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Adult Book News

Downton Abbey - The Final Season

mannersThe sixth and final season of the PBS Masterpiece series begins in the U.S. on Sunday, January 3. It will be the end of an era in many senses of the phrase. Downton Abbey is the most-watched drama in the PBS network’s history, averaging nearly 13 million weekly viewers in its most recent season. The end of the saga of the aristocratic Crawleys and their loyal servants will be bittersweet not only for the characters, the cast, and the network, but also for all those ardent viewers who fell in love with the by-gone early 20th-century English manor lifestyle depicted each week. (The dresses, the hats!  The Dowager Countess, Carson!)

Although Downton Abbey is drawing to a close, readers can still indulge their taste for English stately homes with these titles:

Meadowlands by Elizabeth Jeffreymeadwolands
August, 1914. The silver wedding celebrations of Sir George Barsham, MP, and his wife, Lady Adelaide, are overshadowed by the declaration of war with Germany. Over the following months, as the male estate workers head for the Front and the maids disappear to work in the newly-opened munitions factory, the Barsham family's comfortable, aristocratic lifestyle is set to change forever. Young James Barsham enlists as an officer and heads for Flanders, leaving Lady Adelaide's maid Polly devastated. To Lady Adelaide's dismay, her younger daughter Millie learns to drive an ambulance, while Millie's sister Gina finds fulfilment in helping the local wives and children of departed soldiers. The four Barsham siblings will be tested as never before.

 

fiercombeFiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan
A house as old as Fiercombe Manor holds many secrets within its walls. This dual-narrative historical novel is about two women who lived at the same country estate but at different times: pregnant Alice in 1933 and pregnant Lady Elizabeth in 1903. Alice is unmarried and disgraced, living at the secluded manor under the care of the housekeeper until the baby is born and given up for adoption. Lady Elizabeth awaited the birth of her second child, fervently hoping he would be the boy her husband desired. But as her time neared, she was increasingly tormented by memories of what happened with her first baby and terrified that history would repeat itself. All was not, and is not, well in the picturesque Gloucestershire valley - Fiercombe's beauty is haunted by the family's tragic past.

 

Enter Pale Death by Barbara Cleverlyenterpaledeath
One morning before dawn at her regal country estate, Lady Lavinia Truelove is crushed to death by a horse. Classified as 'death by misadventure', this appears a gruesome accident, but Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands suspects foul play. His suspicions are aggravated by his personal grievances toward Sir James Truelove, Lady Lavinia's widower and the influential academic patron of Dorcas Joliffe, whom Joe one day hopes to marry. As Joe's investigation yields surprising secrets about one of England's most powerful families, he discovers secrets about Dorcas. "Sandilands finds a complex web of upstairs-downstairs relationships harboring high-stakes secrets, with an unexpected connection to Dorcas, and the whodunit evolves into an expertly crafted locked-room mystery. Sandilands' many fans, and readers who love Downton Abbey... will revel in this elegant, intricately woven mystery set in the early twentieth century." (Booklist)


cavendonwomenThe Cavendon Women by Barbara Taylor Bradford
The stunning sequel to Barbara Taylor Bradford's Cavendon Hall follows the Inghams' and the Swanns' journey from a family weekend in the summer of 1926 through to the devastation of the Wall Street crash of 1929. It all begins on a summer weekend when, for the first time in years, the earl has planned a family gathering. Charles Ingram has married Charlotte Swann, and has left the management of the estate to his four daughters, Daphne, Diedre, DeLacy, and Dulcie, as well as his son, Miles, while on his honeymoon. As the family members come together, secrets, problems, joys, and sorrows are revealed. As old enemies come out of the shadows and the Swanns' loyalty to the Inghams gets tested in ways none of them could have predicted, it's up to the Cavendon women to band together and bring their family into a new decade, and a new way of life.

 

The Lake House by Kate Morton
lakehouseLiving on her family's idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure. One midsummer's eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined. Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo's case has never been solved. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective, is staying at her grandfather's house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate--now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone.

 

 

Now (or soon) playing:

revenantThe Revenant: A novel of revenge by Michael Punke
A gritty, true survival story set in 1823, about the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and their brutal frontier life. Trapping beaver, they contend daily with the threat of Indian tribes turned warlike and other prairie foes, like the unforgiving landscape and its creatures. Mountain man Hugh Glass is among the Company's finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face to face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. The Company's captain dispatches two of his men to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies, but when the two men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge.

By all accounts the making of the movie adaptation was as grueling as Glass' journey - the filming on location in remote parts of Canada and Argentina for the sake of authenticity was described as a "living hell" by one source. The director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, is known for his painstaking perfectionism. He set out to recreate the frontier experience as realistically as possible, without using sets or green screens, in order to match the spare, flinty style of the novel. When the story called for Glass to attempt to eat raw bison liver, Leonardo DiCaprio (starring as Glass) was presented with the real thing. The resulting scene was pure cinema verite.

 

10 Short Books You Can Read Before The End Of The Year

grownupToo tired, busy, or intimidated by the latest spate of long novels Guest Cat 158 237 c1 smart scalepublished
in the last year or two? (Think City on Fire, 903 pages; The Goldfinch, 771 pages; A Little Life, 720 pages.) Maddie Crum, Books and Culture Writer for the Huffington Post, wants to remind us that good things still come in small packages. Hence her list of recent books that you can read in-between your holiday parties and festive commitments. Comprised of short stories, slim novels, fairy tales, fables, and essays, all the titles are around, or under, 200 pages. Just long enough for a literary break from the hectic holiday season.

 

The Best Book Covers of 2015

voicesinthenightThe December 11 issue of the New York Times Book Review
makingnicecontained this list compiled by Matt Dorfman, the Book Review's Art Director. In his article, Dorfman emphasizes the influence a well-designed book cover can have on a reader, "the covers that lure me into the pages often do so by posing questions that I don’t want to ignore." So here are some of the book covers from 2015 that made him "stop, stare and ask aloud to no one in particular what the cover means, only to turn to the first page and then the following and then the one after that and onward." Take a look and see if you agree.

 

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

wreathNovelist Melody Carlson is no stranger to Christmas stories - besides her year-round popular fiction for adults and teens, she is the author of several inspiring yet entertaining Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Dog, The Christmas Pony, and The Christmas Cat.

 

 

christmasjoyrideIn The Christmas Joy Ride, (pun intended)  Carlson brings together eighty-five year-old Joy (also known as Christmas Joy on her blog) and her younger neighbor Miranda for a holiday road trip. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Jilted, unemployed, and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their joyride in addition to spreading Christmas cheer along the way--and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture. Join them as they get their kicks on Route 66!

A Christmas Escape by Anne Perry

wreathBest-selling mystery author Anne Perry has been releasing holiday mysteries since 2003 -
A Christmas Escape is her 13th. Known primarily for her two long-running detective series set in Victorian England (the William Monk/Hester Latterly mysteries and the Thomas Pitt/ Charlotte Pitt mysteries) Perry also wrote a 5-book series of novels set during World War I. Her stand-alone holiday books are also historicals, usually set in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, anywhere from 1837 to 1912, and often feature some of the secondary characters who appear in her other books.

christmasescapeIn A Christmas Escape, Charles Latterly, Hester Latterly's brother, seeks to recover from his wife's recent death by traveling to the Italian island of Stromboli, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, for some holiday relaxation. Unfortunately, there's no holiday cheer to be found among his fellow guests, who include a pompous novelist, a stuffy colonel, a dangerously ill-matched married couple, and an ailing old man. The one charming exception is orphaned teenager Candace Finbar, who takes Charles under her wing and introduces him to the island's beauty. But the tranquility of the holiday is swiftly disrupted by a violent quarrel, an unpleasant gentleman's claims of being stalked, and the ominous stirrings of the local volcano. Then events take an even darker turn: a body is found, and Charles quickly realizes that the killer must be among the group of guests. "As enjoyable as a cup of rum-laced eggnog and a slice of gingerbread, ... A Christmas Escape is a delightful cozy with its charming characters that mirror 19th century manners and attitudes." (New York Journal of Books)

 

January 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 January 2016:

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

mynameislucyWritten by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout (for Olive Kitteridge, 2008) this new novel illuminates the unspoken but nonetheless loving relationship between a mother and daughter. Lucy Barton is in the hospital recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters, and if she can admit it, her bond with her mother. The central details of Lucy' traumatic childhood are slowly and indirectly revealed in the short chapters as the reader comes to understand the complexity of this mother-daughter connection. "In a compact novel brimming with insight and emotion, Strout relays with great tenderness and sadness the way family relationships can both make and break us." (Booklist)

 

 

wreath

The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge 
by Charlie Lovett



furtheradventuresThis charming sequel to Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol, is set twenty years after Scrooge was famously converted to kindness by the Christmas Eve visitation of three ghosts. He now roams the streets of London all year, even in the stifling heat of July, sharing his Christmas spirit, much to the annoyance of his creditors, nephew, and his employee Bob Cratchit. When Scrooge decides to help his former partner Jacob Marley find peace in the afterlife, he find he needs the assistance of the very people he's annoyed. He also has to call on the same ghosts who visited him two decades earlier. By the time they're done, they've convinced everyone to celebrate Christmas all year long. Written in convincing Dickensian prose, Lovett's story is a loving and amusing tribute to that quintessential Victorian Christmas fable. "...this is an excellent companion to the original Christmas classic." (Library Journal)

 

Now (or soon) playing:

childhoodsendChildhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
This very popular and influential classic by one of greats of science fiction, the late Arthur C. Clarke, was first published in 1953. The story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords. Without warning, the giant silver ships from deep space had appeared in the skies above every major city on Earth. In fifty years they had eliminated ignorance, disease, and poverty, but also humankind's culture and identity. The next step: the evolution of human children into components of the Overmind, a powerful being of thought and energy that absorbs and assimilates races once they have matured enough. The Syfy Channel's three-part adaptation will begin on Monday, December 14.

 

leviathanwakesThe Expanse/ Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
Leviathan Wakes is the first book of the Expanse series by writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck who collaberate under the name James S. A. Corey. The series imagines a future where humans have colonized the solar system with Mars and the Astroid Belt as semi-independent territories. But interplantery tensions are building. When a reluctant ship's captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings the solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history. The ten episode TV series is also scheduled to air on Syfy on Monday, December 14.

 

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

wreathOn Sunday, December 13, the Hallmark Channel will broadcast the TV adaptation of Debbie Macomber's Christmas novel, Dashing Through the Snow, starring Meghan Ory and Andrew Walker. Macomber, a perennial best-seller and well-known for her 100-plus heartwarming romances and family stories, has written Christmas-themed books most years since 1986.

 

 

dashingthroughthesnowDashing Through The Snow is a story of two people in a hurry.  Ashley Davison is a graduate student in California, who desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. At the airport, she meets Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, who has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: every flight is full, and there's only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead. As the pair heads north, their adventures include car trouble, adopting a puppy and being secretly tailed by federal agents, who believe Ashley is up to no good. Not to mention the hint of romance in the air. "Featuring an over-the-top plot line and a few characters who will have you laughing out loud, including a mechanic with a space alien wife and an overzealous FBI agent, this Christmas romance from best-selling author Macomber (Mr. Miracle) is both sweet and sincere." (Library Journal)

 

Newsweek's The Year in Reading: The Best (and Worst) Books of 2015

On December 3, Culture writer Alexander Nazaryan of Newsweek Magazine posted his list youtoocanof the noteworthy books published in 2015.  What distinguishes his list from all the other year-end "Best Of" lists is his willingness to challenge prevailing literary judgments. Not only does he pick a "Best Novel" and "Most Impressive Work of History", he also names the  "Most Overated Novel, Any Length," "Worst Cover," and "Worst Harper Lee Character to Have Named Your Boy-Child After." He declares Brooklyn to be the "Worst Place to Set Your Novel," and suggests Staten Island because the ferry is free. One category not often seen on any similar list is "Ballsiest Debut," won by the novel, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman, which Nazaryan describes as "strange in the most alluring of ways." BTW, the "Most Overrated Novel" kudos go to City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

forceawakensThe long wait is almost over - next week many of us will return to that galaxy far, far away as the Force awakens with a new action-packed movie adventure featuring Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Luke Skywalker, and introducing a cast of exciting new characters. Darth Vader may have been redeemed and the Emperor vanquished, but peace can be fleeting, and evil does not easily relent.

