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Adult Book News


ThrillerFest XIII

Recently, the International Thriller Writers held their annual conference in New York to celebrate thriller books, the authors who write them, and the fans who read them. Dubbed "Thrillerfest XIII",  the 13th conference ran from July 10-14, with author panels, speeches, and presentations. Among the attendees were this year's ThrillerMaster, George R.R. Martin, along with 2018 Spotlight Guests Lisa Gardner, Lee Child, Megan Abbott, and James Rollins. During the Banquet on Saturday, July 14, the winners of the coveted Thriller Awards were announced. These awards are given each year for the best thriller books in hardcover, paperback original, first novel, and other categories.

Among the thrilling winners:

Best Hardcover Novel: Final Girls by Riley Sager

finalgirlsTen years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horrible massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to--a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods from Pine Cottage to escape the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well - that is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit; and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most importantly, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage ten years ago. "This brilliant horror/psychological thriller will fly off the shelves" (LIbrary Journal).




July is National Ice Cream Month

It's mid-summer and the temperatures are steamy - what better time to consider ice cream?

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

icecreamqueenIn 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street. Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, "The Ice Cream Queen" -- matriarch of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality. Lillian's rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone . And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake. " (Author) Gilman's numerous strengths are showcased, such as character-driven narrative, a ready sense of wit, and a rich historical canvas, in this case based on the unlikely subject of the 20th-century American ice cream industry." (Publishers Weekly).




Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz

foreverandadayAnthony Horowitz, with the authorization of Ian Fleming's estate, has written his second James Bond novel, a prequel to the very first Bond adventure, Casino Royale (1952) which introduced the charismatic character. Bond, the ever-cool spy, has outlasted all that Cold War espionage and now confronts global terrorism and other threats to the civilized world. Fleming's novels, eleven written between 1952 and 1966, were very successful and the character of Bond has become part of our popular culture. (We all know how he likes his martinis.) After Fleming's death his estate contracted with other writers to continue the franchise. Raymond Benson, John Gardner, Kingsley Amis, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffrey Deaverr, and William Boyd have all written James Bond novels. Horowitz's first James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, was published in 2015. In the new novel, Horowitz invents "what might have been Bond's first mission," and explores " some of the forces that might have turned him into the iconic figure that the whole world knows."




And the Winner is .... The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje


55574 v1 197xThis special one-off award to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Literary Prize in 2018 crowns the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.The winner was announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre in London this past weekend. All 51 books that have received a Man Booker Prize were considered by the judges, each of whom chose a specific book to represent one of the past five decades, before a month-long public vote on the Man Booker website was held to pick the winning novel. Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation described The English Patient, the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse, as “a compelling work of fiction—both poetic and philosophical—and is a worthy winner of the Golden Man Booker.” Kennedy noted that all 51 Man Booker Prize winners remain in print, adding, “ I’m confident that this special book, chosen by the public, will continue to stand the test of time and delight new readers for many more years to come.”






Actress and producer Reese Witherspoon founded her book club, Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine, in 2016, as a multi-media platform to highlight reesestories by and about women. Hello Sunshine's stated mission is to change the narrative for women by discovering content that celebrates women and puts them at the center of the story. Not only does Witherspoon choose a book each month for her followers to read, she develops and produces projects to be shared via film, television, audio, website, newsletter, and social and digital channels - whichever platform she and her Hello Sunshine production partners  think best honors the story being told. Visitors to the website will find book discussions, author interviews, podcasts and more. While not yet the size of Oprah's Book Club, Witherspoon's venture is proving to be an influential media marketing force for books and films like Gone Girl and Big Little Lies.

Reese's July Book PIck: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

nextyearCleeton, the daughter of Cuban immingrants, drew on her own family's history of the exodus from Cuba after the revolution. The story centers on two women, decades apart, both drawn to the beauty of Cuba. In 1958 Havana, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is the daughter of a sugar baron and part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest - until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary. Years later, in Miami, writer Marisol Ferrera relishes the romantic stories of Cuba told by her grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. After Elisa's death, Marisol attempts to honor her grandmothers' last wish: that her ashes be scattered in the country of her birth. "Parallel tales of passion and romance crash against rigid family expectations, wartime violence, and political barriers. These two women, pampered Elisa and independent Marisol, tell their stories of star-crossed love with genuine emotional intensity." (Booklist). "It’s a beautiful novel that’s full of forbidden passions, family secrets and a lot of courage and sacrifice,” Witherspoon adds.






Harlan Ellison (1934-2018)

bloodsaroverProlific and provocative science fiction author Harlan Ellison passed away Thursday at the age of 84. While recognized and LDN L ELLISONrevered for his writing chops, which included over 50 novels and more than 1,700 short stories, as well as scripts for classic television shows like The Outer Limits and Star Trek, and movie adaptations like A Boy and His Dog, he was also known for his pugnacious personality (he described himself as "bellicose"). Ellison took on publishers, Hollywood studios and directors, TV producers, and even his agents and editors, all in the defense and protection of his artistic vision and share of the profits. His many feuds and lawsuits forced the entertainment industry to acknowledge the contributions of writers to their projects. His science fiction writing pushed the boundaries of the genre, using the framework of space and technology to explore dark moral themes. He was rewarded with multiple literary awards: 8 Hugo Awards, 4 Nebula Awards, 5 Bram Stoker Awards, 2 Edgar Awards, 2 World Fantasy Awards.The Science Fiction Writers of America named him its 23rd Grand Master of fantasy and science fiction in 2006 and he ws inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011. HIs latest book, Blood's A Rover will be released on June 30. As Stephen King tweeted yesterday: "Harlan Ellison: There was no one quite like him in American letters, and never will be. Angry, funny, eloquent, hugely talented. If there's an afterlife, Harlan is already kicking ass and taking down names."







BookClubKitNew titles have been added recently 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 ahead of time 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. 



Our newest Kits:

beforewewereyoursBefore We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge--until strangers arrive in force. Taken from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents--but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty. The novel is based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.





oursoulsatnightOur Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's poignant fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. Addie presents Louis with an unusual  proposition: a   second chance of sorts for companionship and love in the twilight of their lives.





510xUSTE02L SX336 BO1204203200 A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family's remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century, Wyeth's Christina's World. Kline interweaves fact and fiction to bring into focus the flesh and blood woman behind the portrait, a smart, determined personality with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, who forges a special bond with one of America's greatest modern artists.







On June 21, Nancy Pearl, librarian extraordinaire (with her own action figure), shared a list of summer reads with NPR's Steve Inskeep on that station's Morning Edition broadcast. Great choices for vacation time!



Among her suggestions:


The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

troublewithgoatsIn a small village in England in 1976, Mrs. Creasy has gone missing and the neighborhood is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren't convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands to discover what happened to her. Spunky, spirited Grace and quiet, thoughtful Tilly go door to door in search of clues. The cul-de-sac starts to give up its secrets, and the amateur detectives uncover much more than ever imagined. As they try to make sense of what they've seen and heard, a complicated history of deception begins to emerge. Everyone on the block has something to hide. Nancy explains,"So this is a little bit of a mystery — what happened to Mrs. Creasy — but more it's an examination of a group of people all with secrets of their own and the fear that some of those secrets are going to come out because of the girls' inquisitiveness. But it's laced with wonderful, wonderful touches of humor, including an absolutely priceless scene where Tilly and Grace make one of their regular trips to the library and are looking for something good to read. I loved this book. It's one of those books that you just want to give to everybody."




July 2018 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 July 2018:

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

spinningsilver“A wonderful reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin story. A tale of love, family, magic, and destiny, told from the perspective of three strong female characters.”  Melanie Liechty, Logan Library, Logan, UT

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of a neighboring realm, Miryem's fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and Irina, the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to a dashing young tsar. But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume both lands. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love. "Readers will be impressed by the way Novik ties the myriad threads of her story together by the end, and, despite the book's length, they will be sad to walk away from its deeply immersive setting. This is the kind of book that one might wish to inhabit forever." (Publishers Weekly).




MB 50th rgb h Logo

This year, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize, one of the leading literary awards in the English speaking world. Each year, the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best novel of the year written in English and published in the U.K.;  the winner receives £50,000 (about $66,000). To celebrate this anniversary, The Booker Prize Foundation has launched the Golden Man Booker Prize, a special one-off award that will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades. Five novels, chosen by the judges from among the 51 previous winners, will vie for the special award. The public is invited to vote on the Man Booker Prize website until June 25 to decide the overall winner, to be announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival on July 8, 2018.


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A Place for Us by Fatima Faheen Mirza

placeforusActress and bibliophile Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City fame has entered into an editorial arrangement with Hogarth SJP20Book20Club20Centralbooks, part of the Penguin Random House organization, to develop her own imprint, SJP for Hogarth. This week Parker's imprint released its first book, A Place for Us by Fatima Faheen Mirza. The novel tells the story of an Indian family and their estranged brother, all reunited at a wedding. As the Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia: their headstrong, eldest daughter, whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition. Huda, the middle child, determined to follow in her sister's footsteps. And lastly, their estranged son, Amar, who returns to the family fold for the first time in three years to take his place as brother of the bride.

Parker's press notes state, "Ms. Mirza painstakingly details the life of an Indian Muslim family in America and their children’s search to feel whole, fulfilled, and content. She captures your mind and heart with an urgency that defies you to stop reading. I guarantee you will be different when you close the book.”

The critics agree;  The Washington Post's book editor Ron Charles declares, "And it is absolutely gorgeous. ... Mirza writes about family life with the wisdom, insight, and patience you would expect from a mature novelist adding a final masterpiece to her canon, but this is, fortunately, just the start of an extraordinary career."



rainbow clip art rainbow clip art fLGBTQ Books for Adult Readers

At the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in February, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table released their 2018 Over the Rainbow List composed of fiction and non-fiction books for adults that are recognized for their authentic expression of the LGBTQ experience. This year’s list includes 39 fiction and 42 nonfiction titles published between July 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2017. 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.


From the List:


thisis how

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Detailed exploration of what it means to have a gender non-conforming child. A story of a couple deeply in love, blessed with  5 sons, though Claude, their youngest, doesn’t see herself that way. He's five years old, the youngest of the brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Parents,Rosie and Penn, want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They're just not sure they're ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes. Through loving family relationships and ordinary challenges of growing up, Claude is able to develop into the person they are. This is how children change...and then change the world.









201607 oprahs book club orange logo promo 600x2501The Sun Does Shine: How I found Life and Freedom on Death Row
by Anthony Ray Hinton

sundoesshineYesterday, Oprah Winfrey selected her next book club title, a memoir of a man wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 30 years in Alabama. Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of two murders in 1985 and spent decades on death row until his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2014; the Court unanimously ruled that he had been denied a fair trial. In her press release yesterday, Oprah noted that most of her book club picks have been fiction but that this memoir makes great reading. “This story reads like an epic novel and it is all true,” Winfrey said. “You will, throughout the book, try to imagine yourself — falsely accused, and in a 5-by-7 cell for 30 years. He is a remarkable storyteller and when you read it you’ll be swept away.”







iStock SummerReading XSmall73 Books to Read While the Sun Is Out and the Days Are Long -
New York Times Book Review

Last Sunday's New York Times Book Review section focused on summer reading with lists and reviews of all kinds of recent books: thrillers, travel sagas, cookbooks, true crime stories, romance novels, books about music, nature tales, chronicles of the TV & movie industry, and sports stories. With titles like Our Kind of CrueltyThe Kiss Quotient, and Too Wilde to Wed, there's a beach read for everyone.





2018 Adult Summer Reading Program begins Friday, June 1st.


No registration needed. Pick one of these options!

1.  Library Checkers:  Simply stop by the Library and pick up your Game card in person or download your card here.  Complete six (6) connected squares on the Checker Board to earn a prize.  You can move straight or diagonally, just keep moving toward the top row finish line.  Program ends August 5th.  One prize per person, please.

2.  Online Adult Summer Reading Log:  Go to Beanstack and create an account to log your summer reading online.  No Game card needed.  If you are already registered at Beanstack from last year, just log into your account. Read five (5) books of your choice and list the titles on your online log.  When you've finished your five, stop by the Library to pick up your prize.  Program ends August 5th.  One prize per person, please.


Prizes include certificates to Plymouth stores, restaurnats, and the Penn Theatre.




