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Adult Book News

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Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue 

beholdthedreamersJende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty--and Jende is eager to please. Clark's wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers' facades.When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende's job--even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

As part of her announcement of the book on CBS This Morning, Oprah commented,"It's got everything that's grabbing the headlines in America right now. It's about race and class, the economy, culture, immigration and the danger of the us-versus-them mentality." Published in 2016, the book is being released in paperback today. You can visit for more information.





2017 Locus Awards

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation announced the winners of the 2017 Locus Awards on June 24, during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle. The awards are presented in numerous categories to the winners of an annual readers' poll conducted by Locus Magazine, a monthly science fiction and fantasy publication based in Oakland, CA. The awards were established in 1971 as a way to provide recommendations to Hugo Awards voters. Among the categories are novels (sci fi and fantasy), first novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, anthologies and collections, and most outlandish Hawai'ian shirt worn to the ceremony.


deathsendScience Fiction Novel: Death's End by Cixin Liu

Fantasy Novel: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Horror Novel: The Fireman by Joe Hill

First Novel: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Anthology: The Big Book of Science Fiction edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

"Summer Reading Recommendations, From 6 Novelists Who Own Bookstores"

Recently The New York Times asked six novelists who also own independent bookstores to list the books that they are recommending to their customers this summer. The six: Emma Straub, (Modern Love, the Vacationers) owner of Books Are Magic, Brooklyn; Ann Patchett (Commonwealth, State of Wonder) owner of Parnassus Books, Nashville; Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, A Gambler's Anatomy) owner of Red Gap Books, Blue Hill, Maine; Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) owner of An Unlikely Story, Plainsville, Massachusetts; Louise Erdrich (The Round House, LaRose) owner of Birchback Books, Minneapolis; Judy Blume (In the Unlikely Event, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret) owner of Books & Books in Key West, Florida. Their picks include ficiton, non-fiction, memoirs and biographies.

Here are a few of their suggestions:

saintsforallSaints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she's shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn't sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan--a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, quietly preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora's favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. After decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront each other and the choices they made so long ago. “It’s fabulous and smart and feels bigger than her other books.” - Emma Straub



The Leavers by Lisa Ko
leaversOne morning, Deming Guo's mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon--and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he's ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents' desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away--and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past. "The Leavers’ is a gritty and painful story of immigration in which the American dream is constantly re-examined alongside the Chinese dream....(one of) "this summer’s best novels.” - Ann Patchett




Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
standarddeviationDivorcing his wife to marry his girlfriend, Audra, is the one impulsive thing Graham Cavanaugh has ever done. Audra is charming and spontaneous and fun, but life with her can be exhausting, constantly interrupted by phone calls, burdened by houseguests, and populated by old men with backpacks full of origami paper. As Graham and Audra struggle to define their marriage and raise a child with Asperger's, they decide to establish a friendship with his first wife, Elspeth. Graham isn't sure he understands why Audra longs to be friends with the woman he divorced. After all, former spouses are hard to categorize--are they enemies, old flames, or just people you know really, really well? “About a perfectly mismatched New York City couple whose son, with autistic tendencies, is an origami prodigy. Both heart-piercing and, crucially, very funny.” - Louise Erdrich




All Grown Up
by Jami Attenberg
allgrownupWho is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she's a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it's what she leaves unsaid--she's alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed,- that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have an entirely different idea of what it means to be an adult: her best friend, Indigo, is getting married; her brother--who miraculously seems unscathed by their shared tumultuous childhood--and sister-in-law are having a hoped-for baby; and her friend Matthew continues to wholly devote himself to making dark paintings at the cost of being flat broke. But when Andrea's niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. “I read it twice, laughing, cringing, and even tearing up.” - Judy Blume


Man Booker International Prize 2017

horsewalksA Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen

On June 14, Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and chair of the Man Booker International Prize judging panel, announced the winner of this global fiction prize for work written in a language other than English, at an awards ceremony in London. The Man Booker International Prize honors both the author andt he translator of a single work translated into English with £50,000 (about $63,000).

Israeli author Grossman tells the story of the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening's performance. In a little dive in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, is doing a night of stand-up. In the audience is a district court justice, Avishai Lazar, whom Dov knew as a boy, along with a few others who remember Dov as an awkward, scrawny kid who walked on his hands to confound the neighborhood bullies. Gradually, as it teeters between hilarity and hysteria, Dov's patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood where we meet his beautiful mother, a Holocaust survivor in need of constant monitoring, and his punishing father, a striver who had little understanding of his creative son. Finally, recalling his week at a military camp for youth--where Lazar witnessed what would become the central event of Dov's childhood--Dov describes the indescribable while Lazar wrestles with his own part in the comedian's story of loss and survival.
Barley explained the panel's choice in a statement issued before the ceremony, "David Grossman has attempted an ambitious high-wire act of a novel, and he’s pulled it off spectacularly. We were bowled over by Grossman’s willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks: Every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer’s craft.” Library Journal's reviewer concluded, "Grossman brings real humanity to this heart-wrenching and well-written novel, offering insight into one man's psychological makeup and how society has damaged him. An excellent translation; highly recommended"

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Adult Summer Reading 2017 began on June 1 - 

Have you grabbed/printed your Bingo sheet
signed up online to create your account?

Start reading for fun and prizes.

Our program runs from June 1 to August 7

Build a Better Summer !


July 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 July:

                          The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

lyinggameFrom the bestselling author of the blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10a chilling new summer read.
One morning,three women in and around London--Fatima, Thea, and Isabel--receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, "I need you." The four girls had been best friends fifteen years earlier, at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. They were the misfits, notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty. Their lies were sometimes believable and sometimes flippant, but disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The complicated rules of the game were strict: no lying to each other - ever. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school's eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happened to be Kate's father). "Alternating between the past and present, Ware builds up a rock-solid cast of intriguing characters and spins a mystery that will keep readers turning pages to the end." (Publishers Weekly)

The New York Times Book Review: Summer Reading

0604 BKS Horror master768 v3This Sunday's New York Times Book Review section focuses on summer reading with lists and reviews of all kinds of recent books: thrillers, travel sagas cookbooks, graphic novels, true crime stories, nature tales, horror novels, and chronicles of the music industry. With titles like Everything is Flammable, A Single Spy, and City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris - how could anyone's summer be boring?

iStock SummerReading XSmallThe 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, Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, and more have all weighed in with selections for your summer reading pleasure. This should help you find a good book to take on vacation (or help you with your Build a Better World Bingo).

Nebula Award Winners Announced

nebulaawardlogoThe Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America recently announced the winners  of the2016 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 20.



Best Novel:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

allthebirds When Patricia Delfine was six years old, a wounded bird led her deep into the forest to the Parliament of Birds, where she met the Great Tree and was asked a question that would determine the course of her life. When Laurence Armstead was in grade school, he cobbled together a wristwatch-sized device that could send its wearer two seconds into the future. Now they're both grown up, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Neither Laurence nor Patricia can keep pace with the speed at which things fall apart. But something bigger than either of them, something begun deep in their childhoods, is determined to bring them together. And will. -  Booklist's reviewer was prescient back in 2016: "...Patricia and Laurence, friends, enemies, and potential lovers, are thrust into a maelstrom of world-ending change. Anders' knock-your-socks-off blend of science and magic will be a strong contender for science fiction and fantasy awards, appealing to not only genre fans but also those looking for great literary reads." (Booklist)

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Adult Summer Reading 2017 begins June 1

Two Ways to Play:

Library Bingo

PDL’s Adult Summer Reading Program, featuring the popular Library Bingo game, will be back again this summer. Starting in June, adults will have the chance to win prizes for reading and discovering the Library’s many resources. Complete five boxes in a row on the Bingo form to earn prizes, like Penn movie tickets and certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants. Bingo forms will be available in the Library and online at No registration is required – grab a bingo sheet and begin!


Online Adult Summer Reading Log

Bingo not your thing? Try the Online Adult Summer Reading Program.

Sign up at to create your adult summer reading account, then 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 final prize. Prizes include certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants and Penn movie tickets. You can start reading on June 1 and continue until August 7.

login buttonAlready Registered for the Online Program?  
Click on the button to log in & record your books.


June 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 June 2017:

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

MagpieMurdersblog 196x300When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan Conway s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job. Conway's latest tale has Atticus investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she's convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder. But the ending seems to be missing - and to top it off, Conway has committed suicide. As Susan searches for the missing chapter, she begins to suspect that Conway's death was no suicide."Bestseller Horowitz (The House of Silk) provides a treat for fans of golden age mysteries with this tour de force that both honors and pokes fun at the genre." (Publishers Weekly)

PaletteIt's a good time for art fans!  The DIA Inside|Out Program is here in Plymouth, providing a perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy high-quality reproductions of the DIA's masterpieces.  If that's not enough to satisfy your thirst for fine art (or if the outdoors isn't your thing - I understand, I have allergies, too) the Guggenheim Museum has recently made 200+ art books from their collection freely available online via the Internet Archive! And, of course, there are books to check out at the library!  Look in non-fiction, in the 700s.



PatintingsThatRevolutionizedArtThe Paintings That Revolutionized Art

Art history is filled with paintings that shocked, intrigued, enraged, and mystified their audiences - paintings that exemplified the period in which they were created and forever changed the way we think. Here, 100 examples of these icons of art are presented in beautiful, high-quality reproductions. Each double-page spread features comparative illustrations and details as well as engaging texts that explain why the painting belongs in the pantheon of world-changing art.



StarWarsArtStar Wars Art : Posters

Few pieces of artwork distill the passion for Star Wars as do posters. From Tom Jung's iconic one-sheet for Episode IV to Roger Kastel's Gone with the Wind -inspired painting for Episode V and beyond, Star Wars has enjoyed nearly four decades of poster art from some of the most renowned artists working in movies. Star Wars Art: Posters collects the best artwork from all six Star Wars films, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated television series, and limited-edition prints. This collection unites all of the action, artistry, and drama of a galaxy far, far away into one lavishly produced tome.



ArtInTheStreetsArt In The Streets

Highlighting the connection between graffiti and street art and other vibrant subcultures, such as those that developed around Hip Hop in the Bronx and skateboarding in Southern California, Art in the Streets explores parallel movements in dance and music.  Included are a chronology that traces the street art movement from 1941, and biographies of 60 or so artists/key players.

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 2016. Prizes were awarded on April 29, 2017 during the organization's annual convention.


Best Contemporary Novel:

 A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

greatreckoningIn Penny's 12th book in her popular series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, retired head of the homicide department of the Sûreté du Québec, Gamache is appointed to a new job: head of the Sûreté Academy du Québec, the police school. He is charged with cleaning up decades of entrenched corruption with the goal of transforming the young cadets into honest cops. Of course, the most crooked professor at the school is soon murdered while in possession of a copy of an ancient map of Three Pines, the remote village where Gamache lives. Suspicion falls on Gamache, and the cadets loyal to him, as as a tangle of past and present connections among the characters comes to light. The search for answers leads Gamache back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own secrets. In order to clear himself, he must find the killer before another person dies. "This riveting read, with characters of incredible depth who only add to the strength of the plot, will keep readers guessing until the last page." (Library Journal).

onceinagreatcityOnce in a Great City: A Detroit Story by David Maraniss

Meet the Author: Tickets still available

Readers are  invited to hear the author, David Maraniss, speak  when he appears at Maraniss The Community House, Birmingham, on Monday May 22, 2016 at 7 p.m., and Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Southfield, on Tuesday, May 23 at 7p.m. Tickets are free, but in limited quantity, contact the Library at 734.453.0750, ext.4 for ticket availability.

This year, Everyone’s Reading is again partnering with the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA will host David Maraniss at 11am on Tuesday, May 23 at the museum. Tickets are free and can be ordered by calling 313.833.4005 or at



MentalHealthMonthSince 1949, Mental Health America has led the observance of May Is Mental Health Month in order to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses, the realities of living with mental illness, and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. You can visit their website for more information, or check out one of the library's many books about mental health.



FamilyGuideThe Family Guide to Mental Health Care 
The Family Guide to Mental Health Care is the first comprehensive print resource for the millions of people who have loved ones suffering from some kind of mental illness. In this book, families can find the answers to their most urgent questions.  Real-life scenarios and authoritative information are written in a compassionate, reader-friendly way, including checklists to bring to a doctor's appointment so you can ask the right questions. For readers who fear they will never see the light at the end of the tunnel, this book gives hope and a path forward.



NoOneCaresNo One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America 
New York Times-bestselling author Ron Powers offers a searching, richly researched narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia.  A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood.




UnderstandingSuicideUnderstanding Suicide: A National Epidemic
What causes people to take their lives? How can suicides be prevented? Author Connie Goldsmith examines common risk factors of suicide, including mental illness, substance abuse, and bullying, and discusses health care resources to help prevent suicide and coping strategies for those struggling in the wake of a loved one's suicide.




InfectiousMadnessInfectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We "Catch" Mental Illness 
In Infectious Madness, Washington presents the new germ theory, which posits not only that many instances of Alzheimer's, OCD, and schizophrenia are caused by viruses, prions, and bacteria, but also that with antibiotics, vaccinations, and other strategies, these cases can be easily prevented or treated. Packed with cutting-edge research and tantalizing mysteries, Infectious Madness is rich in science, characters, and practical advice on how to protect yourself and your children from exposure to infectious threats that could sabotage your mental and physical health.

2017 Edgar Allan Poe Awards


On April 27, at their 71st 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 2016.


BeforeTheFallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley

On a foggy summer night, eleven people depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--a down-on-his-luck painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.  With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members, the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.  Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.


undertheharrowUnder the Harrow by Flynn Berry

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel's familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder. Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can't return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can't trust them to find her sister's killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora's fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.