To coincide with the release of the movie, Lucasfilm chose well-known scifi author Alan Dean Foster to write the official novelization, which continues the epic story several decades after the events of Return of the Jedi. The hardcover will be released on January 5, 2016. Foster is well versed in the Star Wars canon: he was the ghostwriter for the original novelization of Star Wars, although it was credited to George Lucas at the time. Foster, a prolific science fiction and fantasy author with several series and stand-alone novels to his credit, created the Pip and Flinx series, set in the Humanx Commonwealth, an interstellar political union of several species, including humans and insects. The young hero, Philip Lynx ("Flinx") and his constant companion, a flying snake/minidragon named Pip, use their special empathic powers to do battle with the forces that threaten their worlds.

 

LibraryReads banner2 favoritesLibraryReads Favorite of Favorites 2015

LibraryReads is marking its second year anniversary by creating the second Favorite of Favorites list, with library staff voting on their top ten favorite books from the October 2014 through September 2015 lists. The Favorite of Favorites list takes the place of the traditional December list and is the result of online voting by over one thousand librarians.

The #1 Favorite of Favorites for 2015 is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
A dark psychological thriller with several unreliable narrators, the foremost being frequently drunk Rachel, whose entire life is a lie. Rachel is obsessed with her ex-husband and his new wife, whom she stalks while in an alcoholic fog. She is also obsessed with a young married couple she notices from her passing train each day. When the wife disappears, Rachel decides to go to the police with her "observations" of the couple's relationship.  Of course, no one takes her seriously. Booklist called it "a wicked thriller, cleverly done...melding the voyeurism of Rear Window with the unreliable narration of Gone Girl." The film starring Emily Blunt will be released in 2016.

The full list, in order of most votes received, is:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

                                             A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

 

wreathKaren Kingsbury's The Bridge        

A film adaptation of The Bridge by popular inspirational author Karen Kingsbury wil be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on December 6. Kingsbury's heartwarming books are usually best-sellers, making her one of America’s favorite novelists. More than 25 million copies of her award-winning books are in print, including several million copies sold in the past year.

bridgeThe Bridge is a Christmas love story set against the demise of the American bookstore. Molly Allen lives in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road. He can still hear Molly's voice encouraging him to follow his dreams. At least he can visit The Bridge--the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin--and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there. For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books. But last spring, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. And as Christmas nears, Charlie, already broke and despairing, is involved in a devastating car accident that leaves him in a coma. To help his friend, Ryan decides to organize a book drive and gather donations to rebuild the store. And reaches out to Molly. "...those who know the Jimmy Stewart holiday film (It's a Wonderful Life) don't have to guess how things turn out. Kingsbury fans may acquire a new holiday favorite read..." (Publishers Weekly)

 

200th Anniversary of Jane Austen's Emma

emma

Jane Austen's novel about Emma Woodhouse, ("handsome, clever, and rich") and her attempts at matchmaking among the genteel set in 19th-century England was published in December 1815. Despite the literary love lavished on Pride and Prejudice, many Austen scholars and critics agree that Emma is Austen's finest work. It too explores issues of marriage, social class, and correct manners, and focuses on Emma's fondness for meddling in other people's love lives, usually with consequences she doesn't intend. But it all ends well, of course.

 

Like all of Austen's books, the story has been updated, re-told, re-packaged, and adapted for various media presentations. (Remember Clueless?) Scottish novelist Alexander McCall Smith emma2(No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency) released his contemporary version of the tale earlier this year, as part of HarperCollins' series of Jane Austen reboots, transforming Emma into a newly graduated interior designer who returns to her hometown to find village affairs in disarray. Not for long - Emma proceeds to do what she does best: offer guidance to those less wise in the ways of the world and put her matchmaking skills to good use. "McCall Smith's charming prose and gentle humor marry marvelously with Austen's iconic affairs of the heart, so well that the book reads like a Regency piece....this retelling gives Austenphiles an enjoyable opportunity to visit with the Woodhouse clan and is sure to be a hit with McCall Smith's legion of fans." (Library Journal)

 

2015Its that time of year - the "Best Books" lists of 2015 are multiplying. Every media source, whether newspaper, magazine, TV show, blogger, celebrity, or pundit, seems to print, publish or post a "Best Books of 2015" list.  And we all love a list!

There's the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015, Amazon Editors Top 100, Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction, Library Journal's Top Ten, Publishers Weekly Best of 2015, the Washington Post's Top Ten, Bookpage's Best Boooks of 2015, and the LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites - to name a few.

Its always interesting to compare the lists  - only a few books appear on all or most. To every reviewer, his or her own "Best" books.

 

Now (or soon) playing:

secretintheireyesThe Secret in Their Eyes by Eduardo A. Sacheri
Benjamín Chaparro is a retired detective still obsessed by the brutal, decades-old rape and murder of a young married woman in her own bedroom. While attempting to write a book about the case, he revisits the details of the investigation. As he reaches into the past, Chaparro also recalls the beginning of his long, unrequited love for Irene, then just an intern, now a respected judge. Interweaving past and present, this mystery explores the murky boundaries between justice and revenge, and asks the question: how far would you go to right an unfathomable wrong? Sacheri's novel was previously adapted into the 2009 Argentine film The Secret in Their Eyes, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The American version stars Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

 

danishgirlThe Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
Inspired by the real-life circumstances of Danish painter Einar Wegener, the first man to become a woman via surgery, and his California-born wife, Greta, and set against the glitz and decadence of 1920s Copenhagen, Dresden, and Paris, this novel  explores the struggles of both spouses to understand and cope with Einar's transformation into the woman they call Lili. Ebershoff eloquently portrays the intimacy that defines a marriage, and the love between a man who discovers that he is, in fact, a woman, and the woman who would sacrifice anything for him. For the controversy and condemnation that follow them as Einar evolves into Lili also forces Greta to re-create herself as a brave and resilient individual able to face the consequences of their unconventional love. The movie stars Eddie Redmayne and opens in limited release on November 27.

 

A little mystery with that turkey?

thanksgivingangelsThanksgiving Angels by Alice Duncan
It's 1926, and former Bostonian high-society girl, Mercy Allcut, who relocated to Los Angeles specifically to escape her overbearing mother and father, is dismayed that she has to spend Thanksgiving week with them at the new winter home they purchased in Pasadena. Her parents consistently disapprove of everything about her, especially her job working for Private Investigator Ernie Templeton. Her holiday becomes even more miserable when a woman is flung to her death from the second-story staircase railing and Mercy and her boss are called upon to solve the crime. Suspects abound and include everyone from the murdered woman's male secretary to a high-strung star of the silver screen, and even Mercy's brother-in-law. "The latest sprightly addition to Duncan's Mercy Allcutt series (Fallen Angels, 2011; Angels of Mercy, 2012) is a delightful concoction composed of equal measures of charmingly quirky characters, fascinating 1920s period details, and just the right dash of dry wit." (Booklist)

 

 

Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2015

The Washington Post's Book World reviewers have weighed in with their top ten books of 2015, titles they found "exceptionally rewarding," and another 100 of various genres "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:

purityThe Book of Aron by Jim Shepard (finalist for the 2016 Andrew welcometobraggCarnegie Award; finalist for the 2015 Kirkus Prize)

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (shortlisted for the National Book Award; 2015 Kirkus Prize finalist)

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Winner of the 2015 Kirkus Prize; finalist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Award; shortlisted for the 2015 National Book Award; shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Award))

Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Amazon Best Books of 2015, Top Twenty; Kirkus Best Books 2015)

Welcome to Braggsville By T. Geronimo Johnson (longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award)

 

natbookawards

 

 

 

Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson

fortunesmilesOn Wednesday evening, November 18, the National Book Foundation announced the winners of the 2015 National Book Awards. The unexpected winner of the fiction award was Adam Johnson for Fortune Smiles, a collections of short stories. Although another short story collection won the prize last year (Redeployment by Phil Klay) the prize is most often given for a novel. Johnson is no stranger to awards, having won a Pulitzer in 2013 for The Orphan Master’s Son. Fortune Smiles is a set of six stories that delve deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Critics have been effusive in their praise, declaring that Johnson is one of America's best living authors. Lauren Groff, also a finalist  for the ficiton prize for her book, Fates and Furies, reviewed Fortune Smiles for The New York Times and found much to admire, "Adam Johnson’s stories certainly deserve this kind of slow and loving attention. As a writer, he is always perceptive and brave; his lines always sing and strut and sizzle and hush and wash and blaze over the reader. “Fortune Smiles” is a collection worthy of being read slowly and, like very good and very bitter chocolate, savored."

 

Now (or soon) playing:

maninthehighcastleThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
The first season of the Amazon Studios dystopian alternate history series, based on science fiction legend Dick's book, begins on Noveber 20. The story is set in 1962 in the United States after the Axis powers (Germany and Japan) won World War II. The country has been partitioned into three parts: The Japanese puppet state which comprises the former United States west of the Rocky Mountains; a Nazi puppet state that comprises the eastern half of the former United States; and a neutral zone that acts as a buffer between the two areas. The novel explores American life under totalitarian rule and the stresses and intrigues between the victorious Axis governments. The Man in the High Castle won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963.

 

carol Carol/The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this  classic by Highsmith, renowned author of the psychological thrillers, Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover. Originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym, The Price of Salt was heralded as "the novel of a love society forbids." The film stars Cate Blanchett as Carol and Rooney Mara as Therese and has become a critical favorite and serious Oscar contender.

 

plumpuddingMurder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery/Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
This holiday season, baker Hannah Swensen is making plum pudding and trying to solve the murder of a man in his own office. It turns out the list of suspects who would have wanted to see the guy dead is a long one, from a bitter ex-wife to exasperated investors. But Hannah is on the case, in time to nab a murderous Scrooge who doesn't want her to see the New Year. This entry in Fluke's cozy mystery series contains recipes for a complete Christmas dinner. The TV adaptation will air on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel on November 22.

 

 

frankenstein2Victor Frankenstein/Frankenstein or, The modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley's Gothic horror story of a monster assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies who develops a mind of his own as he learns to loathe himself and hate his creator, is given a new twist in this latest movie adaptation, set to open on November 25. Told from Igor's perspective, the story relates the troubled young assistant's dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and the experiments that get them into trouble with the authorities as they attempt to create life from death. The film stars James McAvoy as Dr. Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as Igor.

 

 

2015 Goldsmiths Prize: Beatlebone by Kevin Barry

beatleboneBritain's Goldsmiths Prize was established in 2013 "to celebrate the qualities of creative daring... and to reward fiction that breaks the mold or opens up new possibilities for the novel form. The annual prize of £10,000 (about $15,000) is thus awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best."

Irish writer Kevin Barry won the prize for his second novel, Beatlebone, which invents a trip taken by Beatle John Lennon to vist a small island off the west coast of Ireland. It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island  he bought nine years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to find calm in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour. "With echoes of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and The White Album, Barry has created an unusual novel, remarkable in structure as well as tone, that channels the contradictory nature of Lennon himself." (Booklist)

"Intricately weaving and blurring fiction and life, Beatlebone embodies beautifully this prize’s spirit of creative risk. We’re proud to crown it our winner.’" (Josh Cohen, Chair of Judges).

Barry won the International Dublin Literary Award for his novel City of Bohane in 2013.

2015 World Fantasy Awards: Best Novel

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

boneclocksThe 2015 World Fantasy Convention was held in Saratoga Springs, NY on Nov 5-8 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, material must have been published in 2014 by a living author. Mitchell, perhaps best known for his earlier novel, Cloud Atlas, writes books that often blend several genres while spinning interconnected tales that come together with strong plotting and masterful prose. "With its wayward thoughts, chance meetings, and attention to detail, Mitchell's  novel is a thing of beauty." (Publishers Weekly)

 

2015 Anthony Awards: Best Novel

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

afterimgoneThe Anthony Awards for mystery fiction written in 2014 were announced on October 10 at the annual World Mystery Convention (Bouchercon) held in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bouchercon is an annual crime fiction event, bringing together authors, fans, publishers, reviewers, booksellers, and editors. 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. Lippman, the author of many well-regarded mystery novels, creates an intriguing story that explores how one man's disappearance echoes through the lives of the five women he left behind--his wife, his daughters, and his mistress. In 1976, Bambi's comfortable world implodes when her husband Felix, facing prison, vanishes. Though Bambi has no idea where her husband--or his money--might be, she suspects someone does: his devoted mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day after Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she's left to join her lover, until her remains are discovered in a secluded park. Felix left five women behind. Now there are four...

