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March is Women's History Month

NWHP-Logo-smallWomen's History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as "Women's History Week." In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women's History Project, Congress designated the month of March as "Women's History Month" in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women. Every year the National Women’s History Project selects a unifying theme to be shared with all who want to promote women’s history. This year's theme: Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives. 2015 is also the 35th anniversary of the Women’s History Movement and the National Women’s History Project.

(Historical content and image courtesy of the National Women's History Project and the Library of Congress.)

A few of the woven stories:

What is Visible by Kimberly Elkins
A vivid novel based on the astounding true-life story of Laura Bridgman, the first deaf and whatisvisibleblind person who learned language. At age two, Laura Bridgman lost four of her five senses to scarlet fever. At age seven, she was taken to Perkins Institute in Boston to determine if a child so terribly afflicted could be taught.  At age twenty, she was considered the nineteenth century's second most famous woman, having mastered language and charmed the world with her brilliance. With Laura-by turns mischievous, temperamental, and witty-as the book's primary narrator, the fascinating kaleidoscope of characters includes the founder of Perkins Institute, Samuel Gridley Howe, with whom she was in love; his wife, the glamorous Julia Ward Howe, a renowned writer, abolitionist, and suffragist; teacher Annie Sullivan; and even the young Helen Keller.


Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
vanessaandhersisterA captivating novel that offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Vanessa Bell, her sister Virginia Woolf, and the controversial and popular circle of intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group. London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London. But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa's constant attention and encouragement.  As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Chosen as an Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection, this novel is suggested by the true story of the inventionofwingsGrimke sisters, outspoken abolitionists and feminists of the early nineteenth century. Kidd’s account centers on the lives of the two sisters and the complicated relationship between the older sister, Sarah, and a young slave she receives as a gift on her 11th birthday. Told from both girls’ perspectives, the narration alternates as their unlikely friendship develops and changes as they grow from childhood to middle age. Both strive for freedom – Sarah from the constraints of patriarchy and bigotry and Hetty from the inhuman ordeals of slavery. Sarah longs to become a lawyer, a profession forbidden to her, and instead crusades with her sister for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery. Hetty remains behind and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy of insurrection, hoping for the wings that will set her free.


The Traitor's Wife: the Woman behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America by Allison Pataki
traitorswifeA riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America's most infamous act of treason. Everyone knows Benedict Arnold, the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British as history's most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold's co-conspirator, Major John André. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it. Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold's age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride's beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune.



Trending now...

whitesThe Whites by Harry Brandt (Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt)
Well-known author Richard Price, using the pseudonym Harry Brandt, intended to write a plot-driven, slick page-turner about cops and the cases that haunt them. Instead, according to the critics, he wrote a thoughtful, complex, intricate book about a New York City detective with a checkered past and a criminal who got away. Back in the turbulent days of the mid-1990s, when a young Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an aggressive anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a ten-year-old boy while struggling with an angel-dusted addict on a crowded street. Branded as a loose cannon, Billy spent years enduring one dead-end posting after another. But then a call about a stabbing victim with ties to an unsolved murder and connections to the former members of the Wild Geese, brings the bad old days back into Billy's life with dangerous consequences. "What is evident is that this is going to be a strong contender for best crime novel of 2015." (Booklist)


A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler                                                                      
The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, SpoolofBlueThread-201x300-201x300enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red's father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red's grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor. Tyler "continues to dazzle with this multigenerational saga, which glides back and forth in time with humor and heart and a pragmatic wisdom that comforts and instructs." (Library Journal)


holycowHoly Cow: a modern-day dairy tale by David Duchovny
Elsie Bovary is a cow, her long, lazy days are spent eating, napping, and chatting with her best friend, Mallory. One night, Elsie and Mallory sneak out of their pasture; but while Mallory is interested in flirting with the neighboring bulls, Elsie finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer's family gathered around a bright Box God, from which Elsie learns about something called an "industrial meat farm." Understanding her ultimate fate, she is determined to escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie, Jerry, a cranky, Torah-reading pig, and Tom the turkey. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport. The book is currently #16 on the NYT Best Seller list; the Inside the List column notes, "But beneath the goofy plot, which The Huffington Post described, not wholly favorably, as “a mash-up between ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Chicken Run,’ ” (actor) Duchovny is thinking seriously about environmentalism and animal rights."


The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery
Mallery's newest is the story of three friends on the brink of a new lives. Nicole Lord
wants to be a good girlsofmischiefbaywife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became a VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late-until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all. And although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again. Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.



The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

buriedgiantA new book by Kazuo Ishiguro is always a treat for his fans, and the literary world in general, but his latest novel, The Buried Giant, due out in March, is causing more of a stir than usual. As the New York Times noted in a recent article, Ishiguro's new book is written in a genre not usually associated with the author: fantasy. And not just near-future, slightly dystopian fantasy, but full-out mythic Arthurian fantasy, with dragons, pixies, and ogres. Comparisons are made to J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. ( Ishiguro will need more initials.) As NYT's Alexandra Alter writes, "Though it tackles many of Mr. Ishiguro’s hallmark themes — memory and how it fades and gets suppressed and distorted, and our inability to fully face the past — “The Buried Giant” signals a stark departure from his spare, emotionally understated novels like “The Remains of the Day,” and “Never Let Me Go,” an eerie and melancholy dystopian love story."  Other authors, like David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) are enthusiastic, hoping that Ishiguro's literary reputation will "de-stigmatize" fantasy and confer a little more respect on the genre.


Happy New Year - Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram

yearofthegoatThe Chinese year 4713, the Year of the Goat/ Sheep/Ram, begins on Thursday, February 19. In China, where the New Year's observance is the most important of the holidays, people may take weeks from work to prepare for it and celebrate. There are parties, family visits, dragon dances, red decorations everywhere, and, of course, fireworks. Each year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Those born in a year of the Goat are said to be shy, gentle, stable, sympathetic, creative, honest, and brimming with a strong sense of justice.

 Greet the New Year by reading about China, past and present.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of Shanghai's most exclusive courtesan house. But valleyofamazementwhen the Ching dynasty is overturned in 1912, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West--until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion. Spanning more than forty years and two continents, the novel transports readers from the collapse of China's last imperial dynasty to the beginning of the Republic and recaptures the lost world of old Shanghai through the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreigners living in the International Settlement, both later erased by World War II. An evocative narrative of the profound connections between mothers and daughters, filled with insight and humor.


frogFrog by Mo Yan
Yan's first new novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012 chronicles the sweeping history of modern China through the lens of the nation's controversial one- child policy. Frog opens with a playwright nicknamed Tadpole who plans to write about his aunt. In her youth, Gugu-the beautiful daughter of a famous doctor and staunch Communist-is revered for her skill as a midwife. But when her lover defects, Gugu's own loyalty to the Party is questioned. She decides to prove her allegiance by strictly enforcing the one-child policy, keeping tabs on the number of children in the village, and performing abortions on women as many as eight months pregnant. In sharply personal prose, Mo Yan depicts a world of desperate families, illegal surrogates, forced abortions, and the guilt of those who must enforce the policy. At once illuminating and devastating, it shines a light into the heart of communist China.


The Ten Thousand Things by John Spurling
In the turbulent final years of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Wang Meng is a low-level bureaucrat,
employed by the tenthousandthingsgovernment of Mongol conquerors established by the Kublai Khan. Though he wonders about his own complicity with this regime, he prefers not to dwell on his official duties, choosing instead to live the life of the mind. Wang is an extraordinarily gifted artist unable to stay in one place. In his wanderings, he encounters, among many memorable characters, other master painters of the period, including the austere eccentric Ni Zan, a fierce female warrior known as the White Tigress who will recruit him as a military strategist, and an ugly young Buddhist monk who rises from beggary to extraordinary heights. "This is mostly a quiet novel, but a rich one. As one general ascends to power and the Ming dynasty is born, Wang seeks to act honorably and rationally in times of prosperity and disaster, in states of loneliness and companionship, with parents, wife, and servants alike. Readers will feel lucky to watch his journey and share his thoughts." (Booklist)


greatzooofchinaThe Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly
It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have proven the existence of dragons - a landmark discovery no one could ever believe is real, and a scientific revelation that will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing findings within the greatest zoo ever constructed. A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see these fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr. Cassandra Jane "CJ" Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles. The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that the dragons are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong.
Of course it can't... "Sure, this sounds a lot like Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (1990), but let's just say Reilly is tapping into a literary theme, and move on. Taken on its own merits, the book delivers the usual Reilly goods: plenty of action, a variety of interesting characters, and some villains we can't wait to see get what's coming to them." (Booklist)


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

The Michigan Humanities Council has announced the title of the fifth Great Michigan Read -  Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. 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.

stationelevenJan Fedewa, MHC Interim Executive Director, commented, "Station Eleven is a departure from the non-fiction selections of the past several years," since it "tells 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." 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 will be announced at a later date.


March 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 March 2015:
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

LoveSong-queenieFrom the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes an exquisite love story about Queenie Hennessy, the remarkable friend who inspired Harold's cross-country journey. This poignant parallel story to Harold's saga brings Queenie Hennessy's voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, one word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths--about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea. And, finally, the devastating secret she has kept from Harold for all these years. A wise, tender, layered novel with tremendous emotional force, this novel underscores the resilience of the human spirit.


                              'Tis Valentine's Day!
 doubleheartsGet your heart racing with a love story.


The Love Book by Nina Solomon                                     lovebook
It all starts when four unsuspecting women on a singles' bike trip through Normandy discover a mysterious red book about love. But did they discover it - or did the book bring them together?  The four women - Emily, Beatrice, Max, and Cathy - are each nudged, cajoled, inspired - perhaps "guided" -despite themselves, to discover love, fulfillment, and the true nature of what being a soul mate really means.

crazyloveyouCrazy Love You by Lisa Unger
Darkness has a way of creeping up when Ian is with Priss. Even when they were kids, he could feel it. Still, Priss was his best friend, his salvation from the bullies and his family's deadly secrets. Now that they've both escaped to New York City, Ian is a talented and successful graphic novelist, and Priss...Priss is still trouble. Especially now that he's met sweet, beautiful Megan, whose love makes him want to change for the better. But Priss doesn't like change. Change makes her angry. And when Priss is angry, terrible things begin to happen...


Must Love Dukes by Elizabeth Michaels                                                            mustlovedukes
Lillian Phillips could not imagine how her quiet, simple life had come to this. Blackmailed by the Mad Duke of Thornwood into accepting one wild dare after another... all because of a pocket watch. Desperate to recover her beloved father's pawned timepiece, Lily did something reckless and dangerous and delicious - something that led to a night she'd never forget. And  Devon Grey, Duke of Thornwood, while robbed of his watch, finds Lillian such a mesmerizing, intoxicating woman that exacting his revenge on her is a pleasure.


strangloveStrange Love: Stories by Lisa Lenzo
The nine stories center on Annie Zito, a smart-but-not-always-wise divorced mother, and Marly, her strong yet vulnerable daughter, as they seek and stumble upon an odd cast of boys and men. All the stories are linked and alternate between mother and daughter; and while each tale stands alone, together they make up a larger whole. The first story begins when Annie is thirty-one years old and Marly is eight and they live in a tiny apartment overlooking a marsh near Lake Michigan, and the last story ends a decade and a half later with both women on the cusp of new adventures.


Suddenly, Love by Aharon Apelfeld                                                               suddenlylove
Ernst is a gruff seventy-year-old Red Army veteran from Ukraine who landed, almost by accident, in Israel after World War II. A retired investment adviser, he lives alone and spends his time laboring over his unpublished novels. Irena, in her mid-thirties, is the unmarried daughter of Holocaust survivors who has been taking care of Ernst since his surgery two years earlier. As the months pass, Ernst comes to depend on the gentle young woman who runs his house, listens to him read from his work, and occasionally offers a spirited commentary on it. As she becomes an increasingly important part of his life he  discovers, to his amazement, that Irena is in love with him. And, even more astonishing, he realizes that he is in love with her, too.


oprahbookRuby by Cynthia Bond

Oprah Winfrey has announced the newest selection for her Oprah 2.0 Book Club:
a debut rubynovel by Cynthia Bond which was published in April 2014. Ruby is the story of a beautiful young girl who flees from the suffering she endured in her small African American town in Texas and heads for the bright lights of 1950's New York. Years later, when a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood as she wanders the streets of the town filthy and barefoot, a social outcast.  Ephram Jennings, a childhood friend still in love with Ruby, decides to reach out to her, angering the rest of the community. Flashbacks fill in the details of Ruby's life and the choices that made her the woman she's become. "Ruby's story is truly that of a people and a place, outlined lyrically and honestly, even when the most brutal events unfold. ... this book exhibits a dark and redemptive beauty. Bond's prose is evocative of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, paying homage to the greats of Southern gothic literature." (Library Journal)


