Adult Book News
Summer is On!
We're gearing up to celebrate Independence Day with parades, picnics, and fireworks, so we know that summer is in full swing. Time to kick back and do some summer reading. Grab/print your Bingo sheet or sign up online to create your account to start reading now for fun and prizes. PDL's Adult Summer Reading program runs till August 8, so there's plenty of time to earn prizes like Penn Theatre tickets and Plymouth gift certificates.
If you're looking for a good book, consider Oprah's list published in O Magazine's July issue. The 14-page spread (60 titles) of the Best Books of Summer 2016 is divided into nine categories, like Born in the USA, Sinners and Saints, Icons, Hear Them Roar, and American Pastoral. Listed under the category called The Gilded Cage is one of the hot books of this summer, Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. The book has been on The New York Times bestseller list for three weeks and received great reviews from all the critics. Besides being a bestselling novelist, Hawley is well known as the showrunner and screenwriter of the Emmy-winning FX adaptation of Fargo. Before the Fall centers on the mysterious crash of a plane carrying a group of wealthy and famous people that leaves only two survivors, a down-on-his-luck painter and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely powerful media mogul's family. Was the tragedy just bad luck or something more sinister?
RWA Hall of Fame Writer
Jo Beverley (1947-2016)
Legendary romance author Jo Beverley passed away in May, of cancer, at her home in England. A writer of historical romances known for her memorable characters, intelligent plots, and historical accuracy, she was the recipient of five Romance Writers of America RITA awards and a member of the RWA Hall of Fame. Beverley was born in England but lived much of her life in Canada, where she became a Canadian citizen. She is the only Canadian romance author inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. The Malloren Chronicles, set in Georgian England, and The Company of Rogues, set in the English Regency period, are her most popular series. Beverley's website, jobev.com, is a treasure trove of background information about her books, and the history and customs of England during the relevant time periods. It contains historical tidbits like "The Fashions and Follies of 1807," plus a list of typical Regency names, and blog posts about divorce laws, the hierarchy of servants, and the details of coach travel. Her latest book, the 17th in The Company of Rogues series, The Viscount Needs a Wife, was published in April.
Books to Movies/TV - June 2016
Now (or soon) playing:
Murder She Baked: A Deadly Recipe/Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
At various times this week, the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel will air another TV adaptation of one of mystery author Joanne Fluke's cozy series about small town baker/sleuth Hannah Swensen. When the town's long-time sheriff is found dead in a dumpster, his political rival, who happens to be Hannah's brother-in-law, is the most likely suspect. Hannah springs into action, investigating the crime while also searching for the missing essential ingredient for a certain cupcake recipe. Once again, Hannah is played by Alison Sweeney (Days of Our Lives, Biggest Loser). "Dependable entertainment for fans of culinary mysteries." (Library Journal)
The Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Perez-Reverte's story of female drug lords is dramatized for the USA Network in a series starting on Thursday, June 23. Teresa Mendoza flees Mexico after her drug-runner boyfriend is murdered. Settling in Spain (America in the TV series), she looks to become the country's reigning drug smuggler and to avenge her lover's murder. Teresa is ""a woman thriving in a world of dangerous men," using her intelligence, intuition, and luck to propel her to the top of her own drug empire, becoming the legendary Queen of the South. "Readers of Perez-Reverte's sixth thriller won't be able to turn the pages fast enough..." (Publishers Weekly)
The Fundamentals of Caring/The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
On June 24, Netflix will air an adaptation of Evison's third novel about a down and out divorced man named Benjamin, who, after failing at most things he's tried, trains to be a caregiver. His first client, a fiercely independent teen with muscular dystrophy, gives him more than he bargained for, and soon the two embark on a road trip to seek out as many peculiar highway tourist attractions as possible while on the way to visit the boy's ailing father. "Evison injects some levity with Trev's horny commentary and Ben's wry retorts, blending humor, sharp dialog, and a rich and detailed backstory into a sympathetic, bittersweet novel. This is one of the more successful entries in the "Sad Dad Lit" subgenre..." (Library Journal). The Netflix film stars Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, and Selena Gomez.
