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October 2015 LibraryReads List

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

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



# 1 for October 2015

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

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


80th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Awards   

On Thursday, September 10, in Cleveland, the Anisfield-Wolf Awards Ceremony will be edithanisfieldwolfheld to honor the 2015 recipients of "the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity." The Awards' purpose is to recognize books that make important contributions to a better understanding of racism and promote an appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf created the prizes in 1935, "in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice." Past winners have included Toni Morrison, Martin Luther King Jr., Nadine Gordimer, Junot Diaz, Anthony Marra, and Kevin Powers. The winners receive cash prizes similar to the Pulitzers or National Book Awards, but the Anisfield-Wolf prizes remain relatively unknown. Speaking to NPR, Awards Manager Karen Long commented that "Things that address race are considered, sometimes in the larger culture, as homework or broccoli or good for you."

2015 Fiction Winner:

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


National Read a Book Day - September 6, 2015

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

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





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

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

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


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

PDL will again join with libraries, schools and others nationwide to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 10, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The entire building will be filled with Star Wars collectibles, posters, decorations and more. Dress up as your favorite SW character and enjoy the wide variety of activities for all ages including books, crafts, face-painting, photo booth, and Star Wars-themed refreshments. May the Force be with you!

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


2015-16 Great Michigan Read

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

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


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

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


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

10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

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

Hurricane Katrina in Fiction:

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


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


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


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


August 26 is National Dog Day

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

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

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

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

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

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



Science Fiction's Best

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


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



2015 Winners Announced

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

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

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


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



The Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview

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

Some of the highlights for September:

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

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

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

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



The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

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


September 2015 LibraryReads List

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

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


# 1 for September 2015:

The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo

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


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

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


Adult Summer Reading 2015

evanced web header adult

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

Congratulations!  Did  you find your Hero?

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


BookClubKitLooking for your next book club selection?

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


New Kits:

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


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


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


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



evanced web header adult

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

Yes, its just about over.

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

Then come into the Library to claim your prize!


Did you Find your Hero in a book this summer?



Now (or soon) Playing:

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


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


Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson

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


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

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 10.

Grab/print a Bingo sheet and begin - or - click here to log your reading selections.
Its that easy - 5 boxes on a Bingo sheet or 5 books in your online log.  Prizes include Penn Theatre tickets and gift certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants.

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

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

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

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


Now Playing: The End of the Tour

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





 2015 Man Booker Prize Longlist

This morning, July 29, the longlist of 13 titles nominated for the Man Booker Prize was released. Due to a rules change two years ago, any writer whose book is originally written in English and  published in Britain is now eligible for consideration for the prize, one of England's most prestigious awards for literature. Until this change, only writers from the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth countries were eligible for the 50,000 pound ($85,000) honor. Last year four American authors were included, this year 5 books written by American authors are in contention. The prize shortlist will be announced on September 15, and the winner announced on October 13.

American Authors on the Longlist:            manbooker

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

Laila Lalami - The Moor's Account

Marilynne Robinson - Lila

Anne Tyler - A Spool of Blue Thread

Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life  


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


2015 Romance Writers of America (RITA) Awards

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

Among the 2015 Winners: 



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

      Historical Romance, Short:  Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

      Inspirational Romance:  Deceived by Irene Hannon

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




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

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

The Shortlist: Summer

Her comments below:









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

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

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

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


E. L. Doctorow (1931-2015)

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


Charlie Martz and Other Stories by Elmore Leonard

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


Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

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

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


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On vacation? Finally reading for fun?

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 10.                  hero

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

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

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

Hold Out For a Hero!


The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

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


thrillerfestX 700px

ThrillerFest X                                               

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

Among the 2015 Winners:

Best Hardcover Novel: The Fever by Megan Abbott

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



Best First Novel: The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

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


August 2015 LibraryReads List

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

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



#1 for August 2015:

Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb

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


Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

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


New Book Club Kits

BookClubKitLooking for your next book club selection?

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


New Kits:

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

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


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


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

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


2015 Christy Awards

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

thiefofglory2015 Winners:

Book of the Year: Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

Contempory Novel: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Historical Novel: The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

Suspense Novel: The Color of Justice by Ace Collins

Historical Romance Novel: Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer




2015 Locus Awards

Speaking of awards, the Locus Science Fiction Foundation announced the winners of the 2015 Locus Awards on June 27, during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle. The awards are presented in numerous categories to the winners of an annual readers' poll by Locus Magazine, a monthly science fiction and fantasy publication based in Oakland, CA. The awards were established in 1971 as a way to provide recommendations to Hugo Awards voters. Among the categories are novels (sci fi and fantasy), first novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, anthologies, and collections.

Some of the Winners:

Science Fiction Novel : Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Fantasy Novel: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

First Novel: The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert

Novelette: Tough Times All Over by Joe Abercrombie

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

Collection : Last Plane to Heaven Jay Lake

© 2015 by Locus Publications.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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


James Patterson's Zoo

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


Hold Out for a Hero!