Now (or soon) playing:

humblingThe Humbling by Philip Roth
In limited release, the film stars Al Pacino as an aging actor who was once the leading stage presence of his generation but who has since lost his confidence and his audience. His wife has gone, he suffers from dementia, and his agent can't persuade him to make a comeback. In an attempt to renew his passion he embarks upon an affair with the young lesbian daughter of a friend who has always had a crush on him, much to the consternation of all those around him. Roth's rueful novella "observes much (about age, success and the sexual credit lovers hold one with another) in little space, and the svelte narrative amounts to an unsparing confrontation of self." (Publishers Weekly)


slapThe Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Australian author Tsiolkas' book has been adapted as an eight episode NBC mini-series starting on February 12 and starring Uma Thurman, Zachary Quinto, and Peter Sarsgaard. This is Tsiolkas' first book to be published in the U.S. In blunt language, it tells the tale of a suburban barbecue gone wrong when a man slaps the unruly child of one of the host's friends. This incident pits families and friends against each other as the child's parents sue. Told from the various viewpoints of the people present, the novel explores a slew of issues, including suburban life, parenting, infidelity, homophobia, and multiculturalism. "Tsiolkas' in-your-face style is sure to alienate some readers...but his novel...fairly radiates with vitality as it depicts the messy complications of family life." (Booklist)

concreteblondeBoschThe Concrete Blonde and City of Bones by Michael Connelly
This Amazon Studios production, presented on Amazon Prime, debuts on February 13 with Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch, the LAPD police detective protagonist of Connolly's 19-book series. Bosch, an idiosyncratic loner, is on trial for the fatal shooting of a suspected serial killer when a note directs the police to a similar crime and corpse, a blonde buried in concrete  who was murdered after Bosch killed the suspect. Did Bosch, as the suspect's family has claimed, kill the wrong man? Connelly named his hard-nosed anti-hero after Hieronymus Bosch, the 15th-century Dutch artist whose grotesque depictions of sinners suffering in hell reminded him of the tawdry underside of L.A.'s physical beauty.


fiftyshadesgreyFifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
The wait is almost over! Due to be released over Valentine's weekend, the film, starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, has already garnered huge advance ticket sales, outpacing several major hits. It's based on the extremely popular erotic novel by E.L. James about a young and naive girl who is introduced to carnal pleasure by a handsome, enigmatic billionaire. The books, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed were/are a publishing phenomenon, selling over 100 million copies and vaulting first-time novelist James into literary history. In 2012, Time magazine named her one of "The World's 100 Most Influential People." It's not just moviegoers who are hotly anticipating the film - according to an article in the New York Times, manufacturers and sellers of certain accessories are creating tie-in products, hoping to cash in on the movie's success.

someoneknowsmynameThe Book of Negroes - Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
Based on the award-winning novel (variously titled The Book of Negroes, Aminata, and Someone Knows My Name) by Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes tells the story of slave Aminata Diallo after her capture as part of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade around the time of the American Revolution. The TV mini-series has already been aired on Canadian television and will debut in the U.S. on BET on February 16. The title is derived from the historical document which records names and descriptions of 3,000 African-American slaves who escaped to the British lines during the American Revolution and were evacuated by the British to Nova Scotia as freedmen. After her arrival in Nova Scotia, Aminata successfully petitions British abolitionists to organize passage to Africa for 1,200 former slaves – a final voyage that will reunite her with her homeland. The series stars Aunjanue Ellis, Cuba Gooding Jr., Louis Gossett Jr., and Jane Alexander.


A new novel by Harper Lee

Harper Lee, famous author of the beloved classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, who hasn't tokillamockingbirdpublished anything else in over 50 years, will release a new novel in July 2015. Its a sequel of sorts, although it was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, about the adult Scout returning to her small town in Alabama to visit her father, Atticus. Titled Go Set A Watchman, the story takes place about 20 years after the Depression-era events of To Kill a Mockingbird, amid the racial tensions of the 50's. The Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird is considered an American masterpiece and has sold and continues to sell millions of copies. Lee withdrew from public life decades ago, rarely granting interviews. Her publisher will print two million copies of the new book, anticipating a huge pent-up demand.


rusareadinglistOutstanding Genre Fiction

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

The 2015 selections are:

goblinemperorAdrenaline - Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Fantasy - The Goblin Emperor by Katerine Addison

Historical Fiction - Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Horror - The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

Mystery - Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (also nominated for an Edgar Award)

Romance - A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Science Fiction - The Martian by Andy Weir

Women’s Fiction - My Real Children by Jo Walton


Colleen McCullough (1937-2015)

thornbirdsThe frequently outspoken Australian author, Colleen McCullough, bittersweetdied last week at her home on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. Although she wrote more than 20 books in several genres, she was most famous for her best-selling multi-generational novel, The Thorn Birds, set on a vast sheep ranch in Australia, which became an international hit and a successful televsion mini-series in the 70's. (She wasn't fond of the TV adaptation, it was "instant vomit.") McCullough was born in Wellington, New South Wales in 1937, where she endured an unhappy childhood, and trained in neurophysiology, ultimately accepting a job as a neuro-physiological research assistant at the Yale School of Medicine. She began writing as a source for extra income.  The Thorn Birds, her second novel, which sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, took care of that. McCullough continued to write, publishing mysteries, historical fiction, essays, and a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but none sold as well as The Thorn Birds. Her last book, Bittersweet, about the lives and loves of four sisters in Depression-era Australia, was released in 2014.


February is African American History Month

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

Explore the African American experience in these books:

best of simpleThe Best of Simple by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, the Harlem Renaissance poet, novelist and activist, composed these stories about Jessie B. Semple as weekly columns which were later pubished in three  collections, Simple Speaks His Mind, Simple Takes a Wife, and Simple Stakes a Claim. This anthology contains the author's favorites which depict Semple as an African American "everyman" whose experiences reflect the reality of life in post-war Harlem in the '40's and '50's. In a 1950 New York Times review of Simple Speaks His Mind, Charles Poore states, "Outwardly the book is a collection of entertaining Harlem conversations. Inwardly it is better than a dozen vast and weighty and piously pompous studies in race relations. You learn here at first hand what it really means to be a man of color in the land of the free and the home of the brave -- the tragic undertones of laughter."


godhelpthechild God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
Due to be published in April, this new novel from Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer winner Morrison explores childhood traumas complicated by race and their long-lasting impact on adult lives. A dark-skinned daughter whose light-skinned mother cannot love her, a white child who finds the comfort denied her by her own mother in the affection of a black woman, and a mother who finally understands that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget," are expertly woven together by Morrison's signature literary craftmanship. "This haunting novel displays a profound understanding of American culture and an unwavering sense of justice and forgiveness." (Publishers Weekly)


citizenscreekCitizens Creek by Lalita Tademy
Tademy, the author of Cane River, has written another evocative historical novel about a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars. Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Indians, settlers, and blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. When finally free, he struggles to build  a life for himself and his family on a cattle ranch despite the constant threats posed by white expansion in the west. "Tademy's work movingly sheds light on a complex and undertold chapter of American history. (Library Journal)


supremesatThe Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
This is a story of friendship among three women weathering the ups and downs of life in a small Midwestern town. When Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean meet as teenagers in the mid-sixties, the civil rights movement is moving along and so are their everyday lives. Their regular gathering place is Earl's All-You-Can-Eat diner, the first black-owned business in downtown Plainview, Indiana. Dubbed the Supremes by their friends, the inseparable trio is watched over by big-hearted Earl during their complicated high school days, and then every Sunday after church as they marry, and have children and grandchildren. Sitting at the same table for almost forty years, these best friends grow up, gossip, and face the world together. "The author uses warmhearted humor and salty language to bring to life a tight-knit African-American community that's complete with competing churches, wacky relations, a fortune-telling fraud, and the ghost of a drunken Eleanor Roosevelt." (Library Journal)



February 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 February 2015:
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler


The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red's father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red's grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.
"... (a) charming, funny, and shrewd novel of the paradoxes of self, family, and home." (Booklist)


edgarallanpoeThe 2015 Edgar Nominees   

On Wednesday, January 21, the Mystery Writers of America announced the finalists for the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, the premier award for the mystery/crime genre. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony in New York on April 29.



mrmercedesNominees for Best Novel:

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
Wolf by Mo Hayder
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
Coptown by Karin Slaughter



murderatthebrightNominees for Best First Novel:

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman
Invisible City by Julia Dahl
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver



natlbookcriticscircleNational Book Critics Circle Awards

Tuesday, the committee of judges for the National Book Critics Circle Awards announced the finalists for the best books of 2014 in several categories: fiction, non-fiction, biography, autobiography, criticism and poetry. The prizes are among the most prestigious American literary awards for books published in English in the U.S., and are judged by a panel of book critics and book review editors. The awards will be presented on March 12, 2015 in New York.


Finalists for Fiction:                    briefhistory

Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman                          
Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
Lily King, Euphoria
Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea
Marilynne Robinson, Lila



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

drivingmrkingBernice King writes that the 2015 national theme for the commemeration of the 30th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday urges us to remember, celebrate, and act to promote non-violence as a way of life in honor of her father. Reading could be one way to do this. There are many novels about the civil rights era in which Dr. King played such an important role. One recently published is Driving the King by Ravi Howard. Although the King of the title is singer Nat King Cole, not Dr. King, this novel, set in post World War II America, explores the racial tensions felt throughout the country as the early civil rights movement gained momentum.  When war hero Nat Weary heads to Los Angeles to work for his old friend, Nat King Cole, it is the promise of a new life removed from the violence and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama. While California is more progressive than the Deep South, Weary discovers there, too, that wealth, popularity, and talent cannot protect a black man from discrimination and hate. Drawn back to Montgomery by some unfinished business, Nat King Cole and Weary discover a city in the midst of change. A woman named Rosa Parks has inspired blacks to boycott the city's buses--a daring fight for dignity and rights that will eventually grip the entire nation. "Howard weaves historical events through this fictional retelling, using them as key plot points and context for Weary’s internal turmoil. The Montgomery bus boycott is central, and Howard also introduces readers to a young Martin Luther King Jr." (BookPage)


More PBS Masterpiece

runciePBS has added 20 more hours of programming as part of its Masterpiece series for 2015 - a 50% increase in British costume drama. In addition to the mega-hit Downton Abbey, several new shows are planned. “PBS and ‘Masterpiece’ are at the forefront of a global resurgence of quality drama,” said Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “‘Masterpiece’ has been the place for quality costume drama and intriguing mysteries for more than 40 years, so we are glad to bring viewers more of what they love to our schedule.”

The enlarged Masterpiece programming starts on January 18 with bringupthebodiesGrantchester, a six-part series based on the twistedswordmysteries of James Runcie, about a handsome young clergyman/sleuth in 1950's rural England. In April, the six-part TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel's prize-winning bestsellers, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, about the rise of commoner Thomas Cromwell in Tudor England, will air. Damian Lewis (Homeland) will star as Henry VIII.  Other Masterpiece programming includes a new version of a successful 70's series, Poldark, based on the historical novels by Winston Graham set in late 18th century Cornwall. It's enough to make an Anglophile swoon!


Now (or soon) playing:

worldmadestraightThe World Made Straight by Ron Rash
Travis Shelton is seventeen the summer he wanders onto a neighbor's property in the Appalachian woods, discovers a crop of marijuana large enough to make him some serious money, and steps into the jaws of a bear trap. After his rescue, Travis moves out of his parents' home to live with Leonard Shuler, a one-time schoolteacher. Leonard lives with his dogs and his sometime girlfriend in a run-down trailer outside town, deals a few drugs, and studies journals from the Civil War. Travis becomes his student, of sorts, and their fates become increasingly entwined with the community's Civil War past and its corrupt present. Jeremy Irvine stars as Travis, and Noah Wyle plays his mentor Leonard.


Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The film adaptation of Genova's 2007 book is getting lots of attention due to the Best still aliceActress Oscar nomination just announced for Julianne Moore who stars as Alice, the successful, married Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. First it was random forgetfulness, then disorientation, until her life is totally disrupted and her career is over. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring, and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what it's like to literally lose your mind. Genova, who has a PhD in neuroscience, was compelled to write her book after her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease.


lindamurderBackstrom -Linda-as in the Linda Murder by Leif G.W. Persson
Backstrom, the Fox crime drama which premieres on January 22 and stars Rainn Wilson as detective Evert Backstrom, is based on a Swedish crime series penned by Leif G. W. Persson, a professor of criminology in Stockholm. The series, which starts with Linda, as in the Linda Murder, centers on Backstrom, an egotistical, vain, and  prejudiced police officer with no sense of duty or responsibilty, who thinks everyone around him is an imbecile, and is only capable of warm feelings towards his pet goldfish and the nearest bottle of liquor. While described as "short, fat and primitive," Backstrom is an undeniably brilliant comic creation. It's not often one laughs while reading a police procedural.


Robert Stone (1937-2015)

dogsoldiersNovelist Robert Stone, whose literary novels "capture(d) the robertstoneapocalyptic madness of America in the 1960s and ’70's," passed away last week. Stone's novels, which frequently featured characters cut adrift by the social changes and unrest occurring in the U.S. during the Vietnam war era, provided commentary on the state of the nation as political divisions and the emerging counterculture provoked violent clashes in the streets. According to his New York Times obituary, "He participated fully in the drug-fueled 1960s, when he spent time with the novelist Ken Kesey and his friends, known as the Merry Pranksters, ... and he briefly spent time as a Vietnam War correspondent." Stone won the National Book Award in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers, a tale set in Vietnam and California about a disasterous drug deal with fatal results, which many read as an allegory about the U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Stone wrote eight novels, two collections of stories and a memoir, Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties; his last novel, Death of a Black-Haired Girl was published in 2013.


