Monthly Archives: July 2012

Staff Picks – I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle is a “forgotten” classic by the author of The Hundred and One Dalmations, which was made famous by the Disney film. The book tells the story of Cassandra Mortmain, a charismatic seventeen-year-old girl living in a remote castle in the English countryside with her family. Her father was once a successful author, but has failed to produce anything for years. Consequently, the family has fallen into poverty and scrape out a meager living, lagging behind on the rent payment. Though a specific date is not given in the novel, the time period seems to be about the 1930s.

The family creatively does what they can with what they have. Cassandra comes up with the idea that she will use her journals to practice writing so that she can publish and help her family financially. Her older sister, Rose, expects to make her contribution to the family’s finances by marrying a wealthy man. When two American brothers arrive, Rose sees her opportunity and seeks to marry the eldest brother, despite the fact that she does not love him.

The novel is written in epistolary form–being a made up of a series of journal entries written by Cassandra in hopes of improving her writing skills. Therefore, the novel is told from the first-person point of view from her perspective. Cassandra’s voice is fresh, youthful, refreshing, clever, and endearing. She is probably my favorite narrator of all the many novels I have read. The novel is a classic bildungsroman, in which we watch Cassandra grow from a quirky, sometimes awkward girl into a more self-assured and emotionally mature young woman. Cassandra sets out to “capture” her voice as a writer through her journals, but subsequently captures the “castle”: the story of her family and friends, her maturation, and her surroundings.

I Capture the Castle is one of my favorite novels, though I did not discover it until about a year ago. I highly recommend this book to any fan of young adult literature, lovers of the classics, and those interested in historical fiction. The characters and plot will appeal to fans of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brönte, L.M. Montgomery, and Louisa May Alcott.

Recommended by: Crystal at Main

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Staff Picks – Unfaithful

Unfaithful by Yafeesa Johnson

How far would you go in the name of love?

Would you kill for it?

Fatima did. She also killed because of her boyfriend’s lack of fidelity.

This book is about how Fatima kills two people to save the life of her boyfriend, Jay. She knows
he’s cheating with another girl, but what she heard from someone talking on the phone makes
her want to save him.

The kill sets off a chain of events that all lead to Fatima being put into prison (Southern Regional

Oh, did I forget to mention this all takes place in the city of Beckley, WV? Yes, that’s right –

I felt like I was there with Fatima because I knew all the places she mentions in the book. I have
even been to club attractions.

So, if you love a good “thug love” book, this is a terrific read, but I caution that this is a book for
a mature reader.

Found in Adult Fiction, F Johnson c2011 (PB).

Recommended by: Stacy at Main

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Staff Picks – Savvy Saving

Savvy Saving by Melissa Jennings and Shelley King

This is a well-organized, quick read for anyone who is interested in saving money, couponing, or creating a family budget. Although the authors and ultimate target audience for the book are stay at home moms with plenty of storage space, the general tips can be adapted to various lifestyles, and the authors even give tips for doing so throughout the book. You can choose the sections of the book that work better for your lifestyle and available space. I live in a small apartment with my husband and cat; we don’t have the need or the space to keep six months’ worth of supplies in basement pantries or deep freezers like the authors!

I found the chapters on how to make coupons work better for you, including information on store’s coupon policies, coupon lingo, and various websites where you can download and print coupons, as well as obtain free samples quite helpful. There are also tips for saving while shopping online. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on living frugally naturally and how to save money on healthy and organic foods. Other sections include information on the following:

  • menu planning
  • how to organize your coupons, savings, receipts, and family budget
  • holiday shopping tips
  • savings on dining out
  • savings in drugstores
  • learning to observe sales cycles and the best times to buy certain items
  • stockpiling in small spaces
  • organizing your stockpile

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in cutting food costs. I think the authors present useful information for both the novice and seasoned savvy shopper.

Location/Call number: Sophia PL New books Non-fiction 640.73 Jennings

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