2016 Over the Rainbow List
At the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in January, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table released their 2016 Over the Rainbow List composed of fiction and non-fiction books for adults that are recognized for their authentic expression of the LGBT experience. This year’s list includes 68 titles published between July 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2015. Each year, the Over the Rainbow Project releases this annotated bibliography to aid librarians and patrons in selecting quality books released over the prior 18 months.
Fiction on the list:
After the Parade by Lori Ostlund
A deeply moving and beautiful debut novel about a man who leaves his longtime partner in New Mexico for a new life in San Francisco, launching him on a tragicomic road trip and into the mysteries of his own Midwestern childhood.
Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett
A historical novel set in the age of Jim Crow and the Great Migration. Ivoe Williams, the daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith struggles for equality and triumphs against all odds. Ivoe falls in love with a woman and they build a life together in Missouri in the wake of social change.
The Green Road by Anne Enright
Follows the lives of Rosaleen Madigan and her children, a family from County Clare, Ireland, beginning in 1980 and continuing to the present day. Over the 30 years, the children spread across three different continents before reuniting at the family home on Christmas day.
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
A young Nigerian girl, displaced during their civil war, begins a powerful love affair with another refugee girl from a different ethnic community until the pair are discovered and must learn the cost of living a lie amidst taboos and prejudices.
The Listener by Rachel Brasch
The story of a student and his professor/psychologist and the way their lives are intertwined through issues of gender and difference. Explores issues of self-definition, transgender identity, and relationships.
Mislaid by Nell Zink
Peggy falls under the spell of Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, and they begin an ill-advised affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. The two are mismatched from the start-she's a lesbian, he's gay-but it takes a decade of emotional erosion before Peggy runs off with their three-year-old daughter, leaving their nine-year-old son behind.
The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys
WWII pilot James Hunter is shot down and sent to a German POW camp on his very first mission. While other prisoners plot escape, James observes and records the development of a nest of warblers near the camp. Left behind in their English cottage, James' wife, Rose, finds freedom she never knew before, until James’ sister Enid comes to stay, having lost both her home and her lover in the Blitz.
Librarian Faves for July 2016
The top ten books published this month that librarians across the country love
This monthly list is created by librarians and library staff to help connect readers to new books and authors. An online community of librarians vote each month on their favorite new books and the results are tallied. "The list is a straightforward calculation: whichever ten books get the most nominations go onto the monthly list. The book with the most nominations becomes the #1 Pick. It’s as simple as that." The list is not meant to be a "best" list - just a list of collective favorites - books librarians loved and want to share.
# 1 for July 2016:
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
A sci-fi thriller that begins with an abduction. "Are you happy with your life?" Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked kidnapper knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend." In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined--one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe. "...it is not hard to see why this title was preempted by Sony in a big bid for the movie rights. While stories of the multiverse are not new, Crouch ("Wayward Pines" trilogy) brings a welcome intensity to the trope." (Library Journal)
More Books of Summer 2016
The book reviewers and editors of The Washington Post published their summer book suggestions in two separate lists this year: “37 Books We’ve Loved So Far In 2016,” and “10 Novels We’re Looking Forward To This Summer And Fall.” So you can either catch up on books you've missed so far this year, or anticipate those coming in the next few months. The lists contain great titles and will definitely help you choose something to read.
Books getting buzz:
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This debut novel, which is getting a lot of literary love from the book critics, is the tale of two half-sisters born in 18th century Ghana who experience vastly different lives. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort in the Cape Coast Castle, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned in the castle's dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, the saga examines the impact of the slave trade on each generation of the sisters' families. "In both America and Ghana, prosperity rises and falls from parent to child, love comes and goes, and the characters' trust of white men wavers. These story elements purposely echo like ghosts-as history often repeats itself-yet Gyasi writes each narrative with remarkable freshness and subtlety. A marvelous novel." (Publishers Weekly)
The Girls by Emma Cline
Another debut novel getting literary buzz, this highly anticipated book was part of a two million dollar publishing deal for its 25 year-old author. Set in Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s, a lonely teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged--a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time there and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence. "Although inspired by the infamous Charles Manson murders, Cline's impressive debut is more a harrowing coming-of-age exploration of how far a young girl will go (and how much she will give up of herself) in her desperate quest to belong. Beautifully written and unforgettable." (Library Journal)
2016 Women's Fiction Prize
Launched in 1996, and originally named the Orange Prize, this prize is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000 (about $50,000) and a limited edition bronze sculpture known as a ‘Bessie’.