FilmReelThese movies are coming soon to a theater near you!  Why not read the book before seeing it on the big screen?




TheCircleThe Circle by Dave Eggers
Coming to Theaters April 28
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. Mae can't believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world--even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

TheDinnerThe Dinner by Herman Koch
Coming to Theaters May 5
It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse—the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

EverythingEverythingEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Coming to Theaters May 19
What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. Everything, Everything will make you laugh, cry, and feel everything in between. It's an innovative,  inspiring, and heartbreakingly romantic debut novel that unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more.

The top ten books published this month that librarians across the country love.
This monthly list is created by librarians and library staff to help connect readers to new books and authors. An online community of librarians vote each month on their favorite new books and the results are tallied. The list is a straightforward calculation: whichever ten books get the most nominations go onto the monthly list. The book with the most nominations becomes the #1 Pick. It’s as simple as that. The list is not meant to be a "best" list - just a list of collective favorites - books librarians loved and want to share.
 #1 for May 2017:
“I loved this book about the quirky Eleanor, who struggles to relate to other people and lives a very solitary life. When she and the new work IT guy happen to be walking down the street together, they witness an elderly man collapse on the sidewalk and suddenly Eleanor’s orderly routines are disrupted. This is a lovely novel about loneliness and how a little bit of kindness can change a person forever. Highly recommended for fans of A Man Called Ove and The Rosie Project – this would make a great book club read.” -Halle Eisenman, Beaufort County Library, Blufton, SC

MichiganNotableEach year the Library of Michigan publishes the Michigan Notable Books list, featuring 20 books, published the previous calendar year, which are about or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a Michigan author. Selections include nonfiction and fiction books that appeal to a variety of audiences and cover various topics and issues close to the hearts of Michigan residents. Click here to see the full list.




 CharmBraceletThe Charm Bracelet: A Novel by Viola Shipman

The Charm Bracelet revolves around a keepsake bracelet owned by an elderly grandmother named Lolly.  Each charm is a marker for a family memory that she fears will go unknown by her daughter and granddaughter.  Shipman has written a story of love, family and the importance of connectivity, one that spans multiple generations of Michigan history and vividly evokes the sun-kissed beauty of summers in Northern Michigan.





Children of the New World: Stories by Alexander Weinstein

Children of the New World is a collection of stories set in a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarming robots.  Many of the characters live in a utopian future of instant connection, while others inhabit a post-collapse primitive landscape. In his writing, Weinstein explores the potential responses to the new technologies that will shape society in an all-too-plausible future.



 GreatLakesGreat Lakes Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridges to Adventure by Maureen Dunphy

In her book, author Maureen Dunphy explores in depth over 30 of the islands in the Great Lakes Basin.  Featuring those accessible by bridge or ferry, she introduces more than 50 additional islands in the United States and Canada.  Each chapter provides information about getting to the islands, what to expect when you get there, the island’s history, and what natural, historical, and cultural sites are available.



TerrorTerror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit by Tom Stanton

In Terror in the City of Champions, Stanton weaves a tale of history, crime and sports in Depression-era Detroit.  A true story involving athletes, criminals, industrialists, a priest and two future presidents, the sweeping saga is set in a city occupied by the Black Legion, a Klan-like group.  While sports in Detroit flourished, so did the Legion, which boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest.  Not a story of the humble and unemployed, this is a story of sports and crime gone large.

PulitzerThe Pulitzer Prize is for more than just journalists - it is one of the most coveted awards in the literary world.  Since 1917, the Pulitzer has been granted to the best and brightest writers.  Recipients earn a place in history with great minds like Robert Frost, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and Harper Lee.  Take a look at some of this year’s winners! You can also to go to view a full list of the winners and watch the announcement video.




Winner in Fiction

UndergroundRailroadThe Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape.  In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.  The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.


Winner in History

BloodInTheWaterBlood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, by Heather Ann Thompson (Pantheon)

On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed.  On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice.


Winner in Poetry

OlioOlio, by Tyehimba Jess (Wave Books)

Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess's much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.


Winner in General Nonfiction

EvictedEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond (Crown)

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America's vast inequality--and to people's determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

poetrymonthIn 1996, April was declared National Poetry Month. Each year, the Academy of American Poets celebrates both the rich history of poetry, and modern poets working wonders with language in today's world. Celebrate the valuable contribution poets make to American culture by checking out one of the many books of poetry you can find at the library. They like to hide in non-fiction, in the 800s. You can also visit to find more ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, read poems, and sign up for their poem-a-day service, where you'll get a poem delivered straight your inbox every day.


PoetryInMichiganInPoetryPoetry in Michigan in Poetry
This anthology gathers an intriguing range of poets, their visions and voices. The poems as a whole, in one way or another, explore the variances in Michigan landscape; shoreline; lives lived in the city, town, and countryside; our uncommon diversity of cultures, points of view, concerns, celebrations, losses, and histories.




MadeinDetroitMade in Detroit : poems
In her trademark style, combining the sublime with the gritty, Marge Piercy presents poems that range from descriptions of the Detroit of her childhood to her current life on Cape Cod, from deep appreciations of the natural world to elegies for lost friends and relationships, from a vision of her Jewish heritage to a hard-hitting take on today’s political ironies.





PoetsCornerThe Poets' Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family
William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Dylan Thomas are just a few names among Lithgow's comprehensive list of poetry masters. His essential criterion is that "each poem's light shines more brightly when read aloud." This unique package provides a multimedia poetry experience with a bonus MP3 CD of revelatory poetry readings by John and the familiar voices of such notable performers as Eileen Atkins, Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Billy Connolly, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Lynn Redgrave, Susan Sarandon, Gary Sinise, and Sam Waterston.




BestPoemsEnglishLanguageThe Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Robert Frost
This comprehensive anthology attempts to give the common reader possession of six centuries of great British and American poetry. The book features a large introductory essay by Harold Bloom called "The Art of Reading Poetry," which presents his critical reflections of more than half a century devoted to the reading, teaching, and writing about the literary achievement he loves most. In the case of all major poets in the language, this volume offers either the entire range of what is most valuable in their work, or vital selections that illuminate each figure′s contribution.

Renowned musician Bob Dylan is finally set to accept his Nobel Prize in Literature this weekend, after declining to accept the award in October.  Unfortunately for fans, no media will be present for the acceptance, but we can still enjoy the music and lyrics that the Swedish Academy saw fit to honor with the Nobel Prize, and learn more about the life of the iconic American artist.


TheLyricsThe Lyrics: 1961-2012
A beautiful, comprehensive volume of Dylan’s lyrics, from the beginning of his career through the present day—with the songwriter’s edits to dozens of songs, appearing here for the first time.




Chronicles1Chronicles. Volume one
The celebrated first memoir from arguably the most influential singer-songwriter in the country, Bob Dylan.  “I’d come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else.”  So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles: Volume One, his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career.





BobDylanAmericanTroubadorBob Dylan : American troubadour
In Bob Dylan: American Troubadour, Donald Brown follows the shifting versions of Dylan, from his songs of conscientious social involvement to more personal exploratory songs; from his influential rock albums of the mid-'60s to the refreshingly vital albums he has been producing in the 21st century. Each chapter addresses a particular phase of Dylan's career, taking its cue from events in Dylan's life and from the collective experiences that shaped the times.

MWAlogo Each spring, Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar® Awards, widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious awards in the genre.  Check out this year's nominees for Best Novel, and check back on April 27th to find out who wins!






TheExThe Ex by Alafair Burke

Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago.An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel.  Days later, after his best friend posts a message on a popular website on his behalf, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.  Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiance, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

WhereItHurtsWhere It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman

Retired Suffolk County cop Gus Murphy thought he had the world all: a great marriage, two kids, a nice house, and the rest of his life ahead of him. But when tragedy strikes, his life is thrown into complete disarray. Divorced and working as a courtesy van driver for the run-down hotel in which he has a room, Gus has settled into a mindless, soulless routine that barely keeps his grief at arm’s length. But Gus’s comfortable waking trance comes to an end when ex-con Tommy Delcamino asks him for help. Four months earlier, Tommy’s son T.J.’s battered body was discovered in a wooded lot, yet the Suffolk County PD doesn’t seem interested in pursuing the killers. As he begins to sweep away the layers of dust that have collected over the case during the intervening months, Gus finds that Tommy was telling the truth. It seems that everyone involved with the late T.J Delcamino has something to hide, and all are willing to go to extreme lengths to keep it hidden. It’s a dangerous favor Gus has taken on as he claws his way back to take a place among the living, while searching through the sewers for a killer.


JaneSteeleJane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

In this clever reimagining of Jane Eyre, sensitive orphan Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement. Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.  Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: Can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?


WhatRemainsofMeWhat Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin

On June 28, 1980—the hottest night of the year—Kelly Michelle Lund shoots and kills Oscar-nominated director John McFadden at a party in his home...And instantly becomes a media sensation, her chilling smile fodder for national nightmares. For years, speculation swirls over the enigmatic seventeen-year-old’s motives, information she’s refused to share. Convicted of the murder, she loses her youth and her freedom—but keeps her secrets to herself.  Thirty years later—and five years after her release from prison—the past has come back to haunt Kelly. Her father-in-law, movie legend Sterling Marshall, is found in a pool of blood in his home in the Hollywood Hills—dead from a shot to the head, just like his old friend John McFadden.  Once again, Kelly is suspected of the high profile murder. But this time, she’s got some unexpected allies who believe she’s innocent—of both killings—and want to help her clear her name. But is she?


BeforeTheFallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley

On a foggy summer night, eleven people depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--a down-on-his-luck painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.  With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members, the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.  Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

April 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 April 2017:

Anything Is Possible: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout

Anything Is PossibleHere are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author’s celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.

Once In a Great City: A Detroit Story  by David Maraniss     

onceinagreatcityIn April and May, the Plymouth District Library will participate in Everyone’s Reading, the one-book community reading program sponsored by Metro Detroit public libraries in Oakland and Wayne counties. Everyone’s Reading promotes public dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book with friends, neighbors, and community members.

This year’s selection is Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story by David Maraniss, a 2016 Michigan Notable Book set in 1963 when Detroit was on top of the world. The city’s leaders were among the most visionary in America. It was the American automakers’ best year (think Mustang); the revolution in popular music (think Motown) and progressive politics was under way. Reuther’s UAW had helped lift the middle class. But while the era was full of promise, Maraniss shows that shadows of collapse were evident even then. Before the decades of civic corruption and neglect and white flight. Before people trotted out the litany of rust belt infirmities--from harsh weather to high labor costs--and competition from abroad to explain Detroit's collapse. Detroit at its peak was threatened by its own design. Yet so much of what Detroit gave America lasts.Using a combination of historical eyewitness reports and sketches of larger-than-life figures, Pulitzer-winning reporter Maraniss draws a sprawling portrait of Detroit at a pivotal moment when it was "dying and thriving at the same time." (Booklist)


Read with us – and join the conversation:

There will be two book discussions of Once in a Great City at the Library. The Brown Bag Books Discussion Group will meet on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at noon and the Contemporary Books Discussion Group will meet on May 9, 2017 at 7:30p.m. No registration is necessary to participate. Copies of Once in a Great City can be checked out at the Library; reading guides will also be available.

Meet the Author:

Readers are also invited to hear the author, David Maraniss, speak about Once In a Great City and Detroit history when he appears at Maraniss The Community House, Birmingham, on Monday May 22, 2016 at 7 p.m., and Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Southfield, on Tuesday, May 23 at 7p.m. Tickets are free, but in limited quantity, contact the Library at 734.453.0750, ext.4 for ticket availability.

This year, Everyone’s Reading is again partnering with the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA will host David Maraniss at 11am on Tuesday, May 23 at the museum. Tickets are free and can be ordered by calling 313.833.4005 or at

March is Women's History Month

NWHP-Logo-smallWomen'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 fascinating females:



spyThe Spy by Paul Coelho
After divorcing her abusive husband, Margarethe Zelle arrived in Paris penniless. Within months, and now known as Mata Hari, her stage name, she was the most celebrated woman in the city. As a exotic dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era's richest and most powerful men. But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari's lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of spying for Germany. Though probably innocent, she was executed by firing squad on 15 October 1917. It has been claimed by historians that Mata Hari was never an important spy but "an independent woman, a divorcee, a citizen of a neutral country, a courtesan and a dancer, which made her a perfect scapegoat for the French, who were then losing the war."



charlotteCharlotte by David Foenkinos
Obsessed with art, and with living, German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon attended school in Germany until it was too dangerous to remain. In 1938 she fled to France, and was interned in a bleak work camp from which she narrowly escaped. Newly free, she spent two years hiding in the south of France, in almost total solitude, creating a series of autobiographical artworks--over 700 painnings, images, words, even musical scores--that together tell her life story. A pregnant Charlotte was killed in Auschwitz at the age of 26, but not before she entrusted her life's work to a friend, who kept it safe until peacetime. Her paintings and other art were first exhibited in 1960 and in 1971 the collection was placed in the care of the Joods Historisch Museum, (Jewish Historical Museum) Amsterdam. An exhibition at the London Royal Academy in 1998 was an unexpected sensation, helped by the publication of a complete catalogue.



2016 Nebula Award Nominees Announced

nebulaawardlogoThe Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America recently announced the finalists for the 2016 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 51st Nebula Awards Weekend in May.

Best Novel Nominees:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Borderline by Mishell Baker

                                            The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin 

                                            Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee 

                                            Everfair by Nisi Shawl 

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

oscarBooks to Movies - 89th Academy Awards

On Sunday, February 26, Hollywood royalty will be parading and posing on the red carpet just before the annual awards show which will bestow honors on films made in 2016, and the actors and personnel who created them. Many of the Oscar-nominated films are based on books, both fiction and non-fiction.

