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The Inferno

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Dan Brown’s latest, The Inferno follows the pattern of Brown’s other thrillers.  There is an intellectual puzzle to be solved while baddies chase and threaten the good guys. The fate of the world is in Langdon’s hands and hands of the brilliant Sienna Brooks, who accompanies him. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, specifically “Inferno”,   is the key to deciphering an obscure message left by an obsessed scientist, Zorbrist, who is intent on saving the world by destroying it. The chase and race is on… through the streets, alleyways, secret underground passages, hidden doors and tombs of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul.

Along the way Langdon delivers a running commentary on the rich history of the Italian Renaissance, Christian, and Islamic art. The abundance of information can distract from the plot versus enrich.  I would recommend reading this book for the excitement of the chase, the clues and the underlying theme, but not the convoluted plotting.

 

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder

Caitlin's picture

Do Equal Opportunity Employers really hire without discrimination? Is Twitter destroying our capacity to write, or improving it? Can Facebook predict if your marriage will last? How is Google fighting the flu?

Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OkCupid, leverages the company’s massive collection of data as a starting point for this examination of human nature. Rudder keeps the text light and readable, skipping wonky details while being sure to note when his conclusions are limited by his data. His insights range from quirky factoids—white men are most likely to read Robert Heinlein while drinking a home-brewed beer, while Asian women would rather snack on macarons and read Norwegian Wood—to sobering insights about racism, sexism, and homophobia. A must-read for anyone interested in social media and what it reveals about our personalities and communities.

"The Forgotten Garden: A Novel" by Kate Morton

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The Forgotten Garden shifts back and forth through time to solve a mystery about a four year old girl Nell; abandoned and waiting alone on a dock in Australia for parents who never come. The only link to her past is a little white suitcase the child carried when she was found.

Nell embarks on an adventure and attempts to piece together the mystery surrounding her past. Her travels lead her to Blackhurst Manor, delving deep into a family's secrets and purchasing a cottage in Cornwall near the Manor. Before she can solve the mystery of her past, Nell dies but her grandaughter Cassandra takes up the quest. This is a fairytale-like novel with old houses and hidden gardens all containing secrets and surprises.

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

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If Tara French and Gillian Flynn went on vacation in England together to an amusement park (think English Jersey Shore) this would surely be the outcome. Two women who haven't seen each other since they committed a heinous crime together as children cross paths as adults when one, now a reporter, visits the other, an amusement park employee, to investigate the brutal murders that take place in the vacation town. If you're anything like me, you'll most likely peg the killer within the first third of the book, but be warned that things are definitely not what they seem.  A perfect beach read for those in denial about the recent wintry weather or an equally creepy Halloween appropriate thriller. 

Picture Book Selection: A House in the Woods

When two pigs have their house destroyed on accident by their much larger friends, a moose and a bear, they decide to make a house that will fit all four of them comfortably.  They hire the best builders in the woods, the beavers, to build their new home.  This is a sweet story of friends and finding happiness in the woods.  This is for picture book lovers of all ages, but especially those in Preschool to Second grade.

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