Favorite Quotes

"My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out."

— Dylan Thomas

Reader's Link

Browsing all staff pick reviews written by 'Hui-Lan'

A Venetian Elder Abuse Mystery

Unto Us a Son is Given

Title: Unto Us a Son is Given
By: Donna Leon

Unto us a son is given is Donna Leon's newest book, published in March, 2019. Unlike her previous 27 installments of Guido Brunetti mysteries, it concentrates on solving a case of financial elder abuse turning into murders (image courtesy Penguin UK). Eighty-five-year-old Gonzalo Rodriguez de Tejada is a naturalized Italian. ... [Read more]


Life goes on

The Voices Beyond

Title: The Voices Beyond
By: Johan Theorin

Öland is like paradise to the nearly 12-year-old Jonas Kloss. He is going to spend the last summer of the 20th century at the family resort, Villa Kloss, and earn some spending money by painting decks for his Uncle Kent and Aunt Veronica. Little does he know that an evening ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery

Found in translation

Love in a fallen city

Title: Love in a fallen city
By: Ailing Zhang

In 2007, New York Review Books published Love in a Fallen City, a collection of seven novellas by famed Chinese writer Zhang Ailing. Originally published in 1943, it tells the story of a rapidly declining aristocratic family in Shanghai at the end of the 1930s. Not unlike Mrs. Bennet, the ... [Read more]


Treacherous net, treacherous human hearts

The Treacherous Net

Title: The Treacherous Net
By: Helene Tursten

Many of our readers are familiar with Swedish author Helene Tursten. Her character, Detective Inspector Irene Huss, appears in a number of books, audiobooks, & DVDs in our library catalog. The Treacherous Net, her latest translated mystery, is a complex work, with an ambitious theme dealing with loneliness, the most ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery

Take fiscal responsibility as well

You Disappear

Title: You Disappear
By: Christian Jungersen

I have finished reading You Disappear by Danish novelist Christian Jungersen, but its impact is such that my mind simply will not let it go. The story is straightforward: Mia Halling, a school teacher, is struck with a series of unpleasant surprises. One hot Mediterranean day during a family vacation ... [Read more]



W is for Wasted

Title: W is for Wasted
By: Sue Grafton

I have to confess I was not a Sue Grafton fan. For some reason, I used to be turned off by her formulaic, alphabetically ordered treatments of titles, not to mention her typecast characters and plot-driven story lines in the Kinsey Millhone mystery series. In response to public requests, SCPL ... [Read more]

mystery, audiobook

Want to Be Great: Boss


Title: Bruce
By: Peter Arnes Carlin

Bruce is a new biography of singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen by Peter Ames Carlin, author of Paul McCartney:a life. The book concentrates on the difference between Springsteen and many other musicians: from Steel Mill to E Street Band, he has been a true cultural and working-class icon, deep-rooted in ... [Read more]


Mistress Agatha

Hiss and Hers

Title: Hiss and Hers
By: M.C. Beaton

Hiss and Hers, the 23rd installment of the Agatha Raisin mysteries, celebrates the 20th anniversary of the creation of the series by M.C. Beaton. As she hunts for the murderer of her handsome gardener, George Marston, Agatha meets a stronger adversary for the first time in her career. The character ... [Read more]


Reading Grapes of Wrath in the 21st Century

The Grapes of Wrath

Title: The Grapes of Wrath
By: John Steinbeck

According to Steinbeck scholars, the Grapes of Wrath is the most thoroughly discussed novel in 20th century American literature. But a reading in the 21st century can enable us to have deeper discussions, such as the practice of bank foreclosures and their aftermath. Lured by the promises on handbills, the ... [Read more]

fiction, classics

All about Justice, All about Politics

Another Time, Another Life: the Story of a Crime

Title: Another Time, Another Life: the Story of a Crime
By: Leif G.W. Persson

I read and recently listened to "Another Time, Another Life" by Leif G. W. Persson, and I was struck by its refreshing political humor and reality. Through solving a cold murder case, the book reveals a strong sense of justice on the part of the Swedish secret police, especially its ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery

Finding Happiness at Work

The Art of Happiness at Work

Title: The Art of Happiness at Work
By: Dalai Lama XIV

The Art of Happiness at Work (2003) is the second collaboration by His Holiness Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard C. Cutler, an American psychiatrist, following their The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living (1988). It focuses on finding happiness at work, a topic touching the lives of the majority ... [Read more]


Seville Quartet

The Ignorance of Blood

Title: The Ignorance of Blood
By: Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson’s The Ignorance of Blood not only ends Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón Seville quartet, but more importantly, completes the full recovery cycle of the protagonist’s troubled life. Javier Falcón’s troubled life is revealed in the first part of the quartet, The Blind Man of Seville (2003). While investigating the ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery

Finding Roseanna


Title: Roseanna
By: Maj Sjöwall

After purchasing the complete set of Martin Beck mysteries on audio for the library, I found my curiosity piqued by the lasting charm of the series by Maj Sjöwall and her husband Per Wahlöö. During the period of 1965 to 1975, the couple wrote one 30-chapter mystery every year. The ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery

In the Name of Blue Demon

City of Fear

Title: City of Fear
By: David Hewson

Rome was under siege in the heat of tourist season and on the eve of the G8 summit. In the name of the Blue Demon to revive Etruscan civilization, a group of terrorists started a series of deadly attacks on the city’s officials and people, the presidential palace, the conference, ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery

When Two Brothers Love the Same Woman


Title: Nemesis
By: Jo Nesbo

Harry Hole is not an unfamiliar detective inspector to many Scandinavian mystery readers in Santa Cruz. The redbreast (2006) begins with Harry and his partner Ellen on surveillance detail. Oslo happens to be the scene of an international summit meeting. The devil's star (2005) finds Harry taking on a murder ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery
1 Comment

Smiley's Honor-bound Labor

The Honourable Schoolboy

Title: The Honourable Schoolboy
By: John LeCarre

Recently, I have re-read John Le Carré’s The Honourable Schoolboy, and gained some deeper understanding of George Smiley, a unique British character who plays an essential and indispensible role whenever a crisis occurs, but is forever forgotten by bureaucratic machines for any career promotions or advancement, despite every single victory ... [Read more]

1 Comment

Looking Back, Youth

The Price of Love and Other Stories

Title: The Price of Love and Other Stories
By: Peter Robinson

Inspector Alan Banks is a familiar character to many of Peter Robinson’s readers. He is mostly known as an experienced, persistent but sometimes lone detective. We can see his career growing from Gallows View (1987) to All the Colors of Darkness (2009). However, what was he like before joining the ... [Read more]

short stories, fiction, mystery
1 Comment

Gone But Not Forgotten

Davenport Cement Centennial

Title: Davenport Cement Centennial
By: Alverda Orlando & Robert Piwarzyk

Librarian Alverda Orlando has been an authoritative historian on Davenport, California for decades. This is the first time she has collaborated with Robert Piwarzyk, a limestone expert/engineer, to compile a complete history of Davenport Cement Plant, one of the few cement plants existing in California. It will be of even ... [Read more]

non-fiction, history

Icelandic Clashes

Arctic Chill

Title: Arctic Chill
By: Arnaldur Indridason

Arctic Chill opens with the stabbing death of Elias, a half-Thai and half-Icelandic boy of ten. Paralleled with Elias’ death is the murder case of a new wife by her unfaithful husband. Unlike his previous four mysteries, Arnaldur’s fifth book is haunted by a series of polemic clashes. Apart from ... [Read more]

fiction, mystery

A Swede in Zambia

The Eye of the Leopard

Title: The Eye of the Leopard
By: Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell, the creator of Kurt Wallander mysteries, does not restrict himself just to the boundaries of Sweden, his native country. By working as director at Teatro Avenida in Maputo, Mozambique since 1985, he has truly made Africa his second home. The Eye of the Leopard has shown us a ... [Read more]

1 Comment

Pathways to Santa Cruz County & Its People

Pathways to the Past: Adventures in Santa Cruz County History

Title: Pathways to the Past: Adventures in Santa Cruz County History
By: Alverda Orlando and 21 others

Pathways to the Past is not the first book on the history of Santa Cruz County. As a matter of fact, at the time of this writing, our library catalog alone shows 135 titles on its history from early ones like Illustrations of Santa Cruz County, California, with historical sketch ... [Read more]

non-fiction, history, biography
1 Comment

Lime Kilns in the Limelight

Lime Kiln Legacies

Title: Lime Kiln Legacies
By: Frank A. Perry, and others

Lime Kiln Legacies is the first complete history of the lime industry in Santa Cruz County. The rise and fall of the lime industry in Santa Cruz County coincides with the developing history of California. In the first half of the 1800s, only small amounts of lime began to be ... [Read more]

non-fiction, history

Correspondence from the German Occupation

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Upon a strong recommendation and kind provision of the book, I started to embark on the reading of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. However I had a slow start. For some reason, I was deterred by its format consisting of letters or correspondence between the protagonist Juliet ... [Read more]

fiction, history

Book Kits

To help your book discussion group, we've gathered a collection of popular paperback titles and sorted them into kits which can be sent to you upon request.

Learn more... Browse titles...

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