 

 

Library Journal's Best Books 2015: Top Ten

Not to be outdone, LJ has released their lists of Best Books of the year, divided into a "Top Ten" and then "More of the Best," and then lists in various genres. As editor Henrietta Verman writes,"We agonized, we discussed, we pondered, and most of all we read, read, read. The results are below: lists of what the LJ Reviews team can honestly say are the best titles published in 2015. They include a Top Ten list of the most outstanding titles of the year, both fiction and nonfiction; followed by “More of the Best,”—the titles that we just couldn’t let go of although they didn’t make it to the top ten; and the best of a variety of genres, from poetry to arts and crafts."

Novels in the Top Ten:

didyoueverDid You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (long-listed for the bestboyNational Book Award)

Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb (LibraryReads pick for August 2015)

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (shortlisted for the National Book Award; 2015 Kirkus Prize Finalist))

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (a finalist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence)

 

 

Publishers Weekly - Best Books of 2015

fatbobPW's editors recently released their list of "Best" books of 2015, conveniently divided into genres such as fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, poetry, non-fiction etc. On the mystery/thriller slate is a book with one of the best titles (and cover art) of the year, Is Fat Bob Dead Yet? by Stephen Dobyns, an intricate crime novel set in New London, Connecticut. A newcomer to the city, Connor Raposo has just witnessed a gruesome motorcycle accident on Bank Street. At least he thinks it was an accident. But then he sees a familiar man--who else would wear an Elvis pompadour in this day and age?--lurking around the crime scene. Where does Connor know him from? And why does everyone he knows keep showing up dead? Author Dobyns' dark humor animates this comic suspense novel about a small-time con operation, a pair of combative detectives, a homeless man named Fidget, and a federally protected witness.  "The latest offering from veteran novelist and poet Dobyns (The Burn Palace) delights with quirky characters, absurd situations, language play, and keen insights. Recommended for those who enjoy dark humor and complicated plots in their mysteries." (Library Journal)

 

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wayofthewarriorWednesday, 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." To better understand and honor these sacrifices and struggles of our service members, consider a book in a genre not always associated with war stories and battle reporting: Way of the Warrior: a romance anthology to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. This set of short stories is written by several prominent romance authors, including Suzanne Brockman, Julie Ann Walker, and Catherine Mann, all writers who have penned books in the romance sub-genre known as "military/romantic suspense." All of the stories center on our modern-day heroes - the men and women who keep our country safe - and explore a view of their lives (and loves). "A heartfelt tribute to our military personnel and the sacrifices they and their families make. This anthology is a hands-down winner and would be welcome in all popular romance collections. All proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project." (Library Journal)

The Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2002 and provides a wide range of programs and services to veterans and service members who have survived physical or mental injury during their brave service to our nation.  The Project's Mission: "To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation's history."

 

 

Jewish Book Month (November 6-December 6) 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:

dayofatonementThe Day of Atonement by David Liss
Returning to mid-eighteenth-century Lisbon to avenge the death of his father, who had been forced to convert to Christianity, Sebastian Foxx, the protege of bounty hunter Benjamin Weaver, stealthily collects funds and identifies friends and allies among Inquisition spies. Set in Lisbon during the time of the earthquake of 1775.

 

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The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis                               
One momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a Soviet Jewish dissident who now finds himself a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the settlements in the West Bank, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior, and the besieged couple escapes to Yalta, the faded Crimean resort of Kotler's youth. The 2014 National Jewish Book Award winner for fiction.

 

secretchordThe Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
A retelling of the story of King David, the slayer of the giant Goliath, through the eyes of those around him, including his wives, prophets and son, Solomon. The novel traces the arc of King David's journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage. By the author of People of the Book.

 

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The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro
When Alizée Benoit, a young American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940, no one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her arts patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends and fellow WPA painters. The story alternates between the 1930's, the 1940's, and the present as Alizée's great-niece tries to find out what happened to her aunt. (A November LibraryReads pick.)

 

 

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

Local author and Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom has written a new book,
The Magic The Magic Strings of Frankie PrestoStrings of  Frankie Presto, that will be released next week on November 10. In his first novel since The First Phone Call fom Heaven in 2013, Albom recounts the life of fictional guitarist Franke Presto, "the greatest guitar player to ever walk the earth." As most readers know, Albom loves music and is a talented amateur musician, so it seems appropriate that the novel's narrator is Music itself. Music tells Frankie's story from his orphaned childhood and the discovery of his musical talent to his death while performing at a concert. His earliest possession, given to him by his first teacher, is an old guitar and six magical strings. Frankie's musical genius soon mesmerizes both his audience and other artists, and he becomes a rock star, yet his gift becomes his burden, as he realizes that he can actually affect people's futures: his guitar strings turn blue whenever a life is altered. Overwhelmed by life, loss, and this power, he disappears for years, only to reemerge in a spectacular and mysterious farewell. "...Albom can elicit tears when he writes about loss, and he has fun with you-are-there butterfly-effect anecdotes, as when Frankie tells Hank Williams not to buy a baby blue Cadillac, the car in which he would ride to his death." (Kirkus)

 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

brooklynScheduled for release this week, the film adaptation of Colm Toibin's 2009 novel, Brooklyn, has a screenplay by author Nick Hornsby (About a Boy) and stars Saorise Ronan, of Atonement and Grand Budapest Hotel fame. The movie was a hit at the  Sundance Film Festival when it premiered there earlier this year, receiving a standing ovation from the audience. The book tells 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 and threatens the promise of her new life. "Toibin conveys Eilis's transformative struggles with an aching lyricism..." (Library Journal)

 

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

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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.

dyinggrassAuthor William T. Vollman has written a series of novels, called the Seven Dreams, that explores the military and cultural collisions between Native Americans and Europeans in American history. In his latest, The Dying Grass, (fifth in the series)  he tells the story of the Nez Perce War, with flashbacks to the Civil War. Defrauded and intimidated at every turn, the Nez Perces finally went on the warpath in 1877, subjecting the U.S. Army to its greatest defeat since Little Big Horn as they fled from northeast Oregon across Montana to the Canadian border. Although acknowledging that Vollman is an idiosyncratic writer, the reviewer for The Washington Post declared the novel was, "the reading experience of a lifetime." "Vollmann has written a masterpiece that delivers us to the far shore of our past, a past that is still at war with the ghosts of its decisions. “The Dying Grass” is brilliant and alive."

 

Short Story Collections

Fans of short fiction have reason to be pleased this month: there have been several impressive short story collections by celebrated authors published during the last few weeks.

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Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Michigander, and Notable Author, Campbell (Once Upon  a River) offers her third short story collection about strong, stubborn women from rural, working-class backgrounds who are at once scrappy, vulnerable, wise, cruel, and funny. Each story rings with Campbell's signature empathy and dark humor as her protagonists get themselves in and out of trouble. "...Campbell delivers 16 commanding, piquant, and reverberating stories about womanhood besieged and triumphant." (Booklist)

 

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCannthirteenways
Irish-born novelist McCann (Let the Great World Spin) charts the role of chance and the profound consequences of even our smallest moments in his first short-fiction collection in more than a decade. The book, comprised of one novella and three stories, explores the characters' lives from various perspectives, as if viewed from a series of security cameras or reflected through our now-pervasive tracking technologies. "...these four works prove McCann a master with a poet's ear, a psychologist's understanding, and a humanitarian's conscience." (Publishers Weekly)

 

earlystoriesThe Early Stories of Truman Capote by Truman Capote
Recently rediscovered in the archives of the New York Public Library, these short stories were written by Truman Capote in his teens and early twenties, before he penned such classics as Breakfast at Tiffany's, and In Cold Blood. This collection of 17 pieces showcases the young Capote developing the unique voice and sensibility that would make him one of the twentieth century's most original writers. Spare yet heartfelt, these stories about life's outsiders are filled with compassion and feeling at every turn.

 

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marratsaroflove
Marra, author of the highly-regarded novel, A Constellation of Vital Phemomena, once again sets his stories in the wartorn areas of Russia, Siberia, and Chechnya. His nine interconnected tales span several decades of Russian experience, from 1937 to the present, through wars, political strife, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, to probe the love, loyalty, and betrayal that accompany such times. "Marra, in between bursts of acidic humor, summons the terror, polluted landscapes, and diminished hopes of generations of Russians in a tragic and haunting collection." (Booklist)

 

 

boo    Looking for a frightfully good book?

Ready for Halloween? If not, here are a few reading suggestions to get you in the proper mood. The editors at Bookpage have compiled a list of "the 10 creepiest, most chilling, spine-tingling reads of 2015," and Maddie Crum, Books and Culture Writer at the Huffington Post, has assembled her list of "10 Scary Books That Will Seriously Keep You Up At Night." Lock all the doors and windows, turn all the lights on, and try not to lose too much sleep - Happy Halloween!

houseofechoesHouse of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
When a young couple and their children move to a remote town in upstate New York for peace, quiet, and a new start, they discover that the villagers are strange, the woods are threatening, and their inherited mansion is haunted. (Think The Shining or Twin Peaks.)  "This creepy page-turner will appeal to fans of Stephen King and anyone who loves a good ghost story." (Library Journal)

 

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahonnightsister
The Tower Motel, long abandoned and crumbling, was the preferred playground for three young girlfriends, until the day they found something awful there that ended their friendship. Now adults, they reunite to confront their gruesome discovery and the secret that continues to haunt them. McMahon (The Winter People) "effectively creates an atmosphere of horror..." (Publishers Weekly)

diaryDiary by Chuck Palahniuk
The novel starts as a diary written by Misty while her husand lies in the hospital in a coma after a suicide attempt - he had been leaving vile messages in the houses he built and people were suing. An aspiring artist, Misty had given up her painting long ago, but now begins again as if possessed, and the town's inhabitants seem strangely keen for her to continue."What follows is a blend of paranoiac horror along the lines of Rosemary's Baby..." (Library Journal)

 

 

 

MInotablebooksThe Ann Arbor District Library, the Library of Michigan and the Library of Michigan Foundation are pleased to present a special event, Night Of Notable Authors, on Saturday, October 24, featuring 15 authors who were awarded the distinction of having their work selected as a Michigan Notable Book. Every year, the Library of Michigan honors up to twenty of these books, either written by a Michigan resident or about Michigan or the Great Lakes.

The Panel Discussion, at the Ann Arbor downtown Library, starts at 6pm and features four well-known Michigan authors: Loren D. Estleman, Mardi Jo Link, Anna Clark, and Jerry Dennis.

The Reception and Book Signing in the Lobby from 7:30-8:30 will allow guests to mingle with all 15 Notable Book Authors. Books will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served.

 

November 2015 LibraryReads List

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

library reads logo websiteThis monthly list is created by librarians and library staff to help connect readers to new books and authors. An online community of librarians vote each month on their favorite new books and the results are tallied. "The list is a straightforward calculation: whichever ten books get the most nominations go onto the monthly list. The book with the most nominations becomes the #1 Pick. It’s as simple as that." The list is not meant to be a "best" list - just a list of collective favorites - books librarians loved and want to share.

 

 

# 1 for November 2015:

thejapaneseloverThe Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

An exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present-day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War. In 1939, as Poland falls to the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world. Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

 

carnegie-fic-medal photo webToday, the American Library Association announced the 2016 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 2016 Carnegie Medal winners will be announced at the RUSA Book and Media Awards in Boston on Sunday, January 10.