And the books/nominees are:

Arrival - based on Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Elle - based on Oh by Philippe Djian

Fences by August Wilson

Florence Foster Jenkins: The Inspiring True Story of the World’s Worst Singer, by Nicholas Martin and Jasper Rees

HIdden Figures,The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Life Animated - based on Life Animated A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind

Lion - based on A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

Nocturnal Animals - based on Tony and Susan by Austin Wright

I am not your Negro - based on Remember This House by James Baldwin

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Sully - based on Highest Duty by Chesley Sullenberger

Rogue One, A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed

Silence by Shusaku Endo

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander/J. K. Rowling




    George Orwell's 1984 is Suddenly a Bestseller

1984 60th anniversary edition 1The New York Times reports that Orwell's classic about a future world where a totalitarian government controls not only the news but also the thoughts of its citizens has seen an uptick in sales in the past month, rising to the top of the Amazon best-seller list. The publisher, Penguin USA, has ordered more copies printed, explaining that demand picked up after an advisor to President Trump referred to "alternative facts" during an interview on Meet the Press. The phrase reminded readers of several terms created by Orwell to describe the manipulation of information by the ruling regime, words like "newspeak," and "doublethink." According to a London editor for Penguin Books, dystopian novels are "chiming with people" right now. Other classic futuristic novels, like The Man in the High Castle by Philip Dick,  Orwell's Animal Farm, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood are also resonating with readers uneasy over recent current events. Sales have surged for each along with another older book, It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, about "a bellicose presidential candidate who runs on a populist platform in the United States but turns out to be a fascist demagogue." (New York Times). The speculation is that readers are turning to these older books as sources for understanding the dramatic political changes taking place now, or for comfort in the fact that "things could be worse."

 March 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 March 2017:

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

twelvelivesSamuel Hawley isn't like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo's a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife's hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.She also grows more and more curious about the death of the mother she never knew. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents' lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body. Each scar is from a bullet Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each is a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found. As Loo uncovers a history that's darker than she could have known, the demons of her father's past spill over into the present--and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come. "This is a convincingly redemptive and celebratory novel: an affirmation of the way that heroism and human fallibility coexist, of how good parenting comes in unexpected packages, and of the way that we are marked by our encounters with each other and the luminous universe in which we dwell." (Publishers Weekly)


"We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated." 
                                                                 (Maya Angelou)

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. Several months ago, on September 24, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution, opened to the public amid rave reviews. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. The museum has welcomed over 750,000 visitors since the opening, with passes still somewhat difficult to get.

Literature is another way to examine the African American experience; African American authors have made major contributions to our collective culture and national discourse. You can explore these contributions in recent books:

homegoingHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Winner of the fourth annual John Leonard Prize, (at the National Book Awards) for an outstanding first book in any genre, Gyasi's novel is the tale of two half-sisters born in 18th century Ghana who experience vastly different lives. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort in the Cape Coast Castle, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned in the castle's dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, the saga examines the impact of the slave trade on each generation of the sisters' families.


lazerettoLazaretto by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
The Lazaretto hospital, located on an island in the Delaware River,  is a crucible of life and death; sick passengers and corpses are quarantined here, but this is also the place where immigrants take their first steps toward the American dream. The live-in staff are mostly black Philadelphians, who have created a strong community there, and when two of them arrange to marry, the city's black citizens prepare for a party on the grounds. But the celebration is plunged into chaos when gunshots ring out across the river. A white man has fired at a boat carrying the couple’s friends and family to the island, and the captain is injured. His life lies in the hands of Sylvia, the Lazaretto’s head nurse, who is shocked to realize she knows the patient. "This latest of McKinney-Whetstone's completely engaging novels, (is) a unique blend of poetic language and graphic depictions of the injustices suffered by African Americans in the post-Civil War period." (Booklist)


charcoaljoeCharcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley
In L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins finds his life in transition. He's ready--finally--to propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, and start a life together. And he's taken the money he got from his last case and, together with two partners, Saul Lynx and Tinsford "Whisper" Natly, has started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way: Easy's friend Mouse requests a favor and introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe's friend's son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class in physics at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Joe tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour literally was found standing over the man's dead body at his cabin home, and considering the racially charged motives seemingly behind the murder, that might prove to be a tall order. This is no small favour. It's going to be Easy's deadliest investigation yet.


anotherbrooklynAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything--until it wasn't. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they roamed the neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant--a part of a future that belonged to them. But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion. Woodson heartbreakingly illuminates the formative period when a child meets adulthood, when precious innocence meets the all-too-real perils of growing up. A National Book Award finalist.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2017

books2017The website POPSUGAR has issued the challenge: to expand and diversify your reading for the new year, try the list of 40 prompts guaranteed to help you find books you might otherwise overlook. As the site explains, "the reading challenge is made up of a variety of ideas to mix up your reading choices. ... Maybe you'll even discover a new favoirite book by trying something unexpected." The list is fun and fanciful, starting with a book recommended by a librarian, and including a book with a red spine, a steampunk novel, a book with a cat on the cover, a book set during wartime, a book set in a hotel, a book of letters, a book with multiple authors, a book set around a holiday other than Christmas, a book that is a story within a story, a book involving a mythical creature, and a book set in two different time periods. Check out the rest of the list here. You can also join the Goodreads group for people participating in the challenge and join the book discussions there. Consider challenging your book group or friends to complete the list - it's another great way to find that next great read.



January 2 is National Science Fiction Day

Why 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.

lostandthefoundIn honor of the day, why not try another of the canonical writers of American science fiction? Literary icon Ursula Le Guin, winner of scores of science fiction writing awards, one of the few women to be named Grandmaster of Science Fiction, and the recipient of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014, has issued a collection of her novellas this year: The Found and the Lost : the collected novellas of Ursula K. LeGuin. The volume contains 13 of Le Guin's novellas with an introduction by the author. "With this astonishing volume, Le Guin demonstrates that she is just as relevant and thought-provoking as ever. No former knowledge of her works is necessary to delve into this remarkable writing, just an open mind with a desire to be filled. Pair this with the reissued The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin, and the author's many admirers will be in heaven." (Library Journal)

Sherlock: Season 4

The long-awaited new season of Sherlock, the contemporary adaptation loosely based on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories, begins with the first of three episodes on Sunday January 1, on PBS. The last season ended with Watson's wedding, Mary's pregnancy, and Sherlock's seeming banishment from England. But is Moriarty still alive? As the show's press release puts it. "Season four begins with the mercurial Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), back once more on British soil as Doctor Watson (Martin Freeman) and his wife Mary (Amanda Abbington) prepare for their biggest challenge yet: becoming parents. ...Ghosts of the past are rising in the lives of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and terror and tragedy are looming. This is the story we’ve been telling from the beginning and it’s about to reach its climax.”

Want to do a deeper dive into Sherlockian lore?

bigbookThe Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories by Otto Penzler, editor
Billed as the largest collection of Sherlockian tales ever assembled, this anthology contains 83 stories, pastiches, parodies, and mysteries, all based on the great tales by Arthur Conan Doyle. Published over a span of more than a hundred years, the selections feature pitch-perfect cases by acclaimed modern-day Sherlockians Leslie S. Klinger, Laurie R. King, Lyndsay Faye and Daniel Stashower; pastiches by literary luminaries both classic (P. G. Wodehouse, Dorothy B. Hughes, Kingsley Amis) and current (Anne Perry, Stephen King, Colin Dexter); and parodies by Conan Doyle's contemporaries A. A. Milne, James M. Barrie, and O. Henry, not to mention genre-bending cases by science-fiction greats Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock. "This is the only book of its kind to collect so many pastiches dedicated to Holmes, 83 total. Fans of the fictional detective will find great joy in this tome." (Library Journal)

Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

princessdiaristActresss and author Carrie Fisher passed away Tuesday, December postcards27 after a heart attack late last week. Born in Hollywood to celebrity parents Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, she was brought up in the entertainment industry, working on stage and in movies as a teenager. Best known (and loved) for portraying the competent and spirited Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher was also an accomplished screenwriter, author, and humorist. She published five novels, numerous screenplays, and several memoirs, all punctuated with her characteristic wit and irreverence. Her comic, semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards From the Edge, was adapted for film and starred Meryl Streep as the troubled daughter of a famous actress mother. Fisher's most recent book, a memoir, The Princess Diarist, was published this year with the juicy details of her experiences during the filming of the Star Wars movies. In her book Wishful Drinking, she suggested her own epitaph,"I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra," which was based on a discussion with George Lucas about why Princess Leia could not wear a bra in space (lack of gravity). The New York Times memorialized Fisher as "a Princess, a Rebel, and a Brave Comic Voice."



wreathMiracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan                                       miracleon5th
It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this festive fairy tale of New York. Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she's given an opportunity to decorate a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. The owner, bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade, is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife's death looming, he's isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn't appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings.. "Sexy, touching, and often hilarious,.." (Library Journal)




Now (or soon) playing:

tony and susanNocturnal Animals/Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
This thriller is based on Wright's 1993 novel which wasn't a huge hit when first published, but got fresh life in a later reprint that caught director Tom Ford's attention. The story starts with Susan Morrow, who left her first husband, Edward Sheffield, an unpublished writer, fifteen years ago. Now, she's enduring middle class suburbia as a doctor's wife, when out of the blue she receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband's first novel. He writes asking her to read the book. As Susan reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a math professor driving his family to their summer house in Maine.  As the Hastings' ordinary, civilized lives are disastrously and violently sent off course, Susan is plunged back into the past, reflecting on her life with Tony and the collapse of their marriage. The film stars Amy Adams, and Jake Gyllenhaal.


silenceSilence by Shusaku Endo
Director Martin Scorcese labored for years to bring this 1966 novel to the screen. Endo's tale is set in seventeenth-century Japan where two Portuguese Jesuit priests, seeking their mentor, travel to a country hostile to their religion, as feudal lords force the Christian faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs. Shusaku Endo is one of the most celebrated and well-known Japanese fiction writers of the twentieth century and the book garnered critical praise when published. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson and opens on December 23.

live by nightLive by Night by Dennis Lehane
Written and produced by Ben Affleck, and based on Lehane's 2012 crime novel, this film is scheduled for a limited opening on December 25. Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island, Gone, Baby, Gone) has written an historical, set in the 1920s and 1930s, with the story following Joe Coughlin, the prodigal son of a Boston police captain. During Prohibition, Joe  defies his strict law-and-order upbringing to climb the ladder of organized crime as a bootlegger, rum-runner, and later a gangster, as he moves from Boston to Florida and then to Cuba where he settles down, marries, and builds a criminal empire in the illegal rum trade. However, nothing lasts forever amid a dangerous cast of characters who are all fighting for their piece of the American dream. The film stars Affleck and Elle Fanning.



New York Times Critics’ Top Books of 2016

stackofbooksAlthough The New York Times Book Review editors have already issued their "Best" lists (100 Notable Books of 2016, Ten Best Books of 2016), the three daily book critics, Michiko Kakutani, Dwight Garner, and Jennifer Senior, plus contributor Janet Maslin, have compiled their own lists of favorites out of the approximately 250 books they reviewed this year. Described as "the fiction and nonfiction books that most moved, excited and enlightened them in 2016," the lists offer a wide-ranging collection of reading material.

On Janet Maslin's list:

iqIQ by Joe Ide
A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores.They call him IQ, short for Isaiah Quintabe. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his polite, unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. Maslin's take: "This is the start of a brand-new comedic crime franchise with a bright future. Isaiah Quintabe (IQ for short) is an unlikely Sherlock, an incongruously polite cogitator operating out of gangsta turf in East Long Beach, Calif. ... This series is a Los Angeles classic right from the start."



eggnog murderEggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and wreathBarbara Ross

"Three terrific tales of yuletide murder in coastal Maine" (Booklist)

Eggnog Murder: When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog--allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club--proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker's Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who's stirring up trouble.

Death by Eggnog: Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor's grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal--and suspicious--allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it's up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.

Nogged off: Julia Snowden's tenant Imogen Geinkes seems to be jinxed. First, her poorly named "Killer Eggnog" gives all her co-workers food poisoning. then her boyfriend's body shows up in Julia's truck as she's headed back to Busman's Harbor. Now Julia has to get moving to catch the cold-hearted culprit.

 "These three tales of deadly eggnog will make you pause before indulging in the holiday treat. ... This collection of short cozy mysteries set in Maine and featuring delicious recipes serves as a great introduction to these authors' series for new readers or as a bite-sized delicacy to tide established fans over until the next book." (Library Journal)



Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

rogueoneThe first of Lucasfilm's Star Wars Anthology standalone movies opens later this week, on December 16. Rogue One, a prequel of sorts, is set shortly before the events of the first of the original Star Wars films, now re-titled Star Wars: Episode IV–A New Hope. The plot follows an unikely group of Rebels, led by young Jyn Erso, who attempt to steal the plans to the Empire's new megaweapon, the Death Star. (These would be the same plans that Princess Leia hides in the droid R2D2 at the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope.) The official website explains,"This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves." As Jyn says, "This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel."


To bring you up to light-speed about the development of the catalystDeath Star, a tie-in novel, Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno, was released on November 25. This installment takes place a few years before Rogue One starts, and follows brilliant scientist/inventor Galen Erso as he tries to prevent the use of his research for the creation of the Death Star while protecting his wife and daughter (Jyn) from the wrath of the Emperor.

The movie tie-in novelization, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed, featuring new scenes and expanded material, will be released  on December 20, 2016.