MInotablebooksOn Sunday, in the Detroit Free Press, The Library of Michigan
revealed the list of the 2015 Michigan Notable stationelevenBooks -
20 books that highlight the diversity of Michigan's people, places, issues, and events. The books must have been published during the last year, and be about Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or authored by a Michigan writer. The books are chosen by a committee of librarians, reviewers, booksellers and authors working with the Library of Michigan's Center for the Book. This year's list has something for everyone - fishing, sailing, history, suspense, memoir, poetry, science fiction, sports, and a book made up entirely of one-syllable words. The fiction selections include Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a book that has gained national buzz by being named as a National Book Award Finalist, and Bird Box by Josh Malerman, which was a LibraryReads pick for May 2014.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

girlonthetrainExpectations are building for the release on January 13 of this new thriller by Paula Hawkins, with various media sources declaring that the book could be this year's Gone Girl. New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin says that the book, like Gone Girl, has great fun with three unreliable narrators, especially one woman, the 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 calls it "a wicked thriller, cleverly done...melding the voyeurism of Rear Window with the unreliable narration of Gone Girl."  Film rights have already been optioned, so if the advance hype proves true, you may see this at the movies too.


January 2 is National Science Fiction Day

irobotWhy January 2nd?  It's the birthday of Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), the preeminent and prolific science fiction author and master of "hard science fiction." Best known for his Foundation and Robot (I, Robot) series, Asimov published over 500 books over his long career and won every science fiction award possible; the Science Fiction Writers of America named him its 8th SFWA Grand Master in 1986. Asimov's work influenced generations of science fiction writers and was instrumental in elevating the genre from the fringe of pulp magazines to the literary mainstream. His fame extends throughout the universe: an asteroid, 5020 Asimov, and a crater on Mars are named in his honor.


Downton Abbey Season 5 - January 4, 2015

This PBS Masterpiece Theatre miniseries has captivated American audiences with its tales of the aristocratic Crawleys and their servants living on a vast English estate in the post Edwardian era since its television debut in 2011. Season 5 promises "new loves, new secrets, new Downton Abbey."  As Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham has said, "You'll find there's never a dull moment in this house."

To set the mood, try these manor house read-alikes:

cavendonhallCavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Cavendon Hall is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, lives there with his wife Felicity and their six children. Walter Swann, the premier male of the Swann family, is valet to the earl. His wife Alice, a clever seamstress who is in charge of the countess's wardrobe, also makes clothes for the four daughters. For centuries, these two families have lived side-by-side, beneath the backdrop of the imposing Yorkshire manor. With World War I looming, both families will find themselves tested in ways they never thought possible.


tyringhamparkTyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin
The country estate of Tyringham Park is the epitome of wealth and privilege. Home to the Blackshaws, it finds itself the backdrop to tragedy. It is a beautiful day in 1917, and Tyringham Park is in an uproar after Victoria Blackshaw, an innocent toddler, disappears without a trace. The feverish search for Victoria soon uncovers jealousies and deceits that both the upstairs and downstairs inhabitants of the grand estate have fought for years to keep hidden. As time passes, Victoria's disappearance casts a long shadow over all of their lives.



houseattynefordThe House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
Although not set in the Edwardian era, this upstairs/downstairs love story has similar appeal for Downton Abbey fans. It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford and Elise forever.


Fiction about Cuba

cubaThe island nation of Cuba is in the news lately due to the possiblity of improved relations with the U.S. The good folks at the New York Times have selected a few titles, both fiction and non-fiction, to help you get acquainted with our neighbors to the south.
Of course, there are more...


kingofcubaKing of Cuba by Cristina Garcia
García's new novel transports readers to Cuba, to Miami, and into the heads of two larger-than-life men: a fictionalized Fidel Castro and an octogenarian Cuban exile obsessed with seeking revenge against the dictator. "Interspersed with short narratives by Cubans from various walks of life, Garcia's writing is laced with candor and wit as she portrays the lives of two men united by the past." (Publishers Weekly)



beautifulmariaBeautiful Maria of My Soul by Oscar Hijuelos
A companion piece to the classic The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Hijuelos returns
to that story but tells it from the perspective of the heroine, Maria, the Cuban beauty who captured Nestor Castillo's heart. Now in her sixties and living in Miami, she thinks back to her days--and nights--in Havana. "Hijuelos's Havana is as much a full-fleshed character as Maria as it endures the rise of Castro and the mass exodus of Cubans to Miami in the 1960s." (Publishers Weekly)



havanafeverHavana Fever by Leonardo Padura
Havana, 2003 - 14 years since Mario Conde retired from the police force. Now an antique book trader, Conde discovers an extraordinary book collection in the house of a rich Cuban who fled after the fall of Batista, and, buried within a newspaper article about Violeta del Rio, a beautiful bolero singer who disappeared in the 1950s. Conde's intuition sets him off on an investigation that leads him into a darker Cuba, full of dollars and debauchery.




cubalibreCuba Libre by Elmore Leonard
On the eve of the Spanish-American War, just three days after the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor, Ben Tyler arrives with a string of horses to sell--cover for a boatload of guns he's running to Cuban insurgents, risking a firing squad if he's caught. A spellbinding journey into the Cuban revolution of a hundred years ago, with a  mix of high adventure, history brought to life, and a honey of a love story--all with the precise dialogue and unforgettable characters that mark Elmore Leonard as an American master.



telexfromcubaTelex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner
Set in the corporate American ex-pat community in Cuba in the years prior to the Castro revolution, this novel tells the story of two children who grow up in that idyllic and manufactured world of privilege, wholly unaware of the political unrest brewing throughout the country. When the Castros launch the revolution and torch the sugar plantations, the Americans begin to discover the underlying brutality that kept the colony functioning. "Kushner has written a gripping tale of what it was like to live through a momentous time. It is a powerful, haunting look at the human side of revolution." (Booklist)



Looking for your next book club selection?

BookClubKitNew titles have been added to the Book Club Kit Collection. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book, plus discussion questions, author interviews, and other literary commentary to enhance your book discussions. The kits can be checked out for 8 weeks and you can reserve a kit through the Library catalog to fit into your group's meeting schedule. A complete list of available Kits can be found on the Library webpage under Services/Book Clubs.


New Kits:

rosieprojectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who's decided it's time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, logical manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey. Enter Rosie Jarman who is not at all what he's looking for, but as he studies the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie, Don discovers  that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don't find love, it finds you. "Funny, touching, and hard to put down, The Rosie Project is certain to entertain even as readers delve into deep themes." (Booklist)



storiedlifeThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. "Funny, tender, and moving, it reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love. (Library Journal)
Chosen as the #1 Favorite of Favorites for 2014 by the voters at LibraryReads.


happy-hanukkahFestival of Lights - December 16-24

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt against the occupying Seleucid (Syrian-Greek) Empire of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by the lighting of the candles on a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched menorah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night.

Read more about Jewish history:

dovekeeersThe Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Set in 70 CE, detailing the siege of the mountain stronghold Masada, where 900 Jews held out for months against the Romans, Hoffman's novel follows four extraordinary women whose lives converge in the dovecotes of the rebel desert stronghold. According to the historian Josephus, only two women and five children survived the siege after the mass suicide of the Jewish rebels. "Hoffman vividly brings this tragedy to life..." (Library Journal)


Joseph and His Brothers: the Stories of Jacob, Young Joseph, josephJoseph in Egypt, Joseph the Provider by Thomas Mann
In a monumental retelling of the biblical story of Joseph, Mann recreates the world of patriarchs and pharaohs, the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, and the universal force of human love in all its beauty, desperation, absurdity, and pain. Mann considered this his magnum opus.

sourceThe Source by James Michener
Employing his trademark style of grand storytelling, Michener follows the ancestors of four contemporary individuals to showcase the entire range of Jewish history, from the lives of the early Hebrews, through the Diaspora, Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition and up to the founding of present-day Israel. “Fascinating . . . a wonderful rampage through history.” (The New York Times)





January 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 January 2015:
AsChimneySweepers-184x300As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia De Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
Banished is how twelve-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce describes her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote's Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia's first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. That gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school's stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim's identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. "Readers who enjoy character-driven, "country house" mysteries will appreciate Flavia's keen mind, droll wit, and comic preteen rush into a new situation in which everyone warns her to beware, many seem to have known her mother, and someone is undoubtedly a killer." (Library Journal)

To get you in the holiday mood...

winterstreetWinter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
Set on Nantucket Island (where else?) Hilderbrand's first Christmas novel details a family holiday filled with surprises. Kelley Quinn is the owner of the Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four grown children, all of them with issues, who will gather at the Inn for Yuletide. Before the festivities are over, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays. "The holidays wouldn't be complete without a little family dysfunction and Hilderbrand writes it well." (Library Journal)


Snowfall: A Days of Redemption Christmas Novella by Shelly Shephard Gray
snowfallAmish widower Martin Rhodes owns a Christmas tree farm, which makes December his busiest month. He also has six wonderfaul, energetic kids whose babysitter has just quit. Enter Ruth Stutzman, newly laid off from her job at a retirement home. Before long, the children are drawn to her warmth and gentleness, and so is Martin. The harder he tries to ignore her, the deeper he begins to care for this attractive young woman who has brought joy back into his children's lives, and his own. "While the nanny and widower falling in love story line is certainly not new, New York Times best-selling author Gray writes a sweet Amish holiday romance with wonderfully endearing characters that transcends cliche." (Library Journal)


nightingalebeforechristmasThe Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews
This year Meg Langslow's mother has roped Meg into helping with the big holiday designer show house, where each room is decorated by a different interior designer and tour tickets are sold to raise funds for charity. Dealing with the flamboyant egos and personalities involved is challenging enough but when the rooms are sabotaged and one unpopular designer turns up dead, Meg is forced to find the killer and put the house is order. Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. Guaranteed to put the "ho ho hos" into the holidays.


The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlsonchristmascat
When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison Brown goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. His grandmother's instructions are quite specific and rather challenging: find the perfect new homes and owners for her cats without disclosing that each comes with a sizable monetary gift. In the course of pursuing his fiduciary duties and contending with his allergy to cats, Garrison reconnects with his community, discovers new friends and maybe even love. Humorous and heartwarming, Carlson's newest is the perfect gift for pet lovers.


janexmasJane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron
Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood. However, holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane's fellow snow-bound guests. "This is an excellent period mystery for all historical fiction fans, but Jane Austen devotees will especially appreciate immersing themselves in the many biographical details about Austen that accompany the fictional murder mystery." (Library Journal)

Cowboy Boots for Christmas: (Cowboy not included) by Carolyn Browncowboyboots
After two tours in Afghanistan, retired Army sniper Finn O'Donnell believes his new ranch outside the sleepy little town of Burnt Boot, Texas, is the perfect place for an undisturbed holiday season. But before he can settle in, an old friend shows up looking for protection and a place where nobody knows her name. Callie Brewster must relocate to protect her young nephew, Martin, and the only person she trusts is her old Army friend, Finn. Burnt Boot seems like the perfect place to be anonymous, but it turns out a small town with big drama is no place to hide. "Filled with laughter, wit, and characters you'll adore, this heartwarming romp is rich with relatives, friends, feuds, and Christmas cheer and beautifully launches Brown's joyful new community series." (Library Journal)




Its that time of year when the "Best" lists of purple-fireworks2014 appear. It seems that every media source, whether newspaper, magazine, TV show, blogger, celebrity, or pundit,  prints, publishes or posts a "Best Books of 2014" list.  There's the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014, Amazon Editors Top 100, Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction, Library Journal's Top TenPublishers Weekly Best of 2014, the Washington Post's Top Ten, Time Magazine's Top Ten Fiction Books, and the LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites - to name a few.
Did any of your favorites make the list(s)?

Kent Haruf (1943-2014)

plainsongKent Haruf, author and creator of the fictional east Colorado town kentharufof Holt, died last Sunday at the age of 71. Haruf chronicled the lives of his small-town characters with sympathy and emotional depth in quiet, measured prose; his most famous work, Plainsong, was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award. The New York Times called it,  "a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt." He was 56 when Plainsong, his third book, became a best-seller and had been writing for about 30 years. His next two novels, Eventide and Benediction, were also set in Holt. Writing in a review of Benediction in the Guardian, Ursula Le Guin called Haruf a "stunningly original writer... (his) courage and achievement in exploring ordinary forms of love – the enduring frustration, the long cost of loyalty, the comfort of daily affection – are unsurpassed by anything I know in contemporary fiction”.  His latest book, Our Souls at Night, which Haruf finished last summer, will be published in May 2015.


Now (or soon) playing...

mrmiracleMr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Macomber's latest inspirational Christmas story becomes a Hallmark Channel Original Movie on December 6. Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track--and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store, especially when it comes to Adddie's next-door neighbor and childhood nemesis, Erich. "Macomber spins another sweet, warmhearted holiday tale that will be as comforting to her fans as hot chocolate on Christmas morning."(Kirkus Reviews)

redtentThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Adapted for a Lifetime miniseries to air on December 7 & 8, Diamant's popular 1997 novel, set in the Old Testament, recounts the life of Dinah, a daughter of Jacob and Leah.  Although Dinah is a minor character from the book of Genesis, Diamant creates a childhood for her among the women of her tribe, including the four wives of Jacob,  who spend their time in the red tent sharing their knowledge and traditions. Later, as Dinah matures, she enters into a forbidden love which results in a tragic loss and a devastating betrayal by her brothers. A "vivid evocation of the world of Old Testament women...the red tent of her title...becomes a resonant symbol of womanly strength, love and wisdom." (Publishers Weekly)


inherentviceInherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
Part noir, part psychedelic romp, this mystery is set in Los Angeles at the tail end of the sixties, where private investigator and pothead  Larry "Doc" Portello is the sole proprietor and employee of LSD Investigations (Location, Surveillance, Detection). He is approached by an old flame, Shasta, to look into a "problem" her new boyfriend Mickey is having with his wife and her boyfriend. Soon there's a dead body, a run-in with friendly nemesis Lt. Det. Bigfoot Bjornsen, and Mickey disappears. So, for that matter, does Shasta. And it gets even more complicated as Doc smokes his way through one very weird investigation. "With whip-smart, psychedelic-bright language, Pynchon manages to convey the Sixties-except the Sixties were never really like this. This is Pynchon's world, and it's brilliant." (Library Journal) The movie stars an ensemble cast (Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin) and opens December 12.


thehobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Will you follow me one last time ?" The last chapter of Peter Jackson's trilogy based on Tolkien's beloved book finds the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield and his crew, including the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, in a battle for the fate of Middle Earth. Pitted against Sauron, orcs and the dragon Smaug, the races of Men, Elves and Dwarves must decide whether to unite or die. And of course, there's that curious ring that Bilbo found in Gollum's cave...
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, the movie opens on December 17.