 

Fiction Finalists:

sympathizerThe Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Nguyen tells the story of a South Vietnamese captain with divided loyalties, brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, who went to university in America, but then returns to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. "Ultimately a meditation on war, political movements, America's imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one's personal identity, this is a powerful, thought-provoking work." (Library Journal)

 

 

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
Aron, one of the children of the Warsaw Ghetto who smuggle bookofaronand trade things to keep their people alive, is rescued by a Jewish-Polish doctor who instills in him the importance of revealing to the world the atrocities they have all suffered. The author "explores, with awe, our instinct to adapt and survive; and through the evolving consciousness of his phenomenally commanding young narrator, exposes the catastrophic impact of war and genocide on children." (Booklist)

 

littlelifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that follows four male classmates from a  small Massachusetts college who move to New York to make their lives. The troubled Jude, fighting an abusive past, is their center of gravity throughout the years. Winner of the 2015 Kirkus Prize For Fiction and shortlisted for just about every other literary prize this award season, "this heartbreaking story certainly won't be easily forgotten." (Library Journal)

 

 

Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala

beastsofnonationBeasts of No Nation is based on the harrowing novel by Uzodinma Iweala about a child soldier, Agu, recruited into a unit of guerilla fighters during a civil war in an unnamed African country. Haunted by his father's own death at the hands of the militants, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander and becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started. Netflix bought the rights to the novel, and released the film simultaneously online (Netflix on-demand streaming) and in a limited way in some theaters yesterday (October 16). Several larger theater chains are boycotting this release, since it violates the usual 90-day window of exclusivity for movies in theaters. This marks Netflix's first foray into feature filmmaking and distribution, and upends the traditional business model for movies releases. Netflix is gambling that the public will recognize that this is not just another made-for-TV movie, but a full-scale theatrical feature film made available on different platforms to accommodate the many ways viewers now experience entertainment.

 

kirkus-prize-2015-170x1702015 Kirkus Prize for Fiction

On October 15, the editors of Kirkus Reviews, the book reviewing journal, announced the winners of the Kirkus Prizes for literature published and reviewed between November 1, 2014, and October 31, 2015. This is the second 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." Author Hanya Yanagihara is the winner of the Fiction Prize of $50,000 for her novel, A Little Life. The book is also shortlisted for the National Book Award, the winner of which will be announced on Nov. 18, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize (which it did not win).

littlelifeA Little Life follows four male classmates from a small Massachusetts college who move to New York to make their way, buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, is Jude himself -  by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator, yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood that he fears will define his life forever. "By the time the characters reach their 50s and the story arrives at its moving conclusion, readers will be attached and find them very hard to forget." (Publishers Weekly)

 

 

Fiction Shortlist Announced

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As promised, this morning, 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 18.

Fiction Finalists:

Karen E. Bender, Refund

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House

Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

 

manbookerMarlon James wins for A Brief History of Seven Killings

 Jamaican author, Marlon James, has won the Man Booker Fiction Prize for his 600-plus page book about the attempted assassination of reggae singer Bob Marley in the 1970's. On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election, seven gunmen stormed the singer's house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. James uses this attack to explore the explosive world of Jamaican gangs and politics and deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable briefhistoryofsevencharacters - gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents, even ghosts - over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s.

Michael Wood, chair of the Man Booker judges's committee, described A Brief History of Seven Killings as the "most exciting" book on the shortlist for this year's prize since it  is "full of surprises" as well as being "very violent" and "full of swearing". James is the first Jamaican author to win this prize, worth about $76,000.

 

gapoftimeThe Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

As reported by The New York Times, the publishing company Hogarth has launched a several-book project which enlists contemporary writers to reimagine and update William Shakespeare's plays as novels. One of the first writers to be approached was Jeanette Winterson, author of several novels, and the memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, who chose to reinterpret The Winter's Tale, one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays. Winterson centers this story of love and jealousy around a London banker who believes his wife is cheating on him with his best friend and destroys both his marriage and his friendship with his suspicions. Eight other all-star writers have also joined the project: Tracy Chevalier will adapt Othello; Margaret Atwood will rewrite The Tempest; Gillian Flynn is working on Hamlet; Anne Tyler will re-cast The Taming of the Shrew; Jo Nesbo will recycle Macbeth; Howard Jacobson will take on The Merchant of Venice; and Edward St. Aubyn will re-boot King Lear. The project is timed to loosely coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 2016. "He was not of an age, but for all time!" - Ben Jonson.

 

World Zombie Day 2015

zombieWorld 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 10 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.10) and Pittsburgh (Oct.17).

Coincidentally (?) the hit AMC series, The Walking Dead, starts walkingdeadinvasionits sixth season this Sunday, October 11 at 9pm. This horror-drama, set in a world overrun by zombies, is based on the graphic novels/comics of Robert Kirkman and centers on the efforts of the last remaining humans to survive the zombie apocalypse. Kirkman and other collaborators, like Jay Bonansinga, have also continued the story in a series of sci-fi books, the latest: Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Invasion, released on October 6. As Rick would say, "keep walking."

Now (or soon) playing:

bigstonegapBig Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
It's 1978, and Ave Maria Mulligan is the thirty-five-year-old self-proclaimed spinster of Big Stone Gap, a sleepy hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She's also the local pharmacist, the co-captain of the Rescue Squad, and the director of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, the town's long-running Outdoor Drama. When she discovers a skeleton in her family's formerly tidy closet, her conventional life comes unraveled. Suddenly, she finds herself juggling two marriage proposals, conducting a fierce family feud, and planning a life-changing journey to the Old Country. Author Trigiani wrote the screenplay for the movie, which opens October 9, and stars Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, and Whoopi Goldberg.

 

lastkingdomThe Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
BBC America's television adaptation of Cornwell's historical novels, known as the Saxon Stories, premieres on October 10. Starting with The Last Kingdom, the series is set in ninth and tenth century England during the invasion and occupation of England's four kingdoms by the Danish Vikings and the struggle of King Alfred the Great of Wessex to free and unite the country. The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed English nobleman. Captured as a child and raised by the Danes, he now finds his allegiances divided between the kingdom of his ancestry and the people who raised him. An expensive, epic adaptation with an international cast, this 8-part series is seen as an attempt by BBC America to entice the audience of HBO's Game of Thrones with a new medieval saga.

roomRoom by Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer. Using all her determination, ingenuity, and motherly devotion, Ma devises a bold escape plan that depends on luck and Jack's courage. What she cannot know is how startling the consequences will be when her plan succeeds. The film opens on October 16 and stars Brie Larson as Ma.

 

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

kirkus-prize-2015-170x1702015 Kirkus Prize Finalists

The literary journal, Kirkus Reviews, has announced the 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 second 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, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2015 that received a starred review in Kirkus - more than 1,000 titles - are eligible for consideration. The winners will be announced on October 15.

 

Finalists for the Fiction Prize:

The Incarnations by Susan Barker

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepherd

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

 

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Henning Mankell (1948-2015)

troubledmanSwedish crime writer Henning Mankell, creator of the Kurt Wallander mystery series,  passed away from cancer Monday at the age of 67. Credited with starting the Scandinavian noir movement, which includes authors Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, his novels featured a morose, flawed protagonist (Detective Wallander) who investigated twisted crimes and explored themes of social justice in the modern Swedish state. His books were translated into several languages, sold worldwide, and were adapted for both Swedish and English TV. Kenneth Branagh starred in the BBC series shown in this country on PBS. Mankell's first book about Wallander, Faceless Killers, was published here in 1997 and has been followed by nine others, with the last in the series, 2011's The Troubled Man. In The Troubled Man, Mankell ended Wallander's adventures in an appropriately downbeat way, with Wallander retiring from the police force due to Alzheimer's disease.  Marilyn Stasio, the reviewer for The New York Times mourned this development, "Making this news more bitter, the alcoholic, diabetic, antisocial, and perpetually dour Swedish detective is at his gloomy best in The Troubled Man."

 

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Book Event - Author Matt Bell: Scrapper

Local literary movers and shakers have started an innovative program to promote literature and the arts in Detroit: Write a House. This program acquires and rehabs houses in Detroit and offers them as free residences to emerging writers who submit applications. A panel of writers and poets has reviewed the 220 applications received from all over the country, and ten finalists have been named. On October 2, at 7pm the second winner of a free house will be named at an event in Hamtramck. The event will also feature author Matt Bell and the Detroit release of his new book, Scrapper.

scrapperBell is a Michigan-born writer, and author of the Michigan Notable Book, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods. His new novel, Scrapper traces one man's desperate quest for redemption in a devastated Detroit. Kelly scavenges for scrap metal from the hundred thousand abandoned buildings in a part of the city known as "the zone," an increasingly wild landscape where one day he finds something far more valuable than the copper he's come to steal: a kidnapped boy, crying out for rescue. Briefly celebrated as a hero, Kelly secretly avenges the boy's unsolved kidnapping, a task that will take him deeper into the zone and into a confrontation with his own past and long-buried traumas. "Bell poses difficult, elemental questions about right and wrong and of what constitutes morality in a place where the usual rules don't always apply. And, refreshingly, the answers his protagonist arrives at are neither easy nor expected." (Library Journal)

 

Star Wars Reads Day 2015 - October 10

swrd2015PDL will again join with libraries, schools, and other fans nationwide to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 10, 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. So don your Jedi cloak, grab your lightsaber, and put it in hyperdrive as your follow the Force to a Library (not so) far, far away.


Read The Force

loststarsThe Star Wars franchise has generated thousands of related items, from movies, cartoons, video games, comics, books and memorabilia etc. There is enough Star Wars fiction to keep the most devoted fans traveling throughout the galaxy for a long, long time.  Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, one of the new books in the Journey to Star Wars, The Force Awakens series, gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers  experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends--Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell--who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them--and the galaxy--apart?

 

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:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

 

Cha-Ching!

booksmoneyThis summer Forbes Magazine released its list of top-earning authors for the period of June 2014 through June 2015. Its no big surprise that the popular and very prolific (16 books per year) James Patterson tops the list with $89 million in sales. He continues to earn more than any other author in publishing. John Green, the author of young adult novels, (The Fault in Our Stars) comes in a distant second at $26 million. Author Danielle Steel and young adult writer Veronica Roth (Divergent) hit the $25 million mark. Both Green and Roth were newcomers to the rankings in 2014, due to the successful movie adaptations of their novels. There's often more than a 10% bump in book sales around the time a movie version is released. 

The other perennials on the list, like Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, Dan Brown,  J. K. Rowling, and Gillian Flynn, had earnings ranging from $13 to $21 million. Tied at the bottom of the list are George R. R. Martin and E.L. James with $12 million.

Forbes creates the list by looking at print, ebook and audiobook sales from Nielsen BookScan figures, considering TV and movie earnings and talking to authors, agents, publishers and other experts.

Now (or soon) playing:

minorityreportThe Minority Report by Philip K. Dick
Loosely based on the 1956 short story by sci fi master, Philip K. Dick, this Fox TV series, titled Minority Report, is a sequel to Minority Report, the 2002 Steven Spielberg film with Tom Cruise, (also adapted from Dick's story). The short story imagines a future where certain individuals, known as Precogs, can predict crimes before they happen, thus allowing law enforcement agencies to arrest the offenders before the public is endangered. The TV series is set in 2065, eleven years after the events of the film. Dash, a Precog who was part of the defunct and discredtied Precrime unit, is now assisting Detective Lara Vega in crime detection and prevention while trying to keep his unique "gift" under wraps. The The show premiered on Fox on September 21, 2015.

 

martianThe Martian by Andy Weir
Starring Matt Damon and getting major advance promotion, this film adaptation of Andy Weir's well-received 2011 novel opens on October 2. While on a human mission to the planet Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead and left behind by his crew. Stranded on the harsh and inhospitable planet, he struggles to contact his colleagues and survive while awaiting their rescue attempts. Weir, in an interview with the NYTimes, said that he envisioned his protagonist as a determined, competent scientist with a dry sense of humor who doesn't despair, but instead pushes forward to do what must be done and solve his predicament. "It could have been a deep psychological thing,” he said, but “that’s not the kind of book I like to read, and it’s not the kind of book I wanted to write.” James Bond, he notes, is not weepy; “I wanted it to be more MacGyver on Mars.”

 

bannedbooks2015

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.

Best in Christian Fiction

Carol Award Gold - no base transparent backgroundOn September 19, at their 2015 Conference in Dallas, the American Christian Fiction Writers presented the annual Carol Awards to the best in Christian fiction released through traditional publishing houses in the 2014 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.

2015 Winners:

Debut Novel Category:

forsuchatimeFor Such a Time by Kate Breslin
In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself? A powerful, updated re-telling of the Biblical story of Esther.