May the Force be with us.



January 2017 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 January 2017:

girlbeforeThe Girl Before by JP Delaney
Alternating between two times periods, this psychological thriller tells the stories of two women and one house. After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space--and to its aloof but seductive architect. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before. "... a masterfully crafted spellbinder... The tables turn, and turn again, and the ending is guaranteed to both astonish and satisfy the reader." (Booklist)

The book is already in development for a film adaptation to be directed by Ron Howard.



Jewish Book Month (November 24-December 24) 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.


Recent Jewish Fiction:

gameofqueensGame of Queens : A Novel of Vashti and Esther by India Edghill
Edghill breathes new life into the biblical story of Vashti and Esther, the two wives of King Ahasuerus of Persia. Vashti, one of the most beautiful women in the empire, lost her crown when she defied her husband. The King set her aside and commanded that the most beautiful maidens be sent to his court so he might choose a new queen. He set the queen's crown upon the head of the virtuous and beautiful Esther, a young Jewess, who later defied both king and law to save her people from a treacherous fate. "...Edghill's novel is a fresh, multivoiced approach to the celebrated tale of Purim. Richly textured, thrilling, and totally fascinating, this sweeping saga is sure to captivate readers across the board." (Booklist)


Judas by Amos Oz                                          judas
Jerusalem, 1959. Shmuel Ash, a young biblical scholar, is adrift in his life when he starts work as a caregiver for a brilliant but cantankerous old man named Gershom Wald. There is, however, a third, mysterious presence in his new home. Atalia Abarbanel, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, a beautiful woman in her forties, entrances young Shmuel even as she keeps him at a distance. Piece by piece, the old Jerusalem stone house, haunted by tragic history and now home to the three misfits and their intricate relationship, reveals its secrets. "The latest novel by prominent Israeli writer Oz folds a meditation on loyalty and loss into a tender coming-of-age story, and the result is touching and intellectually potent." (Booklist)


debtoftamarThe Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck
In 2002, thirty-two-year-old Selim Osman, the last descendant of the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, flees Istanbul for New York. In a twist of fate, he meets Hannah, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and an artist striving to understand the father she barely knows. Unaware that the connection they share goes back centuries, the two feel an immediate pull to one another. In 1544, as the Inquisition raged, young José Mendez escaped Portugal with the help of the Ottoman sultan, and made a new life in Istanbul. But when his own daughter secretly fell in love with the sultan's Muslim grandson, José found himself in a life-changing dilemma, one that would shape generations to come. From a sixteenth-century harem to a seaside village in the Holy Land, from Nazi-occupied Paris to modern-day Manhattan, Dweck weaves a spellbinding tapestry of love, history, and fate.


City of Secrets by Stewart O'Nan                                         
cityofsecretsIn 1945, with no homes to return to, Jewish refugees by the tens of thousands set out for Palestine. Those who made it were hunted as illegals by the British authorities there and relied on the underground to shelter them; taking fake names, they blended with the population, joining the wildly different factions fighting for the independence of Israel.  One survivor, Brand, drives a taxi provided--like his new identity--by the underground. Alone, haunted by memories, he tries to become again the man he was before the war and falls in love with Eva, a fellow survivor and member of his cell. As he reclaims his faith, and commits himself to the revolution, he accepts secret missions that grow more and more dangerous even as he begins to suspect he's being used by their dashing leader, Asher.






A Christmas Carol: The Original Manuscript Edition by Charles Dickens

christmascarol2A first-ever trade edition of the original manuscript of the beloved Christmas classic about Scrooge and the Christmas ghosts who visit him on Christmas Eve. Every year at the holidays, the historic Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan displays one of the treasures of its collection: the original manuscript of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, with its detailed emendations, deletions, and insertions in Dickens's own hand. Here, for the first time in a beautiful trade edition, A Christmas Carol: The Original Manuscript Edition presents a facsimile of that invaluable manuscript, along with a typeset version of the story, a fascinating introduction by the Morgan's chief literary curator on the history of the story, and a new foreword by Colm Tóibín celebrating its timeless appeal.


And Not...

A Shoe Addict's Christmas by Beth Harbison

shoeaddictsNoelle is not a fan of the holidays and to make matters worse, she is at a crossroads in her life when it seems that love and adventure are no longer possible. When she stays late at her job in a department store on a snowy Christmas Eve she accidentally gets locked in after closing. She isn't too concerned about the prospect of spending the night in the store...until a woman appears out of nowhere and tells Noelle that she's her guardian angel. Soon Noelle finds herself camped out in the shoe department facing several "ghosts" of Christmases past, present, and future, all while surrounded by Manolo Blahniks, Jimmy Choos, Chanel slippers, and Prada riding boots. "The visions of what could be convince Noelle to join her friend on a trip to Rome and finally stop avoiding her fate, which seems to involve a handsome guy named Jake. ... A fun and shoe-filled modern take on A Christmas Carol... (Library Journal)



75th logo 358x352National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 7 marks the 75th Anniversary of the surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific fleet moored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 2,400 people were killed and dozens of Navy vessels were damaged or destroyed during the early morning attack in 1941. The devastating raid became a major catalyst for the entry of the United States into World War II. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress on December 8, he started his speech with the phrase that has been associated with this event ever since, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy..."


A Pearl Harbor story:

From Here to Eternity by James Jones                      fromheretoeternity
This modern classic was published in 1951 and won the National Book Award in 1952. Set in 1941, the novel focuses on several members of a U.S. Army infantry company stationed in Hawaii in the months leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The book was later made into an Academy Award-winning film starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra. Jones' book was a sensation when it was published - its language was shocking and the sexual themes and casual violence of the plot appalled many. Author James Ellroy summed up the book's significance in a 2009 NPR essay, "From Here to Eternity is a great American novel. It remains incandescent after 58 years. It gives us America then, and prophesies America's great and costly rise to power. It explodes with humanity and conspicuous acts of conscience. There has never been a novel like it, and there never will be."



2016LibraryReads banner2 favoritesLibraryReads is marking its third year anniversary by creating the third Favorites of Favorites list, with library staff voting on their top ten favorite books from the October 2015 through September 2016 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 2016:

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty


Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson                        wreath

prettypaperSinger Willie Nelson has created a holiday novel from the lyrics of his popular 1963 Christmas song, Pretty Paper, about a crippled Texas street vendor selling Chistmas wrapping, pencils, and ribbons to make some money during the holiday shopping season. To attract customers, he would call out, "pretty paper, pretty paper." It's the early sixties and Willie Nelson is down and out, barely eking out a living as a singer-songwriter. The week before Christmas, he spots a legless man on a cart, selling wares in front of Leonard's Department Store in Fort Worth, Texas. The humble figure, by the name of Vernon Clay, piques Willie's curiosity, but Vernon is stubbornly private and--despite Willie's charming queries--has no interest in telling his story. Willie is tenacious, though, and he eventually learns that Vernon is a fellow musician, a fine guitarist and singer. When Vernon disappears, he leaves behind only a diary, which tells an epic tale of life-altering tragedies, broken hearts, and crooked record men, not to mention backroad honky-tonks, down-home cooking, and country songwriting genius. Deeply moved and spurred on by Vernon's pages, Willie aims to give the man one last shot at redemption and a chance to embody the holiday spirit. "This charming but, alas, fictional memoir takes us back to the early years of famed singer/songwriter Willie Nelson. ...It's such a touching story, moving without the cloying sweetness that plagues so many would-be inspirational tales that we find ourselves wishing it had actually happened. Nelson, who has always told wonderful stories in song form, proves he can be just as effective in print narrative."(Booklist)



Colorful 2016 PNG Clipart Image


It's that time of year - the "Best Books" lists of 2016 are multiplying. It seems that every day another media source, whether newspaper, magazine, TV show, blogger, celebrity, or pundit, prints, publishes or posts a "Best Books of 2016" list.

So far, there's the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016, Amazon Editors Top 100, Kirkus Reviews Best FictionPublishers Weekly Best of 2016, LibraryReads Favorites of Favorites and The Washington Post's Top Ten, and there will be more. Enough lists to keep us all amused for awhile.



 The New York Times - 100 Notable Books of 2016

On November 23, 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 titles are those that are also included in other "Best" lists, but there are a few surprises.

dontletmybabyDon't Let My Baby Do Rodeo by Boris Fishman
Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin met in 1992, when she was a Ukrainian exchange student with a dream of becoming a chef instead of a medical worker, and he the coddled son of Russian immigrants wanting to try a less predictable life. Twenty years later, Maya Rubin is a medical worker in suburban New Jersey, and Alex is his father's assistant in the family business. The only disruption in their lives is their eight-year-old son Max, adopted years before from two teenagers in Montana, who has recently developed behavioral problems. Searching for answers, (the only tip Max's biological mother left them was the instruction: "don't let my baby do rodeo,") Maya convinces Alex to embark on a cross-country trip to Montana to track down Max's birth parents--the first drive west of New Jersey of their American lives. But it's Maya who's transformed by the journey, with seismic consequences for herself and her family. "Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo,” the second novel by the tender, dolorous, sharp and funny writer Boris Fishman, is the story of an adopted child and an adopted country; it is a tale of what it means to be foreign. ... a joy to read." (New York Times)


fidelFidel Castro has died at the age of 90. The leader of the Communist Revolution in Cuba and head of government there for 45 years before ceding power to his brother in 2006, he was a prominent international figure, despite being the head of state of a relatively small nation in the Caribbean. He dominated his country, ruling as the "Maximo Lider," and was perceived either as a dictatorial despot or a hero/liberator, depending on one's political views. Given his supremacy there, it is not surprising that he appears as a character in many fictional works set in modern Cuba.


Castro's Daughter by David Hagberg
castrosdaughterCuban Intelligence Service Colonel Maria Leon is called to the bedside of the dying Fidel Castro. She is his illegitimate daughter but has never been acknowledged by her father until now. Castro makes her promise to contact the legendary former Director of the CIA Kirk McGarvey to help her on a mysterious quest to find Cibola, the fabled seven cities of Gold.

havanaHavana by Stephen Hunter
It is 1953 and Cuba is at its lush, tropical, and glamorous best. Only one small problem threatens this situation--the rise of a daring revolutionary named Fidel Castro. Now, legendary sniper Earl Swagger has been called in by the CIA to take him out.

Killing Castro by Lawrence Block
Five Americans: —a bounty hunter, a murderer on the run, a vengeful college kid, a professional thug, and a bank clerk dying of cancer —will split $100,000 if they can sneak into Cuba and assassinate Fidel Castro.

Cuba Straits by Randy Wayne Whitecubastraits
Doc Ford's old friend, General Juan Garcia, is feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. when he manages to obtain a collection of letters written by Fidel Castro between 1960-62 to a secret girlfriend, it's not a matter of money anymore. Garcia has stumbled way out of his depth.

betrayalgameThe Betrayal Game by David L.  Robbins
Set during the Cuban missile crisis of 1961, this what-if thriller forces readers to question what could have happened--maybe even what should have happened--in the weeks before the Bay of Pigs invasion.






William Trevor (1928-2016)


Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2016

On November 17, The Washington Post's Book World reviewers named their top ten books of 2016, those they found "exceptionally rewarding," and anointed another 100 titles of various genres that "you shouldn't miss." The top ten list contains both fiction and non-fiction with several books that have produced critical and media buzz.

 Novels in the Top Ten:

commonwealthThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (winner of the trespasser2016 National Book Award)

News of the World by Paulette Jiles (October 2016 LibraryReads Favorite, shortlisted for the 2016 National Book Award)

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (September 2016 LibraryReads List, Bookpage Best of 2016)

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (finalist for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence)

The Trespasser by Tana French (Amazon Top Twenty, October 2016 LibraryReads List)

After the sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and whipped cream, indulge in something spicy for Thanksgiving:

hernaughtyholidayHer Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Riesz
Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host her family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over "Clover's Bad Life Choices." This year, she needs to distract them all--with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind. Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn't expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for! "Reisz's fast-paced contemporary has everything anybody might want in a Thanksgiving romance. ... The eponymous naughtiness ensues after Erick volunteers to play the role of boyfriend-to the hilt. Rita-winner Reisz (the Original Sinners series) throws in plenty of sex and just enough tension, charm, and passive-aggressive family banter to make for delicious, festive R-rated fun." (Publishers Weekly)


National Book Award for Fiction



underground railroadOn November 16, at the annual banquet in New York, the National Book Foundation bestowed the 67th National Book Awards on the writers of outstanding fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's fiction. It wasn't too much of a surprise that Colson Whitehead's well-regarded novel, The Underground Railroad, won the fiction award. The book has been on all the critics "best' lists, shortlisted for several literary prizes and chosen by Oprah for her book club. Whitehead's story of a runaway slave employs an imaginative conceit: that the Underground Railroad is not only a metaphor for the human networks that helped slaves to freedom, but an actual underground transportation system, with engines, rails, conductors, tracks and tunnels. "One of the remarkable things about this novel is how Mr. Whitehead found an elastic voice that accommodates both brute realism and fablelike allegory, the plain-spoken and the poetic — a voice that enables him to convey the historical horrors of slavery with raw, shocking power. He conveys its emotional fallout: the fear, the humiliation, the loss of dignity and control. ... At the same time, he memorializes the yearning for freedom that spurs one generation after another to persevere in the search for justice — despite threats and intimidation, despite reversals and efforts to turn back the clock. He has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present." (New York Times)





Amazon's Top Twenty

This week, the editors at Amazon posted their picks for the "Best Books of 2016" in various categories like literature, mystery, cookbooks, children's, etc., along with a Top Twenty list that combines adult fiction and nonfiction books of note. Their number one? The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead which has been/will be on all the lists, is an Oprah book club selection, and a strong contender for the National Book Award (to be announced tonight). Among the other novels that Amazon honors are Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things, Mischling by Affinity Konar, Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson, Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, The Nix by Nathan Hill, The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis, Swing Time By Zadie Smith, Moonglow by Michael Chabon, The Trespasser by Tana French, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.



Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis by Anne Rice

princelestatrealmsThe vampire Lestat, novelist Anne Rice's most famous creation (Interview with the Vampire, Prince Lestat) is back this month with a new adventure about the lost, legendary city of Atlantis. Rice, who last wrote about Lestat in 2014, after more than a 10 year gap in her Vampire Chronicles, has wanted to write a book about the Atlantis myth for years, "I've been dying to get my vision of Atlantis into the public realm for years. And believe me, there is a full-blown vison of Atlantis in this novel. I've been obsessed with it for years. Years."

In the novel, the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt battles (and ultimately reconciles with) a strange otherworldly spirit that has somehow taken possession of his undead body and soul. It is through this spirit that the tale of Atlantatya, a great sea power of ancient times, a mysterious heaven on earth situated on a boundless continent, is revealed. As Lestat learns of the mighty, far-reaching powers and perfections of this lost kingdom, he comes to understand its secrets, and why he and all the vampires must now reckon with the terrifying force of this ageless, all-powerful Atalantaya spirit. "...Rice exhibits tremendous skill in making the impossible seem not only possible but logical. She sets up a nail-biting dilemma involving the continued existence of vampires, and the second half of the book roars satisfyingly past." (Booklist).
The novel will be released on November 29.



Short Story to Movie

storiesofyourlife3Arrival/ Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiangstoriesofyourlife2

The film, Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, and based on the 2002 short story, The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, opened to strong reviews on November 11. The plot involves the arrival of twelve extraterrestrial spaceships that suddenly land on Earth and the subsequent efforts of linguists to communicate with the aliens before hostilities break out. Linguistics professor Louise Banks leads an elite team of investigators into one of the ships to initiate contact and learn the aliens' complex language in order to determine their intentions. They discover that the aliens' language structure alters the human concept of time, allowing the speaker to be in all times at once, so that memories or flashbacks may relate to future events instead of past occurrences. There is a real linguistics theory, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, about the influence of language on cognition, that Chiang used as a basis for his imaginitive leap. "Chiang's 2002 collection of stories mixes vivid characters, real science, and believable settings with wild speculation, to great effect. Each story takes a conceit from social or natural science, or even theology, and follows it to its logical effects on humanity. ... this title will also be a hit with those who enjoy both magical realism and convincing science in their sf." (Library Journal)




Friday, 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." 

billylynnThis year, you can honor our vets at the movie theater: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction published in 2012, has been adapted for film and opens on Veterans Day. Directed by Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Brokeback Mountain), the story follows 19-year-old Billy and the members of his squad who survived a firefight in Iraq and became overnight heroes. Brought home for a "Victory Tour," they are poised to make a public relations appearance at the Dallas Cowboys stadium with all the hoopla that big-time football can offer. "There’s hardly a false note, or even a slightly off-pitch one, in Fountain’s sympathetic, damning and structurally ambitious novel. (The whole story, with the exception of a flashback or two, takes place during the course of a single afternoon.) Billy and the other Bravos are, for the most part, uneducated, but they possess a rare intelligence that allows them to see things as they really are, which is not exactly the way the pro-war meme generators want Americans to see them. By the novel’s end, we’re forced to reassess what it means to “support the troops.” Does it simply mean letting them know they’re in our prayers as we send them back into battle and go about our business? Does it mean turning them into gaudy celebrities? Or could there perhaps be a more honorable and appropriately humble way to commemorate their service? " (Washington Post)



National Cappuccino Day

November 8 is National Cappuccino Day and isn't that a refreshing break from the other national events unfolding today? Cappuccino is an Italian coffee beverage, made with espresso and steamed milk, which became popular in the U.S. in the 1990's during the boom in the American coffee industry and the rise of the corner coffee shop. After you've voted, reward yourself for doing your civic duty - kick back with a soothing cup of cappuccino. Or relax with a book.

happypeopleHappy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnes Martin-Lugand
Diane seems to have the perfect life. She is a wife, a mother, and the owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a cozy literary cafe in Paris. But when she suddenly loses her beloved husband and daughter in a tragic car accident, the world as she knows it instantly vanishes. Trapped and haunted by her memories, Diane retreats from friends and family, unable and unwilling to move forward. But one year later, Diane shocks her loved ones and makes the surprising decision to move to a small town on the Irish coast, finally determined to heal and rebuild her life alone--until she meets Edward, the attractive yet taciturn Irish photographer who lives next door. At first abrasive and unwelcoming, Edward initially resents Diane's intrusion into his life of solitude . . . until he can no longer keep her at arm's length, and they fall into a surprising and tumultuous romance. But will it last when Diane leaves Ireland, and Edward, for the home she once ran away from in Paris?


2016 World Fantasy Awards

The 2016 World Fantasy Convention was held in Columbus, Ohio on October 27-30, where the World Fantasy Awards were announced. The World Fantasy Convention is an annual gathering of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of Light and Dark Fantasy art and literature. To be eligible for the awards, materials must have been published in 2015 by a living author. 

Best Novel:

chimesThe Chimes by Anna Smaill
Also longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, this impressive novel displays a wealth of imagination along with eloquent and lyrical language as it relates the tale of a dystopian London at the end of a brutal civil war. The ruling class now controls the populace  through the use of music-induced memory loss. Monk-like masters are selected for special schooling and shut away for decades, learning to write beautiful compositions for the chimes, played citywide morning and night, to mute memory and keep the citizens trapped in ignorance. A young orphan named Simon arrives in London with nothing but the vague sense of a half-forgotten promise, to locate someone. What he finds is a new family--a gang of scavengers that patrols the underbelly of the city looking for valuable metal to sell. Drawn in by an enigmatic and charismatic leader, a blind young man named Lucien with a gift for song, Simon forgets entirely what originally brought him to the place he has now made his home. But Simon has a unique gift--the gift of retaining memories--that will lead him to discover a great injustice and take him far beyond the meager life as a member of Lucien's gang. Before long he will be engaged in an epic struggle for justice, love, and freedom. "One of a kind, both in its dystopian landscape and use of gorgeous language throughout (including clever musical terms), this debut takes time to digest but is worth the effort." (Library Journal)



"If ‘Twilight’ and the Bourne books had a baby. . ."

chemistThe Boston Globe's staffer Meredith Goldstein begins her review of the new Stephenie Meyer book, The Chemist, with the headline quoted above. Meyer, author of the very popular "Twilight" vampire series, has just released her second novel meant for adults, following her science fiction tale, The Host, published in 2008. This is Meyer's first mystery/thriller and she's dedicated it to Jason Bourne and the other heroes of Robert Ludlum's espionage thrillers. Her version of a Bourne-type story follows a young scientist named Chris Taylor who used to work for the U.S. government. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn't even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it's her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. Along the way, she kidnaps an innocent and perfect man, Daniel, who provides the obligatory love interest. Goldstein concludes that even though the book is formulaic, "...there’s something about Meyer’s books that satisfy a need. will likely tear through this, just as they did with the “Twilight” novels and with “The Host” ...It’s not the Great American Novel, but it is Meyer. After more than 500 pages, I finished “The Chemist” and flipped through some of the scenes a second time, wondering who will play Daniel in the movie."


2016 Kirkus Prize for Fiction: The Sport of Kings by C.E Morgan

Last night, The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan's sprawling saga about race and slavery kirkus prize 2016 2 jpg 250x300 q85set amid decades of Kentucky horse racing, ran away with the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, one of the most lucrative of the literary awards ($50,000). This is the third year for these prizes which were established to honor "the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large." All books published from Nov. 1, 2015 to Oct. 31, 2016 that received a starred review in Kirkus - more than 1,000 titles - were eligible for consideration. The six finalists were announced on September 20.

sportofkingsAt the center of The Sport of Kings is Hellsmouth, an indomitable thoroughbred with the blood of Triple Crown winners in her veins, who runs for the glory of the Forge family, one of Kentucky's oldest and most powerful dynasties. Henry Forge has partnered with his daughter, Henrietta, in an endeavor of raw obsession: to breed the next superhorse, the next Secretariat. But when Allmon Shaughnessy, an ambitious young black man, comes to work on their farm, and Henrietta falls in love with him, the violence of the Forges' history and Kentucky's legacy of slavery is brought starkly into view. "Vaultingly ambitious, thrillingly well-written, charged with moral fervor and rueful compassion. How will this dazzling writer astonish us next time?" (Kirkus Reviews)



The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

mistletoepromiseThe Hallmark Channel is already in the holiday mood: the "Countdown to Christmas" began last weekend. Hallmark will be broadcasting "Holiday Movies! All Day! All Night” through Christmas and beyond. Airing on November 5 at 8pm is The Mistletoe Promise, based on the book by popular Christmas author, Richard Paul Evans. Evans' 2014 novel follows bitter divorcee Elsie Dutton who dreads another lonely Christmas season until a stranger approaches her in the mall food court. Though she recognizes him from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks-until the evening of December 24-he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. The pact they call the Mistletoe Promise will help them navigate their holiday obligations. But as they spend more time with each other and experience the magic of Christmas, the phony couple discovers there may be more to their contract than business. There are two other novels by Evans in the Mistletoe series, The Mistletoe Inn and The Mistletoe Secret.  Merry, Merry!



Publishers Weekly - Best Books of 2016

ninety ninestoriesPW's editors recently released their lengthy list (100 adult titles, 50 children's titles) of "Best" books of 2016, conveniently divided into genres such as fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, poetry, non-fiction etc.  In the fiction category are several of the award contenders, books that are getting the literary love, and some that are less well-known, still hovering off the popular radar.

In their Top Ten is a volume of short stories called Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams. Williams, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, exhibits her quirky sensibility throughout this slender collection of short, fictional vignettes exploring our day-to-day interactions with an ever-elusive and arbitrary God. The figures that haunt these stories range from Kafka (talking to a fish) to the Aztecs, from Tolstoy to Abraham and Sarah, and from O. J. Simpson to a pack of wolves. Most of Williams's characters, however, are like the rest of us: anonymous strivers and bumblers who brush up against God in the least expected places or go searching for Him when He's standing right there. The Lord shows up at a hot-dog-eating contest, a demolition derby, a formal gala, and a drugstore, where he's in line to get a shingles vaccination. "Though God does not appear by name in every story, something of the divine echoes in each, something larger than the humans that populate each chapter. Each story is brief, with some less than a paragraph. Some amaze, some are quietly powerful, some gracefully absurd. Much like the divine, Williams' prose is simple and brutal, thoughtful and haunting. A spare but startling book." (Booklist)



Picture1November is Native American Heritage Month

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.


roundhouse2Contemporary 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.



carnegie-fic-medal photo web2017 Andrew Carnegie Awards

On October 26, the American Library Association announced the 2017 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 Atlanta on January 22.

Fiction Finalists:

moonglowMoonglow by Michael Chabon
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." Under the influence of powerful painkillers, the ailing man tells his tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact--and the creative power--of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is a portrait of the difficult but passionate love between the narrator's grandfather and his grandmother, an enigmatic woman broken by her experience growing up in war-torn France. The novel, not yet published, will be released on November 22.


Swing Time by Zadie Smith                                                       swing time
Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. The close but complicated childhood friendship  ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live. But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, and the women dance just like Tracey. Smith's latest is due to be published on November 15.


underground railroadThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The novel follows Cora, a smart, young, third-generation slave in the South, and her desperate flight from state to state to find freedom. Throughout her journey, Cora and her fellow slave, Ceasar, are pursued by the cold-blooded slave catcher, Ridgeway, who is always close behind them. What makes the book so extraordinary is that Whitehead imagines the underground railroad not only as a network of safe houses and individuals opposed to slavery, but as an actual, physical railroad with engineers, conductors, and tracks beneath the ground. Chosen by Oprah for her book club, this novel is also on the shortlists for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award.




American Paul Beatty wins for The Sellout

manbooker blueThis evening, Oct 25, in London, this year's winner of the Man Booker Prize
was announced. Paul Beatty is the very first American writer to win
the Man selloutBooker Prize for Fiction; before a rules change three years ago, only writers from the British Commonweath countries were eligbile for England's most prestigious (and lucrative) literary prize. Beatty's racial satire, The Sellout, which also won the National Book Critics Circle Award earlier this year, is a biting and edgy exploration of racial politics, viewed through a young man's isolated upbringing and the trial that sends him to the U.S. Supreme Court. Using a perverse sort of logic, the alienated protagonist seeks to both assert his African-American identity, and save his neglected town, which has been literally wiped from the map of California, by reinstating outright racial segregation and slavery. The novel challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and racial equality in  the so-called "post-racial" America. The Man Booker judges found it akin to the wit of Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift, "It manages to eviscerate every social taboo and politically correct nuance, every sacred cow. While making us laugh, it also makes us wince. It is both funny and painful at the same time.”



Bouchercon Mystery Awards

The Anthony Awards for mystery fiction written in 2015 were announced on September 16 at the annual World Mystery Convention (Bouchercon) held in New Orleans, LA. The convention and the awards are named after Anthony Boucher, writer, editor, and critic of science fiction and mystery who helped found the Mystery Writers of America in 1946.

