The Martian by Andy Weir

the-martianA great thriller set on Mars.  Be warned: it’s very science-heavy.  If you can get past that (give it 40-50 pages), you’re in for a treat!  Mark Watney is one of six astronauts on the third manned expedition to Mars.  Six days into their research, a huge dust storm forces them to abandon the mission.  Thinking Mark has been killed, he is left behind alone (the first line: “I’m pretty much fucked”).  Many reviews mention that it’s like MacGyver or Robinson Crusoe on Mars and that’s pretty accurate, as Mark uses his skills to try to survive until he can be rescued.

-review by Donna Bacchiocchi, Manager of Technical Services

Check It Out

Check the availability of The Martian here in our catalog.

Learn More

Read other reviews of Andy Weir’s debut novel on Kirkus (here) and The Christian Science Monitor (here) . Or, try the book on for size by reading (or listening to, if you prefer) an excerpt from The Martian here on ScienceFriday.com.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnGone Girl is a completely addictive true-crime thriller.  On her five-year wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing from her home. Did her husband Nick kill her?  Told in alternating chapters by Amy and Nick, there are twists and turns with brutal insights into marriage.  To say more would ruin your enjoyment!  If you like Dateline, Investigation Discovery, and the like (and even if you don’t!), you will like this engrossing novel.

- Review by Donna Bacchiocchi, Manager of Technical Services

Learn More

Gone Girl has been a fixture on the bestseller lists this summer and was selected by Barnes and Noble as a Top 25 Summer Read. The novel has also been reviewed extensively, including by Janet Maslin in the The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly (Flynn was once a TV critic for the magazine),  and Kirkus Reviews.  Gillian Flynn can be found online at http://gillian-flynn.com/ and on Facebook.

Check it Out

Check the library catalog to see if Gone Girl is on the shelf.  Current Bentley students, faculty and staff may also download Gone Girl as an eBook (Kindle and ePub formats) or audiobook via our downloadable books site (Overdrive).

Books to Take on Vacation

We’re here to help you select some great books for your next vacation!  The current display at the library features our newest popular reading arrivals and includes many recent New York Times bestsellers.  We’ve also thrown in a few favorites from past seasons. Stop by to browse before your next getaway.  Or, click here to view the list online and log-in to your library account to place holds on the books you want.  We suggest that you keep checking back – we will be adding the July and August releases as they arrive.

We’d also love to hear what you have to say about the books you’re reading… Hover over “Your Turn to Share With Us” at the top of the page and select “Write a Review”.  Send us your thoughts and we’ll publish your review here on Book Buzz!

Bentley Readers Share Their Literary Recommendations / Summer 2011 Bentley University Observer

Have you cracked open the Summer 2011 issue of the Bentley University Observer yet?  In What are you reading?, Bentley faculty, staff, students and alums share their literary recommendations. The list of suggestions includes some wonderful fiction and nonfiction titles, and we’re happy to report that almost of them are available here at the Bentley Library!  So take a look, and let us know if you have something more to add.  You can submit your own book review to our Book Buzz blog – just click on “Your Turn to Share With Us” at the top of this page, and then select “Write a Review”.

Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness by Neil Strauss

Rock journalist Neil Strauss has interviewed numerous musicians and celebrities for various publications over the years.  Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead is not a compilation of these interviews but instead one-minute snippets from these interviews, most of them previously unpublished, because Strauss believes that you can learn a lot about someone in a minute.  They are organized into ten themed “acts” and are extremely readable and enjoyable.  Strauss is an excellent interviewer and holds no disdain for almost everyone he interviews, from the egotistical to the naïve to the crazy.  I found it fascinating.

- Review by Donna Bacchiocchi, Manager of Technical Services

Check it Out

Click here to check the library catalog for Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. Once there, you can place a hold on the book by clicking the [Request] button.

Learn More About the Author

You can find Neil Strauss on Facebook and Twitter (@neilstrauss).  He also blogs at http://www.neilstrauss.com/neil-strauss/.

This Year’s Top 10 Popular Reading & Audiobooks [2010/11]

Have you ever wondered what the Bentley Library’s most popular items are?  Well, we have the answer! Each May we query our database to find out which books, audiobooks and DVDs have circulated the most times during the academic year.  Essentially, it’s our annual “best sellers” list.

Check out the BENTLEY LIBRARY TOP 10 POPULAR READING and TOP 10 AUDIOBOOKS lists for academic year 2010/2011 below to see which titles have been most in-demand this year.  You can also check out our Top 10 Most Circulated Items lists for Stacks (the regular book collection) and DVDs over at the In the Know @ the Bentley Library blog!

