Adult Book News
New Additions - Book Club Kits
Looking for your next book club selection?
New titles have been added to the Book Club Kit Collection. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book, plus discussion questions, author interviews, and other literary commentary to enhance your book discussions. The kits can be checked out for 8 weeks and you can reserve a kit through the Library catalog to fit into your group's meeting schedule. A complete list of available Kits can be found on the Library webpage under Services/Book Clubs.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who's decided it's time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, logical manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey. Enter Rosie Jarman who is not at all what he's looking for, but as he studies the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie, Don discovers that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don't find love, it finds you. "Funny, touching, and hard to put down, The Rosie Project is certain to entertain even as readers delve into deep themes." (Booklist)
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. "Funny, tender, and moving, it reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love. (Library Journal)
Chosen as the #1 Favorite of Favorites for 2014 by the voters at LibraryReads.
Hanukkah - Triumph of Light over Darkness
Festival of Lights - December 16-24
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt against the occupying Seleucid (Syrian-Greek) Empire of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by the lighting of the candles on a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched menorah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night.
Read more about Jewish history:
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Set in 70 CE, detailing the siege of the mountain stronghold Masada, where 900 Jews held out for months against the Romans, Hoffman's novel follows four extraordinary women whose lives converge in the dovecotes of the rebel desert stronghold. According to the historian Josephus, only two women and five children survived the siege after the mass suicide of the Jewish rebels. "Hoffman vividly brings this tragedy to life..." (Library Journal)
Joseph and His Brothers: the Stories of Jacob, Young Joseph, Joseph in Egypt, Joseph the Provider by Thomas Mann
In a monumental retelling of the biblical story of Joseph, Mann recreates the world of patriarchs and pharaohs, the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, and the universal force of human love in all its beauty, desperation, absurdity, and pain. Mann considered this his magnum opus.
The Source by James Michener
Employing his trademark style of grand storytelling, Michener follows the ancestors of four contemporary individuals to showcase the entire range of Jewish history, from the lives of the early Hebrews, through the Diaspora, Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition and up to the founding of present-day Israel. “Fascinating . . . a wonderful rampage through history.” (The New York Times)
More Faves from Librarians
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 January 2015:
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia De Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
Banished is how twelve-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce describes her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote's Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia's first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. That gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school's stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim's identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. "Readers who enjoy character-driven, "country house" mysteries will appreciate Flavia's keen mind, droll wit, and comic preteen rush into a new situation in which everyone warns her to beware, many seem to have known her mother, and someone is undoubtedly a killer." (Library Journal)
Reading the Holidays 2014
To get you in the holiday mood...
Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
Set on Nantucket Island (where else?) Hilderbrand's first Christmas novel details a family holiday filled with surprises. Kelley Quinn is the owner of the Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four grown children, all of them with issues, who will gather at the Inn for Yuletide. Before the festivities are over, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays. "The holidays wouldn't be complete without a little family dysfunction and Hilderbrand writes it well." (Library Journal)
Snowfall: A Days of Redemption Christmas Novella by Shelly Shephard Gray
Amish widower Martin Rhodes owns a Christmas tree farm, which makes December his busiest month. He also has six wonderfaul, energetic kids whose babysitter has just quit. Enter Ruth Stutzman, newly laid off from her job at a retirement home. Before long, the children are drawn to her warmth and gentleness, and so is Martin. The harder he tries to ignore her, the deeper he begins to care for this attractive young woman who has brought joy back into his children's lives, and his own. "While the nanny and widower falling in love story line is certainly not new, New York Times best-selling author Gray writes a sweet Amish holiday romance with wonderfully endearing characters that transcends cliche." (Library Journal)
The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews
This year Meg Langslow's mother has roped Meg into helping with the big holiday designer show house, where each room is decorated by a different interior designer and tour tickets are sold to raise funds for charity. Dealing with the flamboyant egos and personalities involved is challenging enough but when the rooms are sabotaged and one unpopular designer turns up dead, Meg is forced to find the killer and put the house is order. Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. Guaranteed to put the "ho ho hos" into the holidays.