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Adult Summer Reading 2015

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

James Salter (1925-2015)

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


Poldark on PBS

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


July 2015 LibraryReads List

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

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



#1 for July 2015:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

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


Harper Lee vs. E.L. James

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


 PEN Prize for Debut Fiction

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

2014 Nebula Awards

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


MInotablebooks    PDL Invites Book Lovers
to Meet Author
Lolita Hernandez

     THURSDAY, JUNE 25 at 7PM

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

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

 (Medallion:  Copyright the Library of Michigan, 2015)



inner circleEveryone's Reading The Inner Circle

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

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



Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

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


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

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

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


Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian

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


book-sunglasses-beach h528Like graduations and weddings, summer reading lists and recommendations pop up every year in June. Media outlets, whether print, online, blog or broadcast, create lists of best summer reads filled with non-fiction, fiction, beach reads and how-to books. The New York Times, (including Janet Maslin's list,) Publishers Weekly,  The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly and more have all weighed in with selections for your summer reading pleasure. This should help you find a good book to take on vacation (or help you with your Every Hero has a Story Bingo.)

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Adult Summer Reading 2015 begins today!

Grab/print your Bingo sheet or sign up online to create your account to start reading for fun and prizes.
Our program runs from June 1 to August 10.

Summer starts now!


Margaret Atwood's Scribbler Moon

handmaidstaleMargaret Atwood, the well-known and justly celebrated Canadianatwood author of scores of award-winning books, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and the Oryx and Crake trilogy (Oryx and CrakeThe Year of the Flood, MaddAddam) recently delivered a secret manuscript to a public library in Oslo, Sweden for publication in the year 2114. (Yes, 2114.) The manuscript is called Scribbler Moon but Atwood would reveal no other details. The arrangement is part of the first phase of a project called "Future Library." For the next 99 years, one author per year will contribute a written work to the project and the manuscripts will be sealed and held in secrecy by the library until publication in 100 years. Each book is to be printed on paper made from the trees planted in a forest near the library. Although Atwood, 76, won't be around to see the final product, this is certainly one way to guarantee her literary legacy!


intheunlikelyeventSince Memorial Day and summer are just around the corner, the finderskeepersfirst of the "Best Books of Summer" lists are starting to appear. Publishers Weekly and Entertainment Weekly have already released their picks, which include Harper Lee's long awaited sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, titled Go Set a Watchman, and Finders Keepers, Stephen King's follow-up to Mr. Mercedes.  Judy Blume's first novel for adults since 1998, In the Unlikely Event, is also getting buzz.


So, there'll be lots of choices for adult summer reading!

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May is National Bike Month

Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast,
National Bike Month was established in 1956 as a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.

 In honor of the month, why not try a book with bikes?

Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown
Mackinac Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the gearedforthegravestreets on bicycles. Hoping to shift the chances of a promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads there to assist her boss's father, Rudy Randolph, who has broken his leg and needs help operating his bike shop, Rudy's Rides. After Evie's arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident. Upon closer inspection, it appears Bunny's brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny's number one enemy: Rudy. To stay on her boss's good side, Evie needs to steer Rudy clear of jail. "Marijuana-laced fudge that inebriates local seniors; bike and horse incidents; and family arguments add a liberal dose of zaniness to a clever mystery. Evie and friends provide a unique look at the famous destination in this enjoyable escape." (Booklist)


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June 1 – August 10, 2015

 Discover your hero in a book this summer!
There are two ways to play!

Library Bingo

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


Online Adult Summer Reading Log

Bingo not your thing? Try the Online Adult Summer Reading Program. Sign up at to create your adult summer reading account, then read five (5) books of your choice and list the titles on your online log. You can also post a book review, if you like. When you’ve finished your five, stop by the Library to pick up your final prize. Prizes include certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants and Penn movie tickets. You can start reading on June 1 and continue until August 10.

Hold out for a hero this summer!


The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

inner circleIn May and June, PDL will participate in Everyone’s Reading, the one-book community reading program sponsored by Metro Detroit public libraries in Oakland and Wayne counties. Everyone’s Reading promotes public dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book with friends, neighbors, and other members of our community.

This year's selection is the The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer, a thriller with intriguing historical details about a ring of spies working for George Washington during the Revolutionary War. In the present, Beecher White is an archivist working happily with the past until Clementine Kaye, his crush back in school, asks for his help tracking down her long-lost father. After they discover a priceless artifact they were never meant to see - a two-hundred-year-old dictionary that once belonged to Washington -  Beecher and Clementine find themselves suddenly entangled in a web of deception, conspiracy, and murder connected to a secret organization within the United States government.

PARTICIPATE by reading the book and joining the book discussion at the Library: brad meltzerContemporary Books meets on June 9 at 7:30pm. No registration is necessary. Copies of The Inner Circle will be available at the Library.

MEET the author, Brad Meltzer, on June 22 at 2pm at the Rochester Church of Christ  or later that day (June 22) at The Jewish Community Center -  Handleman Hall, West  Bloomfield at 7pm. Tickets are free, but limited - call the Library for ticket availability, 734.453.0750, ext 4.

Read with us and discover the best kept secret of the United States Presidency!


Bram Stoker Award2014 Bram Stoker Awards

The Horror Writers Association, an organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy,"dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it," recently announced the 2014 winners of the Bram Stoker Awards. Named for the author of Dracula, the awards are presented annually for superior writing in several categories of this genre. The awards were presented during the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, held May 7-10.

