Thursday, July 10, 2014

Staff Review: Vintage by Susan Gloss

Set against the trendy backdrop of a vintage boutique in Madison, Wisconsin, Susan Gloss’s charming novel revolves around 30-something store owner Violet and the female customers she befriends.

Each chapter begins with an introduction to one of the shop’s retro items. Readers then become acquainted with a cast of women who, like the clothing and accessories in the boutique, have unique stories to tell and are beautiful, despite their flaws. Each character has recently encountered a challenge in her life, whether it be divorce, adultery, or an unplanned pregnancy. Even the vintage shop, which is a character in its own right, is struggling to survive in the neighborhood’s changing landscape.

As the lives of the characters grow more entwined, they find ways to help one another overcome their problems. Vintage becomes a celebration of life and death and stresses the importance of friendship and following your heart. The book’s outcome may be a bit sappy for some, but the optimistic, feel-good ending suits the overall tone of the story.

Readers looking for tales of female friendship and a touch of romance should check out this book. Despite the hardships plaguing the novel’s characters, Vintage remains sweet and upbeat. This, coupled with the fact that the chapters are easy to fly through and don’t require a great deal of concentration, makes the book perfect for a summer read. Author Susan Gloss also goes out of her way to bring the downtown area of Madison to life, making this a fun read for anyone familiar with the city.

-Abbey, Technical Services

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Magazines of the Month: Smithsonian & The Sun

Our July magazines of the month celebrate the culture and history of this great nation. The Smithsonian is a national collection of museums, archives, and research centers covering everything from history to space exploration. The Sun is a literary and photography magazine that began publication in a North Carolina garage in 1974.

The Smithsonian magazine is available to read through our Zinio collection on your tablet, smart phone, or computer. The magazine began publication in the 1970s, and issues are released monthly. You can learn more about the Smithsonian Institution here: and the Smithsonian magazine here:

Sy Safransky is the man behind The Sun, and is in many ways a reflection of his ideals, including its dedication to physical print and keeping its pages ad-free. You can learn more about The Sun on their website:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Boating and NASCAR Illustrated are our June Magazines of the Month

June is a perfect time of year for outdoor activities, which has inspired our selection for the magazines of the month: Boating and NASCAR Illustrated. That Father's Day is June 15th, and many fathers (including mine) enjoy both boats and NASCAR is an additional bonus.

Boating is a magazine for powerboat enthusiasts and publishes ten issues every year, as well as a yearly boat buying guide. Each issue covers industry developments, reviews of boating gear and accessories, boating safety guides, fishing information, and DIY projects.

You can check out a copy from the library, or learn more on their website:

NASCAR Illustrated is, as the title suggests, packed with full color photographs from NASCAR races. In addition to the pictures, there are profiles, interviews, and features to appeal to any NASCAR fan.

There are additional photos and videos available through their website:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Staff Review: Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert

Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert
This book will be published on July 1, 2014.

I had trouble putting this one down, perhaps in part because I struggled to know who the protagonist is - the best kind of story! The two alternating narrators manage to be simultaneously devastating, encouraging and inspiring. Rotert beautifully explores love, passion, desire and responsibility through relationships between complex (mostly female!) characters. Most of the book is set in 1960's Chicago and includes struggles with sexuality, sexism, coming of age and civil rights. The story has a fascinating historical aspect, but is so urgent and heart-wrenching, it is timeless. Read if you love music, US history or asking lots of questions.

~Rachel, Technical Services