Mystery Author P.D. James (1920 - 2014)

coverherfaceP.D. James, legendary author of 18 crime novels, many pdjamesfeaturing Scotland Yard detective/poet Adam Dalgliesh, passed away Thursday, November 27th at her home in Oxford, England. Considered one of the preeminent mystery/crime writers of recent times, she is among the most celebrated, and is credited with "transcending the genre" to write books with complex plots involving multi-faceted characters with psychological depth. She was a defender of the detective mystery, which she thought of as a morality drama, "I came to believe,” she said, “that it is perfectly possible to remain within the constraints and conventions of the genre and be a serious writer, saying something true about men and women and their relationships and the society in which they live.” Several of her Dalgliesh novels were adapted for the PBS television "Mystery!" series, the dystopian Children of Men was made into a film in 2006, and her last book, Death Comes to Pemberley, her homage to Jane Austen, was adapted as a TV mini-series that aired in the U.S. in October. James was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008.


LibraryReads banner1 Favorites

LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites 2014

LibraryReads is celebrating its first year in existence by issuing a new list this month consisting of the top ten favorite titles selected from all 120 books on the September 2013 through September 2014 lists. The Favorite of Favorites list takes the place of the traditional December list and is the result of online voting by over one thousand librarians.

StoriedLifeofAJFikry3DThe Number #1 favorite of favorites is The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
“A middle-aged bookseller mourning his lost wife, a feisty publisher’s rep, and a charmingly precocious abandoned child come together on a small island off the New England coast in this utterly delightful novel of love and second chances.” (Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY)

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

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin 

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion    

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell,

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt 

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Landline, by Rainbow Rowell 

Longbourn, by Jo Baker 


"There is always something for which to be thankful." (Dickens)

thanksgivingvisitorThe Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
Capote's classic tale, based on his Southern childhood in the 30's, about 9 year-old Buddy who is growing up in a small Alabama town with his older cousin, Miss Sook. Buddy's holiday is threatened and his relationship with Miss Sook is put to the test when she insists on inviting the school bully, Odd Henderson, to Thanksgiving dinner. There, with family and friends gathered round the dinner table, Buddy gets his chance for revenge on the bully at last and instead learns a lesson in the importance of suspending judgment and extending forgiveness.


A Catered Thanksgiving by Isis Crawfordcateredthanksgivng
Sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons, the proprietors of A Little Taste of Heaven, their small catering company, prepare a Thanksgiving feast for Scrooge-like fireworks manufacturer Monty Field and his family at the Field mansion. When Monty comes into the kitchen to test the roasting turkey, Bernie and Libby watch in horror as Monty taps the pop-up button in the bird's breast and the turkey explodes, blowing off the top of his head. "Fans of culinary cozies will enjoy... Her murder method is original, and the recipes are good." (Library Journal)


strangersatthefeastStrangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes
On Thanksgiving Day 2007, as the country teeters on the brink of a recession, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, a single academic, and her newly adopted Indian child, and about their son, who has been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble. While the Olsons navigate the tensions and secrets that mark their relationships, seventeen-year-old Kijo Jackson and his best friend Spider set out from the nearby housing projects. A series of tragic events bring the two worlds ever closer, exposing the  thin line between suburban privilege and urban poverty, and culminating in a crime that will change everyone's life.


Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovichthanksgiving
When Megan Murphy discovered a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she meant to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter was too attractive to stay mad at for long. Hunter, the new pediatrician, has been given an infant to care for, and Megan falls for both of them. Their attraction grows in leaps and bounds, especially when everyone they meet thinks they're married. Soon the two are making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.


ghostatthetableThe Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne
Strikingly different since childhood and leading dissimilar lives, sisters Frances and Cynthia have managed to remain close - as long as they stay on opposite coasts. When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include the sisters' long-estranged father. Cynthia, however, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier. As Thanksgiving Day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of a shared past as their conflict escalates.



by Phil Klay                                                                                         redeployment

The National Book Foundation announced the winners of the National Book Awards at a ceremony in New York on November 19th. Phil Klay, an ex-Marine who served in Iraq, won the award for Fiction for his debut collection of short stories about soldiers in war and afterwards. In his acceptance speech, Klay advocated more dialogue between veterans and civilians about the impact of the Afghan and Iraq wars on our country."I can’t think of a more important conversation to be having,” he said. “War is too strange to be processed alone.” Redeployment garnered rave reviews when published earlier this year. "Klay's stories are sensational, with vivid characters, biting dialogue, and life within and beyond the Afghan and Iraq wars conveyed with an addictive combination of the mundane and the horrifying." ... "Redeployment is most remarkable, though, for the questions it asks about the aims and effects of war stories themselves, and Klay displays a thoughtful awareness of this literary tradition. ... "Those questions, and Klay's exciting new voice, may stay with the reader long after this book is back on the shelf." (Annie Tully, Booklist Starred Review)


leguinLegendary Science Fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, for her long and successful writing career. The National Book Foundation press release described her contribution: "For more than forty years, Le Guin has defied conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for literary fiction." Le Guin, author of the Earthsea series, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Lathe of Heaven is among the nation’s most revered writers of science fiction and fantasy. According to reports, Le Guin's acceptance speech stopped the show and brought those assembled to their feet. She delivered a fiery sermon defending science fiction as a worthy genre too long ignored and championing writers in general against "a profiteer" (read Amazon). "We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa."... "I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom."  (And the crowd went wild.)


Feeling the chill? Curl up inside with some "hot" books.

ragingheatRaging Heat by Richard Castle
When an illegal immigrant falls from the sky, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat's investigation into his death quickly captures the imagination of her boyfriend, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jameson Rook. When he decides to work the case, Nikki is at first happy to have him ride along. She's glad for the entertainment, the chance to bounce ideas, and just to be close to him again and feel the old spark rekindle. But when Rook's inquiry concludes that Heat has arrested the wrong man for the murder, everything changes. (Richard Castle is a fictional character portrayed by Nathan Fillion in the ABC crime series Castle - but you knew that.)


feeltheheatFeel the Heat by Kate Meader
Photographer Lili DeLuca spends all her time working at her family's Italian restaurant, instead of following her dream of getting an MFA. When famous British chef Jack Kilroy unexpectedly challenges her father to a cook-off, Lili decides she's tired of playing it safe and vows to seduce the tempting Brit. Once a video of her and Jack kissing goes viral, Lili fears she's cooked up a recipe for disaster, but Jack knows they could be amazing together. Can Jack convince Lili to realize her own ambitions-and turn up the heat in his kitchen?



worldoficeandfireThe World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by Geroge R.R. Martin
The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin's dazzlingly conceived universe, this lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO's Game of Thrones. Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers, including full-color artwork and maps, full family trees for Houses Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen, in-depth explorations of the history and culture of Westeros, and some 100% all-new material, more than half of which Martin wrote specifically for this book. (After all, winter is coming!)


heatwaveHeat Wave by Nancy Thayer
Making the startling discovery that her family finances are in dire straits is only the latest shock endured by Carley Winsted after her husband's sudden death from a heart attack. Resisting her in-laws' well-meaning overtures to take in Carley and her two daughters, the young widow instead devises a plan to keep her family in their beloved home, a grand historic house on the island of Nantucket. The solution is right at Carley's front door: transforming her expensive, expansive house into a bed-and-breakfast. Not everyone, however, thinks this plan prudent or quite respectable--especially not Carley's mother-in-law. And then, during a late-summer heat wave, the lives of Carley and her friends and family change in entirely unexpected ways.



bcon logo flatBouchercon Mystery Awards

The Anthony Awards for mystery fiction written in 2013 were announced on November 15 at the annual World Mystery Convention (Bouchercon) held in Long Beach, CA. 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.

ordinary graceWilliam Kent Krueger won the Anthony for the Best Novel for his book, Ordinary Grace.
Krueger also won the Edgar Award for mystery fiction earlier this year, also for Ordinary Grace, the story of 13 year-old Frank Drum who is thrust into a grown-up world filled with tragedy as five instances of death strike his family and community. Library Journal called the novel, "...a touching read, with just enough intrigue..."

Also honored this year with the Lifetime Achievement Award was skincollectormystery writer Jeffrey Deaver, the creator of the Lincoln Rhyme mysteries and the author of 29 novels, two short story collections and one legal text. In 2010 he was selected by Ian Fleming Publications to write the James Bond sequel novel Carte Blanche which was published in 2011.


Amazon v. Hachette

bluelabrynthBookseller Amazon and book publisher Hachette Book Group announced an end to their 05bits-amazon-articleInline-v2hostilities last week, after sparring over book pricing and other contract issues since January.  Authors, agents, publishers and readers watched as the negotiations turned ugly and many media types weighed in with opinions, letters, legal threats and boycotts. Authors James Patterson and Douglas Preston  were vehement critics of Amazon's tactics, like delays in shipping for Hachette books; Preston recruited 900 other writers to sign an open letter of protest which was published in the New York Times. Stephen Colbert openly encouraged his "Nation" to buy books from independent bookstores and to affix a sticker to their purchases declaring their support.  So the skirmish is over for now -  both side have pronounced themselves satisfied with their new terms, but Preston is quoted as saying,"If anyone thinks this is over, they are deluding themselves. Amazon covets market share the way Napoleon coveted territory.” (NYTimes)

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2014

mammothbookPW's editors have recently released their list of "Best" books of 2014, conveniently divided by genres such as mystery, romance, poetry, non-fiction etc. Under the category Science Fiction/Horror are seven titles, including an anthology of science fiction by women writers, The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women. Edited by Alex Dally MacFarlane, the book contains,"some of the most exciting science fiction written by women in the past few decades." The 33 stories are written in various styles and sci fi sub-genres, representing hard sci fi, steampunk, horror and folktale/fantasy, by classic authors like Lois McMaster Bujold and Ursula K. LeGuin and newer writers like Carrie Vaughn and Catherynne M. Valente. Each story "dazzle(s) with the virtuosity of their contributors' talents...this book's contents offer something for every fan of well-written SF." (Publishers Weekly)



Redeployment by Phil Klay

redeploymentTo understand and honor the sacrifices and struggles of our service members on this Veterans Day, consider Redeployment by Phil Klay. Klay's book of stories about the troops who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars not only illuminates the harrowing experiences of the soldiers while over there, but also reveals what happens to the soldiers who return. His stories expose the intricate 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. Klay's book was published to rave reviews in March and is currently a finalist for this year's National Book Award, which will be announced on November 19. Klay, a veteran of the Iraq war who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, has been heralded as an "exciting new voice" whose "first collection could become for the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts what Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is for the Vietnam War." (Library Journal)


Library Journal's Top Ten

someluck2As the year winds down, the best books lists crank up. Media sources that publish book reviews have started releasing their lists of the year's "best." Library Journal's editors have just announced their top ten, with editor Henrietta Verma's comment, " We agonized over this list—it took four rounds of voting!—and it was worth it; there isn’t a shelf-sitter in the bunch."

Six novels made the list:

untamedstateAn Untamed State by Roxane Gay

A Brief History of Seven Killings by James Marlon

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Us by David Nicholls

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


Bidding on a novel character

stackofbooksAt a literary event in London on November 20, a number of
well-regarded authors will auction off the itrights to name characters in their future novels, all for charity. The writers are supporting a British organization, Freedom from Torture, which works with torture survivors "to help them begin to rebuild their lives." Seventeen authors, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Ken Follett, Hanif Kureishi, Will Self, Alan Hollinghurst, Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, Pat Barker, Martina Cole, Tracy Chevalier, Sebastian Faulks, Adam Foulds, Robert Harris, Kathy Lette, Adam Mars-Jones and Joanna Trollope, will offer naming rights and the chance to have one's name, or that of a loved one, immortalized in a book for the price of the winning bid.  Other authors, like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, have sold naming rights for charity in the past. In both King's It and Martin's Game of Thrones, the donor-christened characters met bad ends, but the names live on.



reservationbluesSince 1990, each President has designated November as the month to honor
"the significant contributions the first peopleofthewhaleAmericans 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. Contemporary Native American writers continue to enrich our national discourse by sharing their traditions and beliefs through diverse novels that explore the modern Native American experience. Well known authors like Louise Erdrich roundhouseand Sherman Alexie have produced powerful stories of modern reservation throughblacksprucelife and the clash of traditional customs and modern social and legal systems. Other Native American authors to consider include Linda Hogan, James Welch, Joseph Boyden, Leslie Marmon Silko, and  N. Scott Momaday.




boo    Looking for a frightfully good book?

