What We’re Reading: Wrecked

Title: Wrecked: An IQ Novel

Author: Joe Ide

Genre: mystery, street lit

Why did you choose to read this book?

cover of Wrecked: An IQ Novel, by Joe Ide

This is the third book in the IQ series, which features protagonist Isaiah Quintabe (“IQ”), a small-time, self-styled private investigator from East Long Beach, California. I enjoyed the first two books—IQ and Righteous—so I picked up the third.

There are several traits of the main character I appreciate. IQ, motivated by the memory of his older brother Marcus, who was murdered, pursues justice rather than greed, often accepting token gifts, like a handmade Christmas sweater (in Southern California!), in lieu of money from his clients. He is also a critical thinker and careful planner. He is skilled in reading people and memorizing small details about people and his surroundings. These traits define IQ and drive the plots of the series’ books.

In Wrecked IQ becomes embroiled in a mystery and becomes attracted to his client Grace, who hires him to find her mother, whom she has not seen in 10 years. The plot and its many subplots cover IQ’s business relationship with his mismatched partner Dodson; a complicated backstory that slowly reveals itself, and encompasses family secrets; WSSI, a paramilitary U.S. government contractor, whose employees have histories of torture and cover-ups at Abu Ghraib; and a love story.

What did you like about it?

Isaiah Quintabe is one of my favorite fictional characters. Wrecked presents bigger challenges for IQ to navigate than the previous books in the series. (Spoiler alert!) The opening pages reveal tough-talking ex-military thugs brutally torturing a victim (It’s IQ!), hoping to beat information out of him. The thugs work for the CEO of the international security firm, WSSI, which provides the advantages of cash, trained killers,and security clearances. WSSI and IQ are in pursuit of the same person. Who will prevail?

Joe Ide has a knack for revealing characters through dialogue. One example is Junior, a drug dealer, speaks as if he “swallowed a dictionary sideways,” misusing big and obscure words to comic effect. Dodson’s wife Deronda, the several brutes—Jimenez, Hawkins, and Owens—from WSSI, and many others populate Wrecked with distinctive voices.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

The first detective stories I enjoyed were Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown books. Using evidence at hand to solve mysteries fed my appreciation both for books and for applying critical thinking skills. As a child, I fantasized that I, too could be a successful detective. Maybe that helped drive me to a career as a librarian: I help people use information to solve their own problems and answer their own questions.

Was there anything noteworthy about the book?

There is a rumor that Ide is in contract with Alcon Television Groupto develop a television series around IQ.

With what feeling did the book leave you?

Frankly, I have enjoyed each book in the series less than the one that came before it. Ide’s trick of revealing how a problem was solved—after the action that depended on having solved the problem—wears thin. Rather than a feeling of suspense-then-relief, I experience bewilderment followed by a magician showing me exactly how easy it is to make a building disappear. I also found the love story between Isaiah and Grace to be little more than a plot device.

I hope the next book in the series, Hi Five, is better. I’m not ready to give up on Joe Ide yet, and definitely not ready to give up on IQ.

To whom would you recommend this book?

Fans of gritty mystery writing will probably enjoy this book.

With what would you pair this book?

Let me recommend an old film noir flick, The Third Man, released in 1949, which features protagonist Holly Martins bumbling through an investigation into the circumstances around an old friend’s death. Based on a novella by Graham Greene, it is a whodunit with a surprising twist and the story resolves through successively-increasing climaxes.

Observe how the film’s suspense is maintained while information is revealed to Martins and the viewer at the same time. Contrast that with how Wrecked keeps secret information about IQ’s investigative tactics until after the story plays out.

From Print on the Small [Mostly Streaming] Screen: Book to TV Adaptations

Do you like your book adaptations to go beyond the two hour constraint of a movie screen? If so, have you checked out the literary companions to these recent television adaptations? 

What We’re Reading: The Library Book

This book was read by Julie Humphrey, Library Director.

Title: The Library Book

Author: Susan Orlean

Genre: Nonfiction

#ReadGreatThings2019 Category: Social Science book

The Library Book cover

Why did you choose to read this book? 

I always enjoy Susan Orlean’s writing in the New Yorker magazine and really liked her book The Orchid Thief.  This is an ode to libraries so how could I resist?  It also has a beautiful cover!

What did you like about it? 

This book provides a fascinating account of the Los Angeles’s Central Library fire of 1986 as well as the process of rebuilding and restoring the library and the ongoing investigation of a primary suspect.  It’s also a love letter to libraries, library staff, and books.  

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie? 

