Jo Hansen

Jo Hansen

 


Jo Hansen has been a Readers’ Advisor at Cook Library for several years, after a 20-year career as a newspaper journalist. Libraries rock! She especially enjoys literary and historical fiction as well as mysteries and fantasy. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she enjoys playing with her chocolate Labrador Yogi Bear and watching great movies. 


 

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  When Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa’s latest book came out, I knew I wanted to read it. I am a readers’ advisor, but have never read anything by Vargas Llosa, who was honored in 2010 with one of the greatest awards in literature. It was ...

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In Michael Crummey's moving new novel, he describes how a family of Swedes settled on a small island off of Newfoundland more than 200 years ago and christened it Sweetland after their family name. They were hard-working fishermen, and made a living ...
When the beautiful Sonja married the serious, dour Ove (pronounced Ooo-vah), her friends questioned her sanity. After all, who would want to spend a lifetime with such a cranky sourpuss? But Sonja saw things in Ove that most people didn’t see: that b...

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  What’s hot at the Cook and Aspen Libraries? Right now it’s the booklets we compiled highlighting the Adult Services staffers’ favorite fiction and nonfiction of 2014. As always, a few books stood out as favorites among the staff. Three books...

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Don Tillman is a captivating, likeable character, who was introduced by author Graeme Simsion in The Rosie Project. Now the brilliant but awkward geneticist returns in The Rosie Effect (publication date Dec. 30), where he faces more social ...

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Now that the year is coming to an end, most of the Best Books of the Year lists have been released. As a reader’s advisor, I love these lists, which provide good ideas when I help patrons find their next good books. Because I like to see which fictio...
Montana conjures memories of two wonderful vacations I took with my family that were filled with breathtaking scenery and amazing wildlife. But every beautiful area has its dark side, as Smith Henderson reminds me in his arresting debut novel, Fourth...
We are busy working on the long list of our favorite fiction and nonfiction books of 2014. In the meantime, the Fiction Department staffers decided to give you a sneak peek by sharing each of their top five novels and one nonfiction book of the ...

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Connie and Douglas Petersen are polar opposites but still fall in love and get married. She is an artist with a Bohemian soul. He is a scientist who likes facts and being meticulous. Their sensitive, moody son shares his mother’s artistic traits and ...
Jane Austen’s novels continue to inspire authors more than 200 years after they were penned. The popular and prolific Alexander McCall Smith (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series and the 44 Scotland Street series) is wr...

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I still have music running through my head after my visit to the fantastic “David Bowie Is’’ exhibition last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. I spent two hours taking in his influential music, creative costumes, extensive filmograph...

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Life Magazine cover, July 28, 1953, of JFK and Jackie on Victura. If you are a Kennedy buff, you won’t want to miss next week's multi-media presentation by James W. Graham, author of Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat and the Sea. Graham did extensi...

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 “There is balm in Gilead, To make the wounded whole; There's power enough in heaven, To cure a sin-sick soul.’’ --African American Spiritual   Fans of Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gilead will want to read her lat...

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Jane Smiley’s new story about an ordinary Iowa farm family makes for an extraordinary novel spanning three decades, from post-World War I into the 1950s. Smiley, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for her Iowa farm family story, A Thousand Acres, r...
Haruki Murakami examines how scars from one’s youth can still cause crippling pain as a grownup in his  profound novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.  Tsukuru Tazaki has a successful career designing train stations...

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  In Louise Penny’s 10th mystery, The Long Way Home, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide of the Sûreté du Québec, has retired to the peaceful village of Three Pines, hoping to heal hidden wounds he suffered in How the Light Gets ...

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County prosecutor Belfa Elkins faces many personal and professional challenges in Julia Keller’s third mystery, Summer of the Dead. Bell’s sister Shirley is living with her while trying to piece together a new life after spending 30 years in prison ...

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J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, returns with a well-crafted, entertaining second mystery starring private detective Cormoran Strike. By taking on the publishing world in The Silkworm, she creates a complex, gritty story th...

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  Quirky characters abound in Amy Bloom’s new story about an unusual family’s attempt to survive during World War II.  Twelve-year-old Eva lives with her mother and occasionally is visited by a man named Edgar, who is her father. When E...
Reading Rebecca Makkai’s inventive sophomore novel, The Hundred-Year House, is like solving a complex puzzle. When we first visit the grand estate, we meet the elderly Gracie Breen, who is descended from a famous old-money Canadian family, the Devo...