Superior Achievement in a First Novel:                                         mrwicker

Mr. Wicker by Maria Alexander                                                                                 
After a  suicide attempt, failed horror novelist Alicia Baum arrives at  the Library of Lost Childhood Memories where Mr. Wicker, the sinister librarian, holds the secret to a missing childhood memory that was the cause of her every misfortune. Unable to pass to the hereafter, she returns to life. She awakens in a psych ward, in the care of Dr. Farron, a gentle psychologist researching the concept of childhood bogeymen. Drawn to the mystery of Alicia's past, and then to each other, they team up to find the memory before it, and Wr. Wicker, annihilate Alicia for good. "Illness, loss, and heartache color this splendid, bittersweet ode to the ghosts of childhood." (Publishers Weekly)


June 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 June 2015:
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

eighthundredgrapesGrowing up on her family's Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother's lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands. But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever. Georgia does what she's always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who's been keeping secrets...Set in the lush backdrop of Sonoma's wine country, Eight Hundred Grapes is a heartbreaking, funny, and deeply evocative novel about love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain in which they all intersect.


Ruth Rendell (1930-2015)

doonwithdeathAcclaimed mystery writer Ruth Rendell, aka Baroness Rendell of Babergh, died on May 03RENDELL-blog4272 in London after suffering a stroke in January. She was 85. Rendell's books, written under her own name and also as Barbara Vine, along with those of her friend P.D. James, are credited with moving British crime novels from puzzle-style detective tales toward more psychologically complex stories with intricate plots and social consciousness. Rendell wrote more than 60 books, many featuring her best-known protagonist, Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford, a "big, ugly," happily married policeman with intelligence and sensitivity, who has a talent for getting under the skin of the crinimal element.  Rendell was quoted as saying,"Women love him." So much so that a British TV series about Inspector Wexford ran for 55 episodes. Over her career, Rendell won three Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, which named her to its list of grandmasters, and also won four Gold Daggers and a Diamond Dagger from England’s Crime Writers’ Association. Her final novel, Dark Corners, will be published in October.


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The Agatha Awards, named for the genre’s legendary practitioner, Agatha Christie, are sponsored by Malice Domestic, a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating traditional mysteries. The group’s Web site defines these books as “mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence. Materials generally classified as "hard-boiled" are not appropriate." To be eligible, a mystery novel must have been published by a living author during the calender year of 2014. Prizes were awarded on May 2, during the organization's annual convention.

Best Contemporary Novel:truthbetold
Truth Be Told
by Hank Phillippi Ryan
The third book of the Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan series has reporter Jane Ryland following up on the story of a middle-class family evicted from their suburban home after the bank foreclosed. In digging up the facts, Jane soon learns the truth behind a big-bucks scheme and the surprising players who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their goal a secret. Meanwhile, Boston police detective (and Jane's boyfriend) Jake Brogan might have  a liar on his hands. A man has just confessed to the famous twenty-year-old Lilac Sunday killing, and while Jake's colleagues take him at his word, Jake is not so sure, despite his personal reasons for wanting to solve the cold case. Author Ryan won this prize last year for The Wrong Girl, the second book in the series.

queenofheartsBest Historical Novel:
Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Genteely impoverished Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, is the star of Bowen's Royal Spyness series set in 1930's London. The eighth book finds the amateur spy/sleuth idling away in Kent until her much-married (and divorced) actress mother invites her on a trip to America. Georgie and her hapless maid, Queenie, set sail across the Atlantic on the ocean liner Berengaria, where they make the acquaintance of Hollywood mogul Cy Goldman. Unfortunately, the fun stops when Goldman is murdered once they all reach California. "Bowen moves the classic country-house mystery to a glitzy California castle, portrays real and Hollywood-made celebrities, and adds romance in an engagingly madcap adventure." (Booklist)


Intergalactic Star Wars Day 2015


Today is the celebration of all things Star Wars and the Force is strong indeed. The next Star Wars film, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, premiers in December 2015, and 20 new Star Wars books, in various formats, will be released this year as part of the new official canon.  Lucasfilm has kindly provided a chart to help readers and viewers follow the stories' timelines and sort out the proper reading/watching sequence of the new material. Several of the new books (Lords of the Sith, TarkinA New Dawn and Heir to the Jedi) have been released already while others (Dark Disciple, Aftermath: Journey to the Force Awakens) will come later this year. Be warned: this timeline is not the last word - more new novels and comics are still in the works.



Credit: LucasBooks

Now (or soon) playing:

farfromthemaddingcrowdFar from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Starring Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen, this sixth film adaptation of Hardy's first major literary success opened on May 1. The title is taken from a poem, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, which meditates on the memories and comfort to be found in  living in the rustic English countryside.  Hardy's plot concerns the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, a rather modern young woman for her Victorian times, who wants to live her life on her own terms, despite the societal expectations and customs which constrain her. Although not inclined to marry (she has a farm to run) she attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature landowner.


chocchipChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
This is the first book in the mystery series that features Hannah Swensen, a talented baker who runs The Cookie Jar, a bakeshop in tiny Lake Eden, Minnesota, where the gossip flows as hot and steady as the coffee. When she finds her good friend and delivery driver shot dead in the alley behind her shop, Hannah joins the town sheriff in pursuit of the killer. The movie version, Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Murder Mystery, will air on the Hallmark Movies and Mystery Channel at 9pm tonight (May 2) starring Alison Sweeney (Days of Our Lives, Biggest Loser) as Hannah. Fluke has written 17 more  dessert-titled novels about Hannah's exploits, the latest, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, was released in February 2015. All of the books contain recipes.