Contemporary Novel Category:

storykeeperThe Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate                                       
When successful New York editor Jen Gibbs discovers a decaying slush-pile manuscript on her desk, she has no idea that the story of Sarra, a young mixed-race woman trapped in Appalachia at the turn of the twentieth century, will both take her on a journey and change her forever. Happy with her life in the city, and at the top of her career with a new job at Vida House Publishing, Jen has left her Appalachian past and twisted family ties far behind. But the search for the rest of the manuscript, and Jen's suspicions about the identity of its unnamed author, will draw her into a mystery that leads back to the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 2015 Christy Award winner.

 

Historical Romance Novel Category:

witheverybreathWith Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden
In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston's respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now. Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate unlocks the mysteries of Trevor's past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor's closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Novel Category:

cryfromthedustA Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks
In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered. The reasons for the Mountain Meadows Massacre remain unknown, but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims. When forensic artist Gwen Marcey is recruited to reconstruct the faces of recently unearthed victims at Mountain Meadows, she isn't expecting more than an interesting gig. But when she stumbles on the ritualized murder of a college student, her work takes on a terrifying new aspect, and her research quickly becomes a race against modern-day fundamentalist terror. As evidence of a cover-up mounts, Gwen finds herself in the crosshairs of a secret society bent on fulfilling a prophecy and revenging old wrongs.

 

Jackie Collins (1937-2015)

sanangelosBritish author Jackie Collins, sister of actress Joan Collins, and jackie-collinsbest-selling writer of dozens of steamy novels that depicted the boardrooms and bedrooms of Hollywood's power crowd, died on Saturday, September 19 of breast cancer at age 77. In a career spanning four decades, Collins wrote sexy, popular books about characters driven by lust, power and greed. She sold more than 500 millions copies of her books in 40 countries, and all 32 of her novels appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Her first novel, published in 1968, was so provocative that it was initially banned in Australia and South Africa, which she found amusing. In a 2007 interview, she admitted that, "I never pretended to be a literary writer. I'm a school dropout." Her latest book, published in June, is The Santangelos, and it, too, features her successful formula of power, money, glamour, sex, drugs, and murder.

 

metroauthor

The next Metro Detroit Book and Author Society Luncheon will be held on Monday, October 19 at the Burton Manor in Livonia. Featured authors this fall are David Maraniss, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Jason Gay, Lily Tuck, and John Katzenbach. Ticket sales began on September 8 and are available online at www.bookandauthor.info or by phone at 586-685-5750.

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 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.

 

Fiction Longlist Announced

ficlonglist15

 

 

 

 

 

The National Book Foundation announced the ten titles on the Longlist for the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction on Thursday, September 17. The five Finalists will be revealed on October 14 and the ultimate winner on November 18.

The Fiction Longlist includes a former National Book Award Finalist, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a
two-time Pushcart Prize winner, and two titles that were included on the longlist of the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Of the ten books on the list, four are story collections, and many center on family relationships.

2015 NBA Fiction Longlist:

Jesse Ball, A Cure for Suicide

Karen E. Bender, Refund: Stories

Bill Clegg, Did You Ever Have a Family

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House

Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles: Stories

T. Geronimo Johnson, Welcome to Braggsville

Edith Pearlman, Honeydew

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Nell Zink, Mislaid

 

Morning Edition Book Club

fatesandfuriesRecently, NPR's Morning Edition crew started their own on-air book club. For each session, a well-known author is asked to pick a book he or she loved, the Morning Edition staff and listerners read it, questions are submitted, and the author of the book and the author who selected it appear on the show to discuss it. Yesterday, Pulitzer Prize-winning author  Richard Russo was tapped to do the honors: He selected Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. In his interview on NPR he described the book as "...a dramatic read, believe me."

Fates and Furies is the story of a marriage told from two perspectives. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but things are even more complicated and remarkable than they first seemed. Told first from Lotto's point of view, the story of their marriage revolves around Mathilde's goodness and her faith in his creative talents. The second half of the book, from Mathilde's perspective, reveals a different woman, with dark secrets, a cold and calculating personality, and a thirst for revenge. According to Russo, the structural device "allows for a stunning, 360-degree view of a complex relationship."

You can participate by reading the book and submitting questions on the NPR Morning Edition website. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #morningeditionbookclub. The authors' book discussion will air sometime next month.

 

manbookerAnd we're off...

Literary award season is kicking into high gear - the selection committee for the Man Booker Prize, England's most prestigious book award, announced its shortlisted titles today. This will be the second 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 the most diverse group of authors in the prize's history. Four of the authors are non-white and two are American. The actual winner of the Man Booker Prize (and recipient of about $80,000) will be announced on October 13, 2015.

The Shortlist:

Shortlist2---Splashzone

 

 

hispanicsun

celebra

 

 


This month celebrates the heritage and 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. According to the latest Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the nation's population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This year's theme: "Honoring our Heritage, Building our Future.”

houseonmangostreetTo share in the experience of Hispanic Americans, sample a book howthe garciafrom the list, 15 Essential Books by Latino Authors in America,  compiled by BuzzFeed/Books' news reporter Nicholas Medina Mora. Among his essentials are some classics: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

 

 

October 2015 LibraryReads List

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 2015

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

CityOnFireblog-203x300Set in late 1976, and culminating with the great blackout of July 1977, this highly anticipated novel recounts the stories of a large cast of diverse characters whose lives intersect during the heydey of the grunge, sex, and rock-and-roll spectacle that was 70's New York. We meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city's great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown's punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor; and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year's Eve. The mystery, as it reverberates through families, friendships, and the corridors of power, will open up even the loneliest-seeming corners of this crowded city. "Graceful in execution, hugely entertaining, and most concerned with the longing for connection, a theme that reaches full realization during the blackout of 1977, this epic tale is both a compelling mystery and a literary tour de force." (Booklist)  The 900 page manuscript generated a lot of buzz in 2013 - publishers, critics, and Hollywood were definitely interested. An intense bidding war among ten publishers resulted in a huge advance payment (nearly 2 million dollars ) to the author, highly unusual for a debut novel.

 

80th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Awards   

On Thursday, September 10, in Cleveland, the Anisfield-Wolf Awards Ceremony will be edithanisfieldwolfheld to honor the 2015 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. Speaking to NPR, Awards Manager Karen Long commented that "Things that address race are considered, sometimes in the larger culture, as homework or broccoli or good for you."

2015 Fiction Winner:

briefhistoryofsevenA Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
On just about every "Best Of 2014" list, long-listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, and short-listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award, James' novel explores the tumultuous world of Jamaica over the past three decades. On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven gunmen stormed the singer's house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but much has been whispered, gossiped and sung about in the streets of West Kingston. Rumors abound regarding the assassins' fates, and there are suspicions that the attack was politically motivated. James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters - gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents, even ghosts - over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. "This is a breakthrough novel not only for the author but also for Caribbean and world literature." (Booklist)

 

National Read a Book Day - September 6, 2015

windowopensA 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.

 

 

natlbookfestivalbanner

 

The Library of Congress National Book Festival will take place in Washington D.C. this weekend (Sept 5) at the Washington Convention Center. This year's theme is taken from Thomas Jefferson himself, who famously wrote about his dependence on the written word in a letter to John Adams. Two hundred years ago, in 1815, Jefferson offered his 6,000-volume personal library to the government to rebuild the Library of Congress after it had been burned by the British in the War of 1812. This year’s festival not only celebrates books and authors but also commemorates the 200th anniversary of this historic acquisition.

Former first lady Laura Bush founded the festival in 2000, which was held for years on the National Mall. Food, history, science, graphic novels, mysteries, thrillers, biographies, and children and teen literature are among the genres to be showcased, and more than 175 acclaimed authors, illustrators, and poets will be in attendance.

Louise Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and author of The louise-erdrichRound House, which won the National Book Award in 2012, will be awarded The Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the festival. The prize is given to writers with "strong, unique, enduring voices that, through long, consistently accomplished careers, have told us something about the American experience." Erdrich's career has spanned more than 30 years and her work includes 14 novels, as well as poetry, short stories, children's books and nonfiction. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington stated when announcing the prize, that "“Louise Erdrich has portrayed her fellow Native Americans as no contemporary American novelist ever has.”

 

The fourth annual celebration of reading
and a swrd2015galaxy far, far away...

PDL will again join with libraries, schools and others nationwide to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 10, 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!

swaftermathWhile you're waiting  to celebrate all things Star Wars, you can sample one of the new books in Lucasfilm's "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" publishing initiative. On September 4th, a new trilogy by Chuck Wendig will be introduced with the first installment, Star Wars: Aftermath, which begins immediately after the victory celebration on Coruscant seen at the end of Return of the Jedi. As it turns out, the fight for freedom wasn’t truly over - above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on  for a top-secret emergency summit—to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on freedom fighter Norra Wexley and her new-found allies.

 

2015-16 Great Michigan Read

Final-GMIR-logo-smlStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Michigan Humanities Council's fifth Great Michigan Read -  Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - is starting now. The Great Michigan Read is the statewide community reading program sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council which "aims to connect us as Michiganians by deepening our understanding of our state, our society, and our humanity," through the reading and discussion of one book.

 

stationelevenStation Eleven is the story of the Traveling Symphony, a troupe of Shakespearean actors and orchestral musicians traveling the shores of the Great Lakes in a post-apocalyptic Michigan. Striving to maintain their humanity in the altered landscape of a world where 99% of the population has been wiped out by a flu pandemic, The Traveling Symphony operates under one credo: “Survival is insufficient.” While the story is set in a world turned upside down, the novel is ultimately an exploration of people remaking their lives by preserving the qualities that make us human: culture, art, community, and compasssion.
The novel was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and is one of this year's Michigan Notable Books.

The program will run from August 2015 through May 2016 with book discussions, special programming and author appearances.  PDL has participated in all of the Great Michigan Reads and will do so again this year  - details about our programs, including an Author Presentation at PDL on May 18, 2016, will be announced at a later date.

 

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

10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

topic hurricane mainThis week, August 24-31, is the 10th anniversary of the formation and landfall of the monster storm known as Hurricane Katrina. On August 25, 2005, as a Category 1 storm, the hurricane hit the Florida coast and intensified until, on August 29, it made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, engulfing the city of New Orleans in floodwater as the levees failed and 25,000 to 30,000 residents took shelter in the Superdome. Overall, at least 1,800 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making it one of the deadliest in United States history. With 70% of New Orleans' occupied housing damaged in the storm, more than one million people in the Gulf region were displaced. The city of New Orleans and its citizens would ultimately recover but would never be the same.

Hurricane Katrina in Fiction:

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward                                                   salvage
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award, this novel is a haunting tale of the struggles of a 15-year-old pregnant girl in a black community as Hurricane Katrina bears down on her fictional Mississippi Gulf Coast town. While the novel's characters face down Hurricane Katrina, the story isn’t only about the storm. It’s about people facing challenges, and coming together to overcome adversity. "Lyrical and relentless, Ward's narrative builds to the storm's awful landfall and aftermath, portraying both heartbreak and the family's extraordinary devotion."(Library Journal). Ward's novel was based partly on first-hand experience -  she was with her family in Mississippi when Katrina hit. They fled their house, fearful of drowning in their own attic.

 

cityofrefugeCity of Refuge by Tom Piazza
In the heat of late summer, two New Orleans families--one black and one white--confront a storm that will change the course of their lives. SJ Williams, a carpenter and widower, lives and works in the Lower Ninth Ward, the community where he was born and raised. His sister, Lucy, is a soulful mess, and SJ has been trying to keep her son, Wesley, out of trouble. Across town, Craig Donaldson, a Midwestern transplant and the editor of the city's alternative paper, faces deepening cracks in his own family. New Orleans' music and culture have been Craig's passion, but his wife, Alice, has never felt comfortable in the city. The arrival of their two children has inflamed their arguments about the wisdom of raising a family there. When the news comes of a gathering hurricane--named Katrina--the two families make their own very different plans to weather the storm.