BookPage's Book Case Blog contributor Lily lists the Creepiest Fiction of the Year -  guaranteed to get you in the mood for Halloween.  After sampling one of these, you may want to sleep with the lights on! Check out the blog for more titles.

roomsRooms by Lauren Oilver
Estranged patriarch Richard Walker has died, leaving behind a country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His alienated family have arrived for their inheritance. But the Walkers are not alone. Alice and Sandra, two long-dead and restless ghosts, linger within the house's claustrophobic walls, bound eternally to its physical structure. Jostling for space and memory, they observe the family. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself--in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a lightbulb. Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.


The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. winterpeopleThe most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person desperately looking for someone that they've lost.


birdboxBird Box by Josh Malerman
Something is out there . . . something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, surviving by living in perpetual darkness with blacked-out windows, blindfolding themselves when they venture outside, Malorie dreams of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying. And something is following them. 


The Quick by Lauren Owen
Victorian London 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds quicklodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters. But the answer to her brother's disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England. (You guessed it, vampires.)


Lily King wins first-ever Kirkus Fiction Prize

euphoriaKirkus, the publisher of an influential reviewing journal, has entered the literary prize arena this year by establishing a new $50,000 prize for fiction. All books published from Nov. 1, 2013 to Oct. 31, 2014 that received a starred review in Kirkus — more than 1,000 titles — were eligible for consideration. At a reception yesterday in Austin, Texas, author Lily King was declared the winner for her book, Euphoria, a historical novel based on an incident in the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead. Euphoria was released in June to positive reivews. Kirkus fiction editor Laurie Muchnik stated that the panel of judges  "... wanted to find a book that they could recommend to everybody they knew, one they all loved and that they wanted to press on people.” King's book may also become a movie, the film rights have been acquired and Michael Apted is set to direct.


Now (or soon) playing:

bestofmeThe Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths. Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined. The movie, directed by Michael Hoffman, stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as the grown-up lovers and opened on October 17.


deathcomestopemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
A PBS/Masterpiece mini-series adaptation of P.D. James' homage to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, the story begins six years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet as they are preparing to host a ball at their Pemberley estate. The unannounced arrival of Elizabeth's wayward sister Lydia, however, brings an abrupt halt to the proceedings when she stumbles out of her coach screaming that her husband Wickham has been murdered. The woods are searched and a body is found (this is P.D. James, after all) but it is not Mr. Wickham. The first episodes airs on October 26 and combines the splendor and emotion of a period drama with the intrigue of a murder mystery.


beforigotosleepBefore I Go to Sleep by S. J Watson
As the result of a mysterious accident, Christine's memory wipes itself clean every night when she goes to sleep. She wakes up each  morning not knowing any of the details of her life: where she lives, what she does, or that she's married to Ben. With the encouragement of her doctor, she begins to keep a journal to help jog her memory. One morning, she opens it and sees that she's written three unexpected and terrifying words: "Don't trust Ben." Suddenly everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. Library Journal called it "an intriguingly fresh look at the amnesia-focused psychological thriller." The film stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth and opens, appropriately, on October 31.


olivekitteridgeOlive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
An HBO mini-series based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that tells the stories of life in a small town in Maine over 25 years from the perspective of Olive Kitteridge, a local teacher. Olive, whose caustic wit and prickly demeanor hide a warm but troubled heart, witnesses the predicaments of her neighbors and experiences the joys and sorrows that life brings with a unsentimental stoicism that you may not like but you must admire. The mini-series stars Frances McDormand as Olive and Richard Jenkins as her long-suffering husband Henry, with Bill Murray as a local widower. The four part series airs on November 2 and 3, with two episodes each night.


November LibraryReads List 2014

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.



us#1 for November: Us: A Novel by David Nicholls
Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but his sense of humor, against all odds, seduced beautiful Connie into a second date - and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce. The timing couldn't be worse. Hoping to encourage her son's artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world's greatest works of art as a family, and she can't bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and might even help him to bond with Albie. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his enormously popular  bestseller, One Day, (also a movie) to a compellingly human, deftly funny new novel about what holds marriages and families together.

2014 fic finalists


2014 National Book Award Finalists

The National Book Foundation has 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 19.


Rabih Alameddine,  An Unnecessary Woman

Anthony Doerr,  All the Light We Cannot See

Phil KlayRedeployment

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

Marianne Robinson,  Lila


Richard Flanagan wins 2014 Man Booker Fiction Prize

manbookerOne week after the Nobel Prize in Literature announcement comes the Man narrowroadBooker award presentation. In the first year that authors outside the British Commonwealth were eligible, the presence of American authors in contention for Britain's most prestigious literary prize didn't matter in the end - the award went to Australian author, Richard Flanagan for his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. He is the third Australian to win. His book, called  "a magnificent novel of love and war," tells the brutal story of Allied prisoners of war forced to work by the Japanese on the infamous Burma railway. Flanagan had source material close at hand, his father was one of the prisoners who survived the construction of the railroad. Unhappily, his father passed away on the day the book was finished.


French Author Patrick Modiano wins Nobel Prize

Last week the Swedish Academy named Patrick Modiano the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, calling modianohim "a Marcel Proust of our time" whose works are "“always variations of the same thing, about memory, about loss, about identity, about seeking.”  Modiano, a celebrated author in France, with over 30 novels, children's books and screenplays, is not widely known outside his own country, but this honor should change that. Many of his books are set in Paris during World War II and chronicle the occupation of the country by the Germans. His first book, La Place de l'Etoile, published in 1968, about a Jewish collaborator, has been hailed as a major Post-Holocaust work. The New York Times notes "His most famous works include Missing Person, an existential thriller about a man who travels the world trying to piece together his identity; Dora Bruder, which investigates the disappearance of a Jewish girl in 1941; and Out of the Dark, a hallucinatory novel narrated by a middle-aged writer reflecting on an affair with a young drifter." American readers will have a chance to discover Modiano's books soon, as publishers are now rushing English translations to press and reprinting those already available.

October 12  - Walk like a Zombie!

zombieWorld Zombie Day, the celebration of all things zombie,
is scheduled for October 11 this ZWalkDrencenyear. World 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 encourages 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, including Detroit which sponsors a Zombie Walk Against Hunger downtown on Oct 12. On a related note, the TV series, The Walking Dead, starts its fifth season this Sunday on AMC. (Those who arrive, survive?) Try a bite of zombie fun at the Library with titles like Ship of the Dead, Zombie Island, Dead Mann Running, and The Walking Dead: Fall of the Governor, Part two.


Oct. 11 is Star Wars Reads Day at the Library

starwarsreaddayJoin us as the Plymouth District Library celebrates Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 11, from 11 a.m. – 5 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 music, crafts, books, trivia and costume contests, a movie, photo booth, and, of course, 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 and Discuss!

NRGM LogoNational Reading Group Month is an initiative of the Women's National Book Association (WNBA). Founded in 1917, WNBA promotes literacy, a love of reading, and women's roles 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. Titles recently added to this collection include:

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian


Gone Girl at the movies

gonegirl2Director David Fincher's film adaptation of the blockbuster novel, Gone Girl by
Gillian Flynn, arrives at the multiplex on October 3. It was shown at the New York Film Festival last weekend, amid much fanfare and hype, and reviews were generally positive. Speculation has been rife about the possibility of a changed ending, since many readers found the book's ending to be troubling, to say the least. The story, in case you've forgotten, involves the deteriorating five year marriage of Amy and Nick Dunne, both of whom share the narration in the novel - telling two different versions of their relationship. When Amy goes missing on the morning of their fifth anniversary, Nick becames the primary suspect, hounded by the police and the media. Secrets, lies, and twisted gamesmanship abound - the plot twists are riveting and truly unexpected. Nate Jones of New York magazine recommends reading or re-reading the book before seeing the movie: "Because you'll need the ending fresh in your mind." The movie stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the sparring spouses.


Best Christian Fiction

Carol Award Gold - no base transparent backgroundThe American Christian Fiction Writers present the Carol Awards annually to the best in Christian fiction released through traditional publishing houses in the previous 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.


Debut and Contemporary Novel Category
dearmrknightlyDear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others - namely, her favorite characters in literature. But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University's prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.



Historical Category
whenmountainsmoveWhen Mountains Move
by Julie Cantrell
In 1943, Millie Reynolds becomes the wife of veterinarian Bump Anderson and the two head from Mississippi to the Front Range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains to start up a ranch. She carries with her the secret of a traumatic past that shadows her newly married life and threatens to overwhelm her future. But she's about to discover that sometimes in life, we are given second chances.


Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Category
truthstainedliesTruth Stained Lies
by Terri Blackstock
Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on high-profile homicides. When she finds a threatening note warning her that she's about to experience the same kind of judgment that she dishes out in her blog, Cathy writes it off as mischief . . . until her brother's wife is murdered and all the "facts" point to him. Stakes rise when their brother's grieving five-year-old son is kidnapped. As police focus on the wrong set of clues, Cathy and her sisters and their battered detective friend are the only hope for solving this bizarre crime, saving the child, and freeing their brother.

Speculative/SciFi Category
castofstonesA Cast of Stones
by Patrick W. Carr
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for money, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and discover his destiny.

Today is National Coffee Day



National Coffee Day is the annual event that celebrates our love for the taste, aroma, and caffeine of the beverage that starts our mornings and fuels the rest of our days. Every year on September 29, the coffee industry reminds us just how much we enjoy that cup of Joe: many java purveyors, like Caribou Coffee, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme and McDonald's will offer free cups of coffee to customers. Coffee has permeated our collective consciousness in countless ways -so grab a cup and sample a few coffee-flavored reads today.



Irish Coffee by Ralph McInerney
When a member of Notre Dame's athletic department dies and the coroner's discovery of strychnine in a cup containing the remains of coffee and bourbon points to murder, Professor Roger Knight and his PI brother Phil investigate. After one of the deceased's two fiancees turns up dead , having drunk another poisoned Irish coffee, things start to get complicated.





One Coffee With by Margaret Maron
There was more than coffee in Professor Quinn's morning coffee. Someone in the art department office had slipped in a spoonful of poison. Among the suspects are a young secretary, an enraged Hungarian maintenance man, and a colleague who had an affair with Quin's wife. NYPD detective Sigrid Harold is called in to find the killer with an artistic temperament and an aptitude for death.



flavorsofcoffeeThe Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella
It was a cup of coffee that changed Robert Wallis's life--and a cup of very bad coffee at that. The impoverished poet is sitting in a London coffeehouse contemplating an uncertain future when he meets Samuel Pinker. The owner of Castle Coffee offers Wallace the very last thing a struggling young artiste in 19th century England could possibly want: a job. But the job Wallis accepts--employing his palate and talent for words to compose a "vocabulary of coffee" based on its many subtle and elusive flavors--is only the beginning of an extraordinary adventure.



coffeetraderThe Coffee Trader by David Liss
Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in 1659 Amsterdam, was once among the city's most envied merchants, but has lost everything in a sudden shift in the sugar markets. Now, impoverished and humiliated, living on charity,  Miguel enters into a partnership with a seductive Dutchwoman who offers him one last chance at success - a daring plot to corner the market of an astonishing new commodity called "coffee." To succeed, Miguel must risk everything he values and test the limits of his commercial guile, facing not only the chaos of the markets and the greed of his competitors, but also a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to see him ruined.


blackcoffeeBlack Coffee: a New Hercule Poirot Novel by Charles Osborne and Agatha Christie
An urgent call from physicist Sir Claud Amory sends famed detective Hercule Poirot rushing from London to a sprawling country estate. Sir Claud fears a member of his own household wants to steal a secret formula destined for the Ministry of Defense. But Poirot arrives too late. The formula is missing. Worse, Sir Claud has been poisoned by his after-dinner coffee. Poirot soon identifies a potent brew of despair, treachery, and deception amid the mansion's occupants. Now he must find the formula and the killer...


The next Metro Detroit Book and Author Society Luncheon is being held on Monday, October 20th at the Burton Manor in Livonia. Authors include Kathy Reichs, Lisa Jackson, Gary Shteyngart, Craig Johnson, and Hampton Sides. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 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, Scott Turow, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Michael Connelly and Debbie Macomber. Celebrity authors have included Cokie Roberts, Jane Seymour, Gladys Knight, Lee Iococca, Tim Russert and Dan Rather.

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


October LibraryReads List 2014

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

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



# 1 for October: A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
SuddenLight-201x300jpgStein, the bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, presents a long-awaited new novel in which a boy trying to save his parents' marriage uncovers a vast legacy of family secrets. In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House, the legendary family mansion constructed of giant whole trees and set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle's Puget Sound. Trevor's bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after. But as Trevor explores the house's secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. "Haunting in all the right ways." (Booklist)




Fiction Longlist Announced

The National Book Foundation announced the ten titles on the Longlist for the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction on Thursday, September 17. The five Finalists will be revealed on October 15 and the ultimate winner on November 19.

The Fiction Longlist includes one book by a National Book Award Winner, two by former National Book Award Finalists, one by a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 author, two by Pulitzer Prize Winners, and one by an author best-known as the lyricist and musician for the band The Mountain Goats. The backdrop of war and imagined dystopia is a focus of five of the ten. Three are collections of short stories, two of which are by first-time authors.

2014 Longlist for Fiction:
Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman,
Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans,
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van, (on order)
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See,
Phil Klay, Redeployment,
Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven,
Elizabeth McCracken, Thunderstruck & Other Stories,
Richard Powers, Orfeo,
Marilynne Robinson, Lila,
Jane Smiley, Some Luck,


ALA Freadom Slide 2014







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. So stand (or sit) for your rights - Read a Banned Book! 