The Mystery Writers of America presented the Edgar Allan Poe Awards honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2014 at their annual banquet on April 29.


mrmercedesBest Novel: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
In a departure from his often occult, horror-based stories, King delivers a tale of a human source of evil, a serial killer. Early one morinig, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the "perk" and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy. "...King excels in his disturbing portrait of...  a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase "the banality of evil." (Publishers Weekly)

Thieves Fall Out by Gore Vidal

thievesIn the 1950's, at the beginning of his career, literary lion Gore Vidal did what many authors do to make a buck - turn out quickly-written pulp fiction novels under different names. In Vidal's case, three different names for different genres. As Cameron Kay, he wrote a crime thriller, Thieves Fall Out, set in Egypt during the 1952 revolution there. The book was published in 1953 and was soon forgotten, falling out of print. This month, however, Hard Case Crime, a publishing imprint, released a new edition - this time with Vidal's name on the cover. Vidal, who died in 2012, declined to re-release the book during his lifetime but, after his death, his estate gave its blessing. According to a review in the New York Times the book is an efficient, if conventional, thriller that reveals something about Vidal's trajectory as a writer: "Vidal is clearly using the pulp format to figure out what he’s good at (sardonic worldliness) and what he’s not (romance). And through it all, he keeps the words flowing."..."Even if he knew it wasn’t for the ages."


sandcastle girlsThe 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will be commemorated on April 24, 2015. Experts estimate 1.5 million Armenian Christians died in the genocide, which began April 24, 1915, and continued for eight years. The Turkish campaign against the Armenians started with the arrest and execution of 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in what is now Istanbul. Able-bodied men were massacred or died in labor camps. Women, children, the elderly and the infirm were sent on death marches through the Syrian desert.

In Metro Detroit, a number of Armenian community groups and churches have planned special events to honor the genocide's victims.  More than 17,000 people of Armenian descent make their home in Michigan and nearly 11,000 live in Metro Detroit.

In The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, an author of several novels and of Armenian descent, recounts the story of one family caught in the horrors of that time. In an essay on his website, Bohjalian states, "I think The Sandcastle Girls may be the most important book I’ve written. It is certainly the most personal. It’s a big, broad, sweeping historical love story. The novel moves back and forth in time between the present and 1915; between the narrative of an Armenian-American novelist at mid-life and her grandparents’ nightmarish stories of survival in Aleppo, Van, and Gallipoli in 1915." "This is a powerful and moving story based on real events seldom discussed. It will leave you reeling." (Booklist)


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

allthelightYesterday, the Pulitzer Prize committee announced the winners of this year's awards,"honoring Excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917." Anthony Doerr's best-selling historical novel, with 49 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list, was named the Pulitzer Prize winner for "distinguished fiction by an American author..." earning Doerr (more) literary prestige and $10,000. All the Light We Cannot See was also a finalist for the National Book Award and is on the shortlist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Set in occupied France during World War II, the novel is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide as both try to survive the devastation of of the war. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo. With them they carry what might be the museum's most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance near St. Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure's converge. " ...this novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece." (Library Journal)


Now (or soon) playing:

longest rideThe Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
This film adaptation of Sparks' 17th romance novel, published in 2013, opened on April 10. Former bull-riding champion Luke and college student Sophia are in love, but conflicting paths and ideals threaten to tear them apart: Luke hopes to make a comeback on the rodeo circuit, and Sophia is about to embark on her dream job in New York's art world. As the couple ponder their romantic future, they find inspiration in Ira, an elderly man whose decades-long romance with his beloved wife withstood the test of time. Directed by George Tillman Jr., the film stars Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood and Alan Alda (M*A*S*H, West Wing ) as Ira.



child44Child 44  by Tom Rob Smith
Released on April 17, this Cold War mystery/thriller set in 1950's-era Russia, stars Tom Hardy (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films), and Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). State Security Force agent Leo Demidov, a war hero and true believer in the modern Soviet regime, has a relatively comfortable life tracking down enemies of the state until he discovers that a different kind of criminal, a  murderer of children, is on the loose, killing at will. But in a society that is officially paradise, it's a crime against the State to suggest that a murderer-much less a serial killer-is in their midst. Demoted and exiled from his home, with only his wife, Raisa, remaining at his side, he must find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists.


casualvacancyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Rowling's first novel for an adult audience, written after her hugely successful Harry Potter series, recounts the story of a small town thrown into shock by the death of parish council member Barry Fairbrother. The battle for his empty seat on the Pagford council becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen and reveals the ugly truths behind the  community's pretty facade. The best-seller has been adapted as a three-part televison mini-series in a joint project by HBO and BBC, and will premiere on April 29 in the U.S.
Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films) will star along with veteran British actors Keeley Hawes (Upstairs, Downstairs) and Julia McKenzie (Agatha Christie's Miss Marple).