Best Novel:

killingkindThe Killing Kind by Chris Holm
Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he's not so bad a guy.
Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life--and beloved fiancée--and set out on a path of redemption...or perhaps one of willful self-destruction. Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts--he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he'll make sure whoever's coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living--but a great way to make himself a target. "...the wild and furious action, the unusual plot featuring assassin versus assassin, and the memorable characters all keep the reader racing through this skillfully told tale of vengeance." (Library Journal)


Best First Novel:

pastcrimesPast Crimes by Glen Erik Hamilton
Van Shaw was raised to be a thief, but at eighteen he suddenly broke all ties to that life and joined the military--abandoning his illicit past and the career-criminal grandfather who taught him the trade. Now, after ten years of silence, his grandfather has asked him to come home to Seattle. But when Van arrives, he discovers his grandfather bleeding out on the floor from a gunshot to the head. With a lifetime of tough history between him and the old man, Van knows he's sure to be the main suspect. The only way he can clear his name is to go back to the world he'd sworn to leave behind. Tapping into his criminal skills, he begins to hunt the shooter and uncover what drove his grandfather to reach out after so long. "Hamilton details Shaw's upbringing in sharply honed flashbacks and surrounds him with a cast of intriguing characters on both sides of the law. Readers will be eager to see more of this tough, clever hero." (Publisher's Weekly)


boo    Looking for a frightfully good book?

Ready for Halloween? If not, here are a few spooky reading suggestions to get you in the proper mood. BookPage's Book Case Blog has thoughtfully supplied its list, The Year's Best Halloween Reads, to help you summon the right sinister spirit. After sampling one of these, you may want to hide under the covers and sleep with the lights on. Check out the blog for more creepy titles.

loneyThe Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
When the remains of a young child are discovered on a stretch of the desolate Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, Tonto Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine. But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites. "This eerily atmospheric and engrossing novel will captivate readers who like their fiction with a touch of the gothic." (Library Journal)

 Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt                                                              mrsplitfoot
Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their fellow orphans, they pretend to channel the spirits of all the dead parents, until overheard by a con man named Mr. Bell who persuades them to leave the orphanage to work as professional mediums. But during one of their seances, they dicover something darker. Decades later, Ruth's niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who -- or what -- has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road? "Hints of what's in store for readers include a cult of Etherists, a noseless man, a pile of lost money, and a scar-like pattern of meteorite landings. This spellbinder is storytelling at its best." (Publishers Weekly)


mybestfriendsexMy Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
A dark and heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act...different. She's moody. She's irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she's nearby. Abby's investigation leads her to some startling discoveries--and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? "Hendrix (Horrorstör) brings his blend of dark humor and horror back in this perfect balance of teenage dread and supernatural thrills. Readers who lived through high school in the 1980s may dredge up old memories of big hair and stirrup pants, which will be frightening in itself." (Library Journal)



The Walking Dead, Season 7

somethingtofear2Season 7 of the hit AMC drama about the zombie apocalypse and the ordeals of the human survivors starts Sunday, October 23. Last season ended with the ultimate cliff-hanger: one  of our favorite characters was apparently killed by the new villain, Negan, wielding his signature barbed-wire-covered bat, Lucille. Clever camera angles obscured the victim, so viewers will have to tune in Sunday night at 9pm to find out who died. Speculation has been rampant, with handicappers figuring the odds on each character's life. The showrunners and cast, while keeping the victim's identity secret, promise a heartbreaking episode; executive producer Greg Nicotero's advice: "I recommend watching the episode with lots of Kleenex..."


 Fans of the show know that the story is adapted from the hugely searchanddestroypopular graphic novels of Robert Kirkman. What many may not know is that Kirkman, with co-author Jay Bonansinga, has written several adult science fiction novels set in the same zombified world, following different sets of survivors and their struggles. Bonansinga has continued the series, adding more titles, the most recent,  Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Search and Destroy, was released on October 18.



Now (or soon) playing:

nevergobackJack Reacher: Never go Back/Never Go Back by Lee Child
A sequel to the 2012 film, Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise, this installment in the franchise is based on the 2013 book, Never Go Back, which takes Reacher, the very independent ex-military policeman, back to the headquarters of his old unit near Washington, D.C. to meet Major Susan Turner. When he arrives, he is hit with shocking news: Turner is under investigation for conspiracy and Reacher is facing arrest and forced re-enlistment. Obviously, Reacher must break out, spring Turner, and go on the run to clear both their names. "As usual, head-busting physicality and analytical problem solving play key roles in Reacher's fight to prove his innocence and expose his enemies. Manhunts on both coasts, a link to corruption in Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. military drawdown, and the possibility for romance between Reacher and Turner make this entry one of the best in the series." (Publishers Weekly). The movie opens on October 21.


americanpastoralAmerican Pastoral by Philip Roth
Roth's tale of a troubled father-daughter relationship, while set in the turbulent 1960's, still resonates today. Seymour "Swede" Levov - a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, the prosperous inheritor of his father's Newark glove factory - comes of age in thriving, triumphant postwar America. He marries a former beauty queen, has a child, and buys a house in the country. But everything he loves is lost when the country begins to run amok during the Vietnam War era. Race riots, Watergate, anti-war protests, and the radicalization of his daughter Merry, who plants a bomb that kills a man, all combine to destroy Swede's comfortable life and his belief in the American dream. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 and is considered to be among the greatest works of modern American fiction. Actor Ewan McGregor directs and stars in the film, along with Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning; it opens on October 21.


infernoInferno by Dan Brown
Another adventure in the career of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, hero of The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Angels and Demons, this time based on the first part of The Divine Comedy, the epic poem by Dante Alighieri. It starts when Langdon awakens in a hospital in the middle of the night. Disoriented and suffering from a head wound, he recalls nothing of the last thirty-six hours, including how he got there, or the origin of the macabre object that his doctors discover hidden in his belongings. He realizes that he is in possession of a series of disturbing codes created by a brilliant scientist, a genius whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for Dante Alighieri's dark epic poem The Inferno. "Brown delivers an amazing and intense read that arguably is the best Langdon thriller to date. Everything a reader expects from Brown is here, plus a well-written thriller with jaw-dropping twists as well. A high demand for the works of Dante plus a surge in Italian tourism is sure to follow." (Library Journal). The movie stars Tom Hanks as the intrepid Langdon racing through the beautiful cities of Italy; it opens on October 27.



November 2016 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 November:

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

faithfulWeaving a bit of her signature magic into the story of a young and lost girl, Hoffman creates Shelby Richmond, an ordinary high school senior until an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend's future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. She spends the next decade struggling to find her way in the world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls--including an angel who's been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night. Slowly, she learns to forgive herself and heal. "Hoffman provides readers as well as her deeply wounded heroine some quirky human anchors to make her journey back to higher functionality more than bearable, even entertaining: e.g., an anonymous Samaritan, apparently male, who sends her hand-drawn postcards bearing get-well messages in the form of visual and verbal riddles.....A novel full of people—flawed, scarred, scared—discovering how to punish themselves less and connect with others more." (Kirkus Reviews)



Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

dirkgentlyReaders familiar with Douglas Adams' popular and very funny sci-fi tale, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, will have some idea of the type of story to expect from his book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, and the most recent BBC America television adaptation based on it. Earlier this year, BBC America ordered eight episodes for a series based on the characters in the sci-fi/mystery/detective novel published in 1987 and endorsed by Adams as "a thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic". The TV series deviates from the book's plot a bit by introducing washed-up rocker Todd Brotzman who stumbles upon the murder scene of a millionaire and meets Dirk Gently, an unconventional detective who believes in the interconnectedness of all things. Dirk is psychic and just knows they’re destined to untangle the peculiar events surrounding the mystery together, whether Todd likes it or not. A collection of wild and dangerous characters’ further infiltrate and complicate their world, each episode landing them a few random steps closer to uncovering the truth. And possibly the secret to the end of life on earth. As Dirk explains: everything is connected - a missing cat, corpses, cops, assassins, ghosts, Pararibulitis, vampires, a lottery ticket, a corgi - and an understanding of this fundamental interconnectedness is necessary to solve the whole crime. The show's first episode airs on October 22 at 9pm and stars Samuel Barnett as Dirk and Elijah Wood as Todd.


kirkus prize 2016 2 jpg 250x300 q852016 Kirkus Prize Finalists

The literary journal, Kirkus Reviews, has announced this year's finalists for its book prizes in fiction, nonfiction and children's literature, worth about $50,000 each, which makes them among the most lucrative in the literary world. This is the third year for these prizes which were established to honor "the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large." All books published from Nov. 1, 2015 to Oct. 31, 2016 that received a starred review in Kirkus - more than 1,000 titles - are eligible for consideration. The winners will be announced on November 3.


Finalists for the Fiction Prize:

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss, Jr.

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead



Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize

dylanIn an interesting development, singer/songwriter and American icon, Bob Dylan, has been named the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature by the Swedish Academy. Dylan is the first musician to win the prize and the decision has been met with surprise by most, approval by many, and criticism from some. The choice of Dylan certainly broadens the conventional definition of what constitutes literature.  As the New York Times coverage put it, " ... his selection on Thursday is perhaps the most radical choice in a history stretching back to 1901. In choosing a popular musician for the literary world’s highest honor, the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, dramatically redefined the boundaries of literature, setting off a debate about whether song lyrics have the same artistic value as poetry or novels." Dylan is the first American to win the prize since 1993 when novelist Toni Morrison was chosen.  Whatever one's views on the literary value of Dylan's work product, the selection of a well-known personality instead of a relatively obscure author is a change in direction for the Academy. Certainly no one can argue that Dylan is not a gifted and innovative writer, composer, and entertainer, one who revolutionized American popular music with complex lyrics and an idiosyncratic singing style. As the Academy's stated, "Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.”




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.

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries by Charlaine Harris

juliushouseThe Hallmark Channel has adapted this series by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood) about librarian/sleuth Aurora (Roe) Teagarden of Lawrenceton, Georgia as part of its Movies & Mysteries presentations, starting with the first novel, Real Murders. This Sunday, October 16, the fourth installment, The Julius House, based on the fourth novel of the nine book series, airs at 9pm. Having recently married Martin, a charismatic, rich, and somewhat secretive businessman, Roe is settling into the stately house he purchased as her wedding gift. The Julius House comes with a mysterious history: the last family to live there disappeared without a trace six years earlier. Of course, Roe is determined to discover what happened to them. But she finds her newlywed happiness threatened when the secrets she uncovers raise disturbing questions about Martin's past. "Suspense sprouts from tiny seeds planted early on, and the tensions of a new marriage and an old mystery provide much fertilizer. Good reading, augmented by solid characterization and occasional humor." (Library Journal)

Need to catch up? Hallmark will show the first three episodes, Real Murders, A Bone to Pick, and Three Bedrooms, One Corpse starting at 3pm Sunday, for your binge-watching pleasure.



14524538 10153774931562443 8278671684086307254 o

Once again, fully armed and operational, Star Wars Reads Day is happening at PDL! Plan to don your Jedi cloak, grab your lightsaber, and put it in hyperdrive as you follow the Force to a Library (not so) far, far away.

Read the Force:

The Star Wars franchise has generated thousands of related items, from books, movies, cartoons, video games, comics, costumes, action figures, Lego toys, mugs, and memorabilia etc. There's enough Star Wars fiction to keep the most devoted fans traveling throughout the galaxy for a long, long time.

stwlifedebtWhile you're waiting to celebrate all things Star Wars, you can catch up on another of the new books in Lucasfilm's "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" publishing series. Book two in Chuck Wendig's trilogy, after last year's Star Wars Aftermath, is Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt which follows some of our favorite characters in the aftermath of the destruction of the second Death Star and the defeat of the Emperor and Darth Vader. Han Solo and Chewbacca are on a mission to liberate the Wookiee's homeworld of Kashyyyk while, freedom fighter Norra Wexley and her band of Imperial hunters pursue the Empire's remaining leadership across the galaxy, bringing them to justice. Wexley has to abandon her official mission when she receives news that Chewie has been captured and Han has disappeared. Norra and her crew race toward the Millennium Falcon's last known location, but they can't anticipate the true depth of the danger that awaits them or the ruthlessness of the enemy drawing them into his crosshairs. Maybe, as Admiral Ackbar would say, " IT'S A TRAP!"



2016 National Book Awards Finalists Announced

fiction finalists book jackets

On October 6, The National Book Foundation released the shortlist of five finalists for this year's National Book Award for Fiction (winnowed from the longlist of ten). The winner will be announced on November 16.


Chris Bachelder, The Throwback Special

Paulette Jiles, News of the World

Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn


ZWalkDrencenWorld Zombie Day is an international annual event that grew from Pittsburgh’s first Zombie Walk at Monroeville Mall in 2006 – the site where George Romero filmed Dawn of the Dead - and continues 11 years later to encourage all fans of zombie culture to come together in an international effort to relieve hunger and homelessness. As many as 50 cities worldwide participate in the festivities on various dates in October, including London (Oct.8) and Detroit, which sponsors a Zombie Day Walk Against Hunger, on Oct 9 this year.