The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson
When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison Brown goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. His grandmother's instructions are quite specific and rather challenging: find the perfect new homes and owners for her cats without disclosing that each comes with a sizable monetary gift. In the course of pursuing his fiduciary duties and contending with his allergy to cats, Garrison reconnects with his community, discovers new friends and maybe even love. Humorous and heartwarming, Carlson's newest is the perfect gift for pet lovers.
Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron
Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood. However, holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane's fellow snow-bound guests. "This is an excellent period mystery for all historical fiction fans, but Jane Austen devotees will especially appreciate immersing themselves in the many biographical details about Austen that accompany the fictional murder mystery." (Library Journal)
Cowboy Boots for Christmas: (Cowboy not included) by Carolyn Brown
After two tours in Afghanistan, retired Army sniper Finn O'Donnell believes his new ranch outside the sleepy little town of Burnt Boot, Texas, is the perfect place for an undisturbed holiday season. But before he can settle in, an old friend shows up looking for protection and a place where nobody knows her name. Callie Brewster must relocate to protect her young nephew, Martin, and the only person she trusts is her old Army friend, Finn. Burnt Boot seems like the perfect place to be anonymous, but it turns out a small town with big drama is no place to hide. "Filled with laughter, wit, and characters you'll adore, this heartwarming romp is rich with relatives, friends, feuds, and Christmas cheer and beautifully launches Brown's joyful new community series." (Library Journal)
“The list is the origin of culture." (Umberto Eco)
Its that time of year when the "Best" lists of 2014 appear. It seems that every media source, whether newspaper, magazine, TV show, blogger, celebrity, or pundit, prints, publishes or posts a "Best Books of 2014" list. There's the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014, Amazon Editors Top 100, Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction, Library Journal's Top Ten, Publishers Weekly Best of 2014, the Washington Post's Top Ten, Time Magazine's Top Ten Fiction Books, and the LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites - to name a few.
Did any of your favorites make the list(s)?
Kent Haruf (1943-2014)
Kent Haruf, author and creator of the fictional east Colorado town of Holt, died last Sunday at the age of 71. Haruf chronicled the lives of his small-town characters with sympathy and emotional depth in quiet, measured prose; his most famous work, Plainsong, was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award. The New York Times called it, "a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt." He was 56 when Plainsong, his third book, became a best-seller and had been writing for about 30 years. His next two novels, Eventide and Benediction, were also set in Holt. Writing in a review of Benediction in the Guardian, Ursula Le Guin called Haruf a "stunningly original writer... (his) courage and achievement in exploring ordinary forms of love – the enduring frustration, the long cost of loyalty, the comfort of daily affection – are unsurpassed by anything I know in contemporary fiction”. His latest book, Our Souls at Night, which Haruf finished last summer, will be published in May 2015.
Books to Movies/TV - December
Now (or soon) playing...
Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Macomber's latest inspirational Christmas story becomes a Hallmark Channel Original Movie on December 6. Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track--and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store, especially when it comes to Adddie's next-door neighbor and childhood nemesis, Erich. "Macomber spins another sweet, warmhearted holiday tale that will be as comforting to her fans as hot chocolate on Christmas morning."(Kirkus Reviews)
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Adapted for a Lifetime miniseries to air on December 7 & 8, Diamant's popular 1997 novel, set in the Old Testament, recounts the life of Dinah, a daughter of Jacob and Leah. Although Dinah is a minor character from the book of Genesis, Diamant creates a childhood for her among the women of her tribe, including the four wives of Jacob, who spend their time in the red tent sharing their knowledge and traditions. Later, as Dinah matures, she enters into a forbidden love which results in a tragic loss and a devastating betrayal by her brothers. A "vivid evocation of the world of Old Testament women...the red tent of her title...becomes a resonant symbol of womanly strength, love and wisdom." (Publishers Weekly)
Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
Part noir, part psychedelic romp, this mystery is set in Los Angeles at the tail end of the sixties, where private investigator and pothead Larry "Doc" Portello is the sole proprietor and employee of LSD Investigations (Location, Surveillance, Detection). He is approached by an old flame, Shasta, to look into a "problem" her new boyfriend Mickey is having with his wife and her boyfriend. Soon there's a dead body, a run-in with friendly nemesis Lt. Det. Bigfoot Bjornsen, and Mickey disappears. So, for that matter, does Shasta. And it gets even more complicated as Doc smokes his way through one very weird investigation. "With whip-smart, psychedelic-bright language, Pynchon manages to convey the Sixties-except the Sixties were never really like this. This is Pynchon's world, and it's brilliant." (Library Journal) The movie stars an ensemble cast (Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin) and opens December 12.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Will you follow me one last time ?" The last chapter of Peter Jackson's trilogy based on Tolkien's beloved book finds the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield and his crew, including the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, in a battle for the fate of Middle Earth. Pitted against Sauron, orcs and the dragon Smaug, the races of Men, Elves and Dwarves must decide whether to unite or die. And of course, there's that curious ring that Bilbo found in Gollum's cave...