Book Event - Author Lauren Beukes: Broken Monsters

 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 applications received from all over the country, and ten finalists have been named. On September 19, the first winner of a free house will be named at an event in Hamtramck. The event will also launch the book tour for author Lauren Beukes' new book, Broken Monsters, a crime novel set in Detroit.


 Beuekes (The Shining Girls) is a South African novelist, short story writer, journalist and TV scriptwriter and prior winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and South Africa's most prestigious literary award, The University of Johannesburg Prize. Her new novel, Broken Monsters, "successfully combines horror, detection, and a depressing examination of urban decay." (Publishers Weekly) although Library Journal's review states "Detroit could easily becalled the city of broken dreams, but in this highly atmospheric novel, Beukes sketches a metropolis full of hope and vigor, in spite of a monster roaming its streets."


f71c7a996c1f5ef2be5336189928d4e2                                        hispanicsun

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: "Hispanics: A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success.”

timeofbutterfliesYou can share in the experience of Hispanic Americans through unknownamericansthe books of noted Hispanic American authors such as Isabel Allende, Oscar Hijuelos, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Junot Diaz, Julia Alvarez, and Christina Henriquez.




"The Force will be with you, always."
                                                  (Obi-Wan Kenobi)

starwarsreaddayThe Plymouth District Library will join with libraries, schools and swnewdawnothers nationwide to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 11, from 11 a.m. – 5 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, including designated reading areas where you can catch up on the latest Star Wars fiction like Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. The first Star Wars novel created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, Star Wars: A New Dawn is set during the legendary “Dark Times” between Episodes III and IV and tells the story of how two of the lead characters from the new animated series Star Wars Rebels first crossed paths.


Two American Authors on List

manbookerThe selection committee for the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, one of Britian's most prestigious literary prizes, announced the shortlist today - and for the first time in its 45 year history, the list contains American authors. A rules change last year opened the prize to writers outside of Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth, to the consternation of some traditionalists. Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler are finalists along with three British writers and one Australian. The prize, worth about $80,000, will be awarded on October 14.

The Shortlist:


Author (nationality)                     Title

Joshua Ferris (US)                            To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Richard Flanagan (Australian)          The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Karen Joy Fowler (US)                      We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Howard Jacobson (British)              

Neel Mukherjee (British)                 The Lives of Others

Ali Smith (British)                             How to be Both


Trending now:

boneclocksThe Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, has created another wide-ranging novel which spans decades and genres, introducing characters and events from past books while exploring themes of good, evil, time, existence etc. The chapters are like novellas, linked by a central character, Holly Sykes, whom we meet at fifteen as she slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as "the radio people," Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics--and their enemies. “Trademark Mitchell . . . another exacting, challenging and deeply rewarding novel from [the] logophile and time-travel master.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon
Bestselling author Jan Karon returns and invites her millions of fans to join her again in Mitford.
After somewheresafefive hectic years of retirement from Lord's Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a pleasure trip to Ireland. While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he's offered one, he decides he doesn't want it. His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his passion for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner, and his vision to become a successful country vet. Dooley's brother, Sammy, still enraged by his mother's abandonment, destroys one of Father Tim's prized possessions. And Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child and her hard-won business. All this as Wanda's Feel Good Café opens, a romance catches fire through an Internet word game, and the former mayor hatches a reelection campaign to throw the bums out. "Longtime readers will not be disappointed by the author's latest cozy redemption tale." (Library Journal)


wearenotourselvesWe Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII, through the story of the Leary family of Queens, NY. Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed. When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she's found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn't aspire to the same, ever bigger, American Dream. Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. " honest, intimate family story with the power to rock you to your core..." (New York Times)


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam
to begin a newminiaturist life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while luxurious, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office, leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. But Nella's life changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways. Secrets are uncovered as Nella begins to understand and fear the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe."In a debut that evokes Old Master interiors and landscapes, Burton depicts a flourishing society built on water and trade, where women struggle to be part of the world... With its oblique storytelling, crescendo of female
empowerment and wrenching ending, this novel establishes Burton as a fresh and impressive voice." (Kirkus)


Now (or soon) playing...

switchLife of Crime - based on The Switch by Elmore Leonard
Black Ordell Robbie and white Louis Gara have lots in common--time in the same slammer, convictions for grand theft auto, and a plan for a big score. They're going to snatch the wife of a Detroit developer and collect some easy ransom money. They don't figure on a bum of a husband who has a secret mistress and no desire to get his wife back. Or on his crazy, beautiful broad of a housewife who's going to join Ordell and Louis in the slickest, savviest crime of all. The film, released on August 29, stars Jennifer Aniston and Will Forte.



thisiswhereileaveyouThis is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
The death of Judd Foxman's father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family--including Judd's mother, brothers, and sister--have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd's wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd's radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch's dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family. As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Jane Fonda head an ensemble cast in the movie to be released September 19.


walkamongthetombstonesA Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block
Block's somewhat amoral cop turned private eye, Matthew Scudder, is featured in a series of crime novels. This time, he is hired to help high-level drug dealers whose family members are being kidnapped for ransom and then are returned in pieces. Scudder divides his time between his AA meetings and finding the killers, with an assist from some of  his erstwhile police colleagues, his black Times Square sidekick TJ and his call-girl sweetheart, Elaine. When the kidnappers  seize the daughter of a Russian dealer, he is ready for the showdown. Liam Neeson continues his streak of action hero roles in the film which will hit theaters on September 19.


dropThe Drop
- based on Animal Rescue by Dennis Lehane
Three days after Christmas, Bob, a lonely bartender looking for a reason to live, hears a whimper coming from inside a trash can. The abused puppy he finds there will change his life forever, as will Nadia, the damaged woman he meets that night. Like him, she's desperately searching for something to believe in. Bound together by their decision to rescue the puppy, Bob and Nadia's relationship grows. But just as they've found something to live for, they cross paths with the Chechen mafia; a man grown dangerous with age and thwarted hopes; two hapless stick-up artists; a very curious cop; and the original owner of the puppy, who wants his dog back. The movie will be released on September 12 and stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace (the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and James Gandolfini in one of the last roles before his death.


Adult Summer Reading Program 201401 Adult Slogan 1

Over 300 adult readers participated in the PDL Adult Summer Reading Program this summer and 271 earned prizes for reading and enjoying the Library's resources.

Great job! Way to master the Literary Elements!

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


September 2014 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: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

"Part memoir, part exposé of the death industry, and part instruction manual for aspiring morticians. First-time author Doughty has written an attention-grabbing book that is sure to start some provocative discussions. Fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff and anyone who enjoys an honest, well-written autobiography will appreciate this quirky story.”

Patty Falconer, Hampstead Public Library, Hampstead, NH

2014 Hugo Awards

ancillaryjusticeThe annual Hugo Awards for excellence in the science fiction genre were announced on August 17 at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, LonCon 3. Best novel kudos went to Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, a story narrated by the artificial intelligence of a starship that has been transplanted into a single body, the soldier called Breq, who is alone on an icy planet attempting to fulfill her quest.  This debut novel has garnered other sci fi honors including the Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards and Leckie has been anointed as "science fiction's next big thing." Evidently the reviewers at Publishers Weekly got it right when they wrote "This impressive debut succeeds in making Breq a protagonist readers will invest in, and establishes Leckie as a talent to watch closely."


1939 Retro-Hugo Awards                    

swordinthestoneThe Hugo Awards, established in 1953 to to celebrate the best work hugoawardin science fiction, are bestowed by the World Science Fiction Society at their annual conventions.  In the mid 1990's, the Society decided to honor books and writers that were published before 1953 and therefore ineligible for the regular Hugos, by creating the Retro-Hugo, a prize that has so far only been awarded four times. On August 14, at Loncon 3, the Retro-Hugos were given for science fiction created in 1938-1939. The shortlist included many classics of the genre; The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White, about the youth of King Arthur, and the first in a series of books now known as The Once and Future King, was the winner in the Best Novel category. The contemporary Hugos will be awarded on August 17.


New Book by Anne Rice

princelestatNovelist Anne Rice, who may have started the modern craze for vampires with her book, Interview With The Vampire in 1976, is reviving her original undead character Lestat de Lioncourt in a new book in her Vampire Chonicles series. Prince Lestat will be released in October; her last Vampire Chonicles book, Blood Canticle, was published in 2003. Rice has stated that the new book, which contains several familiar characters, can be considered a sequel to The Queen of the Damned, the second book of the Chronicles. The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis - the Undead have been proliferating out of control and old vampires are conducting mass burnings of those they consider mavericks.  Who may be the Undead world's last hope? The famous, powerful, and dangerous Lestat.

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Adult Summer Reading Program Ends Monday, August 11

Yes, its just about over. tubes

Bring in your completed Bingo form for your prize.      

Log those last few books on the online site. (And stop in for your prize.)

Prizes available through August 11. Grand Prize drawings on August 12.



Billie Letts (1938-2014)

wheretheheartisOprah's Book Club author, Billie Letts, passed away from leukemia on August 2, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her debut novel, Where the Heart Is, despite being published to mixed reviews, became a best seller after Oprah Winfrey chose it in 1998 as one of her book club titles. It was later made into a movie starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. Letts was a late-blooming author whose success came only when she was in her fifties, after several decades of teaching college English and writing in her spare time. She published three more novels: The Honk and Holler Opening Soon (1998), Shoot the Moon (2004), and Made in the U.S.A. (2008). She is survived by threes sons, one of whom is playwright Tracy Letts, author of August: Osage County.


Books to Movies/TV

Outlander-TV-coverThe Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon's very popular and dramatic time-travel/sci-fi/romance series is getting the Starz treatment. On August 9, Starz, will debut a 16 episode adaptation of The Outlander, the first in the series, about Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. "Though first novelist Gabaldon uses time travel primarily to allow a modern heroine, this is basically a richly textured historical novel with an unusual and compelling love story." (Library JournalBuzzFeed calls it "the Feminist Answer to Game of Thrones."


onehundredfootjourneyThe Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
Born above his grandfather's modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry and trips to the local markets. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps. The boisterous Haji family takes Lumière by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite a Michelin-starred classic French one - that of the famous chef Madame Mallory- and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their refined neighbor. Only after a culinary war with the immigrant family does Madame Mallory agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures. The film stars Helen Mirren at her starchy best in a story that celebrates food and family. "It contrasts the heat and intensity of Indian cooking with the elegance and refinement of French haute cuisine, then balances the two with a feel-good lesson in ethnic harmony." (Variety)



Adult Summer Reading 201401 Adult Slogan 1

Yes, its August but there's still plenty of summer left.                                               adultscales

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 11.

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.

New this year - a  drawing for two $25 gift certificates All participants who submit a completed Bingo sheet or log 5 books online are eligible.


2014 RITA Awards


On July 26, the Romance Writers of America, the trade firebirdassociation for
aspiring and published romance fiction authors, announced the winners of the 2014 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 published romance novels and novellas. Winners are named in several different categories and presented with a golden statuette. Honorees include Sarah Maclean, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, (a December 2013 LibraryReads choice) in the Historical Romance category and Susanna Kearsley, The Firebird, in the Paranormal Romance category.

manbookerNew Rules of the Game

Due to a rules change last year, any writer whose book is originally written in English and  published in Britain is now eligible for consideration for the Man Booker Prize, one of England's most prestigious prizes 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. The decision to include all authors "whether from Chicago, Sheffield, or Shanghai" rankled some traditionalists, but the panel of judges has spoken. Last week they released this year's longlist, and it includes four Americans, six Britons, two Irish authors and one Australian.  A shortlist of six titles will be blazingworldannounced on September 9, with the winner  revealed on October 14, 2014. The Americans on the longlist are:

Joshua Ferris, To  Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Siri Hustvedt,The Blazing World

Richard Powers, Orfeo

100th Anniversary of the Great War

Today, July 28, marks the beginning of the global hostilities that would come to be known jointhearmyas World War I.  After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, the powerful countries of the world drew up sides and shots were finally fired on this day 100 years ago.  The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is responsible for planning, developing, and executing programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial in this country. According to the website,"The United States reluctantly entered Europe's "Great War" and tipped the balance to Allied victory.... Two million Americans volunteered for the army, and nearly three million were drafted. More than 350,000 African Americans served, in segregated units. For the first time, women were in the ranks, nearly 13,000 in the navy as Yeoman (F) (for female) and in the marines. More than 20,000 women served in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps."

tothelastmanJeff Shaara, a novelist whose books have chronicled the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, writes of the American experience in World War I in To the Last Man. As the conflict stretches into its third year, a neutral America reluctantly enters the war, its  president, Woodrow Wilson, finally accepting the repeated challenges to his stance of nonalignment. Yet the Americans are woefully unprepared and ill equipped to enter a war that has become worldwide in scope. The responsibility is placed on the shoulders of General John "Blackjack" Pershing, and by mid-1917 the first wave of the American Expeditionary Force arrives in Europe. Encouraged by the bold spirit and strength of the untested Americans, the world waits to see if the tide of war can finally be turned.