USA Today  - 10 Hot Books for Summer

Now that the weather is warm enough - 10 new books for your beach reading pleasure. This list contains thrillers like The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton (yes, that Bill Clinton); a new book by Ruth Ware, author of The Woman in Cabin 10; and a new family drama by Anne Tyler. There are also non-fiction titles: a biography of Arthur Ashe and a memoir by Todd Fisher about his mother, Debbie Reynolds, and sister, Carrie Fisher.

presidentismissingThe List:

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
A People's History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villreal
How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher
Lincoln's Last Trial by Dan Abrams and David Fisher
A Place for Us by Fatima Mirza
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
The Other Woman by Daniel Silva
Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault






Philip Roth (1933-2018)

goodbyecolumbusAuthor Philip Roth (85) passed away Tuesday night in a Manhattan hospital from congestive heart failure. Obituaries, like the one in The New York Times, are using as many superlatives as possible (and justifiably) to describe and praise Roth as a writer and the numerous books he produced. "Mr. Roth was the last of the great white males: the triumvirate of writers — Saul Bellow and John Updike were the others — who towered over American letters in the second half of the 20th century." (New York Times). "Seminal American Novelist...American litereary icon... (New Yorker). "   the - the  - great American post-war novelist." (

Roth's career has spanned 53 years- his first book was written in 1959- and he received continued critical success thereafter. Roth was one of the most honored authors of his generation: his books have twice been awarded the National Book Award, twice the National Book Critics Circle Award,  three times the PEN/Faulkner Award and he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. He was also a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Well known for titles such as Goodbye Columbus, Portnoy's Complaint, Amercan Pastoral, The Human Stain and The Plot Against America, his 31st and last book, Nemesis was published in 2010. Four of his works have been adapted for film. In any survey of contemporary literature, Roth is considered one of the most gifted writers in recent history. In 2005 he became only the third living writer (after Bellow and Eudora Welty) to have his books enshrined in the Library of America. "In the course of a very long career, Mr. Roth took on many guises — mainly versions of himself — in the exploration of what it means to be an American, a Jew, a writer, a man." (New York Times)





Beach Reads and More...


 The Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer every year, and like cookouts, graduations, and weddings, summer reading lists and recommendations pop up as the weather warms. Media outlets, whether print, online, blog, or broadcast, create lists of best summer reads filled with non-fiction, fiction, beach reads and how-to books. The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Parade, and more have all weighed in with selections for your summer reading pleasure. Time to kick back and read!





Star Wars Last Shot by Daniel Jose Older and Solo: A Star Wars Story

last shotThis weekend, on May 25, a new Star Wars anthology film will be released. Set before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope,solologo Solo introduces the back-story of one of the franchise's favorite characters, Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford in most of the movies and Alden Ehrenreich in Solo). The action-adventure movie follows the young Han Solo, a smuggler navigating the dark criminal underworld, who meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters notorious gambler Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion. Last Shot is a canon novel that serves as a tie-in to the movie. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are reunited on the Millennium Falcon in a galaxy-spanning tale set ten years after their attempts to find a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery. However, the device's creator, the volatile criminal Fyzen Gor, wasn't interested in sharing. When Lando turns up at Han's doorstep in the middle of the night, it's Fyzen's assassins that he's running from. And without Han's help, Lando--and all life on Cloud City--will be annihilated. The two most notorious scoundrels in the New Republic are working together once more. They'll have to journey across the stars--and into the past--before Gor uses the device's power to reshape the galaxy.




 52nd Annual Nebula Awards


The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America recently announced the winners  of the 2017 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 Pittsburgh on May 19th.



Best Novel:

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

steonskyThe shattering conclusion t o the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed bestselling trilogy that began with The Fifth Season , winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016, and The Obelisk Gate , winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2017.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child (a child with special powers) can grow up safe. For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed. "Vivid characters, a tautly constructed plot, and outstanding worldbuilding meld into an impressive and timely story of abused, grieving survivors fighting to fix themselves and save the remnants of their shattered home." (Publishers Weekly)






bookclubmovieBook Club - the movie

Opening May 18, a movie about a book club comprised of four friends and the books they read. Diane (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage, Vivian (Jane Fonda) enjoys her men with no strings attached, Sharon (Candice Bergen) is still working through her decades-old divorce, and Carol's (Mary Steenburgen) marriage is in a slump after 35 years. The lives of these four lifelong friends are turned upside down after reading the infamous 50 Shades of Grey, catapulting them into a series of outrageous life choices. As the New York Times review points out, "There is an element of fantasy in this, of course, and also a great deal of reality left out of the picture." No matter, as the reviewer for puts it, "Book Club is not the flashiest movie of the year. But it's one of the sweetest." He concludes, "But the movie is sneakily great, too. Holderman and Simms’s screenplay is thoughtful and surprisingly moving in places, especially when you consider that its base premise is “a book club of women in their later years decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey." If you're interested to find out what other books the group reads, has you covered with "Your summer reading list, courtesy of the movie Book Club."





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How many of the 100 books have you read?

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ on PBS is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey).  It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.  

The television series, which starts on Tuesday, May 22, at 8pm ,features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It is comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books is revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results are announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book. 

You can take the quiz and check out the list of favorites - then cast your vote for the country's best loved book. Voting will open online and on social media with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode and continue throughout the summer, leading up to the finale in October 2018. Over the summer, viewers can vote online and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their votes by using SMS and toll-free voting.






Adult Summer Reading Program 2018

 Adult Summer Reading 2018 begins  June 1

Start reading for fun and prizes.




Tom Wolfe (1930-2018)

twolfecolorTom Wolfe, a superstar of the 1960's, 70's, and 80's  literary world, died Monday, May 14 in Manhattan. He was 88. An influential bonfirereporter and essayist, he is credited with the creation of the writing style, New Journalism, which he described as, "writing nonfiction, from newspaper stories to books, using basic reporting to gather the material but techniques ordinarily associated with fiction, such as scene-by-scene construction, to narrate it.”  During the 60's and 70's, Wolfe wrote well-received columns and essays for newspapers and magazines, but his non-fiction books, like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Right Stuff (which won the National Book Award) established his position as a literary star. His talent was undeniable, with "an extravagant and inventive style" and "creative use of pop language and explosive punctuation." (NYTimes). In 1987 he published his best-known novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, a satire of the excesses and greed of 1980's New York. Both The Right Stuff and Bonfire of the Vanities were adapted as films. Wolfe went on to write several other novels, inlcuding A Man in Full (1998), I am Charlotte Simmons (2004), and Back to Blood (2012). A thorough sophisticate, Wolfe was also known for his dapper outfits - white, bespoke suits, vests and ties, pin-striped silk shirts, pocket handkerchiefs and spats - a look he called, “Neo-pretentious.”





June 2018 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 June 2018:

Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

By the author of Behind Closed Doors, a new twisted, psychological must-read.

Bring Me Back blog 196x300Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They're driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone--never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story. Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla's sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there's something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him...even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her. Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla--hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla's past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen's house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive--and on Finn's trail--what does she want? And how much does she know? "Paris (Behind Closed Doors; The Breakdown) once again proves her suspense chops with this can't-put-down psychological thriller." (Library Journal)





Nobel Prize in Literature Postponed Until 2019

nobel x 050418Due to turmoil caused by scandals at the Swedish Academy responsible for naming the Nobel Literature Prize winners each year, the Academy has postponed the prize with the intention of awarding it next year. Many members of the group have resigned and left it with only 10 active members, too few to conduct their mission or elect new members. The Nobel Foundation, which is ultimately responsible for fulfilling the terms of Alfred Nobel's will, supports the move and hopes that the Academy can move forward to reform its procedures and restore its credibility. This decision does not affect the other prize categores like medicine, chemistry, or physics.




May the 4th Be with You!

Today is the celebration of all things Star Wars and, as is well known, the Force continues to be strong indeed. The Star Wars franchise has generated thousands and thousands of devoted fans - and related items beyond counting, like movies, cartoons, video games, comics, books, blogs, toys, costumes, and memorabilia etc. There's enough Star Wars fiction to keep the most devoted geek traveling throughout the galaxies (near and far, far away) for a long, long time. And later this month, on May 25, a new Star Wars anthology film will be released. Set before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, Solo introduces the back-story of one of the franchise's favorite characters, Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford in most of the movies and Alden Ehrenreich in Solo). The action/adventure movie introduces the young Han Solo, a smuggler navigating the dark criminal underworld, who meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters notorious gambler Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.

lastjediWhile you're waiting to board the Millennuim Falcon again, you can journey to that galaxy far, far away with Star Wars:The Last Jedi,  the expanded novelization by Jason Fry released in March. According to science fiction website,, "The Last Jedi’s novelization,... is unique because it’s the first of these novelizations that has been released long after the launch of the film. What that means is, not only is the book based on what we actually saw in theaters (rather than an earlier draft), but to keep it relevant, it’s also been expanded with input from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson—adding, clarifying, and enhancing several important moments in the film’s story."






Agatha Awards 2017/18

agathabanner home

The Agatha Awards, named for the genre’s legendary practitioner, Agatha Christie, are sponsored by Malice Domestic, a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating traditional mysteries. The group’s Web site defines these books as “mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence. Materials generally classified as "hard-boiled" are not appropriate." To be eligible, a mystery novel must have been published by a living author during the calender year of 2017. Prizes were awarded on April 28, 2018 during the organization's annual convention in Bethesda, Maryland.

Best Contemporary Novel:

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

glasshousesIn Penny's 13th book in her popular series about Quebec's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the town of Three Rivers is threatened by a mysterious masked figure who stands watch on the village green. Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Surete du Quebec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied. Months later, Gamache continues to struggle with actions set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back.  Gamache's own conscience is standing in judgment.




 Best Historical Novel:

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

infarleighfieldWorld War II comes to Farleigh Place, the stately home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham's middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility. As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela's family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda.




 Best First Novel:

Hollywood Homicide byKellye Garrett

hollywoodhomicideDayna Anderson didn't set out to solve a murder. All the semifamous, mega-broke actress wanted was to help her parents keep their house. So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money--she wants justice for the victim. She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it--until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life.









2018 Edgar Awards

On April 26, at their 72nd annual banquet in New York, The Mystery Writers of America presented the Edgar Allan Poe Awards honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2017.


Best Novel:

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

bluebirdWhen it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules--a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home. When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders--a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman--have stirred up a hornet's nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes--and save himself in the process--before Lark's long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. "Locke, winner of the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for legal fiction (Pleasantville) and a writer and producer of the show Empire, has woven an atmospheric, convoluted mystery seasoned with racial tension and family loyalty." (Library Journal). The FX cable channel has purchased the rights to develop a series based on the book, to be called Highway 59.




 Best First Novel:

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

sheridesshotgunEleven-year-old Polly McClusky is timid child when she is unexpectedly reunited with her father, Nate, fresh out of jail and driving a stolen car. He takes her from the front of her school into a world of robbery, violence, and the constant threat of death. And he does it to save her life. Nate made dangerous enemies in prison--a gang called Aryan Steel has put out a bounty on his head, counting on its members on the outside to finish him off. They've already murdered his ex-wife, Polly's mother. And Polly is their next target. Nate and Polly's lives soon become a series of narrow misses, of evading the bad guys and the police, of sleepless nights in motels. On the lam, Polly is forced to grow up early: with barely any time to mourn her mother, she must learn how to take a punch and pull off a drug-house heist. She finds herself transforming from a shy little girl into a true fighter. Nate, in turn, learns what it's like to love fiercely and unconditionally. "Expert pacing and well-developed characters lift this above the thriller pack." (Publishers Weekly)




May 2018 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 2018:

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn blog 196x300This first novel of a fantasy trilogy follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first. One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire's heart is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other. "Legrand excels at world building, deftly integrating the religion and history of this imaginary world into a dark yet rousing adventure story that combines passion and danger at every turn." (Booklist)





Barnes & Noble Book Club Featuring The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

B&N has recently announced the launch of a brand new, in real-time, book club. The Barnes & Noble Book Club's first meeting will be on May 2 at 6pm with hosted book discussions at all 630 stores in all 50 states. The book club is free and open to the public, and the first selection is Meg Wolitzer's new book, The Female Persuasion. One signed copy of the book will be given away at all locations. Our local store at 17111 Haggerty Rd. Northville, MI 48168 (248-348-0696) is participating.

femalepersuasionThe  Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women's movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer- madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can't quite place- feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life  and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she'd always imagined. Greer is thrilled to land a job with Frank’s foundation—but when her new life begins to crumble around her, Greer finds herself reevaluating her entire worldview, including her understanding of Frank and of what it means to be a feminist in the modern age. "Sweeping yet intimate, Wolitzer's timely saga places her characters at the heart of a new wave of feminism, one clinging to the old paradigms of protest while encompassing current politics of personal responsibility. In a complex web of friends, lovers, mentors, and rivals, Wolitzer compassionately and artfully discerns the subtle strengths at the core of these essential connections." (Booklist)





guernseyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

After a long gestation, the movie version of this popular 2008 book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, finally hits the screen today, April 20. This charming story with surprising depth is set in 1946 England in the aftermath of World War II and is written in the epistolary style, composed of letters from one character to another. Writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. She finds it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the Channel island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends--and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--born as a spur-of-the-moment cover when its members were discovered breaking curfew during the German occupation of their island--boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Ashton also learns that Elizabeth McKenna, the beloved founder of the Society, was arrested and sent to a prison in France by the Germans and has yet to return home. The members of the Society are raising her child, Kit, among themselves until Elizabeth returns. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Although the book's authors are American, the movie is a British production and stars a host of British actors known for British historical dramas: Lily James (Downton Abbey) as Juliet and Jessica Brown Findlay (Downtown Abbey) as Elizabeth, with other Downton Abbey alums, Matthew Goode (The Crown), and Penelope Wilton (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).




Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Yesterday, April 16, 2018, the 102nd class of Pulitzer Prize winners was announced. The first prizes honoring excellence in journalism and the arts were pulitzer2untitledawarded in 1917 for work done in 1916; the prizes were established by publisher Joseph Pulitzer through a bequest in his will. The Prizes are for more than just journalists - it is also one of the most coveted awards in the literary world (and Kendrick Lamar just won the Pulitzer Prize for Music).


lessWho says you can't run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. One way to skip town? You accept them all. What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last. Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story. "Less is a wondrous achievement, deserving an even larger audience than Greer's best-selling The Confessions of Max Tivoli." (Booklist)





Metro Detroit Book and Author Luncheon - Monday, May 21, 2018

The 92nd Metro Detroit Book and Author Society Luncheon will be held on Monday, May 21 at the Burton Manor in Livonia. Ticket sales began on April 2, by phone at 586-685-5750, ext. 102 or online at Tickets sales will end on May 18. Featured authors this spring are Michael Hodges, Jessica Knoll, Tiya Miles, and Dani Shapiro.

The Metro-Detroit Book & Author Society was created for the sole purpose of presenting a luncheon featuring major national authors. The Society strives to present top national authors in a comfortable, casual setting, with an opportunity to buy signed books and meet the authors. Guest authors have included Bonnie Jo Campbell, David Maraniss, Stephen King, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Michael Connelly, Greg Isles, Kathy Reich, Erik Larson, C.J. Box, Randy Wayne White, and Debbie Macomber. The Metro-Detroit Book & Author luncheons are considered one of the largest and best one-day author events in the country.




This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Ha Shoah in Hebrew, marks the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the 1943 act of Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland during World War II, opposing Nazi Germany's final effort to transport the remaining Ghetto population to the Treblinka concentration camp. Holocaust Remembrance Day will be officially observed in the United States on Thursday, April 12, which corresponds to the  27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. 2018 also marks the 25th anniversary of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The Museum was established as the result of a commission created in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter and led by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, as a “living memorial” that would honor the memory of the victims by teaching the lessons of the Holocaust to new generations.

Recognize the importance of remembrance:

boyinwinterA Boy in Winter by Rachel Sieffert
A startling portrait of the Nazis' arrival in Ukraine as they move to implement the final solution. Otto Pohl, an engineer overseeing construction of a German road in Ukraine, awakens to the unexpected sight of SS men herding hundreds of Jews into an old brick factory. Inside the factory, Ephraim anxiously scans the growing crowd, looking for his two sons. He can't quell the suspicion that it would be just like his oldest son, Yankel, to hole up somewhere instead of lining up for the Germans, and just like his youngest to follow. Yasia, a farmer's daughter who has come into town to sell produce, sees two young boys slinking through the shadows of the deserted streets and decides to offer them shelter. Yankel, with young Momik in tow, is determined to survive this. But to do so, he must throw in his lot with strangers. As their stories mesh, each of the characters comes to know the compromises demanded by survival, the oppressive power of fear, and the possibility of courage in the face of terror.





Outstanding Genre Fiction

rusareadinglistSince 2007, the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA, a division of the American Library Association) has assembled The Reading List in order to highlight outstanding genre fiction. The list was announced during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting, held February 9-13. A committee of twelve librarians selects one book to represent the best in each of 8 different categories. They also include read-alike suggestions and display the short lists of titles considered for each category. The categories include adrenaline (including suspense, thriller and adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and women’s fiction.




Fierce Kingdom
by Gin Phillips                                                                             

Down among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Historical Fiction
The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

The Dime
by Kathleen Kent

An Extraordinary Union
by Alyssa Cole

Science Fiction
The Collapsing Empire
by John Scalzi

Women’s Fiction
The Almost Sisters
by Joshilyn Jackson





mlk50Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the prominent clergyman and civil rights leader/activist, was shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. He was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, and was pronounced dead about an hour later. It was a devastating day for the black community and the nation as a whole. Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s and ‘60s to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States.He is widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence for social change; in 1964, at 35 years old, Dr.King, became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Individuals and organizations here (Metro Detroit Events list)  and around the country will honor Dr. King on April 4, 2018 and throughout the year. 2018 also marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center).

 Discover a new perspective:

 iseethepromisedland I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King Jr. by Arthur R. Flowers
Presents in graphic novel format the life of the Baptist minister and Noble Peace Prize winner who became the leader and orator of the African American civil rights movement before his assassination in 1968. "...a standout both as a distinctive graphic narrative that combines two world storytelling traditions and as an examination of King's life and its enduring legacy across the globe." (Booklist)






Anita Shreve (1946 - 2018)

starsarefireBest-selling author Anita Shreve died on March 29 at her home in New Hampshire, following a battle with cancer. She was the shreveauthor of 19 novels, including The Pilot's Wife, Resistance and The Weight of Water, which were all made into movies. Her novels often explored domestic themes, usually with a woman and her family in crisis. Discussing The Weight of Water she quoted a line from the book,"‘If you push a woman to the edge, how will she behave?" and went on to say, "And that, to me, is a fascinating question.” She began writing in the 1970's after a few years of teaching in the Boston area, but did not write fiction until the late 1980's. Her first book, Eden Close, was published in 1989. In 1999, Oprah selected Shreve's 7th novel, The Pilot's Wife, about a woman whose pilot husband dies in a plane crash, for the Oprah Book Club, giving Shreve a huge career boost. She wrote 12 more novels after that, about one every year and a half. Her most recent book, The Stars are Fire, based on the Great Fire of 1947 in Maine, and about a young wife and mother's recovery from its devastation, was published in 2017. "Based on the harrowing true story of the largest fire to ravage the coast of Maine, this is sure to be a best seller. Shreve's prose mirrors the action of the fire, with popping embers of action, licks of blazing rage, and the slow burn of lyrical character development. Absolutely stunning." (Library Journal)




grouchonoseApril is National Humor Month                              

According to, "National Humor Month was conceived as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy - the benchmarks of humor - lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills, and an enriched quality of life."

Who doesn't need a laugh these days? A book to enjoy as swimsuit season draws near:


fitnessjunkieFitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin--the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin--her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, so she throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants, spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues, dumpster diving on a first date, and other shenanigans As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can't help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? "A timely satire of current healing crazes of the rich and famous (eating clay is a thing), with a hint of corporate espionage. Folks who read Sykes and Piazza's debut, The Knockoff (2015), will be expecting some thinly disguised name-dropping, and the authors do not disappoint. There's a reason their books come out in the summer; this one is a lot of fun." (Booklist)




A new season for the Detroit Tigers                                                                    talesdugout

For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Every year until his retirement in 2002, legendary sports broadcaster Ernie Harwell (the Voice of the Tigers) would read this selection, The Voice of the Turtle, from the Song of Solomon, to begin the new season and celebrate spring and the rebirth of hope. So, let's go, Tigers - play ball!



Philip Kerr (1956 - 2018)

greeksPhilip Kerr, the author of numerous popular crime novels, passed away last week. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Kerr's family 27kerr1 blog427moved to England when he was a teen and he studied law at the University of Birmingham from 1974 to 1980, eventually gaining a master's degree. Kerr worked as an advertising copywriter before becoming a full-time writer in 1989. A writer of both adult fiction and non-fiction, he was known for the Bernie Gunther series of thrillers set during the Weimar Republic, World War II and the Cold War. Starting in 1989 with March Violets, he created police investigator Bernie Gunther, a sardonic German detective with a hard-boiled style who hates Hitler's regime and quits his job when the Nazis come to power. The series spans thirteen novels, taking Gunther through World War II as a private gumshoe and into post-war intrigues during the Cold War years. Kerr's writing and Gunther's personality drew comparisons to Raymond Chandler's noir dectective, Philip Marlowe. By setting his novels in Hitler's Germany, Kerr "found fertile turf for years of complex storytelling. Nazis, he said, were far worse than any “dodgy” district attorney or “corrupt” mayor (Raymond Chandler's) Marlowe had encountered."(New York Times). Kerr's latest Gunther novel, Greeks Bearing Gifts, will be published in April. He also wrote children's books under the name P.B. Kerr, including the Children of the Lamp series.




Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff by Sean Penn

bobhoneyActor/activist Sean Penn has written a novel, released today - and what a novel it is. The plot follows Bob Honey, a modern American man, entrepreneur, and part-time assassin. Bob has a hard time connecting with other people, especially since his divorce. He's tired of being marketed to every moment, sick of a world filled with social media oversharing. A paragon of old-fashioned American entrepreneurship, Bob sells septic tanks to Jehovah's Witnesses and arranges pyrotechnic displays for foreign dictators. He's also a contract killer for an off-the-books program run by a branch of US intelligence that targets the elderly, the infirm, and others who drain our consumption-driven society of its resources. When a nosy journalist starts asking questions, Bob can't decide if it's a chance to form some sort of new friendship or the beginning of the end for him. With treason on everyone's lips, terrorism in everyone's sights, and American political life sinking to ever-lower standards, Bob decides it's time to make a change--if he doesn't get killed by his mysterious controllers or exposed in the rapacious media first.

The publisher's blurb calls the book "a scorching, darkly funny novel." Other reviewers have differing reactions. USA Today concludes, "If all that sounds strange, it is. The narrative structure involves random lines of poetry, dystopian fever dreams and episodes featuring Bob Honey's mad adventures...There's also a strong satirical streak here, in which Penn is rather unsubtle with his commentary on American politics, culture and society." The Washington Post reviewer's take is "...“Bob Honey” is best appreciated as the fever dream of a boomer who watches the news, cannot make sense of it, but cannot contain his fury at it anyhow." Kirkus Review is somewhat kinder: "Noted actor and director Penn tries his hand at fiction and pulls it off reasonably well....A provocative debut. Not entirely successful, but James Franco and B.J. Novak better watch their backs."




Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

readyplayeroneAccording to a March 6 post on BuzzFeed by Jarry Lee, the deputy books editor, Ready Player One was the state of Michigan's most popular book in ebook or audio format from March 2017 to March 2018. This conclusion was based on the the statistics of the ebook and audio subscription service Scribd. Of course, the print version has been very popular too, with the film adaptation ready for release on March 29. Directed by Steven Spielberg with a screenplay writen by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, the sci fi, adventure film has been eagerly anticipated by fans.

The novel is set in the year 2045, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win.


Join the Library's Ready Player One Celebration

Saturday, April 7, 1-4 p.m.
Come Celebrate all things retro and geek out at the Library with arcade and console games, virtual reality, 80's board games, music, snacks, neon-colored drinks, and more! Registration required.




 shamrock symbol jonadab 01Erin Go Bragh!

March 17th is the day to celebrate all things Irish and green - green shamrocks, green clothes, green beads and, of course, green beer!

Transport yourself to the Emerald Isle with a book.


