Saturday, September 24, 2016

Staff Picks

Smoke by Dan Vyleta

It’s rare to find a fictional environment as mesmerizing and evocative as the one Dan Vyelta creates in his novel Smoke. This exquisitely constructed story blurs the lines between fantasy and historical fiction with a whole cast of rich and endearing--though not always sympathetic--characters.

The novel takes place in a quasi-familiar Victorian Age where the upper and lower classes are starkly divided by class.  Those at the top reap the benefits of a sophisticated conspiracy to maintain the status quo while members of the lower classes perform the thankless and dirty jobs required to keep their betters in top shape.

What makes the novel a fantasy is Vyleta’s conception of a tangible byproduct of sin – smoke. Human bodies produce smoke (fiercely, uncontrollable, subtly, even tenderly at times) in response to sin in its many forms. Only saints (seen in paintings) and monsters (savages who live in the most remote places on earth) emit no smoke.

Young English gentlemen are educated on the art of controlling their smoke. Results of the teachings vary. The laundry is examined daily for telltale stains of smoke and punishments are delivered accordingly.

I’m fascinated by the premise of Smoke. What does smoke represent? Does it have a purpose? Is it man-made? Is it, as the pious and proper young Lady Livia Naylor believes, heaven sent? Might it be curable? Should it be cured? What does it symbolize? Is the entire novel a metaphor?

An orphan with a tragic history finds himself asking some of the same questions when he notices that the most vicious bully at school never appears to smoke. Adventure, mystery, danger and romance abound in this incredible coming-of-age story.  

Alicia Cavitt
Information Specialist

Friday, September 23, 2016

#ShelfLife - September 23, 2016

This week, #ShelfLife has gone to the dogs..literally. We're wrapping up this week's newest arrivals on library shelves with Pets on the Couch, a non-fiction book on animal psychiatry written by a veterinarian.

Yesterday was Hobbit Day, in honor of J.R.R. Tolkien's characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and their mutual birthday. If you didn't stop by the library to pick up an adventurous new book, don't fret! There's one day left in the Tolkien Week celebration and you can always ask a librarian for reading recommendations that suit your tastes, or use our free NoveList Plus service.

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Library Celebrates Native American Culture with Pow Wow

Pounding drums will fill the normally quiet air of the Post Road Library this weekend as it hosts a Native American Pow Wow starting at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 25. Children and families of all ages are welcome to attend this free event.

Touch the Earth, a Native American performance group from North Carolina, will open the event with a traditional Native American dance demonstration. A pair of Touch the Earth dancers in traditional regalia, accompanied by a drummer, will perform ceremonial dances and explain the cultural significance of the movements.

A pair of dancers in full regalia, accompanied by a drummer,
 from Touch the Earth will perform several
 Native American dances.
Children and families in the audience will be invited to try the dance movements for themselves following the demonstration. Then, participants can engage in traditional Native American games and make a few crafts to commemorate their experience at the Pow Wow.

The Native American Pow Wow is part of the Library’s One World Forsyth series sponsored by the FCPL Friends & Advocates, an independent organization that supports the Library’s efforts to deliver expanded materials and programs for children, teens, and adults. The group raises funds from sales of used books at the Friends Bookstores inside the Cumming, Post Road, and Sharon Forks Libraries.

“One World Forsyth is a series of programs designed to help children and families learn more about the people, cultures, and customs of our world,” says Lisa Echols, Youth Services Supervisor at the Post Road Library and the event’s organizer.

“Native American Heritage Month is coming up in November, so this program will give students an opportunity to interact with a little bit of living history before studying it in school. Events and experiences like these help our patrons of all ages appreciate the things different cultures may have in common and helps us all consider the world from someone else’s perspective.”

FCPL Friends & Advocates are also sponsoring two One World Forsyth events next month.

On Sunday, October 23, several dancers and musical performers will gather for a Diwali Celebration. This annual event is usually held at the Sharon Forks Library, but construction is scheduled to begin on the branch’s expansion and renovation project. Instead, the Post Road Library will host the Diwali Celebration from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with food, crafts, henna tattoos, and performances from Darshini Natyalaya School of Indian Classical Dance, Maya Dance Class, Atrayee Rao and her music students, and the Atlanta Nritya Academy.

On Thursday, October 27, the Cumming Library will host storyteller Barry Stewart Mann for a special Dia de los Muertos Storytime at 6:30 p.m. El Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and across Latin America that honors the lives of deceased loved ones. This storytime will include poetry and stories in English and Spanish for children of all ages.

For more information on these One World Forsyth events, please visit For more information on the FCPL Friends & Advocates, please visit a Friends Bookstore inside the Cumming, Post Road, or Sharon Forks Libraries.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Staff Picks

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Physics professor Joshua Dessen is abducted, beaten and drugged, then wakes to unfamiliar surroundings that turn increasingly hostile.  Joshua soon finds himself both fighting for his life and questioning his sanity in this riveting novel of speculative fiction.    

Alicia Cavitt
Information Specialist

Friday, September 16, 2016

#ShelfLife - September 16, 2016

Today is Read an eBook Day! Celebrate by checking out an eBook from our OverDrive catalog. Use the hashtag #eBOOKLOVE to share what you're reading and you could win a tablet from OverDrive!

This week in #ShelfLife, we're showing Outlander a little #eBOOKLOVE and daydreaming about a peaceful afternoon spent in The Blue Bath. SciFi fans should reserve a copy of Ninth City Burning or Hollow City. And, just for fun, check out famous "frenemies" in the non-fiction book The Art of Rivalry.

Visit our online catalog at and be among the first to place a request for the new materials featured in #ShelfLife this week. When you pick up your book, we hope you'll join the conversation by posting a picture of your own #ShelfLife on Instagram.