Colbert Champions Another Debut Author

sweetness9Stephen Colbert has fired another shot at Amazon for its hard-line negotiating tactics with the publisher Hachette Book Group and the authors Hachette represents. Colbert has been urging his "Nation" to pre-order books by new authors from independent booksellers instead of Amazon, and his influence has already borne fruit. Edan Lepucki's book, California, received a huge sales boost, becoming the most pre-ordered book in Hachette's history. Last Monday, she appeared on the Colbert Report where Colbert asked her to name another Hachette debut novelist for the "Nation's" consideration. Lepucki chose Stephen Eirick Clark. His book, Sweetness #9, which will be released on August 19. Clark's novel is about the creator of an artificial sweetener who begins to suspect that his product causes strange side effects, like anxiety, muteness and "a general dissatisfaction with life." So can the Colbert literary lightning strike again? By Tuesday morning, Sweetness #9 was in the top 300 at Barnes and Noble and moving up the lists at independent book stores.  


August 2014 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.



OneKick-202x300#1 for August 2014: One Kick: a Novel by Chelsea Cain
Kick Lannigan is a 21 year-old with a  complicated past and a very special skill set. Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America's hearts when she was rescued five years later.  Trained as a marksman, lock picker, escape artist and bomb maker by her abductor, Kick could not return to the life of the average young girl after her release. So, in lieu of therapy, she mastered martial arts, boxing, and knife throwing; learned how to escape from the trunk of a car, jimmy a pair of handcuffs, and walk without making a sound - all before she was thirteen. Kick has trained herself to be safe. But when two children go missing in three weeks, an enigmatic and wealthy former weapons dealer approaches her with a proposition. Not only is he convinced Kick can help recover the two children - he won't take no for an answer. "...this is an edge-of-the-chair thriller and Cain, (author of the bestselling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers) negotiates the twists and turns with finesse while keeping her foot firmly on the gas pedal." (Booklist).


01 Adult Slogan 1

On vacation? Finally reading for fun?

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 11. 


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.

New this year - a  drawing for two $25 gift certificates All participants who submit a completed Bingo sheet or log 5 books online are eligible.

Master the Literary Elements!

Return of Hercule Poirot

monogrammurdersFans of Agatha Christie's famous mustached detective, Hercule Poirot, will be happy to learn that Christie's estate has authorized a new novel about Poirot's exploits, written by crime author Sophie Hannah. The book is the first work about one of Christie's characters not written by Christie since her death in 1976. Christie's grandson, Matthew Prichard, believes it's important for a new generation to appreciate her work and he has great faith in Hannah's ability to meet the high expectations fans have for this mystery series. In the last novel featuring Poirot, Curtain, which Christie published in 1975, the detective was killed off by a heart attack. Presumably this new adventure occurs before that terminal point. Hannah hopes she's crafted "a puzzle that will confound and frustrate the incomparable Hercule Poirot for at least a good few chapters." The Monogram Murders will be released in September.



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 IX" (really, the Best Name for a literary conference. Ever.)
the conference ran for five days with the usual author panels, speeches and presentations.

During the banquet on Saturday night, they announced the demonologistwinners of the coveted Thriller Awards, which are given every year for the best thriller books in hardcover, paperback original, debut, and other categories. As several well known authors were nominated in the Best Hardcover Novel category (Stephen King, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Lisa Gardner),  the winner, Andrew Pyper was surprised that his novel, The Demonologist, won the prize. The Best First Novel Prize went to Jason Matthews for Red Sparrow, which also won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel earlier this year. Jennifer McMahon's The One I Left Behind was named Best Paperback Original.


Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014)

julyspeopleProminent South African writer, Nadine Gordimer, passed away Sunday, July 13, at the age of 90. Her novels, which explored all aspects of South African life, especially conditions under the rule of apartheid, earned her the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. Three of her books were banned by the South African government during the apartheid era (1948-1994) for their vivid depictions of the injustices and cruelties imposed on black citizens by the country's policies of racial division. Although she was not raised in a political family, she became a secret member of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress party, which was illegal until the apartheid laws were repealed in 1991, and actively participated in apartheid resistance by passing messages and hiding fugitives. She later stated that no one could live in South Africa at that time and remain isolated from politics. Gordimer remained politically involved after the demise of apartheid, turning her attention to the fight against AIDS and the struggle for unlimited freedom of expression in South Africa.


Coming soon...

A-Long-Way-DownA Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives. Failing in their pursuit of solitary deaths, they form a pact to delay their suicides until Valentine's Day. A strange bond forms as the four become media sensations and they delay their plans again and again, helping each other find reasons to live.  The film, to be released  July 11, stars Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots.


strainThe Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Vampires have always been here. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All communication channels have gone quiet. An alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold: a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.  FX has ordered a thirteen episode series based on this horror trilogy, with the first to air on July 13. The first episode, Night Zero, was written by Hogan and del Toro; del Toro directed.


most wanted manA Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre
A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night with an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse around his neck.  He says his name is Issa. Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, is determined to save him from deportation. Soon her client's survival becomes more important to her than her own career or safety. In pursuit of Issa's mysterious past, she contacts Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old heir of Brue Frères, a failing British bank based in Hamburg and source of the mysterious money. Annabel, Issa and Brue form an unlikely alliance. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the "War on Terror," the rival spies of Germany, England and America converge upon the innocents. In theaters on July 25, the movie stars Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last roles before his death.


Lucky Lepucki

californiaFor the past several weeks people in book circles have been following the increasingly unfriendly negotiations between Amazon and the publisher Hachette Book Group over the pricing and marketing of Hachette books and authors on Amazon. As part of the spat, Hachette claims that Amazon has discouraged customers from buying titles by Hachette authors like Stephen Colbert and James Patterson by delaying shipping two or three weeks. Colbert has entered the fray, encouraging his "Nation" to buy books from independent book sellers. He asserts that the situation is hardest on younger, newer authors who are being published for the first time, and is therefore championing Edan Lepucki's new post-apocalyptic debut novel California as a case in point. His influence has made all the difference - California, which will be released Tuesday, is now one of the most pre-ordered debut titles in Hachette history. Lepucki's agent is negotiating film rights for the book and the initial print run has been increased. As the New York Times put it , Lepucki "won the literary Lotto."

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Summer is in full swing...                                                                         atom

Working on your Library Bingo? Logging your books online?

NO? That's ok - there's plenty of summer left and you have until August 11 to earn your prize.

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.

New this year - a  drawing for two $25 gift certificates. All participants who submit a completed Bingo sheet or log 5 books online are eligible. Master the Literary Elements!


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

goldfinchThe Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction was announced this weekend at the American Library Association's annual conference in Las Vegas. The award for fiction was established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. during the previous year; the winner receives a $5,000 cash award. Tartt 's book has received great reviews and she was already awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in April 2014. The novel is a coming-of-age tale about a New York boy who  miraculously survives an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills his mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. The other finalists were Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Claire of the Sea  Light by Edwidge Danticat.



100th Anniversary of the Great War

ww1One hundred years ago today, June 28, the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. His death triggered a chain of events that led to the start of World War I in the summer of 1914. To quote the Washington Post, "Ferdinand's death presented leading statesmen in Europe's great powers both a crisis and an opportunity and led to a dizzying series of diplomatic maneuvers, secret negotiations and political escalations that underlay the explosive opening of World War I - the Great War, a horrifying, bloody four-year conflict that killed some 14 million people, collapsed empires and redrew large parts of the world's map." As the world begins commemorating the people and events of this tragic and tumultuous era, there will be ongoing memorials and ceremonies, and continuing discussions of the causes and legacy of this overwhelming upheaval.

careandmanagementJacqueline Winspear, author of the Maisie Dobbs series, has written a stand-alone novel, timed to coincide with the centennial, that explores the impact of the Great War on a more personal level. The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War, is about Tom and Kezia Atterbury, married in June of 1914, and still newlyweds when war is declared in August. Tom enlists for service, among the thousands of men eager to serve their country. Kezia is left at home, to look after the farm Tom inherited upon the death of his parents. As Tom marches into horrific battles, so Kezia's life begins to unravel, yet each wishes nothing more than to keep the truth from the other. The realities of their experiences are hidden in cheery letters and cards. The "lies" they tell each other are meant to help them through these difficult times. A "sensitive portrayal of ordinary men and women on the home front and battlefield." (Library Journal)

And the Reading is easy!

Trending Now:

vacationersThe Vacationers by Emma Straub
This one is getting a lot of buzz. The novel explores the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family's two-week stay on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. For the Posts, the two-week trip with their extended family and friends is supposed to be a celebration, but all does not go according to plan. "An examination of fidelity, passion, and the vagaries of relationships, this is summer reading with some sizzle and seriousness." (Library Journal)


I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes                                                                              iampilgrim
One of this summer's hottest thrillers - this espionage tale will keep you spellbound. It depicts the collision course between two geniuses, one a tortured hero and one a determined terrorist, in a breakneck story reminiscent of John le Carré and Robert Ludlum at their finest. PILGRIM is the code name for a world class and legendary secret agent. His adversary is a man known only to the reader as the Saracen. Their inevitable encounter will come in Turkey, around the murder of a wealthy American in a beautifully orchestrated finale. "The story is tightly plotted, and the pages fly by ferociously fast. Simply unputdownable." (Booklist)


matchmakerThe Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
Spend some time on the island of Nantucket with 48 year-old local, Dabney Kimball Beech, who has always had a gift for matchmaking. Some call her ability mystical, while others, like her husband, and her daughter, Agnes (who is clearly engaged to the wrong man) call it meddlesome, but there's no arguing with her results. She has 42 happy couples to her credit and all of them still together. Dabney has never been wrong about romance, except in the case of herself and Clendenin Hughes, the green-eyed boy who took her heart with him long ago. "Here's a must-read to reignite the beauty and gift of life, love, and family." (Library Journal)


silkwormThe Silkworm by Robert Galbraith ( aka J. K. Rowling)
Rowling, writing as her alter ego, Galbraith, has crafted a sequel to last summer's bestselling mystery about private detective Cormoran Strike and his lovely assistant, Robin Ellacott. This time they are called in by the wife of a novelist who has disappeared. At first she thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days, as he has done before, and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to it. The novelist has just completed a manuscript skewering almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives-meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him dead. "...a gumshoe team that's on its way to becoming as celebrated for its mystery-solving skills as Nick and Nora Charles of "Thin Man" fame, and Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander (a.k.a. the girl with the dragon tattoo)." (The New York Times)


allfalldownAll Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
Allison Weiss seems to have her happy ending - a handsome husband, adorable daughter, a job she loves, and the big house in the suburbs. But while waiting in the pediatrician's office, she opens a magazine to a quiz about addiction and starts to wonder...Is a Percocet at the end of the day really different from a glass of wine? The pills help her manage the realities of her good-looking life: that her husband is distant, that her daughter is acting out, that her father's Alzheimer's is worsening and her mother is barely managing to cope. But what if her increasing drug use, a habit that's becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all? "Weiner, who is a master at creating realistic characters, is at her best here, handling a delicate situation with witty dialogue and true-to-life scenes. Readers will be nodding their heads in sympathy as Allison struggles to balance being a mother, a daughter, and a wife while desperately just wanting to be herself." (Booklist)


July 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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


#1 for July 2014: Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Landline-197x300Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply--but that almost seems beside the point now. Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her - but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with a past version of Neal. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts.
A hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones.


Based on the book...

deaduntildarkThis weekend brings the beginning of the end for the series True Blood, based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Sookie is a telepathic cocktail waitress in the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Besides Snookie, the town is home to a number of supernatural creatures, including  vampires, werewolves, witches, and shapeshifters, all trying to get along. When the vampire of her dreams walks into her bar, Sookie's life gets very complicated. As the book cover puts it, "Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea." The seventh and final season of Sookie's television adventures on HBO starts on June 22. Harris ended her series with the 13th book, Dead Ever After, in 2013.



leftoversAlso getting the HBO treatment is Tom Perotta's book, The Leftovers. A ten episode series begins on June 29th, chronicling life in a small  New York town after the sudden and unexplained disappearance of some of its citizens. Three years have passed since millions of people worldwide vanished in a Rapture-like instant. Those who were left behind are bewildered and bereft, having lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure. Nothing has been the same since it happened--not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community, even though his own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster."The Leftovers is, simply put, the best Twilight Zone episode you never saw."--Stephen King, New York Times Book Review



Obsessed with  A Song of Ice and Fire?
Bereft without the Lannisters, Starks, and Targaryens?
Banished from the Seven Kingdoms?
Worried about the Wall and the White Walkers?

It's a long time till next season (and Martin's next book!)


Visit some other fantasy realms while you wait.

 shadowmarchShadowmarch (Shadowmarch) by Tad Williams
The maze-like castle of Southmarch stands sentry along the border between the human kingdoms and the land of the immortal Qua. Now, the darkness from beyond that border has begun to enfold Southmarch - or Shadowmarch - the Qua's ancient home. To stop the darkness falling, the Southmarch royal family must face their human enemies, supposed friends and the family curse. Twins Barrick and Briony shoulder impossible burdens as their father is imprisoned and their brother murdered.


amberchroniclesNine Princes in Amber (The Amber Chronicles) by Roger Zelazny
Awakening in an Earth hospital unable to remember who he is or where he came from, Corwin is amazed to learn that he is one of the sons of Oberon, King of Amber, and is the rightful successor to the crown in a parallel world. All other worlds, including Earth, are but shadows of Amber. When someone in the family tries to kill him, Corwin begins a search for his past. He quickly learns that his family has some very unusual powers - they can travel between Amber, its shadows, and Chaos by manipulating reality. Corwin regains his memory, solves the mystery of his father Oberon's disappearance, and fulfills his destiny--only to disappear into Chaos.


The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfussnameofthewind
The tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. Told in Kvothe's own voice as he recounts the intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king.


wayofkingsThe Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson
It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.