May 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 May 2015:
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

uprootedA stand-alone novel by the author of the Temeraire series, this fantasy is inspired by legends and fairy tales. Agnieszka's small, quiet village is protected from the Wood, an evil entity that destroys all it touches, by a cold and dangerous wizard called the Dragon. As paymemt for his protection, the village must send him a young girl for a period of ten years. When Agnieszka is chosen, she is uprooted from her beloved village and discovers, despite her fear and homesickness,  that she has a talent for magic and an appetite for adventure. "Novik's use of language is supremely skillful as she weaves a tale that is both elegantly grand and earthily humble, familiar as a Grimm fairy tale yet fresh, original, and totally irresistible. This will be a must-read for fantasy fans for years to come." (Publishers Weekly)

baileyslogoBaileys Women's Prize for Fiction

Launched in 1996 (and originally known as the Orange Prize) this literary 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’. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on June 3.

2015 Finalists:

Rachel Cusk – Outline

Laline Paull – The Bees

Kamila Shamsie – A God in Every Stone

Ali Smith – How to be Both

Anne Tyler – A Spool of Blue Thread

Sarah Waters – The Paying Guests


© 2014 BAILEYS Women's Prize for Fiction


Ivan Doig (1939-2015)

whistlingseasonIvan Doig, author of 16 books that celebrated the American West, doigand Montana in particular, passed away on April 9 of multiple myeloma at the age of 75. He majored in journalism and worked for many years in various editorial jobs before turning to memoirs and novels. This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind, a memoir published in 1979, was a finalist for the National Book Award but his thirteen novels, especially the 2006 best-seller The Whistling Season, earned him the most praise. In 2007 he was awarded the Wallace Stegner Award, named for the late historian and novelist, by the Center for the American West for his "sustained contribution to the cultural identity of the West through literature, art, history, lore, or an understanding of the West." He didn't consider himself a "regional" writer but did identify as a member of the "lariat proletariat, the working class point of view."



ALA NLW2015 bannerad

This week, PDL joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week, a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.

This year's theme is "Unlimited possibilities @ your library®."  PDL offers a myriad of materials and services, from books and DVDS to home delivery and computer classes; from book discussions and WII bowling to metal stamping and storytimes; from chess club and video games to music performances and personal investment presentations.  Let us help you explore the possibilities.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction - 2015 Finalists

The American Library Association recently announced the three books shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence for Fiction, the award for the best fiction written last year and published in the U.S. The winner will receive $5,000 when announced at the 2015 ALA Annual conference in San Francisco in June. All three books have been well-reviewed and either nominated for other literary prizes and/or named on several "best" lists.

allthelightAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthoy Doerr
Through the intertwined stories of a sightless French girl and a German soldier, Doerr masterfully and imaginatively re-creates the harsh conditions in WWII-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.



norawebsterNora Webster by Colm Toibin
In Tóibín’s remarkably subtle, witty, and affirming story, the Ireland of four decades ago and the conundrums women faced are beautifully evoked through events in the three-year widowhood of fortysomething Nora Webster.



onsuchafullseaOn Such A Full Sea by Chang Rae Lee
As young Fan searches for her missing boyfriend in an America devastated by climate change and a pandemic, Lee brilliantly imagines extreme survival tactics, psychological trauma, and the resurrection of art and its solace.



preparationforthenextlifePreparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

The winner of the 2015 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction  was announced April 7 by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. The Foundation, a non-profit literary organization that honors the best work of fiction published by an American in a single calendar year, awards the largest peer-reviewed literary prize in the country.

Lish, this year's recipient of the $15,000 prize, is a debut novelist whose book describes the relationship of Zou Lei, a Chinese immigrant working in a tiny noodle restaurant in New York, and Skinner, a traumatized AWOL Iraqi war veteran and wanderer. Zou Lei, an orphan of the desert, has migrated to work in America and finds herself slaving in New York's kitchens. She falls in love with a young man whose heart has been broken in another desert. A new life may be possible if together they can survive homelessness, lockup, and the young man's nightmares, which may be more prophecy than madness. The novel was published in November and earned universal critical praise, named to many of the "best" lists of 2014. "Perhaps the finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade."(New York Times)

The four other finalists, who each receive $5,000, are Jeffery Renard Allen for Song of the Shank, Jennifer Clement for Prayers for the Stolen, Emily St. John Mandel for Station Eleven, and Jenny Offill for Dept. of Speculation.

Game of Thrones

gameof thrones


Unless you've been exiled far beyond the Wall, you know that HBO's wildly popular adaptation of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series returns to TV for a fifth season on Sunday, April 12. The speculation is that the TV producers and writers have outpaced and /or deviated from their source material because the publication of the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, has been delayed several times. Fans are imploring Martin to write faster since the most recent installment, A Dance with Dragons, was published back in 2011. Last week Martin teased his followers by posting another lengthy excerpt of the new book, The Winds of Winter, on his website, and hinted that the book may be finished later this year. However, his publisher isn't making any promises, stating there is no firm release date as yet. As the New York Times put it, " Winter is coming, slowly."


 A new season for the Detroit Tigershuntingadetroittiger

For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

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

hugoawardThe finalists for the 2015 Hugo Awards for the best science fiction or fantasy novel written in 2014 were announced on April 4 at Norwescon in Seattle, Washington. The 2015 Hugo Award winners will be announced Saturday, August 22, 2015, during the Hugo Awards Ceremony at the 2015 Worldcon.

