Adult Book News
2016 Summer Reads
Since Memorial Day and summer are just around the corner, the first of the "Best Books of Summer" lists are starting to appear. Publishers Weekly has already released their picks and other media outlets will soon follow. Here are a few of the titles the staff at Publishers Weekly recommend:
Zero K by Don DeLillo
Jeffrey Lockhart's father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say "an uncertain farewell" to her as she surrenders her body. "In this magnificently edgy and profoundly inquisitive tale, DeLillo reflects on what we remember and forget, what we treasure and destroy, and what we fail to do for each other and for life itself." (Booklist)
The Fireman by Joe Hill
A chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman. He strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman, afflicted himself, but who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged. "...a tremendous, heartrending epic of bravery and love set in a fully realized and terrifying apocalyptic world, where hope lies in the simplest of gestures and the fullest of hearts." (Publishers Weekly)
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
A smart, highly entertaining novel about a tight-knit group of friends from college-- and what it means to finally grow up, well after adulthood has set in. Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. "Sprinkled with humor and insight, this is a Brooklyn novel with heart. Straub's characters are well rounded and realistic; even the teenagers are sympathetic." (Library Journal)
Roots: the Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley
Starting on Memorial Day and running four nights, this new eight-hour mini-series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1976 book by Alex Haley, will be simulcast on the History, Lifetime and A&E channels at 9pm. Haley's book, which has been considered both non-fiction and historical fiction (Haley called it "faction") was famously adapted for television in 1977, becoming a blockbuster cultural event. Broadcast on ABC, the finale was watched by an audience estimated at 100 million people. The story follows Haley's ancestors who were brought to this country from Gambia as slaves and traces his family's fortunes through several generations. The original series explored the experiences and legacy of slavery from an African-American perspective and mesmerized the American public. It also inspired many people to trace their own "roots" and popularized family genealogy research; such shows as Finding Your Roots with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates demonstrate the continuing interest.
The producers of the new series claim that their version refines and deepens Haley's story due to access to newer and more comprehensive scholarship about the Atlantic slave trade, the culture of Western Africa, and the day-to-day lives of Southern slaves. The producers have emphasized historical accuracy, hiring several historians as advisors. Producer Le Var Burton, who played the slave Kunte Kinte in the original, feels the saga is relevant to today's racial issues, stating, " But I do believe that we have a lot to contribute to the very important conversation of race in America, and how it continues to hold us back as a society."
Nebula Award Winners Announced
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America recently announced the winners of the 2015 Nebula Awards for science fiction and fantasy writing. Nominees are named in the best novel, novella, novelette, short story, dramatic presentation, and young adult categories, and the voting takes place throughout March. The winners were honored at the annual SFWA Nebula Conference in Chicago on May 14.
Best Novel: Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A stand-alone novel by the author of the Temeraire series, this fantasy is inspired by European 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)
Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne
Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
Julian Fellowes, the ever-so-British producer of Downton Abbey fame, has something new for those mourning the ending of that hit series. Fellowes' new television series is based on a 1858 novel by Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) involving another assortment of English landed gentry and their manners, marriages, money problems, and moral issues, set amid palatial estates and society balls. The four part mini-series will stream on Amazon Prime starting tonight (Friday, May 20) with Fellowes himself as host. Originally shown in Britain in March on the ITV network without his introductions, Amazon added Fellowes to the streaming version to help Americans with the story since Trollope's works are not well known here. Doctor Thorne is the third of six novels in Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire, and concerns the fortunes of poor, possibly illegitimate, Mary Thorne (the doctor's niece) and her struggles to find her place in society through a successful marriage. She loves the local squire's son Frank, but Frank needs to marry into money to maintain his family's estate and position. Throw in a rich but dissolute baronet and an American heiress on the make and you have the wit and melodrama ones expects from British period fiction. Of the mini-series, The New York Times concludes, "Doctor Thorne is a minor canvas, compared with Downton Abbey, but Mr. Fellowes packs a lot of charm and amusement into its 160 minutes."
Fiction in Translation
Man Booker International Prize 2016
The Vegetarian by by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
On May 16, critic and editor, Boyd Tonkin, chair of the Man Booker International Prize judging panel, announced the winner of this global fiction prize at a ceremony in London. The Man Booker International Prize honors both the author and translator of a single work translated into English with £25,000 (about $36,000) along with a newly designed trophy. Han Kang is a successful South Korean author and poet whose work had not been translated into English until The Vegetarian was published in England by Portobello Books in 2015. Her book is a three-part novel that follows the story of Yeong-hye, a dutiful Korean wife who, spurred on by a dream, decides one day to become a vegetarian. This subversive act fractures her family life and Yeong-hye’s rebellion manifests itself in increasingly bizarre and frightening forms: she begins to starve herself, believing she can transform into a tree. The author is quoted as saying that she wanted to explore what it would mean for a person to live a completely non-violent life by avoiding food. Reviewers were impressed while also acknowledging the surreal and disturbing nature of the book - The New York Times called it a "ferocious, magnificently death-affirming novel."
2015 Bram Stoker Awards
The Horror Writers Association, an organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy,"dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it," recently announced the 2015 winners of the Bram Stoker Awards. Named for the author of Dracula, the awards are presented annually for superior writing in several categories of this genre. The awards were presented during StokerCon, held May 12 - 15 in Las Vegas.
Superior Achievement in a Novel:
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror. The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend. "Whether psychological or supernatural, this is a work of deviously subtle horror." (Publishers Weekly)
Adult Summer Reading Program 2016
Exercise Your Mind - READ!