His Majesty's Dragon: A novel of Temeraire (Tememraire) by Naomi Novikhismajestysdragon
As Napoleon's tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's smaller fleet, the war does not rage on land and water alone. Squadrons of aviators swarm the skies. Raining fire and acid upon their enemies, they engage in a swift, violent combat with flying tooth and claw... for these aviators ride dragons. Captain Laurence of the ship Reliant captures an enemy frigate with a dragon egg on board - a great prize as England is in sore need. But, more astonishing than the dragonet - named Temeraire by Laurence - are the documents found with him, documents addressed to Napoleon from the greatest, most skilled dragon-breeders in the world - the Chinese. The dragon Temeraire was meant for the Emperor Napoleon himself and promises to grow into no ordinary creature.

Click here for more titles.

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Started your Summer Reading yet?

PDL's Adult Summer Reading Program has begun!

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.


New Book Club Kits                                                      BookClubKit                        

Looking 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 through the Library catalog to fit into your group's meeting schedule. A complete list of available Kits can be found on the Library webpage under Services/Book Clubs.

New Kits:

lightbetweenoceansThe Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly a half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel, Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.   Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.


secretkeeperThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
During a picnic at her family’s farm in the English countryside, 16-year-old Laurel witnesses a shocking crime, a crime that challenges everything she knows about her adored mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel and her sisters are meeting at the farm to celebrate Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this is her last chance to discover the truth about that long-ago day, Laurel searches for answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past. Clue by clue, she traces a secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds who were thrown together in war-torn London – Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy – whose lives are forever after entwined.


aviatorswifeThe Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America's most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles's assurance and fame, Anne is smitten. Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields them from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows.


orphantrainOrphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude? As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. AS seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer helps an elderly Vivian sort through her keepsakes, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past


Operation Overlord - June 6, 1944

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allies' massive invasion of Normandy which began the liberation of western Europe from Nazi control and ultimately led to the end World War II. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history. While D-Day has been intensely documented in histories, films, and memoirs, as befits so monumental an undertaking, there is also no shortage of novels set during World War II that focus on the invasion and the enormous challenges faced by Allied forces that day. Consider reading a few as we commemorate this incredible achievement.

steelwaveThe Steel Wave: A novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara
General Dwight Eisenhower commands a diverse army that must find its single purpose in the destruction of Hitler's European fortress, while on the coast of France, German commander Erwin Rommel fortifies and prepares for the coming invasion, aware that he must bring all his skills to bear on a fight his side must win. And as the invasion force surges toward the beaches of Normandy, Private Tom Thorne of the 29th Infantry Division faces the horrifying prospects of fighting his way ashore on a stretch of coast more heavily defended than the Allied commanders anticipate-Omaha Beach. From G.I. to general, this story carries the reader through the war's most crucial juncture, the invasion that altered the flow of the war, and, ultimately, changed history.


invasionInvasion by Walter Dean Myers
It’s June 6, 1944, D-Day, and 19-year-old Josiah “Woody” Wedgewood is part of the Allied invasion, huddled up with a group of other men against the cliffs on Omaha Beach. “We are in a killing zone,” he thinks in agony, “and we are dying.” All around him is a scene from hell: the beach filled with the dead and dying; the noises of war— shots and explosions—so loud that Woody can’t hear the screams all around him. “I will never be the same again,” he thinks. Myers charts the course of war in the month following the invasion as Woody, who tells the compelling story in his own first-person voice, and his comrades continue to fight through the countryside in pursuit of the Germans.


turbulenceTurbulence by Giles Foden
The D-day landings--the fate of 2.5 million men, three thousand landing craft and the entire future of Europe depend on the right weather conditions on the English Channel on a single day. A team of Allied scientists is charged with agreeing on an accurate forecast five days in advance. But is it even possible to predict the weather so far ahead? Wallace Ryman has devised a system that comprehends all of this--but he is a reclusive pacifist who stubbornly refuses to divulge his secrets. Henry Meadows, a young math prodigy from the Met Office, is sent to Scotland to uncover Ryman's system and apply it to the Normandy landings. But turbulence proves more elusive than anyone could have imagined.


Bailey's Women's Prize for Fictionbaileys-logo3-793x344

Launched in 1996, the Prize is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000 (about $50,000) and a limited edition bronze sculpture known as a ‘Bessie’.

And the winner, announced on June 4:

Eimear McBride - A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing

A-Girl-is-a-Half-Formed-Thing largeMcBride is a debut novelist and a bit of a surprise winner since she was nominated with several literary heavy-hitters, including Pulitzer winner Donna Tartt. Her book is described on the prize website as " the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour." Unfortunately, the book will not be published in the U.S. until September 2014.

The 2014 shortlist, announced in March, also included:      

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah                              

Hannah Kent - Burial Rites

Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland

Audrey Magee - The Undertaking

Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch                                            



iStock SummerReading XSmallLike graduations and weddings, summer reading lists and recommendations proliferate every year in June. Every media outlet, whether print, online, blog or broadcast, creates a list of best summer reads filled with non-fiction, fiction, beach reads and how-to books. The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Publishers Weekly,  The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Vogue 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 Literary Elements Bingo.)


June 2014 LibraryReads List

library reads logo websiteThe top ten books published this month that librarians across the country love.

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


#1 for June 2014: Elizabeth is Missing: A Novel by Emma Healey

Elizabethismissing3DIn this sophisticated psychological mystery, one woman will stop at nothing to find her best friend, who seems to have gone missing. Despite Maud's growing anxiety about Elizabeth's welfare, no one takes her concerns seriously--not her frustrated daughter, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son--because Maud suffers from dementia. But even as her memory disintegrates and she becomes increasingly dependent on the trail of handwritten notes she leaves for herself in her pockets and around her house, Maud cannot forget her best friend. Armed with only an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth--no matter what it takes.


New Edition of Taps at Reveille  

tapsatreveilleIn 1935, the last of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story collections, Taps at fitzgeraldReveille, was released by the Saturday Evening Post. The New York Times reports that a new edition will be published next week due to the recent discovery that the 1935 stories were not printed as Fitzgerald originally wrote them: the editors had deleted or substituted certain words to "sanitize" the works for a broad, middle-class audience. Professor James L. W. West of Penn State uncovered the deletions when he compared Fitzgerald's transcripts with the various published versions. Profanity, slang, and references to drugs and sex were either deleted or softened by the editors, and at least two of the 18 stories were the worse for it. " I used to think the Saturday Evening Post stories were rather fluffy, but with the restorations they seem a little grittier," Mr. West said." They seem more as though they were written for adults."


Now (or soon) playing:

                                   Cold in July by Joe R. Lansdale
coldinjulyA shocking crime thriller, originally released in 1989, and now adapted for film starring Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. Texas homeowner Richard Dane has killed a small-time criminal who broke into his home in the middle of the night. Everyone acknowledges that it was self defense, except Ben, the father of the dead man, who is hungry for vengeance. When Ben comes to settle the score, it turns out that the man Richard killed was not Ben's son. The two men unite to seek anwers and find Ben's son, but are soon drawn into a deadly conspiracy to conceal another crime amid a web of psychopathic sex, underworld violence, and police corruption. The book is considered a classic crime novel and the film adaptation was screened to positive reviews at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.



                                   A Million Ways to Die in the West by Seth MacFarlane
millionwaystodieComedian-writer Seth MacFarlane applies his brand of humor to the Western novel. Mild mannered Albert isn't a fan of the wild, wild West: there are just too many ways to get hurt, or worse, to die. And he intends to avoid them all. But when his girlfriend dumps him, he decides he's gotta do what a man's gotta do: fight back. Luckily he teams up with Anna, a female gunslinger who toughens him up. That turns out to be a good thing, since she's married to the biggest, meanest, and most jealous killer on the frontier, who just happens to be coming to town. "As a longtime fan of Western films and novels by Louis L'Amour, Mr. MacFarlane wanted to bring his own cynical sensibility to the genre. The story has all the hallmarks of a classic Western—gunfights, a stagecoach robbery, hostile Indians—but Mr. MacFarlane mocks those tropes at every turn." (Wall Street Journal) The movie stars MacFarlane, Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson.


Mary Stewart (1916-2014)

crystalcaveMary Stewart, writer of intelligent romantic suspense novels and author of a best-selling trilogy about Merlin and King Arthur, passed away recently in Scotland at the age of 97. Well known for her suspense novels in the late 50's and throughout the 60's, Stewart changed course  to write The Crystal Cave, published in 1970, which relates the Arthurian legend from the wizard Merlin's point of view. The trilogy follows Merlin through his boyhood and the development of his magical powers to adulthood and his devotion to King Arthur and the quest to unite Britain and create Camelot. The New York Times obituary comments "The books, set in the fifth century A.D., were praised for their unusual blend of fantasy and historical detail, beginning almost a quarter-century before J. K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book." Stewart slowed down in the 80's and 90's, only producing a few more books. Her last novel, Rose Cottage was published in 1997.


Summer (Reading) is coming!

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PDL's Adult Summer Reading Program will be back again this summer, starting June 1.  Details will be found on the website and in the newsletter. Master the elements this summer!


MInotablebooksPDL Invites Book Lovers to
Meet Author Matt Bell


Michigan Notable Author, Matt Bell, is visiting our community as part of the Library of Michigan’s 2014 Michigan Notable Books author tour. Every year, the Michigan Notable Books program chooses 20 outstanding fiction and nonfiction books written about Michigan
or by a Michigan author and published the previous calendar year.

inthehouseIn his debut novel, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and mattbellthe Woods, Bell tells the story of a newly-wed couple who escapes the rat race for a distant and almost-uninhabited lakeshore. They plan to live there simply, to fish the lake and trap the nearby woods, and build a house upon the dirt between where they can raise a family. This novel is a powerful exploration of parenthood and marriage—and of what happens when a marriage's success is measured solely by the children it produces, or else the sorrow that marks their absence. Sign-up requested, call 734.453.0750. ext. 4.


Still Scary After All These Years

rosemarysbabyIra Levin’s famously creepy novel, Rosemary’s Baby, originally published in 1967, is coming to NBC as a two-part, four-hour mini-series, which begins Sunday, May 11.  Those of a certain age will remember its last media adaptation: a film directed by Roman Polanski in 1968 and starring Mia Farrow as the unfortunate Rosemary. According to the Huffington Post, the horror aspects of the story have been ramped up for the newer version, enough "to terrify anyone brave enough to tune in." For those who've forgotten Levin's story, happy newlyweds, Rosemary and Guy, move to a new apartment and become involved with their somewhat eccentric neighbors. When Rosemary becomes pregnant and strange things start to happen, she begins to suspect that her unborn child may be a little devil.


If Traditional Mysteries are Your Cup of Tea

Agatha-Awards-Malice-DomesticThe Agatha Awards, named for the genre’s legendary practitioner, Agatha Christie, are sponsored by Malice Domestic, a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating traditional mysteries. The group’s Web site defines these books as “mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence. Materials generally classified as "hard-boiled" are not appropriate." To be eligible, a mystery novel must have been published by a living author during the calender year of 2013.


wronggirlBest Contemporary NovelThe Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Tipped off by a determined ex-colleague on a desperate quest to find her birth mother, Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland begins to suspect that the agency is engaging in the ultimate betrayal-reuniting birth parents with the wrong children. For detective Jake Brogan and his partner, a young woman's brutal murder seems a sadly predictable case of domestic violence, one that results in two toddlers being shuttled into the foster care system. Then Jake finds an empty cradle at the murder scene. Jane and Jake are soon on a trail full of twists and turns that takes them deep into the heart of a foster care system in crisis and threatens to blow the lid off an adoption agency scandal.



questionofhonorBest Historical Novel: A Question of Honor by Charles Todd
World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford investigates an old murder that occurred during her childhood in India, a search for the truth that will leave her pondering a troubling question: How can facts lie? Bess Crawford enjoyed a wondrous childhood in India, where her father, a colonel in the British Army, was stationed on the Northwest Frontier. But an unforgettable incident darkened that happy time. In 1908, Colonel Crawford's regiment discovered that it had a murderer in its ranks, an officer who killed five people in India and England yet was never brought to trial. A decade later, tending to the wounded on the battlefields of France during World War I, Bess learns from a dying Indian sergeant that the supposed murderer, Lieutenant Wade, is alive--and serving at the Front. To settle the matter once and for all, Bess sets out to find Wade and let the courts decide.


May 2014 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.


WeWereLiars3D#1 for May 2014: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart about a prominent family living on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. Each year the extended family, including four cousins (the Liars) who have been inseparable since early childhood, gathers for the summer. During their fifteenth summer however, one of the Liars, Cadence, suffers a mysterious accident which leaves her with memory loss and migraines. She does not return to the island for two years. When she does, at age 17, she begins to recover bits and pieces of the past, and the twisted  strands of family secrets, lies, guilt and blame that had been concealed come to light with devastating results. "Surprising, thrilling, and beautifully executed in spare, precise, and lyrical prose, Lockhart spins a tragic family drama, the roots of which go back generations. And the ending? Shhhh. Not telling. (But it's a doozy)." (Booklist)


edgarallanpoeThe Mystery Writers of America presented the Edgar Allan Poe Awards honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2013 at their annual banquet on May 1.


 And the Winners Are:

ordinary graceBest Novel:
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson's Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family-his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother-he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity  beyond his years.



redsparrowBest First Novel:
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a "Sparrow," a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency's most important Russian mole. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and-inevitably-forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate's game reaches a deadly crossroads.