 

Top 10 Most Circulated Books from the Popular Reading Collection

  1. OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS by Malcom Gladwell [check availability]
  2. THE BIG SHORT: INSIDE THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE by Michael Lewis [check availability]
  3. FREEDOM: A NOVEL by Jonathan Franzen [check availability]
  4. CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins [check availability]
  5. EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert [check availability]
  6. THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett [check availability]
  7. INNOCENT by Scott Turow [check availability]
  8. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST by Stieg Larsson [check availability]
  9. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by Stieg Larsson [check availability]
  10. PRIVATE by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro [check availability]

Top 10 Most Circulated Audiobooks

  1. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen [check availability]
  2. EARTH (THE AUDIOBOOK) by Jon Stewart [check availability]
  3. FREAKONOMICS: A ROGUE ECONOMIST EXPLORES THE HIDDEN SIDE OF EVERYTHING by Steven Levitt [check availability]
  4. NUDGE: IMPROVING DECISIONS ABOUT HEALTH, WEALTH AND HAPPINESS by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein [check availability]
  5. THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK: ESCAPE 9-5, LIVE ANYWHERE, AND JOIN THE NEW RICH by Timothy Ferriss [check availability]
  6. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST by Stieg Larsson [check availability]
  7. ROOM: A NOVEL by Emma Donoghue [check availability]
  8. BLACK HILLS by Nora Roberts [check availability]
  9. SUPERFREAKONOMICS by Steven Levitt [check availability]
  10. THE BIG SHORT: INSIDE THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE by Michael Lewis [check availability]

Swamplandia! By Karen Russell

In this imaginative novel, Swamplandia! is a tourist attraction deep in the Florida Everglades, owned and operated by the eccentric Bigtree family.  They raise and wrestle alligators and enjoy putting on daily shows, running concessions, meeting the public, and performing for thousands of visitors a year.  The father, also known as The Chief, the mother and star performer Hilola, their son, Kiwi, and daughters Osceola and Ava, as well as Grandpa Sawtooth, make up the loving yet dysfunctional Bigtree family.

When tragedy strikes their mother and Hilola passes away, life at the amusement park declines quickly and the remaining family members must forage into the surrounding world to try to save Swamplandia! and their way of life and move past their grief.  Because they are isolated on their island and by the surrounding swamps, “normal” life is a challenge for them all.

The writing is wonderful and the characters are heartbreaking.  I found the book funny, sad, suspenseful, and a bit frustrating at times (why does The Chief disappear for so long?).  I read a review that mentioned “innocence lost” and that is an accurate description of Swamplandia!

- Review by Donna Bacchiocchi, Manager of Technical Services

Check it Out

Swamplandia! is Karen Russell’s first novel, but her literary debut was made in 2006 with a critically acclaimed collection of short stories titled St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. (In fact, Swamplandia! has its roots in “Ava Wrestles the Alligator”, one of the stories from that collection.)  Click here to view the current availability of Swamplandia!and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.

Learn More

Swamplandia! has been one of 2011’s most buzzed about novels and has been reviewed in dozens of places.  A few that you might want to consider reading are The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe and NPR (where you can also read an excerpt of the novel).

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

I would like to highly recommend The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey. I really enjoyed Casey’s writing and found it on par with the writing of Bill Bryson for entertainment value. Her descriptions of people who ride giant waves, study waves and provide rescue missions for victims of hurricanes and tropical storms are vivid and fascinating. She also personalized the story by discussing her experiences along with the interviews of others and the research from historical records. It is a nice blend of adventure and information.

- Review by Kimberly Morin, Reference Librarian

Check it Out

Check the catalog to see if The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean is currently available.

Learn More

The Wave has received praise from many reviewers – including The New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR.  Author Susan Casey says she “wanted to write about the most powerful force in nature through the eyes of the people who understood it the most”, including top surfer Laird Hamilton and the scientists who are studying wave behavior.    Check out the trailer below to see Casey and Hamilton talk about waves and the power of nature.


Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman

Thoroughly engrossing look at life inside a women’s prison.  The author was a recent Smith college grad and became involved with a crowd that dealt drugs.  She did a favor for someone and ended up arrested.  Ten years later she is sentenced to serve 15 months in jail.  Her insights into everyday life in a modern day women’s prison and the people she meets there are thoughtful, non-judgmental, and fascinating.

- Review by Donna Bacchiocchi, Manager of Technical Services

Check it Out

Check to see if Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison is currently on the shelf.

Learn More

Author Piper Kerman’s blog provides links to several critical reviews of Orange is the New Black, and to her numerous media appearances (including interviews with Time, Salon.com, and NPR’s Talk of the Nation).  You can also read an excerpt of the book in Marie Claire magazine.

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield

Awesome book about what 80’s music means to a young guy looking for love. Rob Sheffield is a music journalist at Rolling Stone and has great insight into music from the 1980’s. He begins the decade as a 13-year-old awkward boy and ends it as a 23-year-old man trying to find his place in life and love. Each chapter is a different song title and he writes about what that music meant to him growing up – along the way he riffs about pop culture and is very funny. I especially loved the chapter about “cassingles” as I had quite the collection of them too.

One minor critique — he worked as a shelving manager in a library and mentioned that he shelved biology books in the HQ section; unless he was purposely mis-shelving them he should have put them where they belonged in the QH section. That’s why if I wasn’t a librarian, I should be an editor (but then again I might not have noticed the error then!).  :)

- Review by Donna Bacchiocchi, Manager of Technical Services

Check it Out

Check our catalog to see if either Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut, or Rob Sheffield’s first bestselling book, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, are available.

Learn More

Visit the author’s web site to learn more about the author and his books.   Duran Duran fans might be thrilled to know that the band was happy to be name-checked in the book, and you can even listen to Simon Le Bon himself read excerpts from the book!  You may also read an excerpt of Talking to Girls About Duran Duran… at the publisher’s web site.

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