 

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke                  tinroofblowdown
Hurricane Katrina provides the backdrop for the 16th Dave Robicheaux novel. The Louisiana detective is assigned to investigate  the shooting of two looters in a wealthy neighborhood after they have inadvertently plundered the home of a notorious local mobster. Robicheaux must locate the third looter before others do, more to save him from harm than for prosecution. Robicheaux's task is complicated by the need to locate another person lost in the devastation of the storm, a priest last seen in the Ninth Ward trying to rescue trapped parishioners. "Burke showcases all that was both right and wrong in our response to this national disaster, proving along the way that nobody captures the spirit of Gulf Coast Louisiana better." (Publishers Weekly)

 

downinthefloodDown in the Flood by Kenneth Abel
New Orleans Prosecutor Danny Chaisson's latest case is bid-rigging. But as his investigation proceeds, a gathering storm named Katrina blasts his world apart. Surrounded by death and the destruction of the city he loves, Danny searches for one man who'd trusted Chaisson to guard his identity when he agreed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating corruption in the city's construction industry. But someone has leaked the identity of this crucial witness. Cut off from escape, and unsure whom he can trust, Chaisson's client has gone into hiding in the city's Ninth Ward, where he grew up. Now Danny must race against time, a pair of relentless professional killers, and the rising flood waters to save the man who'd counted on him. "Abel's latest is both a gripping crime thriller about human greed and a tribute to the people of New Orleans." (Library Journal)

 

August 26 is National Dog Day

National Dog Day was founded in 2004 in order to acknowledge the love and value that dogs bring to our lives every day. Dogs consistently contribute to the overall health, safety, and happiness of their humans as pets, service workers, and YouTube video subjects.

Although there are many ways to celebrate the dog in your life, consider a book or two.

scentsabdsensibilityScents and Sensibility by Spencer Quinn
In the latest entry in the immensely popular Chet and Bernie mystery series, Private Investigator Bernie Little and his canine companion Chet return home to encounter some alarming developments - someone has broken in and stolen some personal items. And next door, old Mr. Parsons is under investigation for being in possession of a saguaro cactus illegally transplanted from the desert. Bernie and Chet go deep into the desert to investigate. "Action-packed with a touch of the hard-boiled detective at its core plus witty canine dialogue, its narration is both creative and whimsical in a way only a true dog-lover and talented writer such as Spencer Quinn could achieve." (New York Journal of Books)

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron                           dogspurpose
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose? Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend.

TheArtOf RacingInTheRainThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul, he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family.

 The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski     storyedgarsawtelle
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. When Edgar's father dies suddenly,  Edgar's uncle Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections. Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him.

 

 

Science Fiction's Best

hugoawardThe annual Hugo Awards for excellence in the science fiction genre were announced on August 22 at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, Sasquan, amid some controversy over virtual ballot-box stuffing by special interest groups during the nomination process. As a result many voting members declined to cast votes for nominees in certain categories, entering a vote of "No Award" instead. The statement on the official Hugo website reads,"The members of the World Science Fiction Society rejected the slate of finalists in five categories, giving No Award in Best Novella, Short Story, Related Work, Editor Short Form, and Editor Long Form." 

 

threebodyproblemThe Best Novel Award was presented to The Three Body Problem, written by Cixin Liu and tranlated by Ken Liu, which is the first time the award has gone to a Chinese writer. Liu is China's most popular science  fiction writer and his book, the first in a trilogy, is a best-seller there. It was published in the U.S. in 2014. "The story, set against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution, involves a secret military project that sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. The signals are received by an alien civilization that is on the brink of destruction and decides to invade Earth."(NYTimes

 

 

2015 Winners Announced

Each year the Arab American National Museum, located in Dearborn, sponsors the Arab American Book Award to "honor books written by and about Arab Americans." "The program generates greater awareness of Arab American scholarship and writing..." and is open to books "written, edited or illustrated by an Arab American, or (that) address the Arab American experience." Prizes are awarded in several categories including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children's literature.

This year, the committee selected two works of fiction to honor:

indexAn Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
Also a Finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Alameddine's novel is a breathtaking portrait of one reclusive woman's late-life crisis.  Aaliya, who lives alone in Beirut, is shunned by her family and neighbors for her divorced status and lack of religious reverence. She quietly translates her favorite books into Arabic while struggling with her aging body, until an unthinkable disaster threatens what little life remains to her.

 


moorsaccountThe Moor's Account by Laila Lalami
A Finalist for the 2015 Pultizer Prize for Fiction, Lalami's historical novel imagines the story of the first black explorer of America—a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record. In 1527, Al-Zamori sailed with the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez and a crew of six hundred men to the Gulf Coast of the United States. But from the moment the  expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril--navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition's treasurer, a Spanish nobleman, a young explorer, and Al-Zamori. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquistadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.

 

 

The Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview

The Millions, the online magazine that has been "offering coverage on books, arts, and culture since 2003," recently compiled an 82-title booklist called "The Millions' Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview." Starting with July and August releases, the list continues through the fall months to January and February of next year. In the introductory remarks, the editors state, "The second-half of 2015 is straight-up, stunningly chock-full of amazing books." September will be a particularly bountiful month with 22 soon-to-be-released titles featured.

Some of the highlights for September:

purityPurity by Jonathan Franzen
Young Pip Tyler doesn't know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she's saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother--her only family--is hazardous. But she doesn't have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she'll ever have a normal life. Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world--including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Grofffatesandfuries
At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but things are even more complicated and remarkable than they first seemed. Told first from Lotto's point of view, the story of their marriage revolves around Mathilde's goodness and her faith in his creative talents. The second half of the book, from Mathilde's perspective, reveals a different woman, with dark secrets, a cold and calculating personality, and a thirst for revenge.

the-heart-goes-lastThe Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Set in a near future, Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse; job loss has forced them to live in their car.  A social experiment, The Positron Project,  in the town of Consilience, seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes. At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat.

This is Your Life, Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evisonthisisyourlifeharriet
With Bernard, her husband of fifty-five years, now in the grave, seventy-eight-year-old Harriet Chance impulsively sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise that her late husband had planned. But what she hoped would be a voyage leading to a new lease on life becomes a surprising and revelatory journey into Harriet's past. There, between the imagined appearances of her late husband and the very real arrival of her estranged daughter, Harriet is forced to take a long look back, confronting the truth about pivotal events that changed the course of her life. And in the process she discovers that she's been living the better part of that life under entirely false assumptions.

 

 

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Fans of Lisbeth Salander, a.k.a. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the Millennium trilogy girlinthespiderswebby Stieg Larsson, will be happy to learn that the series has been continued by another author. Swedish author and crime reporter David Lagercrantz was selected by Larsson's estate to write a fourth novel featuring the amazing, but poorly socialized, superhacker heroine. Larsson passed away in 2004, before the three crime novels, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, were published to international acclaim and massive sales (more than 80 million copies worldwide). All three books were made into successful Swedish movies. The new book will involve Lisbeth's attempts to hack the American NSA and evade “ruthless cyber gangsters who call themselves the Spiders,” according to MacLehose Press, the publisher of the British edition. MacLehose promises that the story will be “adrenaline-charged, brilliantly intricate and utterly absorbing”. The American edition will be released on September 1, with a first printing of 500,000 copies.  In Sweden, the book will be titled That Which Does Not Kill Us.

 

September 2015 LibraryReads List

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

library reads logo websiteThis monthly list is created by librarians and library staff to help connect readers to new books and authors. An online community of librarians vote each month on their favorite new books and the results are tallied. "The list is a straightforward calculation: whichever ten books get the most nominations go onto the monthly list. The book with the most nominations becomes the #1 Pick. It’s as simple as that." The list is not meant to be a "best" list - just a list of collective favorites - books librarians loved and want to share.

 

# 1 for September 2015:

The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo

artofcrashlandingBroke and knocked up, Mattie Wallace has got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags and nowhere to go. Try as she might, she really is turning into her late mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn't make. When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she's never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother's birthplace--the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery--a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother. Mattie is determined to find the answer for both her mother's sake and her own.

 

The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien

225px-The Story of KullervoAn unfinished manuscript by J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, will soon be published in the U.K. (in late August) by HarperCollins, the publisher of Harper Lee's new/old book Go Set a Watchman,  and in the U.S. (possibly in late October) by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Tolkien began writing the story while an undergraduate at Oxford in 1914. HarperCollins calls the book  "a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkiens's invented world." It will be released in its unfinished state with Tolkien's notes and commentary by its editor, Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger. The book was among Tolkien's first attempts at creating legends and folk tales, and is based on a Finnish poem about a youth who is sold into slavery and his struggles to avenge his father's death. Tolkien passed away in 1973; several of his works have been published posthumously.

 

Adult Summer Reading 2015

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Over 300 adult readers participated in the PDL Adult Summer Reading Program this summer and 273 earned prizes for reading and enjoying the Library's resources.

Congratulations!  Did  you find your Hero?

A big Thank-you to all for playing Bingo or logging book selections online.  We hope you had fun.

 

BookClubKitLooking for your next book club selection?

New 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:

gosetawatchman2Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
The title on everyone's list: the new novel by Harper Lee set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch (Scout) returns home from New York City to Maycomb, Alabama to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past.

 

allthelightAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Doerr's novel is set in occupied France during World War II, where a blind French girl and a German boy meet while trying to survive the devastation of the war. Before the war, Marie-Laure lived with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he worked. When the Nazis occupied Paris, father and daughter fled to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo carrying with them the museum's most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grew up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they found. Werner became an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a special assignment to track the resistance near St. Malo, and his path converges with Marie-Laure. ".....this novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece." (Library Journal)

 

inventionofwingsThe Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Based on the true story of the Grimke sisters, outspoken abolitionists and feminists of the early nineteenth century, Kidd’s novel imagines the relationship between the older sister Sarah and a young slave she receives as a gift from her parents on her 11th birthday. Sarah defies her parents and the prevailing plantation culture and dares to teach the girl, Hetty, also known as Handful, to read. Told from both girls’ perspectives, the narration alternates between the two as their unlikely friendship develops and changes as they grow from childhood to middle age. Although their circumstances are different, they both strive for freedom – Sarah from the constraints of patriarchy and bigotry and Hetty from the inhumane ordeals of slavery.

 

stationelevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The unusual and haunting story, set in the near-future, of the Traveling Symphony, a troupe of Shakespearean actors and musicians, traveling the shores of the Great Lakes in a post-apocalyptic Michigan. Striving to maintain their humanity in the altered landscape of a world where 99% of the population has been wiped out by a flu pandemic, the Traveling Symphony operates under one credo: “Survival is insufficient.” While the story is set in a world turned upside down, the novel is ultimately an exploration of people remaking their lives by preserving the qualities that make us human: culture, art, community, and compasssion. Chosen as the Michigan Humanities Council’s 2015-16 Great Michigan Read, Station Eleven was a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award. “Ambitious, magnificent ... Mandel's vision is not only achingly beautiful but startlingly plausible, exposing the fragile beauty of the world we inhabit.” (Booklist)


 

  

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The Adult Summer Reading Program Ends on August 10!     Escape the Ordinary D copy                                                                                              

Yes, its just about over.

Time to finish those last few books, mark your Bingo Sheet or log your titles online.

Then come into the Library to claim your prize!

 

Did you Find your Hero in a book this summer?

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Now (or soon) Playing:

dark-places-book-coverDark Places by Gillian Flynn
Written before her blockbuster, Gone Girl, Flynn's second thriller tells the story of Libby Day who was only seven years old when her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. In court, the traumatized child pointed the finger at her brother, Ben, and her testimony put the troubled 16-year-old in prison for life. Twenty-five years later, a broke and desperate Libby has run through the royalties from her sensational autobiography and so accepts a fee to appear at a gathering of true-crime aficionados. She is shocked to learn that most of them believe Ben is innocent and the real killer is still at large. In need of money, she reluctantly agrees to help them reexamine the crime by revisiting the worst moments of her life. But as Libby digs deeper into the circumstances surrounding the murders, her recollections start to unravel and she is forced to question exactly what she saw--or didn't see. Starring Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult, the movie opens on August 7.

 

tenthousandsaintsTen Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
Adopted by a pair of diehard hippies, restless, marginal Jude spends much of his youth getting high with his best friend, Teddy, in their bucolic and boring Vermont town. But when Teddy dies of an overdose on the last day of 1987, Jude's relationship with drugs and with his parents devolves to new extremes. Sent to live with his pot-dealing father in New York City's East Village, Jude stumbles upon Straight Edge, an underground youth culture powered by the paradoxical aggression of hardcore punk and a righteous intolerance for drugs, meat, and sex. With Teddy's half brother, Johnny, and their new friend, Eliza, Jude tries to honor Teddy's memory through his militantly clean lifestyle. But his addiction to Straight Edge has its own dangerous consequences. Set in 1988,  against the excesses of that decade, the AIDS epidemic, and the gentrification of the city, culminating in the infamous Tompkins Square Park riots, the book impressively depicts the late-1980's New York scene. the movie opens on Augst 14 and stars Ethan Hawke, Emile Hirsch, Asa Butterfield, and Hailee Steinfeld.