Murder in an Irish Churchyard by Carlene O'Connor

murderirishchurchThe third book in O'Connor's series, set in the town of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, sees Siobhán O'Sullivan promoted to garda (officer) in the national police force of Ireland. Her brothers now run the family business, Naomi's Bistro, as Siobahn takes up her duties to keep her town and its citizens safe. Of course, Kilbane is pretty quiet compared to a place like Dublin, but one night the local priest summons her to the church cemetery. There's a dead man in the graveyard--aboveground. He lies shot on a blanket of freshly fallen snow, hand stretched out toward a nearby headstone. He's a stranger, but the priest has heard talk of an American tourist in town, searching for his Irish ancestor. A detective sergeant is dispatched from Dublin to assist with the case, and as fate would have it, it's Siobhan's ex-boyfriend, Macdara. After his parting, things are awkward between them, but they have to work together. They learn the victim was from Dublin--Dublin, Ohio, that is. And when his family members are located and told of his murder, the plot thickens.As long-buried family secrets are unearthed, she and Macdara will need to stay two steps ahead of the killer or end up with more than one foot in the grave. "Fans of light mysteries with an Irish flavor will look forward to Siobhan and Macdara's further adventures." (Publishers Wekly)





April 2018 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 April 2018:

Circe by Madeline Miller

circeWorking from myths and history, Miller tells the story of legendary sorceress, Circe. The daughter of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans,  Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. "Weaving together Homer's tale with other sources, Miller crafts a classic story of female empowerment. She paints an uncompromising portrait of a superheroine who learns to wield divine power while coming to understand what it means to be mortal." (Publishers Weekly). Or as the LibraryReads reviewer, McKelle George, put it, "For readers of historical and mythological drama or anyone who loves a strong female lead."







2017 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 2017 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 the third annual StokerCon, held March 1-3, at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island.


Superior Achievement in a Novel:

Ararat by Christopher Golden

araratThe heart-pounding tale of an adventure that goes wrong...on a biblical scale. When an earthquake reveals a secret cave hidden inside Mount Ararat in Turkey, a daring, newly-engaged couple are determined to be the first ones inside...and what they discover will change everything. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that many quickly come to believe is really Noah's Ark. When a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses. Inside the coffin they find an ugly, misshapen cadaver--not the holy man they expected, but a hideous creature with horns. Shock and fear turn to horror when a massive blizzard blows in, trapping them thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain. All they can do is pray for safety. But something wicked is listening to their prayers...and it wants to answer. "Those who dare to read this novel will enjoy a spine--tingling tale with rich imagery and a buoyant cast of characters." (Library Journal)




2017 Nebula Award Finalists Announced

nebulaawardlogoThe Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America recently announced the finalists for the 2017 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 will receive their prizes during the 52nd Nebula Awards Weekend in Pittsburgh on May 19.

Best Novel Nominees:

Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss

Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory

The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin

Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty

Jade City, Fonda Lee

Autonomous, Annalee Newitz


(SFWA® and Nebula Awards® are registered trademarks of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.)




oscarThe Oscars

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Honoring movies released in 2017

Book-to-movie adaptations are a big hit with film audiences, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences too. On Sunday, March 4, Hollywood royalty will be parading on the red carpet just before the awards show which will bestow honors on such films, and the actors and personnel who created them.
And the books/nominees are:
All the Money in the World - based on Painfully Rich by John Pearson
Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
Blade Runner 2049 - based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman
Ferdinand - based on The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee
The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 -  based on Marvel Comics series by Dan Abnett and Andy Lansing
Molly's Game - based on Molly's Game  by Molly Bloom


March is Women's History Month



Women's History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as "Women's History Week." In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women's History Project, Congress designated the month of March as "Women's History Month" in perpetuity to highlight the achievements of women and their contributions to intellectual and social progress throughout human history.

(Historical content and image courtesy of the National Women's History Project and the Library of Congress.)


Discover some persistent women:

elizaI, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott
As anyone who has seen the Broadway hit, Hamilton, knows, Eliza Schuyler was the daughter of a respected New York general, and accustomed to socializing with dignitaries and soldiers. But no visitor to her parents' home affected her so strongly as Alexander Hamilton, a charismatic, ambitious aide to George Washington. They married quickly, and despite the tumult of the American Revolution, Eliza wasconfident in her brilliant husband and in her role as his helpmate. But it is in the aftermath of war, as Hamilton became one of the country's most important figures, that she truly came into her own.Behind closed doors, she astutely managed their expanding household, and assisted her husband with his political writings.Through public scandal, betrayal, personal heartbreak, and tragedy, she was tested again and again. In the end, it was Eliza's indomitable strength that made her not only Hamilton's most crucial ally in life, but also his most loyal advocate after his death.Two years later, she, along with several other women founded the New York Orphan Asylum Society, a social service for children. In 1821, she was named first directress, and served for twenty-seven years in this role. Eliza died in 1854, fifty years after her husband, at the age of 97.




isadoraIsadora by Amelia Gray
Grays' novel is based on the tumultuous, unconventional life of the innovative American dancer and choreographer, Isadora Duncan. Born in San Franciso in 1877, Duncan began dancing and teaching at an early age, eventually moving to New York and then Europe as she developed her philosophy of naturalistic movement. Duncan's style was controversial for its time, as it defied what she viewed as the constricting conventions of ballet, placing major emphasis on the human female form and free-flowing moves. Her achievements and artistic vision would lead her to be called the "Mother of Modern Dance." Duncan defied social customs in other ways and was viewed as an early feminist, declaring that she wouldn't marry. In 1913 she was known as much for her stunning dance performances as for her eccentric and salacious personal life -- her lovers included poets, directors, and the heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. But when her two children drowned in Paris, she found herself bereft. Traveling to Greece and Italy in an effort to get over her grief, she battled physical illness and mental collapse."As Isadora plunges into near madness, then slowly reclaims her artistic powers, Gray, performing her own extraordinary artistic leap, explores the nexus between body and mind, loss and creativity, love and ambition, and birth and death.The spellbinding result is a mythic, fiercely insightful, mordantly funny, and profoundly revelatory portrait of an intrepid and indelible artist." (Booklist)










Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

redsparrowOn March 2, the film adaptation of ex-CIA officer Matthews' 2013 novel about contemporary Russian spies hits the multiplex. Matthews spent 33 years with the CIA and has since penned several spy thrillers; Red Sparrow is the first in a trilogy which includes Palace of Treason and The Kremlin's Candidate. The plot follows Russian intelligence officer, and former ballerina, Dominika Egorova as she struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a "Sparrow," a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency's most important Russian mole. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and--inevitably--forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate's game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, DC. "An intense descent into a vortex of carnal passion, career brutality, and smart tradecraft, this thriller evokes the great Cold War era of espionage and adds startling touches such as recipes and a main character with synesthesia. Readers of bloodthirsty spy and suspense will welcome this debut from a writer who supersizes his spies."(LIbrary Journal)

The film stars an ensemble cast made up of Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeremy Irons.




annihilationAnnihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Today, February 23, Paramount Pictures is releasing the film adaptation of VanderMeer's 2014 Nebula Award-winning sci fi saga. Annihilation is the first in the Southern Reach trilogy, about a strange uninhabited area known as Area X, located in a U.S. National Park swamp. The story, set in the near-future, imagines Area X as a region cut off from human occupation and reclaimed by nature. Several expeditions that journeyed there ended in catastrophe; now another group, made up of four women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and a biologist, is set to go. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. The film, which stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac, refers to the area as "The Shimmer," a mysterious quarantined zone that is full of mutating landscapes and creatures. Library Journal's review of the book concluded, "...this short work packs a big punch, as the author has rare skills for building tension and making the reader feel the claustrophobic dread of his characters. Readers will be unsettled, intrigued, and eager for the next volume in this new trilogy." At this point, it should be mentioned that the book also won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award  for best novel, an award "established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic."



carnegieOn Sunday, February 11, at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, the American Library Association announced the winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. The award, established in 2012, recognizes the best in fiction for adult readers published in the U.S. during the last year. The Medals are funded through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and co-sponsored by ALA's Booklist magazine and the Reference and User Services division of ALA. Winning authors, who receive a $5,000 cash award, are picked by library professionals.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

The latest novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, centers on Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, who accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond his house and by some charged mystery between the two men. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have vanished. With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan's first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men in a propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America, and the world.




A little mystery with that chocolate heart!                   heart

 Addressed to Kill (A Postmistress Mystery) by Jean Flowers

addressedLove is in the air for postmaster Cassie Miller and the residents of North Ashcot, Massachusetts. Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and the town is gearing up for a special dinner dance at the senior center. With the local musical group performing at the dance displaced from their regular practice location, Cassie is all too happy to host them during off-hours at the post office. But not everything is coming up roses. When one of the musicians, Dennis Somerville, is found shot in his home, rumors swirl over who might have wanted him dead. Cassie must determine if there is a link between a string of recent break-ins and Dennis's murder before another victim winds up with more than a broken heart.







March 2018 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 March:

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

letmelieThe stunning new novel from Clare Mackintosh, the international bestselling author of I Let You Go and I See You. The police say it was suicide. Anna says it was murder. They're both wrong. Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents' deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide. Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother's absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her. Sometimes it's safer to let things lie.... "Mackintosh cleverly subverts readers' expectations while capitalizing on the complicated nature of parent-child relationships. Shocking twists share the page with meditations on love, loss, marriage, and mental illness, and though not every revelation feels earned, the overall story amply satisfies." (Publishers Weekly).





anamericanmarriageAn American Marriage by Tayari Jones

201607 oprahs book club orange logo promo 600x2501Yesterday on CBS This Morning, Oprah Winfrey announced her latest book club selection, An American Marriage, calling it "intriguing" and explaining that "It's a love story that also has a huge layer of suspense..."  The announcement coincided with the release date of the novel, which has also been named People Magazines' Book of the Week. The plot follows a professional African-American couple living in Atlanta. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. But can they find their way back to the people they once were and the realtionship they had? "Jones (Silver Sparrow, 2011) crafts an affecting tale that explores marriage, family, regret, and other feelings made all the more resonant by her well-drawn characters and their intricate conflicts of heart and mind. (Booklist)

Visit for more information.




The Edgar Awards

MWAlogo Each spring, Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar® Awards, widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious awards in the mystery genre.  Check out this year's nominees for Best Novel, and check back on April 26th to find out who wins!




                          Best Novel Nominees:

The Dime by Kathleen Kent
Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti



Tomorrow is the national holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday; this is the 52nd (LII in Roman numerals) grand football extravaganza that captures most of the nation's attention, enthusiam, and money.. There will be parties, with great food and drink, wagers, exuberant behavior, cheers and celebrations for the winners, and tears and heartbreak for the losers. But what happens to the participants after the party is over? For your consideration, a book about an ex-football player who winds up in Kalkaska, MI long after his college football days are over. A pretty loose connection to the NFL, the Super Bowl, and Tom Brady, but entertaining nonetheless.


repomanThe Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron
Ruddy McCann, former college football star, has experienced a seismic drop in popularity; he is now Kalkaska, Michigan's full-time repo man and part-time bar bouncer. His best friend is his low-energy Basset hound Jake, with whom he shares a simple life of stealing cars. Simple, that is, until Ruddy starts hearing a voice in his head. (Maybe the result of too many concussions?) The voice introduces himself as Alan Lottner, a dead realtor. Ruddy isn't sure if Alan is real, or if he's losing his mind (the dreaded Repo Madness). To complicate matters, it turns out Katie, the girl he's fallen for, is Alan's daughter. When Alan demands Ruddy find his murderers, Ruddy decides a voice in your head seeking vengeance is best ignored. When Alan also demands he clean up his act, and apartment, Ruddy tells him to back off, but where can a voice in your head go? Ruddy reluctantly concludes that the only way to clear his head is to find out why Alan was murdered. It couldn't be much worse than the repo business, right? "Cameron (A Dog's Purpose; A Dog's Journey) has delivered a highly engaging and funny novel that is reminiscent of the early works of Carl Hiaasen (Skin Tight) and Christopher Moore (Practical Demonkeeping). It's so easy to get wrapped up in Ruddy's misadventures that readers may well finish the novel and only then realize that they've read it in one sitting." (Library Journal)





February is African American History Month

Initially started in 1926 as Negro History Week, the commemoration of the struggles and achievements of African Americans in America was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1976. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Every president since has proclaimed February as African American History Month in order to honor the importance of contributions made by African American citizens to our society.