 Best Novel Nominees:


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel    

stationelevenEmily St. John Mandel's critically acclaimed novel, Station roosterEleven, has won the literary world's equivalent of March Madness, The 11th Annual Morning News Tournament of Books. As the website explains," For the uninitiated, the ToB is an annual event here at The Morning News in which 16 of the previous year’s best and most-talked about works of fiction enter a March Madness-like battle royale. After a month of dueling, one novel will win the Rooster, a prize named after David Sedaris’s brother, and its author will be threatened with the presentation of a live he-hen." (Really.) Station Eleven emerged from the brackets victorious, in something of a blow-out. Mandel is quoted as being thrilled, "I’ve been a fan of the Tournament of Books for years, and I like it even more now that they’ve offered me a live rooster." Mandel is having a great year so far, her book was a finalist for the National Book Award, is on the PEN/Faulkner Award shortlist, and is on the current longlist for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Author George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) has opined that Station Eleven should win the Hugo prize for best science fiction novel. Not to mention that the book has been chosen by the Michigan Humanities Council as the 2015 Great Michigan Read!


April is National Humor Month

confederacyofcuncesJust in time for some spring humor, an article on the website of hitchhikersguide2Esquire Magazine, UK,  names the 20 funniest books ever written. The magazine solicited various literary and comedic heavyweights to nominate the books that made them laugh out loud. Some of the books are older classics and some are newer, with fiction and non-fiction included. Few would argue with the inclusion of Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint, and John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Check out the list to see if you agree on the rest.


gosetawatchman2Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

HarperCollins, the publisher of the new Harper Lee novel to be released July 14, has revealed the cover art for the book. President Michael Morrison explains "There are so many wonderful parts of Go Set a Watchman that it was hard to pick just one iconic image to represent the book. This design is perfect- it draws on the style of the decade the book was written, but with a modern twist. Go Set a Watchman begins with Scout's train ride home, but more profoundly, it is about the journey Harper Lee's beloved characters have taken in the subsequent 20 years of their lives." Those familiar with the book jacket for To Kill A Mockingbird will notice that the new book's cover continues the tree motif.


spur-banner2-300x174The Spur Awards

Each year the Western Writers of America honor writers for distinguished writing about the American West with the Spur Awards. The WWA began in 1953, at the advent of the golden era of TV Western programming, and the Spur awards are given  for many  types of writing including novels, short fiction and nonfiction, biography, history, juvenile fiction and nonfiction, best TV or motion picture drama, best TV or motion picture documentary, and best first novel.


badcountryWinner for 2015 Best Western Contemporary Novel:
Bad Country
by C.B. McKenzie  
Retired from the rodeo circuit and scraping by on piecework as a bounty hunter, warrant server, and divorce snoop, Rodeo Grace Garnet lives with his old dog in a remote corner of Arizona known to locals as El Hoyo . He doesn't get many visitors in The Hole, but a body found near his home has drawn police attention to his front door. The victim is a member of a major Southwestern Indian tribe, whose death is part of a mysterious rompecabeza --a classic crime puzzler--that includes multiple murders, cold-blooded betrayals, and low-down scheming, with Rodeo caught in the middle.  "... this edgy noir offers a master class on how to create a vivid sense of mood and place. Rodeo is a hard-nosed, hard-drinking man who searches for the truth as he understands it." (Library Journal)


The Spur® is a registered trademark of Western Writers of America 


folioprizeFamily Life by Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma's second novel, Family Life, 13 years in the writing,familylife is the winner of the second annual Folio Prize for fiction, given by the Folio Society for "the best English-language fiction from around the world, published in the UK during a given year, regardless of form, genre or the author’s country of origin. It is the first major English-language book prize open to writers from all over the world." Sharma was presented with the winner trophy and a check for £40,000 (about $60,000) at a ceremony in London last night, March 23. Family Life is the autobiographical story of Ajay Mishra who, like the author, moves from Delhi to the United States as a child in the late 1970s. When Ajay's brother has a life-changing accident, it shatters his family's new life. The New York Times Book Review named the work one of the 10 best books of 2014. While Sharma is happy to have won the literary prize, he stated that writing the book was painful, "like chewing stones." 


Local Author Fair!

bookstackSaturday, March 28, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We invite you to meet authors from Plymouth and surrounding communities, engage them in conversation and enjoy and opportunity to review their work.

Drop-in!  Books written for children, teens and adults are available for review, purchase and signing.

Refreshments & Prizes (Gift Certificates) provided by Friends of the Library.


Now (or soon) playing:


pronegunmanThe Gunman The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game, so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. But the Organization won't let him go. They want him to assassinate one more person and to coerce him, they confiscate his savings. Smelling a rat, Terrier manages to foil the plot and start a new life, albiet with a leftover bullet lodged in his brain. A classic of modern noir, this tightly plotted, corrosive novel is widely considered to be Manchette's masterpiece, and was named a New York Times "Notable Book" in 2002. The film, starring
Sean Penn
, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba and Ray Winstone, and directed by Pierre Morel (Taken) opened March 20.


dovekeeersThe Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Set in 70 CE and 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.  Yael,  Revka, Shirah, and her daughter Aziza are forced to deal with the outside forces intent on eradicating them and with their own people's patriarchal system, which is quick to condemn unconventional behavior. 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). The adaptation airs on CBS as a special two-night event on March 31 and April 1, starring Cote De Pablo (NCIS) and produced by Roma Downey (The Bible, Touched by an Angel).