 

Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson

letmetellyouAuthor Shirley Jackson, who scared at least one generation (mine) of schoolchildren with her short story, The Lottery, died at the age of 48 in 1965, after publishing six novels, two memoirs, several children's books, and a collection of stories. After her death, two more books of her stories came out, and her children released another collection in 1996. Now, once again, Jackson is on the literary radar with the publication this week of a new anthology of stories, essays, sketches, and anecdotes. While Jackson is known best as a gothic/horror writer due to her novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, (and The Lottery), one of her biographers, Ruth Franklin, says that most of Jackson's work falls outside those categories, especially her family memoirs, which are hilarious accounts of raising children in a small town in Vermont. The new anthology contains a sampling of all the facets of Jackson's work, from domestic humor "to complete and genuinely unsettling tales, somewhat alarming and very creepy," according to reviewer Paul Theroux in The New York Times Book Review. Theroux goes on to say that while not all of the material in the anthology is Jackson's best, "the assortment is large enough to contain much that is satisfying."

 

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Yes, its August but there's still plenty of time.                                           

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 10.

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.

amongthetenthousandLooking for a good book? The Huffington Post has a list of 13 Books
From 2015 That You Should Read ASAP
. girlyouleftbehind

If that's a little too pushy for you, NPR is celebrating its Summer of Love with a booklist called Happily Ever After: 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances.

And Time Magazine just posted  a list entitled, Here Are the Best Books of 2015 So Far.

To every reader, his or her book. For every book, its reader.

 

Now Playing: The End of the Tour

infjest2This is the movie adaptation of a series of interviews granted by the late author David Foster Wallace while touring in support of his 1996 novel, Infinite Jest, a 1000-page somewhat autobiographical epic about tennis school and drug rehab. Wallace was notoriously media-shy and some, including his widow, say that he would never have approved this movie. Jason Segel stars as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg stars as journalist David Lipsky, who wrote a book based on the interviews, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace. Wallace's writing has been described as "brilliant" with "baroque subplots, zany political satire, morbid, cerebral humor and (an) astonishing range of cultural references," (Publishers Weekly), and his work has a passionate cult following. The publisher's description of Infinite Jest calls it "A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the pursuit of happiness in America...Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human..." Advance reviews of the movie and Segel's performance are glowing, so Wallace devotees may have nothing to worry about after all.

 

 

manblonglist

 

 2015 Man Booker Prize Longlist

This morning, July 29, the longlist of 13 titles nominated for the Man Booker Prize was released. Due to a rules change two 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. Last year four American authors were included, this year 5 books written by American authors are in contention. The prize shortlist will be announced on September 15, and the winner announced on October 13.

American Authors on the Longlist:            manbooker

Bill Clegg - Did You Ever Have a Family  (not published yet)

Laila Lalami - The Moor's Account

Marilynne Robinson - Lila

Anne Tyler - A Spool of Blue Thread

Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life  

 

So many literary prizes - do they matter? As author Cynthia Ozick put it in an op-ed piece about the Orange Prize (now the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction) in the New York Times, "For readers and writers, in sum, the more prizes the better, however they are structured, and philosophy be damned."

 

2015 Romance Writers of America (RITA) Awards

On July 25, the Romance Writers of America, the trade association for aspiring and published romance fiction authors, announced the winners of the 2015 RITA Awards. Named after Rita Clay Estrada, the first president of the RWA, the awards are given each year to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding romance novels and novellas published in the prior year. Winners are named in several different categories and presented with a golden statuette.

Among the 2015 Winners: 

                                                                                                                                                 

romancingtheduke

babyitsyou      Contemporary Romance:  Baby It's You by Jane Graves      

      Historical Romance, Short:  Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

      Inspirational Romance:  Deceived by Irene Hannon

      Romantic Suspense:  Concealed in Death by J. D . Robb

 

 

 

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July is almost over and the hot, hazy, lazy days of August are in sight. Time to kick back and do some summer reading. Grab/print your Bingo sheet or sign up online to create your account to start reading now for fun and prizes. PDL's Adult Summer Reading program runs till August 10, so there's plenty of time to earn prizes like Penn Theatre tickets and Plymouth gift certificates.

Consider a few summer reads reviewed by Eliza Kennedy of The New York Times. Definitely books for August!

The Shortlist: Summer
Fiction.

Her comments below:

howtobeagrownup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus -"Rory is a modern damsel in distress who doesn’t wait for a prince to rescue her, but pulls on her boots and strides out to slay the dragon herself."
(by the authors of The Nanny Diaries)

Local Girls by Caroline Zancan - "Above all, she illuminates the joys and peculiar intimacies of female friendship by showing us one close to its end."

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes by Jules Moulin-"The pacing is effortless, the dialogue witty and slyly sexy....From first to last, this book will charm you."

Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell - "Bushnell is an indefatigable generator of breezy, entertaining books about flawed but fabulous women." (Remember Sex and the City?)

 

E. L. Doctorow (1931-2015)

ragtimeE.L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow, author of historical fiction that Doctorow2-1placed each novel's characters in real historical circumstances with recognizable  historical figures, has passed away from the complications of lung cancer. Best known for his fiction including Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, The Waterworks, Homer and Langley, and The March, Doctorow was also well regarded for his imagination and versatility; he wrote novels, short fiction, literary and political commentary, and a stage play. In his obituary in the New York Times, Bruce Weber describes Doctorow's many writing styles: "he consistently upended expectations with a cocktail of fiction and fact, remixed in book after book; with clever and substantive manipulations of popular genres like the Western and the detective march51zT3CBz5LL  SY344 BO1204203200 story; and with his myriad storytelling strategies. Deploying, in different books, the unreliable narrator, the stream-of-consciousness narrator, the omniscient narrator and multiple narrators, Mr. Doctorow was one of contemporary fiction’s most restless experimenters." He received numerous awards for his fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize for The March, a book about the Civil War and Sherman's march through Georgia. Several of his books were made into movies: Welcome to Hard Times, Ragtime, Book of Daniel, and Billy Bathgate, and Ragtime was also produced as a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Doctorow grew up in New York in a family that appreciated music and literature, he was named for Edgar Allan Poe, one of his father's favorite writers.

 

Charlie Martz and Other Stories by Elmore Leonard

charliemartzMaster of crime fiction and famous Detroiter Elmore Leonard may have passed away almost two years ago, but readers can find new stories to enjoy in this collection recently published by HarperCollins. The fifteen previously unpublished stories date to Leonard's early writing days, in the 1950's, while he was employed as a copywriter at a Detroit ad agency. Marked by his unmistakable humor and grit, the stories in this collection reveal a writer in transition. In these tales Leonard explores new voices and locations, from the bars of small border towns in New Mexico to the seedy clubs of Detroit, from a film set in Hollywood to a hotel in Southern Spain, and even to a military base in Kuala Lumpur and a small town in Mississippi during the Civil War. Elmore Leonard was recognized as one of the greatest crime writers of all time, the author of dozens of bestselling books (Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Raylan, 3:10 to Yuma) as well as a master of short fiction. A superb stylist whose crisp, tight prose crackles with trademark wit and sharp dialogue, Leonard remains the standard for popular fiction and a literary model for writers of every genre.

 

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

gosetawatchman2For the past week the drama and revelations about the release of Harper Lee's new/old novel, Go Set a Watchman, have set the literary world and reading public abuzz. Is the book any good? Is the beloved character Atticus really a racist? How do we reconcile this story with her legendary classic, To Kill A Mockingbird? Do more manuscripts exist, as hinted by Lee's lawyer? Did Lee really approve the publication and why? The early reviews are mixed but respectful, some suggesting that Go Set A Watchman creates a more nuanced, realistic Atticus in place of the saintly man we so revere. In an opinion piece in the New York Times Sunday Review, titled "Our Racial Moment of Truth," Isabel Wilkerson writes, "Coming to terms with Atticus Finch as Harper Lee originally imagined him to be means confronting what the country wishes to believe it stands for." A lot of weight for one book to carry.

Decide for yourself; the Library owns over 40 copies in various formats for your perusal.

 

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On vacation? Finally reading for fun?

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 10.                  hero

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.

Hold Out For a Hero!

 

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

strain2Season two of the FX Channel adaptation of the sci fi/horror trilogy, The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan began Sunday night. The CDC's Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of vampire hunters are now headquartered in a Brooklyn lab as they work to create a biological weapon to wipe out the creatures preying on the inhabitants of New York City. As readers of the books, The Strain, The Fall, and The Night Eternal, know -  this will not be quick or easy. The books have been described as  "fast-paced," "action-packed," "fun and scary,"  and "highly recommended for thriller and horror fans." (Library Journal) As Kirkus Reviews puts it, "The series stands out from the recent spate of vampire-themed entertainment thanks to its semi-scientific premise, convincing characters and wealth of almost cinematically vivid scenes of terror...an intelligent, utterly chilling horror trilogy." These are not your Twilight vampires!

 

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ThrillerFest X                                               

The International Thriller Writers held their annual conference in New York last weekend to celebrate thriller books, the authors who write them and the fans who read them. Dubbed "Thrillerfest X",  the 10th conference ran from July 7-11, with author panels, speeches, and presentations. Among the attendees were this year's ThrillerMaster Nelson DeMille, along with 2015 Spotlight Guests Mark Billingham, Charlaine Harris, and Greg Iles. During the Banquet on Saturday night, the winners of the coveted Thriller Awards were announced. These awards are given each year for the best thriller books in hardcover, paperback original, first novel, and other categories.

Among the 2015 Winners:

Best Hardcover Novel: The Fever by Megan Abbott

feverThe panic unleashed by a mysterious epidemic threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community. The close-knit Nash family, with two well-liked teens, is stunned when the daughter's friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security. A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire.

 

 

Best First Novel: The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

weightofbloodThe town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains where folks still whisper about Lucy Dane's mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy is haunted by the loss and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri's death. What Lucy discovers is a horrific secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills. The March 2014 LibraryReads Favorite.

 

August 2015 LibraryReads List

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

library reads logo websiteThis monthly list is created by librarians and library staff to help connect readers to new books and authors. An online community of librarians vote each month on their favorite new books and the results are tallied. "The list is a straightforward calculation: whichever ten books get the most nominations go onto the monthly list. The book with the most nominations becomes the #1 Pick. It’s as simple as that." The list is not meant to be a "best" list - just a list of collective favorites - books librarians loved and want to share.

 

 

#1 for August 2015:

Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb

bestboySent to a "therapeutic community" for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the "Old Fox" of Payton Living Center. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel "normal" again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return "home" to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget. "A deeply moving portrait of a kind and gentle soul. Recommended for all readers." (Library Journal)

 

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

gosetawatchmanThe publishing world is swooning, the commenters are commenting, the critics are criticizing: Go Set a Watchman will be released on Tuesday. Savvy readers already know about a few plot points, some of which are quite surprising, courtesy of an excerpt printed in the Wall Street Journal and reviews already printed in The New York Times and USA Today. Suffice it to say, that reviews are mixed, and some readers are puzzled, while many are miffed. The effect of this book on Harper Lee's literary legacy will be debated for quite some time.

 

New Book Club Kits

BookClubKitLooking for your next book club selection?

New 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:

astronautwivesThe Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy and  appeared on the cover of Life magazine,  Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship over coffee and cocktails. The true story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history is now an ABC TV series.



leavingtimeLeaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Alice Metcalf was a devoted mother, loving wife, and accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. Yet it's been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life. All signs point to abandonment . . . or worse. Still Jenna--now thirteen years old and truly orphaned by a father maddened by grief--steadfastly refuses to believe in her mother's desertion. So she decides to approach the two people who might still be able to help her find Alice: a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother's disappearance and the death of one of her mother's co-workers. Together these three lonely souls will discover truths destined to forever change their lives.