Literature is one way to examine the African American experience; African American authors have made major contributions to our collective culture and national discourse. Two recently reissued 20th-century classics by two authors of the Harlem Renaissance period, Nella Larsen and George S. Schuyler, explore themes of racial identity, belonging, and freedom that are still relevant today.


passingPassing by Nella Larsen
Clare Kendry leads a dangerous life. Fair, elegant, and ambitious, she is passing, married to a white man unaware of her African American heritage, and has severed all ties to her past. Clare's childhood friend, Irene Redfield, just as light-skinned, has chosen to remain within the African American community, but refuses to acknowledge the racism that continues to constrict her family's happiness. A chance encounter forces both women to confront the lies they have told others -- and the secret fears they have buried within themselves. First published in 1929, Passing is a remarkably candid exploration of shifting racial and sexual boundaries. The novel is "curious about what it means to feel, as well as be, truly free, and how freedom and safety might be at odds." (New York Times)





blacknomoreBlack No More by George S. Schuyler
The landmark 1931 comic satire that asks, "What would happen if all black people in America turned white?" It's New Year's Day 1933 in New York City, and Max Disher, a young black man, has just found out that a certain Dr. Junius Crookman has discovered a mysterious process that allows people to bleach their skin white--a new way to "solve the American race problem." Max leaps at the opportunity, and after a brief stay at the Crookman Sanitarium, he becomes Matthew Fisher, a white man who's able to attain everything he's ever wanted: money, power, good liquor, and the white woman who rejected him when he was black. Lampooning myths of white supremacy and racial purity and caricaturing prominent African American leaders like W. E. B. Du Bois, Madam C. J. Walker, and Marcus Garvey, Black No More is a masterwork of speculative fiction and a hilarious satire of America's obsession with race. "Each page unleashes a fusillade of gags and comic sequences, careening from slapstick to blood bath and back again.....the plot twists get "more complicated than a flapper's past" - and about as fun." (New York Times)




   loanstars black     Our library neighbors to the north also issue a monthly list of newly released books similar to our monthly LibraryReads list. They call theirs LOANSTARS and bill the titles as "The 10 hottest books published monthly, as voted by library staff across Canada." The Canadian February 2018 list contains 10 forthcoming fiction and nonfiction titles - and only two choices show up on both country's lists: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah andSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella. Both lists score The Great Alone as the number one pick and the LOANSTAR list awards the number two spot to Surprise Me. So, another country heard from!




surprisemeSurprise Me by Sopie Kinsella

After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other's sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it's casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years . . . and panic sets in. They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me--from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots--mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all. With a colorful cast of eccentric characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage--its intricacies, comforts, and complications.





PW's The Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018

Is it too early to think about spring? Not according to book publishers and sellers - and, of course, readers. Publishers Weekly has compiled a smaller list of notable upcoming books drawn from their voluminous (14,000+ titles) Spring Announcement issue. There's something for everyone, fiction and nonfiction, if we can only wait. Something to look forward to - like warmer weather.

warlightWarlight by Michael Ondaatje
Ondaatje's (The English Patient) first novel since 2011 will be released on May 8. In Britain just after World War II, fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey--through facts, recollection, and imagination--that he narrates in this tale that  Library Journal describes as "mysterious and dramatic."



circeCirce by Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, especially the wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. Miller's follow-up to the bestselling The Song of Achilles will be available on April 10.










Ursula Le Guin (1929 - 2018)

lefthandofdarknessLiterary icon Ursula Le Guin, winner of scores of science fiction writing awards, one of the few women to be named leguinGrandmaster of Science Fiction, and the recipient of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014, has passed away at the age of 88. Le Guin wrote more than 20 novels and novellas, over 100 short stories, seven collections of essays, and 13 books for children over the course of her long writing career. The author of the Earthsea series, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Lathe of Heaven was among the nation’s most revered writers of science fiction and fantasy. A graduate of Radcliffe and a Fullbright scholar, she imbued her work with emotional depth, lyrical style, superb imagination, and a certain feminist sensibility, elevating her work beyond the gender stereotypes of the genre. At the 2014 National Book Awards Le Guin's acceptance speech stopped the show and brought those assembled to their feet. She delivered a fiery sermon defending science fiction as a worthy genre too long ignored and championing writers in general against profiteers. "... "I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom."




Peter Mayle (1939 - 2018)

yearinprovenceBritish writer Peter Mayle passed away on January 18, 2018 in France where he had lived since moving there in 1987. He and his chasingcezannewife bought a farmhouse in Provence that year, expecting that it would be the perfect place for Mayle to write a novel. Instead the house became the focus of major protracted renovations with their attendant headaches, domestic disasters, and distractions.  Making little progress on the house or the book, Mayle shelved the novel and wrote about his experiences during the year spent navigating home repairs in rural France. The humorous and charming A Year in Provence was published in 1989 and became a surprise bestseller, was adapted for a television mini-series, and inspired a sequel, Toujours Provence in 1991The French lifestyle, with its wonderful food and wine, and quaint local customs, became the focus of several of his later books, including French Lessons: Adventures With Knife, Fork and Corkscrew (2001), and Provence A-Z (2006). Mayle also wrote a series of crime caper novels ( The Marseille Caper, Chasing Cezanne), also set France, and a stand-alone novel, A Good Year, about a young British businessman who inherits a dilapidated estate and vineyard in (where else?) Provence.  It was adapted for a 2006 film starring Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard.




MichiganNotableOn Sunday, January 14, in the Detroit Free Press, The Library of Michigan revealed the list of the 2018 Michigan Notable Books - 20 books that highlight the diversity of Michigan's people, places, issues, and events. The books must have been published during the last year, and be about Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or authored by a Michigan writer. The books are chosen by a committee of librarians, reviewers, booksellers, and authors working with the Library of Michigan's Center for the Book, to showcase the best of our state's literary culture and to raise awareness of the quality of Michiagn authors. The list contains novels, short stories, history, poetry, environmental books, a picture book, biographies, a Zingerman's cookbook and a book about Michigan's craft beer industry. Randy Riley, State Librarian of Michigan, writes, "Every year I am amazed by the variety of subject matter found in the books we review for the program and by the quality of the research and writing... It sounds cliché, but there really is something for everyone."



One of the novels, a psychological thriller titled The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne, is set in the marshes marshkingsdaughterof the Upper Peninsula. When the notorious child abductor, “The Marsh King,” escapes from prison, Helena Pelletier is sure she can use the skills she learned as a child to find him. No one is The Marsh King’s equal when it comes to navigating the marshland – except  Helena herself, his daughter.  As their cat and quarry game unfolds, she must use all her wilderness skills to thwart his plan and survive it. "Detailed flashbacks show Helena had an odd but decent childhood. To the world, Jacob was a monster; to Helena, he was just her father, who taught her to fish, hunt, and track, and told involving stories, and was occasionally brutal. Helena's conflicting emotions about her father and her own identity elevate this powerful story." (Publishers Weekly)







February 2018 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 February:

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Great Aloneblog 196x300Kristin Hannah, author of the popular World War II novel, The Nightingale, examines the repercusssions of a different war in her new book. Set in 1974, the plot follows the Albrights as they struggle to heal their troubled family. Ernt Allbright, a former POW, came home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America's last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents' passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights' lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt's fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. "Though smaller in scope than her previous blockbuster, in this tightly focused drama, Hannah vividly evokes the natural beauty and danger of Alaska and paints a compelling portrait of a family in crisis and a community on the brink of change." (Booklist)




mlkMonday, January 15, is the day designated for the observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the day to commemorate his legacy of non-violent social change and commitment to equal rights and justice for all. Civic organizations, churches, and local governments across the country have programs, services, and other special events planned. In the announcement for this year's observances, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, issues this statement." The theme for this year’s commemoration is King: His Voice, His Teachings, His Love for Humanity. This theme underscores Dr. King’s commitment to spreading love and peace amongst all of humanity even through the most trying times. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional sentimentalism. It is the active pouring of one's whole being into the being of another." This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King; he died on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.




header logowinteroficeWinter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier

With the Mad King of Emmer in the north and the vicious King of Pohorir in the east, Kehara Raehema knows her country is in a vulnerable position. She never expected to give up everything she loves to save her people, but when the Mad King's fury leaves her land in danger, she has no choice but to try any stratagem that might buy time for her people to prepare for war--no matter the personal cost. Hundreds of miles away, the pitiless Wolf Duke of Pohorir, Innisth Eanete, dreams of breaking his people and his province free of the king he despises. But he has no way to make that happen--until chance unexpectedly leaves Kehara on his doorstep and at his mercy. Yet in a land where immanent spirits inhabit the earth, political disaster is not the greatest peril one can face. Now, as the year rushes toward the dangerous midwinter, Kehera and Innisth find themselves unwilling allies, and their joined strength is all that stands between the peoples of the Four Kingdoms and utter catastrophe. "Top-notch world building and in-depth character development...the dramatic conclusion will satisfy both lovers of romance and political fantasy." (Booklist)






Sue Grafton (1940 - 2017)

yisforyesterdayOn December 28, 2017, writer Sue Grafton passed away at the age of 77 after a two-year battle with cancer. Last August, Grafton published the 25th book in her popular detective series with the letters of the alphabet in the titles (starting with 1982's A is for Alibi and continuing through Y is for Yesterday) and featuring Kinsey Milhone, one of the first professional female private investigators in mystery fiction. Unfortunately the last book in the series, which would have started with "Z," was never written. As noted by her daughter's announcement, "as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y." Grafton had been a successful TV writer and aspiring novelist before her eighth novel, A is for Alibi, launched her best-selling series. She credited cartoonist Edward Gorey and his darkly humorous alphabet book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies for the inspiration for her titles. "I was smitten with all those little Victorian children being dispatched in various ways,” she told The New York Times in 2015. “ ‘A is for Amy who fell down the stairs; B is for Basil assaulted by bears; C is for Clara who wasted away; D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh.’ Edward Gorey was deliciously bent.” Gorey, who passed away in 2000, would probably appreciate the compliment.





cantobightWhy January 2nd?  It's the birthday of Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), the preeminent and prolific science fiction author and master of "hard science fiction." Best known for his Foundation and Robot (I, Robot) series, Asimov published over 500 books over his long career and won every science fiction award possible. Asimov's work influenced generations of science fiction writers and was instrumental in elevating the genre from the fringe of pulp magazines to the literary mainstream.

Celebrate the day (and satisfy your inner Star Wars nerd) with the latest from that galaxy far, far away. Canto Bight is a glitzy, glittery casino city featured in one of the plots in the new movie,Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Four interconnected novellas (by Saladin Ahmed, Mira Grant, Rae Carson, and John Jackson Miller) explore the lives of high-rollers, desperate gamblers, and other schemers living and working there. In Canto Bight, one is free to revel in excess, untouched from the problems of a galaxy once again descending into chaos and war. Dreams can become reality, but the stakes have never been higher--for there is a darkness obscured by all the glamour and luxury.





Happy New Year!