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, the movie opens on December 17.
Queen of Crime
P.D. James, legendary author of 18 crime novels, many featuring Scotland Yard detective/poet Adam Dalgliesh, passed away Thursday, November 27th at her home in Oxford, England. Considered one of the preeminent mystery/crime writers of recent times, she is among the most celebrated, and is credited with "transcending the genre" to write books with complex plots involving multi-faceted characters with psychological depth. She was a defender of the detective mystery, which she thought of as a morality drama, "I came to believe,” she said, “that it is perfectly possible to remain within the constraints and conventions of the genre and be a serious writer, saying something true about men and women and their relationships and the society in which they live.” Several of her Dalgliesh novels were adapted for the PBS television "Mystery!" series, the dystopian Children of Men was made into a film in 2006, and her last book, Death Comes to Pemberley, her homage to Jane Austen, was adapted as a TV mini-series that aired in the U.S. in October. James was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008.
LibraryReads One Year Anniversary
LibraryReads is celebrating its first year in existence by issuing a new list this month consisting of the top ten favorite titles selected from all 120 books on the September 2013 through September 2014 lists. The Favorite of Favorites list takes the place of the traditional December list and is the result of online voting by over one thousand librarians.
The Number #1 favorite of favorites is The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
“A middle-aged bookseller mourning his lost wife, a feisty publisher’s rep, and a charmingly precocious abandoned child come together on a small island off the New England coast in this utterly delightful novel of love and second chances.” (Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY)
The full list, in order of most votes received, is:
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell,
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Landline, by Rainbow Rowell
Longbourn, by Jo Baker
"There is always something for which to be thankful." (Dickens)
The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
Capote's classic tale, based on his Southern childhood in the 30's, about 9 year-old Buddy who is growing up in a small Alabama town with his older cousin, Miss Sook. Buddy's holiday is threatened and his relationship with Miss Sook is put to the test when she insists on inviting the school bully, Odd Henderson, to Thanksgiving dinner. There, with family and friends gathered round the dinner table, Buddy gets his chance for revenge on the bully at last and instead learns a lesson in the importance of suspending judgment and extending forgiveness.
A Catered Thanksgiving by Isis Crawford
Sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons, the proprietors of A Little Taste of Heaven, their small catering company, prepare a Thanksgiving feast for Scrooge-like fireworks manufacturer Monty Field and his family at the Field mansion. When Monty comes into the kitchen to test the roasting turkey, Bernie and Libby watch in horror as Monty taps the pop-up button in the bird's breast and the turkey explodes, blowing off the top of his head. "Fans of culinary cozies will enjoy... Her murder method is original, and the recipes are good." (Library Journal)
Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes
On Thanksgiving Day 2007, as the country teeters on the brink of a recession, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, a single academic, and her newly adopted Indian child, and about their son, who has been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble. While the Olsons navigate the tensions and secrets that mark their relationships, seventeen-year-old Kijo Jackson and his best friend Spider set out from the nearby housing projects. A series of tragic events bring the two worlds ever closer, exposing the thin line between suburban privilege and urban poverty, and culminating in a crime that will change everyone's life.
Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich
When Megan Murphy discovered a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she meant to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter was too attractive to stay mad at for long. Hunter, the new pediatrician, has been given an infant to care for, and Megan falls for both of them. Their attraction grows in leaps and bounds, especially when everyone they meet thinks they're married. Soon the two are making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.
The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne
Strikingly different since childhood and leading dissimilar lives, sisters Frances and Cynthia have managed to remain close - as long as they stay on opposite coasts. When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include the sisters' long-estranged father. Cynthia, however, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier. As Thanksgiving Day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of a shared past as their conflict escalates.