June 1 – August 8, 2016
There are two ways to play!
PDL’s Adult Summer Reading Program, featuring the popular Library Bingo game, is back again this summer. Starting in June, adults will have the chance to win prizes for reading and discovering the Library’s many resources. Complete five boxes in a row on the Bingo form to earn prizes, like Penn movie tickets and certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants. Bingo forms will be available in the Library and online at plymouthlibrary.org.
No registration is required – grab a bingo sheet and begin!
Online Adult Summer Reading Log
Bingo not your thing? Try the Online Adult Summer Reading Program. Sign up at plymouthlibrary.org to create your adult summer reading account, then read five (5) books of your choice and list the titles on your online log. You can also post a book review, if you like. When you’ve finished your five, stop by the Library to pick up your final prize. Prizes include certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants and Penn movie tickets. You can start reading on June 1 and continue until August 8.
Pump up your summer!
Librarian Faves - June 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 June 2016:
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
The newest installment in the Hogarth Press series of Shakespeare stories updated and reimagined for contemporary times, Vinegar Girl is Anne Tyler's reboot of The Taming of the Shrew. Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread) gives us Kate (the shrew) as the put-upon caretaker of her absent-minded professor father and snooty sister, Bunny. Plus, she's always in trouble at work - her preschool charges adore her, but their parents don't always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner. When her father suggests she marry his about-to-be-deported lab assistant so that he can secure a green card and continue his scientific work, Kate is outraged. Enough is enough! "The Taming of the Shrew meets Green Card in this delightful reinvention that owes as much to Tyler's quirky sensibilities as it does to its literary forebear. Come for the Shakespeare, stay for the wonderful Tyler." (Library Journal)
Spring Books with Buzz
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
On the May LibraryReads list and the Canadian equivalent, Loanstars, this thriller is getting rave reviews from critics and librarians. The story follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that killed her son. At the same time, a pair of Bristol police investigators are trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. "A clever thriller that boasts fine writing, compelling characters, and mind-bending twists; put this one on your list of recommended vacation reads. (Booklist)
Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo
A sequel to the best-selling Nobody's Fool, published in 1993 and later made into a movie starring Paul Newman, Russo's novel returns to North Bath, in upstate New York and the characters who live there. The irresistible Sully, who in the intervening years has come by some unexpected good fortune, is staring down a VA cardiologist's estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it's hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years; the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren't still best friends; and Sully's son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure. Other familiar denizens of this hard-luck town return with their own worries and preoccupations to create "... a madcap romp, weaving mystery, suspense and comedy in a race to the final pages.” (Wall Street Journal). Booklist's reviewer is enthused: "Russo's reunion with these beloved characters is genius: silly slapstick and sardonic humor play out in a rambling, rambunctious story that poignantly emphasizes that particular brand of loyalty and acceptance that is synonymous with small-town living."
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Cleave (Little Bee) explores a love triangle amid the turmoil of London during World War II in this new novel published last month. The day war is declared, privileged Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw, in love with Mary, decides to ignore the war - until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. And when he introduces Mary to Alistair, their attraction is immediate: it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence, passion, friendship, and deception. Cleave has said that the story was inspired by, and loosely based, on the real-life love letters exchanged by his grandparents who had a whirlwind wartime courtship. "Among all the recent fictions about the war, Cleave’s miniseries of a novel is a surprising standout, with irresistibly engaging characters who sharply illuminate issues of class, race, and wartime morality." (Kirkus Reviews)
LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Because Louise Erdrich. Winner of the National Book Award for The Round House and the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, Erdrich has produced another powerful story set on the North Dakota Ojibwe reservation that involves two families, a tragic accident, and act of atonement with roots in Native American culture. In 1999, Landreaux Iron mistakenly shoots and kills his neighbor's five-year-old son while hunting deer. Horrified at what he's done, the recovered alcoholic turns to Ojibwe tribe tradition for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and his wife will give their son, LaRose, to the grieving neighbors. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them. As the years pass, LaRose becomes the linchpin linking the two families and eventually their mutual pain begins to heal. But when a vengeful man with a long-standing grudge against Landreaux begins raising trouble, the tenuous peace that has kept these two fragile families whole is threatened. "LaRose is the fifteenth novel in Erdrich's magnificent North Dakota cycle about the painful and proud legacy and intricately entangled relationships among Native Americans, whites, and people of mixed heritage, a brilliantly imagined and constructed saga of empathy, elegy, spirituality, resilience, wit, wonder, and hope that will stand as a defining master work of American literature for generations to come." (Booklist)
Meet the Author!
Author Visit - Great Michigan Read 2015-16
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
PDL is once again participating in the Michigan Humanities Council's Great Michigan Read. This year's selection is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. As part of our programming, we are delighted to host the author at our Library on Wednesday, May 18 at 1pm, when Ms. Mandel will speak about the inspiration for Station Eleven and her experiences as a writer. Join us as welcome this award-winning novelist to Plymouth. Registration is open, call 723-453-0750, ext. 4, or register online at plymouthlibrary.org.
The Great Michigan Read is the statewide community reading program sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council which "aims to connect us as Michiganians by deepening our understanding of our state, our society, and our humanity," through the reading and discussion of one book.
The Great Michigan Read is presented by the Michigan Humanities Council with support from Meijer, the National Endowment for the Humanities and a host of other sponsors.”