HuffPost's 60 Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2018


Ready, Set, Go!




wolvesofwinterThe Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn't help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she's forced to forge ahead in the snow-drifted Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap and slaughter. Yet shadows of the world before have found her tiny community--most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who brings with him dark secrets of the past, and sets in motion a chain of events that will call Lynn to a role she never imagined."Johnson is an excellent storyteller; the novel is full of action, suspense, and plot twists as the resilient characters fight for survival in a harsh winter wilderness." (Publishers Weekly)





winterWinter by Ali Smith
When four people, strangers and family, converge on a fifteen-bedroom house in Cornwall for Christmas, will there be enough room for everyone? Art Cleves has just broken up with his girlfriend as the holidays approach, and he dreads his visit to his difficult mother, Sophia. When he meets Lux at a bus stop, he impulsively invites her to accompany him to his mother's manor house in the country. They arrive to find Sophia befuddled and disorganized  and the house in disarray. Enter Sophia's estranged sister, Iris, who brings her own baggage to the gathering. The four bicker and negotiate their way through the holidays together, debating politics and reliving memories while uncovering long-hidden family secrets, with Lux as intermediary. "This second installment in Smith's seasonal quartet (after Autumn) combines captivating storytelling with a timely focus on social issues. Enthusiastically recommended; we're now eagerly awaiting Spring." (Library Journal)





winterstationThe Winter Station by Jody Shields
Based on a true story that has been lost to history, the plot follows a Russian aristocrat in the Russian-ruled city of Kharbin, a major railway outpost in Manchuria, where people are mysteriously dying at an alarming rate. During the a dangerously cold winter of 1910, the Baron, a wealthy Russian aristocrat and the city's medical commissioner, is determined to stop this deadly plague. Battling local customs, an occupying army, and a brutal epidemic with no name, the Baron is torn between duty and compassion, between Western medical science and respect for Chinese tradition. His allies include a French doctor, a black marketeer, and a charismatic Chinese dwarf. His greatest refuge is the intimacy he shares with his young Chinese wife - but she has secrets of her own. "Shields's Kharbin is plagued not only by disease but also by rumor, superstition, pride, and ignorance. This fictional portrait of a man caught in a real-life medical crisis proves affecting and timely in its exploration of conflicts between cultures and classes, ambition and mortality, science and politics." (Publishers Weekly)




Time for some Ho-Ho Homicide!

usualsantasThe Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers
The perfect antidote to the holiday hustle and bustle - these eighteen holiday stories by your favorite Soho Crime authors contain laughs, murders, the most hardboiled of holiday noir, and heartwarming reminders of the spirit of the season. Nine mall Santas must find the imposter among them. An elderly lady seeks peace from her murderously loud neighbors at Christmastime. A young woman receives a mysterious invitation to Christmas dinner with a stranger. Niccolo; Machiavelli sets out to save an Italian city. Sherlock Holmes's one-time nemesis Irene Adler finds herself in an unexpected tangle in Paris while on a routine espionage assignment. Jane Austen searches for the Dowager Duchess of Wilborough's stolen diamonds. These and other adventures in this varied assortment will take you away to Christmases around the globe. "The Christmas theme is central to some stories, merely a time of year in others. But each bite-size mystery in this winning collection is a gift." (Booklist)





January 2018 LibraryReads

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 January:

immortalistsThe Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic, who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children--four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness--sneak out to hear their fortunes. The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality. Believing they know when they will die shapes everything the silbings  do as they struggle under the burden of the fortune-teller's revelation. "The author has written a cleverly structured novel steeped in Jewish lore and the history of four decades of American life. The four Gold siblings are wonderful creations, and in Benjamin's expert hands their story becomes a moving meditation on fate, faith, and the family ties that alternately hurt and heal." (Booklist)





NPR - Maureen Corrigan's Best Books List 2017

As Maureen Corrigan puts it, "For a chaotic year, I'm offering a chaotic "Best Books" list — but I think my list is chaotic in a good sense. These books zing off in all directions: They're fresh, unruly and dismissive of the canned and contrived."  "You can't go wrong with any of these books."  Her list of ten books contains several works of fiction, including some award winners, a memoir, a collection of biographical essays, a young adult novel, and an investigation into the Osage murders in 1920's Oklahoma.

goldenhillGolden Hill by Francis Spufford

The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-eighteenth century Manhattan, thirty years before the American Revolution. New York is a small town on the tip of Manhattan island in 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street: this is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won't explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him? And so Mr. Smith begins his excellent adventure through the wilds of New York City, which includes an attempted lynching, a duel, a prison stay, and a courtship. "...Spufford's action is fast, and plot twists abound. Readers bounce through chases, courtrooms, brawls, debtors' prison, and a momentous steam-room sex scene, and it's all great fun. But most pleasurable is the prose itself, which is clever, silly, and perceptive, somehow managing to seem perfectly historically calibrated while poking fun at itself for such efforts. A virtuoso literary performance." ( Booklist)


library reads logo websiteLibraryReads is marking its another anniversary by creating the fourth Favorite of Favorites list, with library staff voting on their top ten favorite books from the October 2016 through September 2017 lists. The Favorites of Favorites list takes the place of the traditional December list and is the result of online voting by over one thousand librarians.

So here are the top ten books that librarians across the country loved recommending in 2017:

 Little Fires Everywhere by Celese Ng

 The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 News of the World by Paulette Jiles

  Glass Houses by Louise Penny

 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

 Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

 Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

 The Dry by Jane Harper

                                     Bear Town by Fredrik Backman


crime clipart wall of crime scene tape md wmBest Crime Novels of 2017

Marilyn Stasio, the revered mystery/crime reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, recently selected her list of the ten "best" novels about crime and punishment, writing,"Ho, Ho, Ho! Let Jolly Santa hand out his boring, politically correct presents to all the good boys anad girls. Here comes Bad Santa with a sack of the year's best crime and mystery thrillers, full of psychos and sickos for the naughty kids."  Her sack is full of cops, killers, victims, detectives, a Texas Ranger, and a young mother who "gives new meaning to the term "tiger mom."


fiercekingdomFierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours--the entire scope of the novel--she keeps on running. Joan's intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself--the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines--is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger. Stasio calls this "a heart-thumping thriller" about a place  - "a zoo full of wild things in boxes" - "where you really do not want to meet a couple of nut cases with rifles."









LJBestBooks2017 300x190

Library Journal's Top Ten Best Books of 2017
(and Top Five Lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry, literature and graphic novels)

The editors at Library Journal started their selection meetings in October to winnow down their initial slate of 23 books into a Top Ten Best List for 2017. They eventually compiled an evenly-matched list: 5 fiction and 5 non-fiction titles, by five women authors and five men."If there is a “winner among winners,” it would be Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, for which every editor voted."


homefireHome Fire by Kamila Shamsie

The suspenseful and heartbreaking story of two Pakistani immigrant familes in Great Britain, driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.

Responsible older sister Isma is finally free. After seven years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother's death, she's accepted an invitation from a mentor in America that will allow her to finish her PhD. But she can't stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who's disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, following the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When he resurfaces half a globe away, Isma's worst fears are confirmed. Then the son of a family friend, Eamonn, enters the sisters' lives. Son of a powerful political figure, he has his own birthright to live up to--or defy. Both sisters are attracted. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz's salvation? Suddenly, two families' fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined, in this searing novel that asks: What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?

"In this multiple-perspective novel, Shamsie peers deeply into her characters' innermost selves, delineating the complicated emotions, idealistic principles, and vulnerabilities that drive them. Scenes showing Parvaiz's mindset as he is indoctrinated into ISIS are daring and incredibly disturbing. In accessible, unwavering prose and without any heavy-handedness, Shamsie addresses an impressive mix of contemporary issues, from Muslim profiling to cultural assimilation and identity to the nuances of international relations. This shattering work leaves a lasting emotional impression." (Booklist)








The New York Times - 100 Notable Books of 2017

On November 22, The New York Times posted its list of this year's 100 notable books in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Many of the books are best-sellers, award-winners, or by famous authors, yet some are less well-known. In any list of 100 books, there should be something for everyone's taste. Even a little Christmas cheer.

christmasdaysChristmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson
Stories called "otherworldly and wickedly funny," presented as a gift from British author Winterson. For the Twelve Days of Christmas - a time of celebration, sharing, and giving - she offers these twelve plus one: a personal story of her own Christmas memories. These tales give the reader a portal into the spirit of the season, where time slows down and magic starts to happen. From trees with mysterious powers to a tinsel baby that talks, philosophical fairies to flying dogs, a haunted house and a disappearing train, Winterson's innovative stories encompass the childlike and spooky wonder of Christmas. Perfect for reading by the fire with loved ones, or while traveling home for the holidays. "This collection is full of Winterson's wry wit yet also conveys her love for Christmas and the magic of the season. Even if you have no intention of making any of the included recipes, read them. The backstory and instructions in the recipes are just as entertaining as the stories themselves." (Library Journal)








A little holiday mystery...

turkeytrotmurderTurkey Trot Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery by Leslie Meier
It's late autumn in Tinker's Cove, Maine and part-time reporter (and full-time snoop) Lucy Stone expects the approaching holiday to be a relatively uneventful one, even with the annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day. That is, until she finds beautiful Alison Franklin dead and frozen in Blueberry Pond. No one knows much about Alison, except that she was the daughter of wealthy investor Ed Franklin and struggled quietly with drug addiction. Police blame her death on an accidental overdose, but Lucy can't understand what terrible forces could lead a privileged woman to such an end. Alison's funeral service is just as puzzling. Many believe Ed's young--and very pregnant--new wife, Mireille, divided the family, leaving Alison to wither on the vine. Did Mireille truly adore her stepchild as Ed claims, or did she pit father against daughter for personal gain? As a state of unrest descends on Tinker's Cove, Lucy is thrown into a full-scale investigation. Now, in a race against time, Lucy must beat the killer to the finish line--or she can forget about stuffing and cranberry sauce.





National Book Award for Fiction -  Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward



sing unburied singOn November 15, at the annual banquet in New York, the National Book Foundation bestowed the 68th National Book Awards on the writers of outstanding fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's fiction. Author Jesmyn Ward won her second National Book Award for Fiction for her recent novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, a family story set in contemporary Mississippi. Like her first National Book Award-winning book, Salvage the Bones (2011), the new novel explores themes of poverty, race, and the effects of trauma. Sing,Unburied, Sing follows the journey of a boy named Jojo, whose drug-addicted mother takes him and his toddler sister on a road trip to pick up their white father when he is released from prison. At 13, Jojo is trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn't lack in fathers to study, chief among them his black grandfather, Pop. But the examples of the other men in his life complicate his understanding: his imprisoned white father, Michael, his absent white grandfather, Big Joseph, who won't acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager. " In her first novel since the National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones (2011), Ward renders richly drawn characters, a strong sense of place, and a distinctive style that is at once down-to-earth and magical." (Booklist)





Jewish Book Month (November 12-December 12) began in 1925
in a library in Boston where a librarian set up a jewishcouncildisplay of Jewish-themed books. Other communities across the county adopted the custom in what was known as Jewish Book Week. In 1943, the celebration was extended to a month-long observance each year in the month before Hanukkah as a way of promoting Jewish books nationwide. Jewish Book Month is a program sponsored by the Jewish Book Council which serves as the coordinating body of Jewish literary activity in North America in both general and Jewish venues.

This month provides a perfect opportunity to sample books by Israeli authors:

manwhoneverThe Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping by Aharon Appelfeld
Erwin doesn't remember much about his journey across Europe when the war finally ended because he spent most of it asleep, carried by other survivors as they emerged from their hiding places or were liberated from the camps, and made their way to Naples, where they filled refugee camps. As he struggles to stay awake, Erwin becomes part of a group of boys being rigorously trained both physically and mentally by an emissary from Palestine for life in their new home.The fog of sleep slowly begins to lift, and when Erwin is released by British authorities from the detention camp in Atlit, he and his comrades are assigned to a kibbutz, where they learn how to tend to the land and speak their new language. When he is wounded in an engagement with snipers, Erwin must spend long months recovering from multiple surgeries and trying to regain the use of his legs. As he exercises his body, he exercises his mind as well. With the support of his friends and of other survivors, and with the encouragement of his mother (who visits him in his dreams), Erwin takes his first tentative steps with his crutches - and with his pen.




alltheriversAll the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan
When Liat meets Hilmi on a blustery autumn afternoon in Greenwich Village, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Charismatic and handsome, Hilmi is a talented young artist from Palestine. Liat, an aspiring translation student, plans to return to Israel the following summer. Despite knowing that their love can be only temporary, that it can exist only away from their conflicted homeland, Liat lets herself be enraptured by Hilmi: by his lively imagination, by his beautiful hands and wise eyes, by his sweetness and devotion. Together they explore the city, sharing laughs and fantasies and pangs of homesickness. But the unfettered joy they awaken in each other cannot overcome the guilt Liat feels for hiding him from her family in Israel and her Jewish friends in New York. As her departure date looms and her love for Hilmi deepens, Liat must decide whether she is willing to risk alienating her family, her community, and her sense of self for the love of one man. The book stirred controversy in Israel, the Education Ministry attempted to ban the book, fearful that it would encourage intermarriage.