And the winner, announced on June 8:
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
A searing debut novel about life on the fringes of Ireland's post-crash society, the story connects four misfits struggling against their meager circumstances. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father, Tony, whose feud with his next-door neighbor threatens to ruin his family. Georgie is a sex worker who half-heartedly joins a born-again movement to escape her profession and drug habit. And Jimmy Phelan is the most fearsome gangster in the city, whose mother Maureen has just clubbed an intruder she found in her home. This unintended murder reverberates through their lives, producing unlikely consequences for all. The Chair of the judges panel remarked that the book is "...a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling. A fresh new voice and a wonderful winner.” The novel will be released in the U. S. in August.
"Rotten Tomatoes" for Books
Literary Hub, (or Lit Hub), an online site "readers can rely on for smart, engaged, entertaining writing about all things books", has launched a new service: Book Marks, a sort of "Rotten Tomatoes" for books. According to its press release, Book Marks will "showcase critics from the most important and active outlets of literary journalism in America, aggregating reviews from over 70 sources—newspapers, magazines, and websites—and averaging them into a letter grade, as well as linking back to their source. Each book’s cumulative grade functions as both a general critical assessment, and, more significantly, as an introduction to a range of voices." So how does it work? "We scour the most important outlets of literary journalism in America each day and assign their book reviews a letter grade. When a book is reviewed at least three times, those reviews are averaged into a result at Book Marks." As the site further explains,"Book Marks exists to serve as a consolidated information resource for the reading public and a link between the worlds of literary creation, criticism and consumption."
Using this system, Stephen King's newest book, End of Watch, earned an A-, while Steven Hamilton's latest, The Second Life of Nick Mason, received an A+. Would you agree? "Readers can express their own opinions alongside those of the critics in each book page’s What Did You Think Of… comments section."
Another Bride, Another June...
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, June is still the most popular month to marry. This has often been attributed to the Romans and their veneration of the goddess Juno, the protector of women in marriage and childbearing. June is the month named for her, and a wedding in June was considered most auspicious.
Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here to celebrate wedding fiction:
A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe
Nothing could be more enchanting than a summer wedding--or two!--in Charleston's fabled lowcountry. Half-sisters Harper and Carson Muir have romantic weddings planned at Sea Breeze plantation, located on a barrier island off the South Carolina coast. A centuries-old plantation, an avenue of ancient oaks dripping moss, a storied ballroom, a sand dune at sunset...what could be lovelier? Yet when a stranger arrives, a long held family secret could silence the bells ringing for the Muir sisters. Scandals surface, family bonds are questioned, and promises are broken and renewed. "...southern charm and sass with familial intrigue and empathy." (Booklist)
Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper
Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. But just as the priest is about to pronounce the couple husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids collapses into a floral arrangement. Worst of all, Kelsey discovers that she hasn't just fainted-she's dead. And although she's pretty sure investigating a murder isn't in her contract, Kelsey finds herself dealing with stubborn detectives, another dead body, and a rekindled romance. "...a winner." (Publishers Weekly)
Lustlocked by Matt Wallace
Love is in the air at Sin du Jour, the premier supernatural catering company, and the staff has their work cut out for them. The Goblin King and his Queen are celebrating the marriage of their son to his human bride. Naturally the celebrations will be legendary; these are not your garden-variety goblins - they're beautiful and famous. But when desire and magic mix, the results can be unpredictable. Culinary artists Lena Tarr and Darren Vargas are going to need more than passion for the job to survive the catering event of the decade! "This series continues to combine magic, food, and a hefty scoop of humor." (Library Journal)