 

redeploymentRedeployment by Phi Klay
Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, Klay’s short story collection vividly describes the experiences of American soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and the lives that await them when they return home. Klay, a veteran himself, explores the combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming. The twelve stories take readers to the frontlines of the wars, asking us to understand what happened there, as the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. Redeployment has become a classic in the tradition of war writing, offering insights into the true human cost of war.

 

evanced web header adult 

We've celebrated Independence Day with picnics and fireworks, so we know that summer is in full swing. Time to kick back and do some summer reading. Grab/print your Bingo sheet or sign up online to create your account to start reading now for fun and prizes. PDL's Adult Summer Reading program runs till August 10, so there's plenty of time to earn prizes like Penn Theatre tickets and Plymouth gift certificates.

herIf you're looking for a good book, consider this list, "23 Books We've Loved So Far This Year," compiled by the Washington Post's Book World editors. Among the favorites: 
Her by Harriet Lane, a "brilliant" psychological thriller about two women, one with an agenda, who meet and become friends despite their differences. Lonely and isolated, Emily eagerly invites sophisticated Nina into her life. But what does Nina see in Emily? And what does she want? "As Nina insinuates herself deeper into Emma’s life, the reader’s anxiety is compounded by the likelihood that all this nastiness is payback for some wrong that Emma did to Nina a long time ago — but what?"  MIght be a title to try if you're still waiting for The Girl on the Train.

 

2015 Christy Awards

The Christy Awards, named after the novel, Christy, by Christian author Catherine Marshall,  have honored excellence in Christian fiction since 1999 when a group of Christian publishers established the awards to promote the genre. The Christy Award is designed to "nuture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from  a Christian worldview." Each year the 27 participating publishers submit novels published in the preceding year for consideration in multiple categories. An independent review committee, comprised of librarians, reviewers, and critics, reads and evaluates the nominees based on a ten-point list of criteria. The 2015 winners were announced on June 29.

thiefofglory2015 Winners:

Book of the Year: Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

Contempory Novel: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Historical Novel: The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

Suspense Novel: The Color of Justice by Ace Collins

Historical Romance Novel: Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

 

 

locusawards2015

2015 Locus Awards

Speaking of awards, the Locus Science Fiction Foundation announced the winners of the 2015 Locus Awards on June 27, during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle. The awards are presented in numerous categories to the winners of an annual readers' poll 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.

Some of the Winners:

Science Fiction Novel : Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Fantasy Novel: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

First Novel: The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert

Novelette: Tough Times All Over by Joe Abercrombie

Anthology: Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois

Collection : Last Plane to Heaven Jay Lake

© 2015 by Locus Publications.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Doerr's bestselling novel (59 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List) has already allthelightwon the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for literature, along with glowing reviews and many other literary accolades. This weekend at the American Library Association's annual conference, All the Light We Cannot See was announced as the winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Ficton. The Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction was established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction written for adult readers and published in the U.S. during the previous year. Winning authors, who receive a $5,000 cash award, are picked by library professionals. Set in occupied France during World War II, the novel is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide as both try to survive the devastation of of the war. The other finalists for the award were Nora Webster by Colm Toibin and On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee.

 

James Patterson's Zoo

zooOn June 30, CBS is will begin broadcasting a 13-episode series based on the James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge stand-alone novel, Zoo, about a wave of violent animal attacks on humans across the globe. The main character, Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear. With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. Patterson is apparently quite happy with the TV adaptation, stating in a press conference, "People always say the book is always better than the movie,"... "In this case, I think the series is going to be better than the book."

 

Hold Out for a Hero!

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Adult Summer Reading 2015

    Started your summer reading yet? The calendar says that summer arrived on June 21, so there's no reason to wait. Grab/print your Bingo sheet or sign up online to create your account to start reading for fun and prizes. The Adult Summer Reading program runs till August 10, so there's lots of time left to earn gift certificates and Penn Theatre tickets. Your friends and neighbors are doing it - why should they have all the fun?

James Salter (1925-2015)

allthatisCritically acclaimed author James Salter died on Friday, June 19 at SalterProfilethe age of 90. While well known and regarded in the literary world, Salter was not a commercially popular writer; his novels and short stories inspired a small, but devoted, audience of other writers and college students. Reviewers uniformly praised Salter's beautiful, exacting prose. Michael Dirda of the Washington Post once noted that “he can, when he wants, break your heart with a sentence.” Salter's most recent novel, All That Is, about a publishing executive in post-war Manhattan, was published to positive reviews in 2013 and spent a week on the New York Times Bestseller List. Salter received numerous awards throughout his career, most recently in 2013, when he was awarded one of the first Windham Campbell Prizes, a literary honor given by Yale worth $150,000.

 

Poldark on PBS

poldarkWinston Graham's grand, romantic saga of Cornwall, England in demelzathe late 18th and early 19th centuries comes back to television in a new version originally broadcast by the BBC in March and presented this weekend (June 21) on PBS. Based on Graham's twelve novels, each subtitled "A Novel of Cornwall," Poldark tells the story of Captain Ross Poldark, a British veteran of the American Revolutionary War who returns to his home to find his father has died and his family estate and mines are in ruins. Worse yet, the girl he loves is now engaged to his cousin. Set on the wild and windswept Cornish peninsula, the novels cover a span of over 30 years in the lives of Ross, his family, friends, lovers, and foes, as they  love, betray, feud, smuggle, excavate, duel, marry, and reproduce while their fortunes are won and lost. The first TV adaptation of the novels aired in 1975, starring Robin Ellis, and was an early major hit for the BBC and PBS. This new version stars Aidan Turner, perhaps best known as Kili, the only good-looking dwarf in Peter Jackson's Hobbit films.

 

July 2015 LibraryReads List

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

library reads logo websiteThis monthly list is created by librarians and library staff to help connect readers to new books and authors. An online community of librarians vote each month on their favorite new books and the results are tallied. "The list is a straightforward calculation: whichever ten books get the most nominations go onto the monthly list. The book with the most nominations becomes the #1 Pick. It’s as simple as that." The list is not meant to be a "best" list - just a list of collective favorites - books librarians loved and want to share.

 

 

#1 for July 2015:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

KitchensblogWhen Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter--starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva's journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club. Each chapter, told from a different person's viewpoint, presents a different phase in Eva's life and a different facet of her personality: her childhood, her teenage years, her young adult career struggles, and her eventual success. "Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." (Library Journal)

 

Harper Lee vs. E.L. James

gosetawatchman2A recent Publishers Weekly article noted that Harper Lee's Grey-110x150long-lost, newly-discovered book, Go Set a Watchman - the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most beloved American novels of the 20th century - seemed destined to be the best-selling book of the summer. Then, two weeks ago, E.L. James of Fifty Shades of Grey fame announced that she was releasing a new book, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian. Both books will now vie for the title of "Summer's Biggest Book." Grey will be available first, on June 18, and Go Set a Watchman is due on July 14. Each is getting a huge first printing: Grey at 1.25 million copies and Watchman at 2 million copies. So which book will emerge from the cage victorious - the literary heavyweight or the hugely popular lightweight? Based on the holds placed on both books in the Library catalog, Watchman, with 66, is delivering the smackdown on Grey's 15. No worries, we've ordered multiple copies of each!

 

 PEN Prize for Debut Fiction

dogAuthor Jack Livings recently won the PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction for his story collection, The Dog. Livings' stories, set in contemporary China, illustrate the vast societal changes wrought by China's rush to modernize its economy and culture even as its history and ideology maintain a strong hold on its people. "Livings is one recent program (Iowa Writers Workshop) graduate whose first collection of short fiction, with its tales of volatile protagonists struggling to survive in contemporary China, should attract widespread attention and praise from literary critics....For Western audiences, any unfamiliarity with the Chinese locales and culture is quickly eased by Livings' imaginative yet realistic scenarios and vividly drawn characters. A brilliant and promising debut." (BooklistPEN America, a literary and human rights organization founded in 1922 to advance literature and defend free expression, honors outstanding writing each year in many categories including fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and translation.


2014 Nebula Awards

On June 6, The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America announced annihilationthe winners of the 2014 Nebula Awards. Since 1965, the Nebula Awards have been given each year for the best novel, novella, novelette, and short story written in the science fiction and fantasy genres.
Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation, the first in a trilogy, won the award for Best Novel.
Annihilation, set in the near-future, imagines  Area X, a region cut off from human occupation and reclaimed by nature. Several expeditions that journeyed there ended in catastrophe; now another group, made up of four women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and a biologist, is set to go. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. "...this short work packs a big punch, as the author has rare skills for building tension and making the reader feel the claustrophobic dread of his characters. Readers will be unsettled, intrigued, and eager for the next volume in this new trilogy." (Library Journal)

 

MInotablebooks    PDL Invites Book Lovers
to Meet Author
Lolita Hernandez

     THURSDAY, JUNE 25 at 7PM

hernandezMichigan Notable Author, Lolita Hernandez, is visiting our community as part of the Library of Michigan’s 2015 Michigan Notable Books author tour. Every year, the Michigan Notable Books program celebrates 20 outstanding fiction and nonfiction books written about Michigan or by a Michigan author and published the previous calendar year.

In her story collection, Making Callaloo in Detroit, Making-Callaloo 478710 7Ms. Herandez weaves her memories of food, music, and family into twelve stories about growing up in Detroit with Caribbean roots, among a hidden community that dances to calypso and makes callaloo in their kitchens. Ms. Hernandez is also the author of Autopsy of an Engine and Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant. After 33 years as a UAW worker at GM, she now teaches in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Michigan.

 (Medallion:  Copyright the Library of Michigan, 2015)

 

 

inner circleEveryone's Reading The Inner Circle

Brad Meltzer, author of the thriller The Inner Circle, first of the Culper Ring Series, will speak about his books, graphic novels and History Channel (H2) TV show at two events on June 22. Tickets are still available for these Meet the Author events - stop by the Help Desk on the Main Level. Mr Meltzer will speak at at 2pm at the Rochester Church of Christ  and at 7pm at The Jewish Community Center -  Handleman Hall, West  Bloomfield. 

Discover some of the best kept secrets of the United States Presidency!

 

 

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

On June 13, BBC America will broadcast a seven-part mini-series based on Susanna jonathanstrangeClarke's epic tale of magic and magicians set in 1800's England during the wars with Napoleon. As the story begins, it's been centuries since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. However, scholars discover that one remains — the reclusive and skillful Mr Norrell.  His displays of magic soon thrill the nation. But soon the cautious and fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrell. As a dangerous battle ensues between the two great men, their obsessions and secret dabbling with the dark arts will cause more trouble than they can imagine. Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel star as the warring magicians. Clarke's book was a hit when published in 2004, despite its length, with many fervent supporters, like authors Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere) and Gregory Maguire (Wicked), who referred to it as "Hogwarts for Grown-ups."

 

How To Be Both wins the 2015 Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction

howtobeBothOn June 3, the judges' committee for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction, formerly known as the Orange Prize, which celebrates excellence in women's writing from around the world, named British novelist Ali Smith the winner for her novel, How to Be Both. Smith is the author of several novels, including The Accidental which won the Whitbread Novel Award. How To Be Both, which garnered positive reviews, has an unusual narrative structure, telling parallel stories about a young woman in the 60's and the Renaissance painter whose work fascinates her. The press release on the Bailey's Women's Prize website describes the book as " Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance."

Another parallel: PDL's Books on Tap, which meets at the Liberty Street Brewing Company in Old Village, will be discussing this book on Thursday, June 18 at 7pm. Copies of the book are available at the checkout desk.

 

Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian

Grey-110x150Author E.L. James announced yesterday via social media that a new Fifty Shades of Grey novel will soon be released. Called Grey, it tells the Fifty Shades story from the perspective of Christian Grey, the billionaire hero with a taste for unconventional pleasures. The book will be published on June 18, so no one has to wait too long to satisfy their curiosity. In a statement posted on her site, James said, "...as anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows, there are two sides to every story." The Fifty Shades trilogy has sold millions of books and and inspired two movies, Fifty Shades of Grey , released on Valentine's Day 2015,  and a sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, which is due in 2017. (And yes, the Library will be ordering it as soon as possible.)

 

book-sunglasses-beach h528Like graduations and weddings, summer reading lists and recommendations pop up every year in June. 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, (including Janet Maslin's list,) Publishers Weekly,  The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly 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 Every Hero has a Story Bingo.)