ruinedhouseThe Ruined House by Reuven Namdar
Andrew P. Cohen, a professor of comparative culture at New York University, is at the zenith of his life. Adored by his classes and published in prestigious literary magazines, he is about to receive a coveted promotion--the crowning achievement of an enviable career. He is on excellent terms with Linda, his ex-wife, and his two grown children admire and adore him. His girlfriend, Ann Lee, a former student half his age, offers lively companionship. A man of elevated taste, education, and culture, he is a model of urbanity and success. But the manicured surface of his world begins to crack when he is visited by a series of strange and inexplicable visions involving an ancient religious ritual and Jerusalem's Holy Temple.The story unfolds over the course of one year, as Andrew's world unravels and he is forced to question all his beliefs. "...this is an imaginative and visionary work about one man's spectacular mid-life crisis, framed by sacred texts and filled with poetic and portentous passages." (Library Journal)







Today, November 11 is Veterans Day, designated by the Federal government as a holiday to honor the people who served in the U.S. Military Forces "for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good." 

midnight lineLee Chld's newest Jack Reacher novel, The Midnight LIne, explores the struggles of some veterans once they've returned home. While stretching his legs at a rest stop, Reacher, the former Army investigator and perpetual loner, sees a West Point ring in a pawn shop. From its size, he can tell it belonged to a woman. Knowing the effort and sacrifice it takes to earn such a ring, Reacher realizes that the owner must have been truly desperate when she pawned it. So he buys it and sets out to find the owner and return the ring to her. His search leads him to rural Wyoming where he finds Officer Sanderson, who has suffered debilitating physical and psychic injuries from her five tours of duty overseas, leading to an addiction to opioids. "Among the novel’s most startling scenes are ones that show the daily lives of addicts with heartbreaking exactitude. ... Through his winding tale, Childs weaves in a passionately told history of opioids in American life. War has been a major part of that history, from the invention of morphine before the Civil War to the painkillers used during the carnage of the World Wars, and more recently in Vietnam and the Middle East. Wars create a lot of addicts. Post-war governments often throw those people in jail. That is stupid and ugly, and Child’s outrage over this sorry state of affairs is only just barely contained." (Washington Post)





Literary Award Season:

2017 Carol Awards - Best in Christian Fiction - Contemporary:

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell


In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter's sixth-grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter's best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry--gone, without a trace. Unable to cope with her guilt, Amanda's daughter sinks into depression. And Amanda's husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amanda's whole world has collapsed. Amanda knows she has to save herself before it's too late. As she continues to search for Sarah, she embarks on a personal journey, seeking hope and purpose in the wake of so much tragedy and loss.





2017 Kirkus Prize for Fiction:

What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah


A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home."And Arimah has skill in abundance: the stories here are solid and impeccably crafted and strike at the heart of the most complicated of human relationships. Against a backdrop of grief for dead parents or angst over a lover, Arimah uses Nigeria as her muse. The characters exist in relation to a Nigeria of the past—the ghost of the Nigerian civil war, especially, looms over many of the stories—as well as present-day Nigeria, either as citizens or expats. Arimah even imagines a future Nigeria...Heralds a new voice with certain staying power." (Kirkus Reviews)





2017 World Fantasy Awards - Best Novel:

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North


No one really knows Hope Arden, despite having met her a thousand times. It started when she was sixteen years old.
A father forgetting to drive her to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at her and sees a stranger. No matter what she does, the words she says, the crimes she commits, people never remember who her. That makes her life difficult. It also makes her dangerous."... this is a very risky novel, with a premise that could easily be dismissed by readers as ludicrous, if it weren't for the author's ability to make us believe. Beautifully written, with a protagonist who is both tragic and heroic..." (Booklist)









Since 1990, each President has designated November as the month to honor "the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S." According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the effort to gain recognition of the value of Native American culture started in the 1900's with various states and organizations declaring certain days as American Indian Days. This month not only honors the diverse traditions, cultures, and histories of Native Americans, but also serves to educate the general public about the challenges Native peoples faced in the past and continue to face in the present.

blasphemyContemporary Native American writers continue to enrich our national discourse by sharing the histories, traditions and beliefs of Native Americans through diverse novels that explore the modern Native American experience. Well known authors like Louise Erdrich, recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction in 2015, and Sherman Alexie, winner of the 2007 National Book Award, have produced powerful stories of modern reservation life and the clash of traditional customs and modern social and legal systems. Other Native American authors to consider include Linda Hogan, James Welch, Joseph Boyden, Leslie Marmon Silko, and  N. Scott Momaday.






2018 Andrew Carnegie Awards

carnegie-fic-medal photo webOn October 25, the American Library Association announced the 2018 finalists (shortlist) for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in fiction and non-fiction. The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best in fiction and non-fiction for adult readers published in the U.S. during the last year. The Medals are funded through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and co-sponsored by ALA's Booklist magazine and the Reference and User Services division of ALA. Winning authors, who receive a $5,000 cash award, are picked by library professionals. The 2017 Carnegie Medal winners will be announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver on February 11, 2018.



2018 Fiction Finalists:


manhattanbeachManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

The latest novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, centers on Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, who accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond his house and by some charged mystery between the two men. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have vanished. With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan's first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men in a propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.




lincolninthebardoLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Saunders was recently awarded the Man Booker Fiction Prize, one  of the most prestigious and lucrative of the literary prizes worldwide, for this, his first full-length novel. Set during the first year of the Civil War, just after the death of his son, Willie, the story imagines a night Lincoln spent in the cemetary by his son's grave, mourning his loss and worrying about the fate of the Union. While his father lingers at his crypt, recenlty deceased Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state--called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo--a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul. The spirits of the restless dead tell their tales, comic and tragic, interspersed with historical accounts of the Lincoln era to create a theatrical panorama of voices that ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? "A stunningly powerful work, both in its imagery and its intense focus on death, this remarkable work of historical fiction gives an intimate view of 19th-century fears and mores through the voices of the bardo's denizens." (Library Journal)




singunburiedSing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn't lack in fathers to study, chief among them his black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent white father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent white grandfather, Big Joseph, who won't acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager. His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister's lives. She is an imperfect mother who can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary, hoping for a loving reunion, but what she gets instead is a harrowing drive across a muggy landscape haunted by hatred. "Ward alternates perspectives to tell the story of a family in rural Mississippi struggling mightily to hold themselves together as they are assailed by ghosts reflecting all the ways humans create cruelty and suffering." (Booklist)








malcolmxmovieMalcolm X: the Movie                                                                                              X A Novel GMR 2017 18 200x300

As part of PDL's participation in the Michigan Humanities Council's 2017-18 Great Michigan Read, featuring the book, X: A Novel, by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon, there will be a screening of the 1992 biographical film, Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington, on Saturday, October 28 at 1pm.  X: A Novel is a fictionalized account of the early years of Malcolm X, during his boyhood in Depression-era Lansing and follows him through his struggles to find his way in the world. Whether you've read the book or not, if you are interested in learning  more about the life and work of minister and activist, Malcolm X,  the film provides the rest of his story, dramatizing the key events in his life, including his early criminal career, his religious conversion and ministry, his civil rights activism, and his assassination in 1965. Denzel Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for this performance and the film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.


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The Great Michigan Read is presented by the Michigan Humanities Council, with support from Meijer and the National Endowment for the Humanities and a host of other sponsors.





American George Saunders wins for Lincoln in the Bardo

lincolninthebardoYesterday, October 17, the Booker Foundation announced the winner of this year's Man Booker Prize Fiction Prize, one  of the most prestigious and lucrative of the literary prizes worldwide. For the second year in a row, the prize was awarded to an American, George Saunders, for his first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. (Saunders is the well-regarded author of several short story collections; he was a National Book Award finalist for his 2013 book, Tenth of December: Stories.) He was in contention for the prize with two British, one British-Pakistani, and two American writers. Before a rules change four years ago, only writers from the British Commonweath countries were eligible, but now writers from other countires are considered.The prize announcement describes Saunders' book as an "utterly original novel, (which) reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative." Set during the first year of the Civil War, just after the death of his son, Willie, the story imagines a night Lincoln spent in the cemetary by his son's grave, mourning his loss and worrying about the fate of the Union. "Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life."




November 2017 LibraryReads

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 November:

Artemis: A Novel by Andy Weir

artemisA new sci-fi thriller about a life-or-death heist set on the moon from the author of The Martian.  Jazz Bashara is scraping by as an occasional smuggler in Artemis, the only city on the moon. Everything changes when she sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. A wealthy billionaire, Trond Landvik, wants her help in sabotaging a competitor's mining operations. But pulling off this caper is just the start of Jazz's problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself--and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first. "Narrated by a kick-ass leading lady, this thriller has it all - a smart plot, laugh-out-loud funny moments, and really cool science. A four-star read." (Library Journal)





Kazuo Ishiguro

remainsofthedayOn October 5, noted Japanese author, Kazuo Ishiguro, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the literary world’s highest honor. Ishiguro, who was born in Japan but raised in England, has had a critically acclaimed writing career that spans four decades and includes eight novels, numerous short stories, and several screenplays. His first book, A Pale View of Hills (1982) and the subsequent one, An Artist of the Floating World (1986) take place in Nagasaki a few years after the Second World War.The themes Ishiguro is most associated with are already present in these books: memory, time, and self-delusion. This is particularly notable in his most renowned novel, The Remains of the Day (1989), which was turned into film with Anthony Hopkins acting as the duty-obsessed butler Stevens. With the dystopian work Never Let Me Go (2005), Ishiguro introduced a cold undercurrent of science fiction into his work, and in his latest novel, The Buried Giant (2015), he introduces an element of fantasy, as an elderly couple go on a road trip through an archaic English landscape, hoping to reunite with their adult son, whom they have not seen for years. This novel explores, movingly, how memory relates to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality. Following the announcement, Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, was interviewed about their choice. She described Kazuo Ishiguro's writing style as a mix of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka: "But you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir."






   swrd2017Star Wars Reads Day: Saturday, October 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The annual celebration of reading               
and a galaxy far, far away...

PDL will again join with libraries, schools and others nationwide to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 14, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The entire building will be filled with Star Wars collectibles, posters, decorations and more. Dress up as your favorite SW character and enjoy the wide variety of activities for all ages including books, crafts, face-painting, photo booth, and Star Wars-themed refreshments. So don your Jedi cloak, grab your lightsaber, and put it in hyperdrive as your follow the Force to a Library (not so) far, far away, and May the Force be with you!

Surround yourself with the Force:
Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson                         phasma

One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impenetrable expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an enemy is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins-- and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters. What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma's past-- and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. 







National Reading Group Month is an initiative of the Women's National Book Association (WNBA). Founded in 1917, the WNBA promotes literacy, a love of reading, and women's leadership in the community of the book. The mission of National Reading Group Month is to celebrate book discussion groups and increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading. Through this initiative the organization aims to foster the values reading groups encourage: camaraderie, enjoyment of shared reading, and appreciation of literature and reading as conduits for transmitting culture and advancing civic engagement.

X A Novel GMR 2017 18 200x300What better way of celebrating shared reading than to join in the Michigan Humanities Council's Great Michigan Read - the state-wide community read that aims to connect Michiganders to their communites and each other? This year, the selection, X: A Novel, explores the early life experiences of Malcolm X who grew up in Lansing during the Depression. Copies of the book are available at the Library, along with readers guides. Read the book and join the conversations, and/or meet the author, Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X's daughter, at Schoolcraft College on October 12 at 11:45am.



October 2017 LibraryReads

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 October:

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornack

SevenDaysIt's Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew's elder daughter--who is usually off saving the world--will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she's been told she must stay in quarantine for a week...and so too should her family. For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity--and even decent Wi-Fi--and forced into each other's orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down."Hornak lets each member of the dysfunctional Birch ensemble narrate in turn, so the reader gains a full picture of the family dynamics. Alternately tender and razor-sharp, Seven Days of Us will resonate with anyone who regresses the minute they step inside their childhood home." (Booklist)






Great Michigan Read Author Event

Ilyasah Shabazz lores X A Novel GMR 2017 18 200x300


 Ilyasah Shabazz, co-author of this year's Great Michigan Read title, X: A Novel, and daughter of Malcolm X, will appear at the Pageturners Book Club meeting at Schoolcraft College's VisTaTech Center, Room VT550, on October 12 at 11:45 am. Join all interested readers for a conversation and book signing. X: A Novel is a thrilling and tragic novel about the troubled youth of Malcolm X here in Michigan as he struggled to escape his past and become the man whose words and actions shook the world.


