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Pulp Fiction

Thieves Fall Out by Gore Vidal

thievesIn the 1950's, at the beginning of his career, literary lion Gore Vidal did what many authors do to make a buck - turn out quickly-written pulp fiction novels under different names. In Vidal's case, three different names for different genres. As Cameron Kay, he wrote a crime thriller, Thieves Fall Out, set in Egypt during the 1952 revolution there. The book was published in 1953 and was soon forgotten, falling out of print. This month, however, Hard Case Crime, a publishing imprint, released a new edition - this time with Vidal's name on the cover. Vidal, who died in 2012, declined to re-release the book during his lifetime but, after his death, his estate gave its blessing. According to a review in the New York Times the book is an efficient, if conventional, thriller that reveals something about Vidal's trajectory as a writer: "Vidal is clearly using the pulp format to figure out what he’s good at (sardonic worldliness) and what he’s not (romance). And through it all, he keeps the words flowing."..."Even if he knew it wasn’t for the ages."

 

Armenian Memorial Day

sandcastle girlsThe 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will be commemorated on April 24, 2015. Experts estimate 1.5 million Armenian Christians died in the genocide, which began April 24, 1915, and continued for eight years. The Turkish campaign against the Armenians started with the arrest and execution of 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in what is now Istanbul. Able-bodied men were massacred or died in labor camps. Women, children, the elderly and the infirm were sent on death marches through the Syrian desert.

In Metro Detroit, a number of Armenian community groups and churches have planned special events to honor the genocide's victims.  More than 17,000 people of Armenian descent make their home in Michigan and nearly 11,000 live in Metro Detroit.

In The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, an author of several novels and of Armenian descent, recounts the story of one family caught in the horrors of that time. In an essay on his website, Bohjalian states, "I think The Sandcastle Girls may be the most important book I’ve written. It is certainly the most personal. It’s a big, broad, sweeping historical love story. The novel moves back and forth in time between the present and 1915; between the narrative of an Armenian-American novelist at mid-life and her grandparents’ nightmarish stories of survival in Aleppo, Van, and Gallipoli in 1915." "This is a powerful and moving story based on real events seldom discussed. It will leave you reeling." (Booklist)

 

2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

allthelightYesterday, the Pulitzer Prize committee announced the winners of this year's awards,"honoring Excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917." Anthony Doerr's best-selling historical novel, with 49 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list, was named the Pulitzer Prize winner for "distinguished fiction by an American author..." earning Doerr (more) literary prestige and $10,000. All the Light We Cannot See was also a finalist for the National Book Award and is on the shortlist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Set in occupied France during World War II, the novel is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide as both try to survive the devastation of of the war. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo. With them they carry what might be the museum's most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance near St. Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure's converge. " ...this novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece." (Library Journal)

 

Books to Movies/TV - April

Now (or soon) playing:

longest rideThe Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
This film adaptation of Sparks' 17th romance novel, published in 2013, opened on April 10. Former bull-riding champion Luke and college student Sophia are in love, but conflicting paths and ideals threaten to tear them apart: Luke hopes to make a comeback on the rodeo circuit, and Sophia is about to embark on her dream job in New York's art world. As the couple ponder their romantic future, they find inspiration in Ira, an elderly man whose decades-long romance with his beloved wife withstood the test of time. Directed by George Tillman Jr., the film stars Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood and Alan Alda (M*A*S*H, West Wing ) as Ira.

 

 

child44Child 44  by Tom Rob Smith
Released on April 17, this Cold War mystery/thriller set in 1950's-era Russia, stars Tom Hardy (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films), and Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). State Security Force agent Leo Demidov, a war hero and true believer in the modern Soviet regime, has a relatively comfortable life tracking down enemies of the state until he discovers that a different kind of criminal, a  murderer of children, is on the loose, killing at will. But in a society that is officially paradise, it's a crime against the State to suggest that a murderer-much less a serial killer-is in their midst. Demoted and exiled from his home, with only his wife, Raisa, remaining at his side, he must find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists.