Susan Orlean’s writing reminds me a lot of Mary Roach’s writing. She sometimes dives deep into a rabbit hole and goes on strange and wacky tangents that are completely compelling. Orlean and Roach both weave in interesting stories, history, and trivia that are so entertaining and fun. This reminded me a lot of Packing for Mars, not in subject matter, but in style. 

Was there anything noteworthy about the book?

I especially appreciated her extensive research, interviews, and visits to libraries.  I loved Orlean’s own personal stories of her library experiences when she was growing up in Ohio and the stories of visiting her local public library with her young son.  She also explores the library as a vital public institution and discusses challenges that many libraries face today.  She profiles inspiring librarians and library staff working in libraries across the country.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Nonfiction readers, book lovers, library supporters, anyone interested in fire and arson investigation, true crime readers, and all bibliophiles.

What would you pair this book with?

A working fire alarm, a fire extinguisher, a good sprinkler system, and a library card!  Also, I’m excited to read her previous book, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People which we just ordered for the library and is on the new book shelf.

What We’re Reading: Hillbilly Elegy

Title: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Author: J.D. Vance

cover of book Hillbilly Elegy

Genre: memoir

Why did you choose to read this book?

I am a member of a two-person book club and the other member suggested this book.

What did you like about it?

It was a quick read. J.D. Vance details his upbringing in the Rust Belt as the descendant of Appalachian migrants to Ohio. He details the culture and communities of Scots-Irish people in West Virginia and Middletown, Ohio.

Continue Reading →

Crafternoon Workshops scheduled for Fall Semester

The Library and Student Government Association are excited to host craft workshops again this fall semester.  Workshops are held in the Library’s Group Study Area room 5-105A on the lower level of Main Campus Library unless otherwise noted and are open to all students, faculty, and staff.  All materials and supplies are provided. Join us for creative fun and to try something new!

Photos from spring semester Crafternoon workshops:

Main Campus Schedule
Make and decorate your own academic planner or notebook
Thurs. 8/29 2:00-4:00 Main Campus Library room 5-105A
Candle Making
Thurs. 9/19 2:00-4:00 Main Campus Library room 5-105A
Pumpkin painting
Thurs. 10/31 2:00-4:00 Wynn Multipurpose room 10-103
Native American crafts
Tues. 11/19 2:00-4:00 Main Campus Library room 5-105A

Orange County Campus Schedule
Make and decorate your own academic planner or notebook
Tues. 8/27 11:00-1:00 OCC Lobby
Candle Making
Wed. 9/20 11:00-1:00 OCC Lobby
Pumpkin painting
10/29 11:00-1:00 OCC Lobby
Native American crafts
Wed. 11/20 11:00-1:00 OCC Lobby

N.E.W. at the O.C.C.

Don’t forget about our branch campus library offerings, including these freshly added books! Ask a librarian for help (or use the catalog to put a hold on a copy of a book) if you’d like to pick up the book at a different campus library. 

Popular Fiction, Available Now!

Are you number 217* on the public library’s hold list for popular fiction, such as Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Available now at the Main Campus Library with the Recently Returned books display (right inside the door)

Don’t forget to check the Durham Tech Library collection for both your fiction and non-fiction needs, including [as of 5:24 p.m., Monday, August 12] Where the Crawdads Sing.

We can’t compete head-to-head with the awesome fiction selection at your local public library, but don’t count us out.

*217 is the actual number of holds on Where the Crawdads Sing at the Durham County Public Library.

In Memoriam: Toni Morrison, 1931-2019

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

On Monday, August 5, 2019, author, editor, and teacher Toni Morrison passed away. 

Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison. Author, editor, teacher. 

Morrison was nearly 40 when her first book, The Bluest Eye, was published. She went on to become the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for her “novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, giv[ing] life to an essential aspect of American reality.” She earned the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award for her novel Beloved and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon. In 2012,  she was presented with Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Morrison’s writing brought consciousness of the Black experience in America with novels that were both popular and critically acclaimed– in addition to her literary accolades, she was an Oprah Book Club pick four times. As an editor, she helped develop and edit works by Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, Toni Cade Bambara, Huey Newton, Henry Dumas, and Gayl Jones. 

If you’re interested in reading more of Toni Morrison or experiencing her for the first time, the library has many of her works in our Main and Orange County Campus collections

Books on the Big Screen

There are lots of movies coming out this fall based on books.  Several book adaptations have been released as films earlier this year as well.  Check out these books from the library to read before or after watching the movie version!  

For a more complete list of book adaptations to film, visit the article “Books to Movies & TV in 2019: 50+ Upcoming Adaptations” from Bibliofile’s Review of books.