what’s on display:

(Thanks to Ms. Lisa Thorp in Social Sciences for the photos!)

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Staff Pick: Echoes of Edisto

Today’s Staff Pick comes from Julie, who read Echoes of Edisto by C. Hope Clark:

Before I start talking about the Edisto mysteries, I have to comment that I love the first trilogy author C. Hope Clark penned, the Carolina Slade mysteries. They were excellent. One of the things that I love about Clark’s books is that they can be read in any order. There may be a reference here and there to another story, but it does not interfere with the plot at hand.

And that brings me to Echoes of Edisto, where “murder came in with the tide.” It’s the third book in the series. Not sure if there will be any more, but after I go back and read Books 1 and 2, I sure hope so. I know I keep hoping there will be another Carolina Slade mystery (hint hint, Ms. Clark.)

The story opens with Police Chief Callie Jean Morgan debating about going off the wagon and having to deal with a diva celebrity visiting the island. That gives way to a 10-50 call and Callie rushes to the scene.

Unfortunately, the outcome of the car-in-the-water is given away on the book jacket. It takes away from the tension of the event. But Clark pulled me back in with the next scene and the story takes off from there.

Callie must deal with the death of her officer, the almost-death of her neighbor, her burgeoning romance with one of her officers, the mother, island politics, and the fight to stay on the wagon. I was shocked that Callie would take a drink as she did several times throughout the book’s 246 pages. It was confusing, at first, to determine the relationship between her mom and dad and her neighbors Sarah and Ben.

The climax is harrowing… and shocking… which makes for a great read. I found myself gasping at the turn of events and the secrets that are uncovered. I would LOVE to tell you more, but that’s as far as I can go.

I give Echoes of Edisto 4 out of 5 stars.

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