 

casualvacancyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Rowling's first novel for an adult audience, written after her hugely successful Harry Potter series, recounts the story of a small town thrown into shock by the death of parish council member Barry Fairbrother. The battle for his empty seat on the Pagford council becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen and reveals the ugly truths behind the  community's pretty facade. The best-seller has been adapted as a three-part televison mini-series in a joint project by HBO and BBC, and will premiere on April 29 in the U.S.
Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films) will star along with veteran British actors Keeley Hawes (Upstairs, Downstairs) and Julia McKenzie (Agatha Christie's Miss Marple).

 

May Faves

May 2015 LibraryReads List

The top ten books published this month that librarians across the country love.

library reads logo websiteThis 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 May 2015:
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

uprootedA stand-alone novel by the author of the Temeraire series, this fantasy is inspired by legends and fairy tales. Agnieszka's small, quiet village is protected from the Wood, an evil entity that destroys all it touches, by a cold and dangerous wizard called the Dragon. As paymemt for his protection, the village must send him a young girl for a period of ten years. When Agnieszka is chosen, she is uprooted from her beloved village and discovers, despite her fear and homesickness,  that she has a talent for magic and an appetite for adventure. "Novik's use of language is supremely skillful as she weaves a tale that is both elegantly grand and earthily humble, familiar as a Grimm fairy tale yet fresh, original, and totally irresistible. This will be a must-read for fantasy fans for years to come." (Publishers Weekly)

Women's Fiction Shortlist 2015

baileyslogoBaileys Women's Prize for Fiction

Launched in 1996 (and originally known as the Orange Prize) this literary 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’. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on June 3.

2015 Finalists:

Rachel Cusk – Outline

Laline Paull – The Bees

Kamila Shamsie – A God in Every Stone

Ali Smith – How to be Both

Anne Tyler – A Spool of Blue Thread

Sarah Waters – The Paying Guests

 

© 2014 BAILEYS Women's Prize for Fiction

 

Contemporary Books Discussion Group

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Discussion Date: April 21, 2015 @ 7:30pm

book groupThe Contemporary Books Discussion Group will meet this month taleforthetimebeingon Tuesday, April 21 to discuss A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Repair work in the Library made it necessary to re-schedule our meeting, usually held on the second Tuesday of the month. No registration is required to attend this informal discussion; books are usually available at the check-out desk. Hope to see you there!

Writer of the American West

Ivan Doig (1939-2015)

whistlingseasonIvan Doig, author of 16 books that celebrated the American West, doigand Montana in particular, passed away on April 9 of multiple myeloma at the age of 75. He majored in journalism and worked for many years in various editorial jobs before turning to memoirs and novels. This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind, a memoir published in 1979, was a finalist for the National Book Award but his thirteen novels, especially the 2006 best-seller The Whistling Season, earned him the most praise. In 2007 he was awarded the Wallace Stegner Award, named for the late historian and novelist, by the Center for the American West for his "sustained contribution to the cultural identity of the West through literature, art, history, lore, or an understanding of the West." He didn't consider himself a "regional" writer but did identify as a member of the "lariat proletariat, the working class point of view."

 

 

National Library Week 2015

ALA NLW2015 bannerad

This week, PDL joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week, a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.

This year's theme is "Unlimited possibilities @ your library®."  PDL offers a myriad of materials and services, from books and DVDS to home delivery and computer classes; from book discussions and WII bowling to metal stamping and storytimes; from chess club and video games to music performances and personal investment presentations.  Let us help you explore the possibilities.

More Prizeworthy Books

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction - 2015 Finalists

The American Library Association recently announced the three books shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence for Fiction, the award for the best fiction written last year and published in the U.S. The winner will receive $5,000 when announced at the 2015 ALA Annual conference in San Francisco in June. All three books have been well-reviewed and either nominated for other literary prizes and/or named on several "best" lists.

allthelightAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthoy Doerr
Through the intertwined stories of a sightless French girl and a German soldier, Doerr masterfully and imaginatively re-creates the harsh conditions in WWII-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.

 

 

norawebsterNora Webster by Colm Toibin
In Tóibín’s remarkably subtle, witty, and affirming story, the Ireland of four decades ago and the conundrums women faced are beautifully evoked through events in the three-year widowhood of fortysomething Nora Webster.

 

 

onsuchafullseaOn Such A Full Sea by Chang Rae Lee
As young Fan searches for her missing boyfriend in an America devastated by climate change and a pandemic, Lee brilliantly imagines extreme survival tactics, psychological trauma, and the resurrection of art and its solace.

 

 

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