September 24 - 30, 2017


Each year, during the last week of September, libraries, booksellers, publishers, teachers, journalists and readers come together to celebrate our right to free and open access to information and the freedom to read what we choose. Banned Books Week serves to remind us of the harms of censorship by focusing on the instances where access to certain books was curtailed. Book challenges occur in communities when individuals or government bodies seek to remove or restrict access to books in schools or libraries due to their content or language. Over the years, many books have been challenged or banned - some that are now considered classics. And it has happened here! So stand (or sit) for your rights - Read a Banned Book!

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.





Metro Detroit Book and Author Luncheon - Monday, October 17, 2017

The next Metro Detroit Book and Author Society Luncheon will be held on Monday, October 17 at the Burton Manor in Livonia. Ticket sales began on September 5, by phone at 586-685-5750, ext. 102 or online at Tickets sales will end on October 13. Featured authors this fall are Chris Bohjalian, Heather Ann Thompson, Claire Messud, and Drew Philp.

The Metro-Detroit Book & Author Society was created for the sole purpose of presenting a luncheon featuring major national authors. The Society strives to present top national authors in a comfortable, casual setting, with an opportunity to buy signed books and meet the authors. Guest authors have included Bonnie Jo Campbell, David Maraniss, Steven King, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Michael Connelly, Greg Isles, Kathy Reich, Erik Larson, C.J. Box, Randy Wayne White, and Debbie Macomber

The Metro-Detroit Book & Author luncheons are considered one of the largest and best one-day author events in the country.



A Portrait of Jane Austen

This year, 2017, marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen in 1817. Join the
Jane Austenwpcb9d9dc5 05 06 Society of Michigan in celebrating her life and writing here at the Library on Sunday, September 24 at 2pmAustensibility, a play by Alan Richardson, features a dramatic reading based on the biography by Austen's nephew and her own surviving letters. Excerpts from Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Emma and Persuasion will also be highlighted.







This month celebrates both the heritage and important influence of Hispanic and Latino Americans on our nation's experience and culture. Hispanic Heritage Month begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period. The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

To explore the experiences of Hispanic Americans, consider books from 2017 Top Ten "New" Latino Authors to Watch (and Read), a list compiled by the website, The site was created by two professors of Latino literature to serve as a resource for faculties, students, and readers who are interested in "literature written by the largest minority group in the U.S."




2manbookerThe 2017 shortlist: 

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) 
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) 
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK)

Literary award season is upon us - the selection committee for the Man Booker Prize, England's most prestigious book award, announced its shortlisted titles today. This will be the fourth year that American authors are eligilble since a rules change that allows any book written in English, from anywhere in the world, to be considered. This list of 6, whittled from the longlist of 13, is an even split between three British and three US writers. The ultimate winner of the Man Booker Prize (and recipient of about $66,000) will be announced on October 17, 2017.


X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
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Plymouth patrons will once again join hundreds of communities across the state participating in the Great Michigan Read 2017 -18, the statewide one-book reading initiative sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council, by reading X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. The Great Michigan Read aims to connect us as Michiganians by deepening our understanding of our state, our society, and our humanity.

X A NovelX: A Novel is a tale of reinivention and redemption. A fictionalized account of the early years of Malcolm X, the novel written by his third daughter, explores the Michigan roots of young Malcolm LIttle and the experiences, both good and bad, that molded him into one of the most prominent leaders of the 20th century. Malcolm was a young man with boundless potential but with the odds stacked against him. After losing his father and his mother, he fell into a life of petty crime and eventually went to prison. Instead of letting prison be his downfall, he found his religion and his voice, and his dedication to the emerging Civil Rights movement.


Read with us – join the conversation:

Activities at PDL will include two book discussions of X: A Novel: the Contemporary Books Discussion Group will meet on Tuesday, October 10 at 7:30 p.m and Brown Bag Books will meet on November 22 at noon. All are invited for lively conversations about this thought-provoking book. No registration is necessary to participate. Copies of the book will be available for check-out at the Library. Reader’s Guides will also be available.

Learn More about the Life of Malcolm X:

On Saturday, October 28 at 1pm, PDL will screen the 1992 biographical movie, Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington in the title role. The film dramatizes key events in Malcolm X's life: his criminal career, his incarceration, his conversion to Islam, his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam, his marriage, the re-evaluation of his views about race relations, and his assassination in 1965. Denzel Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor and the film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

Outlander, Season Three

Voyager tv tie inLast night, September 10, Season Three of the popular time-traveling series based on the novels of Diana Gabaldon, began airing on the Starz network. This set of episodes is based on the third and fourth books in Gabaldon's multi-volume story, Voyager and Drums of Autumn, and continues the adventures of Claire Randall, a modern woman who travels back in time to Scotland in the 1700's. This season finds Claire and her Scottish husband, Jamie, separated by both distance and time. Claire has returned to the 1940's, pregnant with Jamie's child and believing that Jamie has died in the battle of Culloden. Upon discovering that he is still alive, she is torn between returning to him or staying with their daughter in her own era. Needless to say, the lovers will be reunited, although not without complications.

It: A Novel

itanovelStephen King's 1986 supernatural/horror novel gets the big screen treatment in a film scheduled to open this week, starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. (The book has been adapted once before for a 1990 televsion mini-series.) The story revolves around a predatory alien shapeshifter which has the ability to transform itself into its prey's worst fears, allowing it to exploit the phobias of its victims. It mostly takes the form of a sadistic, wisecracking clown called Pennywise. Seven children in Derry, Maine, known as The Lucky Seven, or The Losers Club, discover Pennywise when other children begin disappearing from town, and vow to destroy him by any means necessary. The action takes place over two different time periods, the first when the Losers first discover Pennywise as children, and the second when they're called back as adults to defeat Pennywise, who has resurfaced. King's 22nd book won the British Fantasy Award in 1987, and received nominations for the Locus and The World Fantasy Awards the same year. Publishers Weekly listed It as the best-selling book in the U.S. in 1986.

28 New Fiction Books To Add To Your Must-Read List This Fall


Now that Labor Day is upon us, the cooler, shorter days of Fall are not far behind. Yes, the first day of Autumn is offcially September 22, but you can start planning your Fall reading list now. HuffPost columnist Claire Fallon has assembled a list of Fall must-reads for our review, with lots great titles and authors to try. It's almost worth the sadness of summer's end.

"There is no friend as loyal as a book.”  (Ernest Hemingway)

bookofsummerSeptember 6 is National Read A Book Day. A day dedicated to the copious pleasures of a good book - what's not to love? Celebrate by reading alone or with others, in your favorite chair or in a new secluded spot, by hosting a book exchange or going to a different bookstore or library, try preparing a meal based on a book - the possibilities are endless. Reading is a good way to learn about other times, other places, and many things - it also improves memory and relieves stress.

Take some time to enjoy the written word. It's a great way to spend a day.

NBF17 Poster April sm17th Library of Congress National Book Festival

Saturday, September 2, 2017 — More than 100 Authors and Presenters

The 17th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington D.C., on Saturday, Sept. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. Former first lady Laura Bush founded the festival in 2000, when it was held on the National Mall. Over its 16-year history, the National Book Festival has become one of the pre-eminent literary events in the United States. History, science, food, graphic novels, mysteries, thrillers, biographies, and children's and teen literature are among the genres to be showcased. Denis Johnson, author of the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Jesus’ Son and the novel Tree of Smoke, will posthumously receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during this year's festival.

Can't attend? You can view videos and listen to podcasts of the events at the Festival website.

Sci Fi's Best:

hugoawardThe winners of the 2017 Hugo Awards were announced Friday, August 11, 2017 at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention, which was held in Helsinki, Finalnd this year. The Hugos, among the most prestigious of sci-fi awards, honor excellence in science fiction writing annually in several categories.                                                     obeliskgate


Best Novel: The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin  

With this novel, Jemisin continues her trilogy which began with the Hugo Award winner, The Fifth Season, about the Broken Earth, a world beset by violent geological upheaval. Each new catastrophic occurrence, whether volcanic or seismic, is called a Season, and the constant disruption has rendered the civilization there equally turbulent. A caste system oppresses the populace and science and magic both are employed to make sense of the continuing devastation. In The Fifth Season, Essun, a small town school teacher with special powers, began a journey to reunite with her husband, who has murdered their son and fled with their daughter, before the end of the world. As the story continues, Essun has found relative safety but not her daughter. Instead she has encountered her old mentor, Alabaster, who asks her aid in saving their civilization. While Essun and Alabaster struggle to save the world, Essun's daughter travels with her father and begins to demonstrate her own powers to influence the world's geologic instability. "The epic journeys of mother and daughter through this dying realm are dynamic and emotional. Jemisin's follow-up to The Fifth Season is exceptional. Those who anxiously awaited this sequel will find the only problem is that the wait must begin again once the last page is turned." (Library Journal)

Shooting the Sun by Max Byrd

shootingthesunCharles Babbage was an English genius of legendary eccentricity. He invented the cowcatcher and the ophthalmoscope. He was an expert lock picker, he wrote a ballet, he pursued a vendetta against London organ-grinders that made him the laughingstock of Europe. And all his life he was in desperate need of enormous sums of money to build his fabled reasoning machine, the Difference Engine, the first digital computer in history. To publicize his Engine, Babbage sponsors a private astronomical expedition in 1840, with a party of four men and one remarkable woman, astronomer Selena Cott, who will set out from Washington City and travel by wagon train two thousand miles west, beyond the last known outposts of civilization. Their ostensible purpose is to observe and document a total eclipse of the sun predicted by Babbage’s computer, and to photograph it with the newly invented camera of Louis Daguerre. The actual purpose, however, is to find Babbage's rich uncle who is reported to be living with the Kiowas. But nothing is what it seems: eclipses have minds of their own, and even the best computer cannot predict treachery, greed, and the fickle passions of the human heart.


New Book Club Kits

BookClubKitNew titles are being 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 ahead of time 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. 



handmaidstaleThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The basis for the critically acclaimed HULU series, this dystopian novel, set in the near future, describes life in what once was the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead. Reacting to social unrest, and a sharply declining birthrate, the new regime has reverted to -- even gone beyond -- the repressive tolerance of the original Puritans. Offred is a Handmaid who may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant because she is only valued as long as her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

homegoingHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.



lilacgirlsLilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday's world is forever changed when Hitler's army invades Poland in September 1939--and then sets its sights on France. An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences. For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents--from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland--as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.


nightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front.  She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth; While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely; But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France.



commonwealthCommonwealth by Ann Patchett
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly--thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them. When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another. Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.


summerbeforethewarThe Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England's brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha's husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won't come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master. When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking--and attractive--than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing. But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha's reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.






Adult FB2

Adult Summer Reading 2017

393 adult readers earned prizes this summer through the Adult Summer Reading Program -  just for reading and using the Library's resources.

Great job and congratulations! Way to build a better summer!

Thanks to all to for playing Bingo or logging book selections online.  We hope you had fun.

September 2017 LibraryReads

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 September:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celest Ng

littlefiresFrom the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights,Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs: the little fires everywhere that eventually torch the family home. "Shaker Heights native Ng writes what she knows into a magnificent, multilayered epic that's perfect for eager readers and destined for major award lists." (Library Journal)


The 10 Best Fiction Books Coming Out in August

As we approach the dog days of summer, the book reviewers at Bustle remind us that there's more beach reading to be done. As reviewer Melissa Ragsdale comments, "So don't let these final days of summer go to waste. Settle in to your favorite reading spot, and get ready to tear into some fantastic new reads."

You might try these or others on the list:

ifthecreekIf The Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That's long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby. Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline...if she can just figure out how to use it. "This striking debut novel takes you to Baines Creek, a small, battered Appalachian town filled with poverty and secrets. ...(Sadie's) story is told through the many different people within the town, and each voice adds another layer to the portrait of their community." (Bustle)




strangerA Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
One day, Tom returns home to find that his wife, Karen, has vanished--her car's gone and it seems she left in a rush.Then the  police arrive to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.She's mostly okay--except that she can't remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something's been moved. Something's not quite right. Someone's been in her house. And the police won't stop asking questions."... (a) fast-paced, engrossing psychological thriller..." (Library Journal)




stay with meStay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university in Nigeria. But four years into their marriage, Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time--until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does--but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine."Recently short-listed for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, Adebayo's work makes a blazing entry onto the list of young, talented writers from Nigeria. Readers who pick up this debut novel will not put it down until they've finished." (Library Journal)