dragonflyinamberOutlander Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Cable channel Starz will begin the second half of season one of this time-travel/historical/romance series on April 4. This set of episodes is based on the second book in Gabaldon's multi-volume story, Dragonfly in Amber, the further adventures of Claire Randall, a modern woman who travels back in time to 1700's Scotland, where she meets and marries Highlander Jamie Fraser. This installment chronicles Claire and Jamie's efforts to prevent the Jacobite rising that Claire knows will end disastrously for the Scots. When we left Claire at the end of episode eight in September, she was in the dastardly clutches of Black Jack Randall... "A most entertaining mix of history and fantasy..." (Kirkus).



wolfhallWolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
On April 5, PBS Masterpiece will air the BBC-produced six-part mini-series based on Mantel's bestseller about Tudor King Henry the VIII and his court as seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, Henry's political wizard, right-hand man and fixer. Cromwell is often depicted as an unscrupulous power-monger, but Mantel's version is a more nuanced one - a loving husband and family man who rises from blacksmith's son to the right hand of the king through a combination of cunning pragmatism and devoted loyalty. "As Cromwell frees his master from his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he may marry Anne Boleyn, then orchestrates her downfall, he emerges as clever, witty and urbane, multilingual, inexhaustibly energetic and a master of the dog-eat-dog political chess game that is Henry’s court." (New York Times).


April 2015 LibraryReads List

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

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



#1 for April 2015:
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

atthewatersedgeThis new novel by Gruen (Water for Elephants) is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman's awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands. Socialite Madeline Hyde, her husband Ellis, and his partner embark on a dubious quest to find the famous and elusive Loch Ness monster in order to impress Ellis' father, who has cut off their financial support. The local villagers, suffering under the privations of wartime conditions, are initially contemptuous of the privileged outsiders until Maddie develops a friendship with two young women that expands her understanding beyond her sheltered world. She begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.



The next Metro Detroit Book and Author Society Luncheon will be held on Monday, May 18th at the Burton Manor in Livonia. Featured authors this spring are C.J. Box, Laura Lippman, Gerald Posner, Lily King, and Lev Raphael. Ticket sales begin on April 1 and are available online at or by phone at 586-685-5750 x 102.

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.


shamrock symbol jonadab  01Erin Go Bragh!

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

Transport yourself to the Emerald Isle with a book or two.


Quirke novels by Benjamin Black
Immerse yourself in Irish noir with Benjamin Black's mystery christine fallsseries set in Dublin in the 1950's and featuring protagonist Quirke, described as a surly, solitary pathologist in the city morgue who enjoys a few "post post-mortem drinks" most nights after work. Orphaned at a young age, raised at a corrupt Irish boarding school, widowed and childless, Quirke's depression is compounded by longing for his dead wife's sister Sarah. But unfortunately, Quirke's charming adoptive brother Malachy Griffin just happens to be married to her. In the first installment of the series, Christine Falls, Quirke follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a well-guarded conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society, some of whom are members of his own family. "Christine Falls is deeply atmospheric. Clydesdales drag drays through the streets of 1950s Dublin, and the pubs are fuggy with turf smoke."(Booklist) Black has continued Quirke's investigations through six additional books, the latest, Even the Dead, to be published later this year. A three-part TV series based on the novels was broadcast by the BBC in 2014, starring Gabriel Byrne as Quirke.

Benjamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, who was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea.


Sir Terry Pratchett (1948 - 2015)

scienceofdiscworldProlific fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett passed away yesterday at his home in Wiltshire, England after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 66.

He wrote some 70 books over the span of his career, selling more than 85 million copies worldwide in 37 languages. He is currently the second most-read writer in the UK, and seventh most-read non-US author in the US. His major series, Discworld, grew to approximately 40 volumes about a multilayered society of humans, witches, trolls, and other creatures living on a disc-shaped planet which is balanced on the backs of four elephants, who themselves stand upon the shell of a giant turtle. Death is also a character in almost all of the  books, speaking in all capital letters and expressing a fascination with humans and a fondness for cats. Pratchett's last post on his Twitter account on Thursday was, appropriately enough, "The End.”

natlbookcriticscircleNational Book Critics Circle Awards

On March 12, 2015, in New York, the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards for books published in the U.S. during 2014 were announced. The National Book Critics Circle Awards, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel and considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. Prizes are awarded in several categories, including fiction, biography, poetry and criticism.

lilaMarilynne Robinson received the award for fiction for her novel, Lila, the third in her Gilead trilogy about a minister, his wife,  and their friends in a small community in Iowa. Describing Robinson's writing, the Book Critics Circle stated that "No one writes so simply yet profoundly of our yearnings and struggles, our troubling doubts and grateful affirmations of the good when we encounter it at last." Robinson's 2004 novel Gilead, the first of the trilogy, also won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.