 Can't shamble over to the Walk? You can immerse blacktiderisingyourself in the zombie apocalypse by sampling a bite of non-stop zombie action set in the world of John Ringo's Black Tide Rising series. This 2016 collection of short stories, Black Tide Rising (bk.5) edited by Ringo and Gary Poole, contains selections by a host of great science fiction writers like Eric Flint, John Scalzi, Sarah A. Hoyt, Michael Z. Williamson, and Ringo himself, that explore the many and varied human responses to the raging zombie threat. "This anthology broadens Ringo's Black Tide world, serving up doses of humanity amid the ravenous afflicted. Comedy has a place in this harsh reality, and these stories stir adventure and emotion at a frantic clip throughout. Zombie fiction fans will be thrilled." (Library Journal)

Gloria Naylor (1950-2016)

womenofbrewsterGloria Naylor, whose best-selling debut novel, The Women of naylorBrewster Place, won the National Book Award for First Novel in 1983, passed away on September 28 at her home in the Virgin Islands at the age of 66. Her books explored issues of poverty, race, sexism, and sexual orientation through the experiences of urban African American women, and sometimes, men, and earned her acclaim as an African American feminist author. Naylor's first and best known book consisted of the interlocking narratives of seven women living in a run-down housing project in an unnamed North American city who struggle to hold their families together despite their bleak circumstances and lack of opportunities. The Women of Brewster Place was adapted as a successful TV movie in 1989 by Oprah Winfrey, who starred along with Cicely Tyson and Mary Alice.  "I wanted to write a book that would reflect the diversity and the richness of the black female experience in America -- and no one woman could do that for me, and no one geographical location could do that for me," she said in an interview with the National Book Foundation. "That's when the idea got born that Brewster Place would be a microcosm of American society, that on that street would come all of these different women, and what they would share would be that wall." Naylor wrote several other novels, including, in 1998,  a companion piece called The Men of Brewster Place, which focused on the male characters introduced in the earlier book.



girlonthetrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

After more than 80 weeks on the bestseller lists, (hardbound, paperback, and ebook) and only 21 months from its original publication date, January 2015, this psychological thriller will open on the big screen on October 7. The novel can truly be described as a literary blockbuster, having sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Hawkins' suspenseful tale of murder in suburbia has not one, but three, unreliable female narrators, but the story focuses most on unhappily-divorced, alcoholic Rachel, who rides the commuter train every day in a drunken fog and watches the people living in the houses that back up to the tracks. She is obsessed with a young married couple she notices, convinced that they have the perfect marriage and life - until the wife disappears. Rachel decides she must go to the police with her "observations" of the couple's relationship. The police are not impressed and refuse to take her seriously, given her gin-addled memory and her history of harassing her ex-husband and his new wife during her alcoholic binges, so Rachel decides to investigate on her own.

Janet Maslin reviewed the book for the New York Times, writing, "Ms. Hawkins keeps all these fibs, threats and innuendoes swirling through her book, to the point where they frighten and undermine each of her characters. None of them really know which of the others can be trusted or believed. And although there’s a lot of Hitchcock to the book’s diabolical plotting, there’s also a strong element of “Gaslight,” the classic story in which a man tries to convince his wife that she is going mad. All three women in the book are candidates for this treatment, and Ms. Hawkins puts it to very good use."

The film stars Emily Blunt as Rachel and is directed by Tate Taylor.



The annual celebration of reading                swrd2015
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 15, from 11 a.m. – 4 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. May the Force be with you!



Best in Christian Fiction

Carol Award Gold - no base transparent backgroundOn August 27, at their 2016 Conference in Nashville, the American Christian Fiction Writers presented the annual Carol Awards to the best in Christian fiction released through traditional publishing houses in the 2015 calendar year. The group's purpose is "to promote Christian Fiction through developing the skills of its authors, educating them in the market, and serving as an advocate in the traditional publishing industry." ACFW has over 2600 members worldwide, consisting of authors, editors, agents, publicists and aspiring writers and was organized in 2000. The awards are named for Bethany House fiction editor, Carol Johnson, who saw the possibility for Christian based stories when she read a manuscript written by Janette Oke in the early '80's.


2016 Winners:

Contemporary Novel Category:

artoflosingThe Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert
Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She's the Florida panhandle's favorite meteorologist, married to everyone's favorite high school football coach. But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Thenl Carmen's half-sister--seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher--steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel and Carmen has no other option but to take her in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman's faith and marriage back to life?


Historical Novel Category:

secretsshekeptSecrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke
After her mother's death, Hannah Sterling is determined to unlock the secrets of Lieselotte's mysterious past, and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany. Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte's father was ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter would have helped his career. Lieselotte was in love-but her beloved Lukas was far from an ideal match, as he secretly worked against the Reich. Both Hannah's and Lieselotte's stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is still hiding his wartimes secrets. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family's tragic past.


nationalreding logoOctober is National Reading Group Month

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.

The Library sponsors several Book Discussion Groups for all ages and provides a collection of Book Club Kits for private book groups to use. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book, plus discussion questions and reviews. Titles recently added to this collection include:

After You by Jo Jo Moyes

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman



September 25 - October 1, 2016

Stand20Up facebook2

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.



Now (or soon) playing:

queensugarQueen Sugar by Natalie Baszile
Set in the fictional town of Saint Josephine, Louisiana, on a struggling  sugarcane farm, the plot revolves around estranged siblings who attempt to start and run a family business. Why exactly Charley Bordelon's late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles. They arrive just in time for growing season, but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that's mired in the past. She is equally unprepared for the family drama that ensues when her half brother Ralph Angel comes to stay. The series airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on Wednesdays at 10 pm and premiered on September 6, 2016.


dressmaker special coverThe Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly stays, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in the town, it becomes clear that Tilly's mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion. The film stars Kate Winslet and was released in 2015 in Australia, where it was the second highest-grossing Australian film of the year.  It opens here on September 23.


poldarkPoldark/ Podark series by Winston Graham
Season 2 of the romantic historical saga set in scenic Cornwall starts with a special 2-hour episode on Sunday, September 25 at 8 pm on Masterpiece/PBS. Graham's series has 12 novels about the adventures of Captain Ross Poldark, and his family, friends, lovers, and foes, that span over 30 years during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, so PBS has plenty of material for several seasons. As last season ended, Ross and his wife Demelza had just endured the loss of their first child when Ross was arrested due to his always contentious relations with local authorities. With photogenic Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, the TV series been a hit for PBS.



October 2016 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 October 2016:

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

newsoftheworldIn 1870's Texas, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd happily makes his living by traveling alone from one isolated frontier town to another and reading the news of the world to the information-starved residents. When offered a handsome fee to escort a recently recovered Indian captive back to her relatives, he gets more than he bagained for: ten-year-old Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely isurvivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death. Arriving in San Antonio, the family reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember and who regard her as an unwanted burden. Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become, in the eyes of the law, a kidnapper himself. "Jiles’ lyrical style and minimal punctuation allow the reader to become immersed in the dusty Texan landscape, witnessing the anguish, fear, compassion, and joy in the unlikely pair’s journey..." (Booklist)

Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction.




fiction longlist book jackets final

The National Book Foundation announced the ten titles on the Longlist for the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction on Thursday, September 15. The five Finalists will be revealed on October 13 and the ultimate winner on November 16.

Chris BachelderThe Throwback Special
Garth GreenwellWhat Belongs to You
Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone
Paulette Jiles, News of the World
Karan MahajanThe Association of Small Bombs
Elizabeth McKenzieThe Portable Veblen
Lydia MilletSweet Lamb of Heaven
Brad Watson,  Miss Jane
Colson Whitehead,  The Underground Railroad
Jacqueline Woodson,  Another Brooklyn








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. Fifty-five (55) million people or 17% of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin.

To explore the experiences of Hispanic Americans, consider books from 2016 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."

nightatthefiestasNight at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade
A collection of stories, all set in New Mexico, about parents and children, cousins and friends, that explores themes of race, class, and coming-of-age as the characters interact at family events and public ceremonies. "Last fall, the National Book Foundation chose former Stegner fellow Quade as one of its Five Under 35 authors, and rightly so, as this first collection demonstrates. In language that's fluid, forthright, and emotionally bracing, she comes up with stories that surprise every time...A piercingly perfect debut collection..." (Library Journal)



Shortlist website image








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 third 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 two British, two US and two Canadian writers - three men and three women. Of the books themselves three are historical (Burnet, Moshfegh and Thien) while the others have contemporary settings. The ultimate winner of the Man Booker Prize (and recipient of about $50,000) will be announced on October 25, 2016.

2016 Man Booker Shortlist:

Author (nationality) - Title

Paul Beatty (US) - The Sellout  (Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award)

Deborah Levy (UK) - Hot Milk

Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) - His Bloody Project  (to be published in the US in October)

Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen

David Szalay (Canada-UK) - All That Man Is

Madeleine Thien (Canada) - Do Not Say We Have Nothing  (to be published in the US in October)



On Thursday, September 15, in Cleveland, the Anisfield-Wolf Awards Ceremony will be edithanisfieldwolfheld to honor the 2016 recipients of "the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity." The Awards' purpose is to recognize books that make important contributions to a better understanding of racism and promote an appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf created the prizes in 1935, "in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice." Past winners have included Toni Morrison, Martin Luther King Jr., Nadine Gordimer, Junot Diaz, Anthony Marra, and Kevin Powers. The winners receive cash prizes similar to the Pulitzers or National Book Awards, but the Anisfield-Wolf prizes remain relatively unknown.

2016 Fiction Winner:

The Jazz Palace
by Mary Morris

jazzpalaceThe 15th book by native Chicagoan Morris involves three central characters: a black trumpeter, a Jewish pianist, and a saloon owner in Prohibition-era Chicago. Young Benny Lerhman has no interest in joining his family's business - his true passion is piano--especially jazz. At night he sneaks down to the South Side, slipping into predominantly black clubs to hear jazz groups play. Along the way he meets a black trumpeter, a man named Napoleon who becomes Benny's close friend and musical collaborator. Their adventures together take Benny far from the life he knew. Pearl Chimbrova recognizes their talent and invites them to start playing at her family's saloon, which Napoleon dubs "The Jazz Palace." The novel not only charts the story of its characters but also tells the tale of the city where they live. It is a world of gangsters, musicians, and clubs, in which black musicians are no freer than they were before the Civil War, white youths head down to the South Side to "slum," and Al Capone and Louis Armstrong become legends. As The Jazz Palace steams through the 1920s, Benny, Pearl, and Napoleon forge a bond that is as memorable as it is lasting. "As fluid and nuanced as the music it celebrates, Morris's narrative brings physical details, the power of music, and the sweeping history of Chicago (the author's hometown) to memorable life." (Publishers Weekly)




Metro Detroit Book and Author Luncheon - Monday, October 17, 2016

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 6, by phone at 586-685-5750, ext. 102 or online at Featured authors this fall are Stacy Schiff, Ann Hood, Marisa Silver, Randy Wayne White, and Patricia Anstett.

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, and Debbie Macomber

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



Fifty years ago, on September 8, 1966, a new science fiction drama debuted on television with haunting and distinctive theme music, a grandiose voice-over about space and a voyage to places no man had gone before, and a universe filled with exotic worlds, heroic humans, and fascinating aliens. Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry, pitched his idea to the NBC network as "Wagon Train to the stars" - essentially an action-adventure series, just set in space. Over its three original seasons, Roddenberry managed to sneak in deeper, more serious themes that explored societal issues and ethics while capitalizing on the appeal of his leading man, Captain James T. Kirk, and his two friends and officers, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. The show, while it had its admirers, was cancelled after the third year. Dedicated fans kept the franchise alive, until spinoffs, books, movies, conventions, merchandise, and more movies established Star Trek as a cultural phenomenon, rivaling Star Wars for fans' love and devotion.

captaintocaptainCelebrate this milestone anniversary with a new trilogy, Star Trek Legacies, featuring Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise as they travel into dangerous Klingon territory to unravel a secret that has been passed from captain to captain, from Robert April to Christopher Pike to James T. Kirk. The return of the enigmatic woman once known as Number One has brought this secret to light, and Kirk and his crew must risk everything to finish a mission that began with April so many years ago…

Continue your celebration by attending PDL's screening of the iconic film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan! on Thursday, September 8 at 6:30pm. Beam us up, Scotty.


bookthatmattersNational Read a Book Day - September 6, 2016

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.



Celebrating 100 Years of Stewardship

watefallThe U.S. National Park Service, the agency within the Department of the Interior that manages and conserves our protected natural heritage, turned 100 on this month. The Service was created by an act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916. The National Park System includes 412 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. The Service employs approximately 22,000 permanent, temporary, and seasonal professionals and over 220,000 volunteers.

Find Your Park in a book..

superiordeathMystery author Nevada Barr has written nineteen books in her winterstudy2series featuring Anna Pigeon, a law enforcement ranger with the United States National Park Service. Set in various parks across the country, Pigeon solves murders that are often related to natural resource issues. The second book in the series ,A Superior Death (1994), is set in Michigan's own Isle Royale National Park, located on the largest island in Lake Superior. In 2008, Barr had Pigeon return to Isle Royale in Winter Study, to take part in the study of the wolf population on the island (and also solve a murder). Other books have been set in the Yosemite, Arcadia, Natchez, and Mesa Verde parks and even in the Dry Tortugas, a national park about 68 miles west of Key West on islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Barr, herself, once worked in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas as a seasonal worker and based her first novel, The Track of the Cat, in that park.


Best Sci-Fi

hugoaward The winners of the 2016 Hugo Awards were announced Saturday,
August 20, 2016 at the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, fifthseasonMidAmeriCon II, which was held in Kansas City this year. The Hugos, among the most prestigious of sci-fi awards, honor excellence in science fiction writing annually in several categories.


Author N.K. Jemisin won the Best Novel Hugo for her book, The Fifth Season. Published to glowing reviews, this first volume of an intended trilogy called Broken Earth is set in 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. As another, perhaps final, cataclysm bears down, Essun, a small town school teacher, begins a journey to reunite with her husband, who has murdered their son and fled with their daughter, before the end of the world. Although the storyline sounds grim, The New York Times reviewer concludes, "Yet there is no message of hopelessness here. In Jemisin’s work, nature is not unchangeable or inevitable. The Fifth Season invites us to imagine a dismantling of the earth in both the literal and the metaphorical sense, and suggests the possibility of a richer and more fundamental escape. The end of the world becomes a triumph when the world is monstrous, even if what lies beyond is difficult to conceive for those who are trapped inside it."


September 2016 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 September 2016:

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

leavemeAlmost every woman has, at least once, fantasized about driving past her usual exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, or dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention. Maribeth Klein, a harried working wife and mother of twins, so busy she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack, actually does it. Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves. "Award-winning teen author Forman's (I Was Here, 2015, etc.) adult debut nails the frustrations of working motherhood…. An appealing fairy tale for the exhausted and underappreciated."
(Kirkus Reviews)



Now (or soon) playing:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

mancalledoveAn under-the-radar hit with fiction fans and book groups, Swedish writer Backman's feel-good novel about an old-ish curmudgeon who is the world's worst neighbor, has now been adapted for the movies. Of course, behind that cranky, get-off-my-lawn exterior, Ove hides a generous heart and a painful story of personal loss, until the new family next door, a couple with two chatty children, forces him out of his shell. It starts when they accidentally drive over Ove's mailbox. The novel was best-seller in Sweden and became sleeper hit here when it was published in English in 2013 to positive reviews. "If there was an award for 'Most Charming Book of the Year,' this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down." (Booklist). The movie, made in Sweden, was released there last year; it will open in the U.S., with subtitles, in September. 


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

lightbetweenoceansAnother book club favorite, The Light Between Oceans, has made it to the silver screen. The 2012 novel tells the story of Tom Sherbourne, who returns to Australia after four harrowing years on the Western Front, and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only once a season, Tom brings his young wife, Isabel. Years later, after miscarriages and stillbirths, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. Only later, when Tom and Isabel return to the mainland, do they realize the consequences of their choice. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz, and opens on September 2.


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. 



New Kits:

turnerhouseThe Turner House by Angela Fournoy
A family saga set in Detroit in 2008, just as the economic downturn and foreclosure crisis began to be felt, this debut novel, named a Michigan 2015 Notable Book and shortlisted for the 2015 National Book Award, centers on the Turners, a clan of 13 siblings who grew up in the same eastside house with their strict, no-nonsense parents. The Turners lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. The house still stands despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and the future of their family, bringing with them their own perspectives on the past and the way it shapes the present. "Encompassing a multitude of themes, including aging and parenthood, this is a compelling read that is funny and moving in equal measure." (Booklist)


brooklynBrooklyn by Colm Toibin
Toibin explores an immigrant's dilemma in the story of a young Irish woman living in 1950's Brooklyn who is torn between her new American life, and love, and the family she left behind. Eilis Lacey came of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she could not find a proper job in the miserable Irish economy and so emigrated to America, leaving her fragile mother and sister. Despite her homesickness, Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, studies accounting at Brooklyn College, and meets Tony, a blond Italian, who slowly wins her over with his persistent charm. As she gradually adjusts to the opportunities and freedoms of the big city, devastating news arrives from Ireland that threatens the promise of her new life. "Toibin conveys Eilis's transformative struggles with an aching lyricism..." (Library Journal). The the film adaptation, which opened to strong reviews earlier this year, has a screenplay by author Nick Hornsby (About a Boy) and stars Saorise Ronan, of Atonement and Grand Budapest Hotel fame.




NYTimes Readers Name Their Favorite Thrillers

Recently, The New York Times published a special Book Review section, Summer Thrills. highlighting this summer's best thrillers and suspense novels. As a follow-up, the editors asked readers to submit their own favorite thriller and suspense titles to the paper's Facebook page. The responses constitute a list of classic, time-tested novels by big-time authors of the genre, like Arthur Conan Doyle, Frederick Forsythe, Eric Ambler, and some newer classics by Harlan Coben, Tom Clancy, and Vince Flynn. The readers' comments explaining their recommendations make great book blurbs.

the hounds of baskerville cover


The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle: "I remember staying up late
reading it when I was 15. Too paralyzed tell no one book cover imageto turn off the light, much less go to the bathroom." — Bonney Cole Petersen


Tell No One by Harlan Coben: "kept me up all night reading, and I like to sleep." — Susan Banning


alienistThe Alienist by Caleb Carr: ”For similarly heart-racing intrigue and overall scary strangeness." — BL Jones

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears: "A whodunit told in instanceofthefingerpostfour parts by different characters/suspects. At the end of each section you will swear you know the guilty party . . . until you read the next section. Fabulously done. — Mary Jo Groves





Adult Summer Reading 2016

Adult Facebook CSLP2016

330 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 pump up your summer!

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


Book Lovers Live Longer!

According to a recent study by Yale scientists, published in the journal
Social Science & iStock_woman_reading_ebook_XSmallMedicine, "book readers experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow-up compared to non-readers." The researchers used data from a Health and Retirement Study sponsored by the National Insitiute on Aging, and after accounting for other variables, concluded that book readers survived almost 2 years longer than those who did not read books at all. The results don't reveal exactly why this is the case, just that, like diet and exercise, books seem to convey a "significant survival advantage." Newspaper and magazine reading had a similar but smaller effect. The study's authors suggest that the cognitive benefits derived from reading a book may be the cause, but further research would need to be done to establish the specific mechanisms involved.

This is not really news - librarians have always known that books are the elixer of life!



Now (or soon) playing:

indignation rothIndignation by Philip Roth
Roth's 29th book, published in 2008, is set at a quiet, bucolic college campus in the era of the Korean war amid the social conventions and anxieties of the 1950's. Marcus Messner, a young Jewish student from New Jersey, transfers to a small Midwestern college to escape his overbearing father and finds himself navigating the customs and constrictions of another American world. As he becomes involved with a more sophisticated but troubled coed, he runs afoul of the college administration over the requirement that all students attend chapel services. The conflict comes to a head when Marcus hires another student to attend services for him. The film stars Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, and Tracy Letts and opened on July 29.



Chesapeake Shores/The Inn at Eagle Point by Sherryl Woods    innatchesapeake
The Hallmark Channel is adapting Woods' ten-book multi-generational family saga into a TV series with the early episodes based on the the first novel, The Inn at Eagle Point. Abby O'Brien Winters hasn't been home to Chesapeake Shores in years. The Maryland town her father built has too many sad memories and Abby too few spare moments, thanks to her demanding Wall Street career, the crumbling of her marriage, and her energetic twin daughters. But one panicked phone call from her youngest sister sends her racing back home and brings Abby face to face with her past, including her high school sweetheart Trace, her uncompromising father Mick, and her esteemed grandmother Nell. The series debuts on August 14.


benhurBen-Hur/Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace
This latest movie is the fourth to be made from the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace. The famous 1959 movie version starring Charlton Heston and featuring the nine-minute chariot race sequence is the most memorable. The story follows a Jewish nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur, whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path. To conicide with the new movie, the original text has been revised by Wallace's great-great-granddaughter and a new edition of the book has been released. The film opens on August 19.




torch1All eyes are now on Rio after the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games last night. The parade of athletes, the music and dancing, the Olympic flag, the torch and cauldron, and the triumphant fireworks served notice that city of Rio and the whole country of Brazil are having their moment on the world's stage.

Experience somewhere new, try books set in Brazil:

The Games: A Private Novel by James Patterson            games
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil--home to beautiful white-sand beaches, gorgeous women, stunning natural beauty, and the world's largest Carnival celebration--knows how to throw a party. So it's a natural choice to host the biggest spectacle in sports--the Olympics. To ensure that the games go off without a hitch, the organizers turn to Jack Morgan, the unflappable head of the renowned international security and consulting firm Private. But before the cauldron is even lit, his clients disappear and bodies turn up. Jack must sprint to the finish line to defuse a threat that could decimate Rio and turn the games from a joyous celebration into a deadly spectacle.


warendworldThe War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa 
Set in nineteenth century Brazil, and based on a real episode in Brazilian history, this novel is the story of an apocalyptic movement led by the mysterious prophet, Antonio Conselheiro, the Counselor, to establish another republic: Canudos, whose citizens are all the outcasts of the earth, the prostitutes, bandits and beggars who fled to the Brazilian frontier. Conselheiro preached that the end of the world was imminent and that the political chaos that surrounded the collapse of the Empire of Brazil in 1889, and its replacement by a republic, was the work of the devil. Ultimately the army is sent to quell the revolutionary fervor of the settlement, which is destroyed in a violent and tragic battle. A "powerful and haunting historical novel..." (New York Times)


Crow Blue by Adriana Lisboa
Brazilian author Adriana Lisboa creates a coming-of-age story about 13 year-old Vanja crowbluewhose mother has died and left Vanja without any family or identity. Determined to find her biological father in order to fill the void that has so suddenly appeared in her life, Vanja decides to leave Rio de Janeiro to live in Colorado with her stepfather, a former guerrilla notorious for his violent past. From there she goes in search of her biological father, tracing her mother's footsteps and gradually discovering the truth about herself. Crow Blue is a literary road trip through Brazil and America, and through dark decades of familial and political history.


sevensistersThe Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
Maia and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage--a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings. Eighty years earlier in Rio's Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio's father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer. Izabela convinces her father to allow her to accompany the architect and his family to Europe before she is married. There, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.




underground railroadThis morning, on CBS, Oprah Winfrey announced the next read for her Oprah's Book Club 2016: The Underground Railroad, the latest novel by Colson Whitehead. Originally due to be published in September, some advance copies of the novel have already hit a few bookstores. The book and author will be featured in O, The Oprah  Magazine's September issue, available on August 9. The Underground Railroad is Colson's sixth novel, and one of the most highly-anticipated titles for this fall. The novel follows Cora, a young slave in the South, and her desperate flight from state to state to find freedom. Throughout her journey, Cora and her fellow slave, Ceasar, are pursued by the cold-blooded slave catcher, Ridgeway, who is always close behind them. What makes the book so extraordinary is that Whitehead imagines the underground railroad not only as a network of safe houses and individuals opposed to slavery, but as an actual, physical railroad with engineers, conductors, and tracks beneath the ground. Reviewers have been effusive with their praise, Ron Charles of the Washington Post declared it to be an essential novel about America's peculiar institution and a triumph for Whitehead.



Adult Facebook CSLP2016

Yes, it's August - but there's still time! The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 8.              

Grab/print a Bingo sheet and begin  - or - click here to log your reading selections.                     

Its that easy - 5 boxes on a Bingo sheet or 5 books in your online log.                   

Prizes include Penn Theatre tickets and gift certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants.


Summer Thrills

Just in time for the steamy days of August, The New York Times has pulled together a special issue of the Sunday Book Review: Summer Thrills, a collection of 19 reviews of this summer's latest crop of thrillers and suspense novels. Enough page-turners, plot twists, and cliff-hangers to help you finish your ASRP Library Bingo or online log at a breakneck pace.


youwillknowmeYou Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Just in time for the Summer Olympics, a suspenseful story about a young gymnast and her parents and the quest for athletic glory. How far will parents go to achieve a child's dream? That's the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits--until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk. Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers forces Katie to consider whether there's any price she isn't willing to pay to achieve Devon's dream. "It's vivid, troubling, and powerful and Abbott totally sticks the landing." (Booklist)


James Alan McPherson (1943-2016)

mcpherson1James Alan McPherson, the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,
died in elbowroomIowa on July 27; he was 72. McPherson grew up in Georgia, where he attended Morris Brown College, and later graduated from Harvard University Law School. While in law school, he began writing short stories, winning a fiction contest sponsored by the Atlantic Monthly magazine for his story, Gold Coast. After law school, he enrolled in the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa where he earned a Master's degree in Fine Arts. He published several critically acclaimed collections of short stories, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for his anthology, Elbow Room. In 1981, McPherson was in the first group of creative and gifted individuals who received genius grants from the MacArthur Foundation. His stories touch on issues of race and class, but also stress the common experiences that unite all people. His hope was that his work can be read as, "about people, all kinds of people.... As a matter of fact, certain of them happen to be white; but I have tried to keep the color part of most of them far in the background, where these things should be rightly kept."


manbooker20162016 Man Booker Prize Longlist

This morning, July 27, the longlist of 13 titles nominated for the Man Booker Prize was released. Due to a rules change three years ago, any writer whose book is originally written in English and  published in Britain is now eligible for consideration for the prize, one of England's most prestigious awards for literature. Until this change, only writers from the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth countries were eligible for the 50,000 pound ($85,000) honor. Five American authors are included in this year's list. The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 13, and the 2016 winner will then be announced on October 25.

American Authors on the Longlist:

Paul Beatty  - The Sellout

David Means  - Hystopia

Ottessa Moshfegh  - Eileen

Virginia Reeves  - Work Like Any Other

Elizabeth Strout  - My Name Is Lucy Barton


Tim F. LaHaye (1926-2016)

leftbehindWell-known Christian minister and author, Dr. Tim F. LaHaye, who, with Jerry B. Jenkins, wrote a popular series of 16 novels based on Christian Rapture theology, died Monday at the age of 90. The Left Behind series tells the story of the aftermath of the Rapture, an event that signals the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, during which the living faithful are transported from earth to heaven to meet Christ. Those who are not transported are "left behind" and the world is then thrown into chaos and violence. LaHaye's plots involved the rise of a world leader, Nicolae Jetty Carpathia, who promises stability and peace but who is later revealed to be the Anti-Christ. The books follow the exploits of a group of born-again survivors who form the Tribulation Force in an effort to save the rest of humanity and defeat Nicolae. Several of the books in the series were bestsellers, with over 62 million copies sold, and all contained speedy plots, plenty of action, and an apocalyptic vision that intrigued readers. Several of the books were adapted for film; four movies have been released so far. LaHaye's books, released nicolaeform 1995 to 2007, are credited with expanding the popularity and influence of so-called Christian fiction, becoming the highest-selling series published by Christian publisher Tyndale House. A local boy made good, LaHaye was born and raised in Detroit, the son of a Ford autoworker; he received his doctorate from the Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.