The other Finalists for the Fiction Award:

Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings

Lily King, Euphoria

Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea



Bertrice Small (1937-2015)

betrayedBertice Small, author of dozens of romance novels, passed away on February 24 at the age of 77.  Small, educated as a young girl at an Anglican convent, credited one of her teachers, Sister Mercedes, as the mentor for her writing career. "“She imbued in me a great love of history,” Ms. Small said of Sister Mercedes in a 1980 interview with The New York Times, “and she didn’t think it was funny that when I was 13 years old I was writing an epic romance in rhyme.”  With titles like Betrayed, Forbidden Pleasures, Hellion, and A Dangerous Love, Small was considered "a a virtuoso in navigating the fine line between passionate romance and sophisticated smut...weaving with purple prose a sensual fictional tapestry peopled by strong-willed heroines, lustful princes and virginal maidens, their carnal encounters often managed between kidnappings and escapes." (NYTimes). Describing herself as "“a nice lady who lived in the country and wrote books,” Small was at work on her 57th novel at the time of her death.

*Romantic Times

"How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

In March 1965, thousands of supporters of African American civil and voting rights gathered for a series of marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The violent response from police and the KKK, especially on "Bloody Sunday" when marchers were violently beaten and tear-gassed, shocked the nation and ultimately led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year. On March 25, Dr. Martin Luther King led the marchers in the completion of the 54-mile journey and delivered the famous "How Long, Not Long" speech to thousands from the state capitol steps.

Books about this period in U.S. history:

freshwaterroadFreshwater Road by Denise Nicholas
Set in Pineyville, Mississippi during the three months of the "Freedom Summer" of 1964, the novel tells the story of a young black woman from the middle class in Detroit who comes south to help found a voter registration project. As the summer unfolds, she confronts not only the political realities of race and poverty in this tiny town, but also deep truths about her family and herself. It "may well be the finest novel about the civil-rights era."(Daily Beast)

fourspiritsFour Spirits
by Sena Jeter Naslund
Stella Silver is an idealistic, young white college student who first witnesses the events of the freedom movement from a safe distance but, along with her friend Cat Cartwright, is soon drawn into the mounting conflagration. A student at a black college, Christine Taylor is inspired to action as she courageously struggles to balance her daily life with the passions and dangers of the demonstrations. Naslund brings to life this tumultuous time, weaving together the lives of blacks and whites, civil rights advocates and racists, and the events of peaceful protest and violent repression, to create a tapestry of American social transformation.


ourmaninthedarkOur Man in the Dark by Rashad Harrison
Harrison's book is both a noir and an historical novel set during the months leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Feeling underappreciated and overlooked, John Estem, a bookkeeper for Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, steals $10,000 from the organization. Originally planning to use the money to seed a new civil rights initiative in Chicago, he carelessly squanders the stolen funds. To the bookkeeper's further dismay, the FBI has been keeping close tabs on Dr. King and his fellow activists--including Estem--for years, and solicits Estem as an informant.



weareallwelcomehereWe are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg
It is the summer of 1964. In Tupelo, Mississippi tensions are mounting over civil-rights demonstrations occurring ever more frequently-and violently-across the state. But in Paige Dunn's life, there are more immediate concerns. Challenged by the polio she contracted during her pregnancy, Paige is nonetheless determined to live as normal a life as possible and to raise her daughter, Diana, in the way she sees fit - with the support of her tough-talking black caregiver, Peacie. But when Peacie's boyfriend, LaRue, ventures down the perilous path of helping register black voters during this Freedom Summer and trouble follows him, the women face hate and adversity that will test their bond.


Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken

On March 4, 2015, in New York, Elizabeth McCracken was awarded the $20,000 annual
Story Prize forthunderstruck her second collection of short stories, Thunderstruck and Other Stories, published in 2014. McCracken is also the author of a memoir, two novels and her first collection of stories written in 1993. She is the 11th winner of the award, established in 2004 to honor the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction. Reviewers were enthusiastic about McCracken's latest work, calling the collection,"witty, world-wise" (Library Journal) and "nine marvelously quirky, ironic, but, most of all, poignant stories." (Booklist).

The other finalists, Lorrie Moore for Bark,  and Francesca Marciano for The Other Language, received $5,000 each.


Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

herlandThe Daily Beast/Books columnist (and author) Nathaniel Rich is charlottewriting a monthly series on the last American century (1900-2000's) as seen through the eyes of the novelists of the period. Each month he features a single novel and examines it in the context of the year in which it was written. This month, presumably because it's Women's History Month, Rich reviews the novel Herland, published in 1915 and written by the feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Herland is a feminist utopian novel about three male explorers who find an isolated civilization of women living without any men atop an uncharted mountain. The entire society is run by the women and operates efficiently and peacefully. There is no crime, war or jealousy. Children are born parthigenetically (without men) and devotion to childrearing is the culture's highest purpose. Rich notes that contemporary feminists may take exception to this limited view of women's aspirations but he places the novel within the zeitgeist of its time. Gilman, while inventing a certain kind of female paradise, knew that even utopias have their flaws: the book ends with the leaders sending one of their own out into the world to learn about "bi-sexual" culture.


Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

mindmeldActor, singer, poet, photographer, but above all, the personification of Mr. Spock, fictional Science Officer of the Starship Enterprise, the beloved half-Vulcan character of the Star Trek TV series, movie franchises and more. As his New York Times obituary notes, Nimoy had a long and varied career in the arts, "but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”)." Though the original TV series ended in 1969, the Star Trek legacy has proved perennial in popular culture, continuing in movies, spin-off TV series, action figures, comics, film re-boots, books, and Trekkie conventions. As Spock would say, "Fascinating."

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