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2014 fic finalists


2014 National Book Award Finalists

The National Book Foundation has released the shortlist of five finalists for this year's National Book Award for Fiction (winnowed from the longlist of ten). The winner will be announced on November 19.


Rabih Alameddine,  An Unnecessary Woman

Anthony Doerr,  All the Light We Cannot See

Phil KlayRedeployment

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

Marianne Robinson,  Lila


Richard Flanagan wins 2014 Man Booker Fiction Prize

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


French Author Patrick Modiano wins Nobel Prize

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

October 12  - Walk like a Zombie!

zombieWorld Zombie Day, the celebration of all things zombie,
is scheduled for October 11 this ZWalkDrencenyear. World Zombie Day is an international annual event that grew from Pittsburgh’s first Zombie Walk at Monroeville Mall in 2006 – the site where George Romero filmed Dawn of the Dead - and encourages all fans of zombie culture to come together in an international effort to relieve hunger and homelessness. As many as 50 cities worldwide participate in the festivities, including Detroit which sponsors a Zombie Walk Against Hunger downtown on Oct 12. On a related note, the TV series, The Walking Dead, starts its fifth season this Sunday on AMC. (Those who arrive, survive?) Try a bite of zombie fun at the Library with titles like Ship of the Dead, Zombie Island, Dead Mann Running, and The Walking Dead: Fall of the Governor, Part two.


Oct. 11 is Star Wars Reads Day at the Library

starwarsreaddayJoin us as the Plymouth District Library celebrates Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 11, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The entire building will be filled with Star Wars collectibles, posters, decorations and more. Dress up as your favorite SW character and enjoy the wide variety of activities for all ages, including music, crafts, books, trivia and costume contests, a movie, photo booth, and, of course, Star Wars-themed refreshments! So, don your Jedi cloak, grab your lightsaber, and put it in hyperdrive as your follow the Force to a Library (not so) far, far away.



Read and Discuss!

NRGM LogoNational Reading Group Month is an initiative of the Women's National Book Association (WNBA). Founded in 1917, WNBA promotes literacy, a love of reading, and women's roles in the community of the book. The mission of National Reading Group Month is to celebrate book discussion groups and increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading.

The Library sponsors several Book Discussion groups for all ages and provides a collection of Book Club Kits for private book groups to use. Titles recently added to this collection include:

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

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian


Gone Girl at the movies

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


Best Christian Fiction

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


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



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


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

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

Today is National Coffee Day



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



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





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



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



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


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


The next Metro Detroit Book and Author Society Luncheon is being held on Monday, October 20th at the Burton Manor in Livonia. Authors include Kathy Reichs, Lisa Jackson, Gary Shteyngart, Craig Johnson, and Hampton Sides. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 586-685-5750.

The Metro-Detroit Book & Author Society was created for the sole purpose of presenting a luncheon featuring major national authors. The Society strives to present top national authors in a comfortable, casual setting, with an opportunity to buy signed books and meet the authors. Guest authors have included Steven King, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, Scott Turow, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Michael Connelly and Debbie Macomber. Celebrity authors have included Cokie Roberts, Jane Seymour, Gladys Knight, Lee Iococca, Tim Russert and Dan Rather.

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


October LibraryReads List 2014

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

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



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




Fiction Longlist Announced

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

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

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


ALA Freadom Slide 2014







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





Book Event - Author Lauren Beukes: Broken Monsters

 Local literary movers and shakers have started an innovative program to promote literature and the arts in Detroit:
Write a House. This program acquires and rehabs houses in Detroit and offers them as free residences to emerging writers who submit applications. A panel of writers and poets has reviewed the applications received from all over the country, and ten finalists have been named. On September 19, the first winner of a free house will be named at an event in Hamtramck. The event will also launch the book tour for author Lauren Beukes' new book, Broken Monsters, a crime novel set in Detroit.


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


f71c7a996c1f5ef2be5336189928d4e2                                        hispanicsun

This month celebrates the heritage and influence of Hispanic and Latino Americans on our nation's experience and culture. Hispanic Heritage Month begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period. The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. According to the latest Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the nation's population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This year's theme: "Hispanics: A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success.”

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




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

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


Two American Authors on List

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

The Shortlist:


Author (nationality)                     Title

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

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

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

Howard Jacobson (British)              

Neel Mukherjee (British)                 The Lives of Others

Ali Smith (British)                             How to be Both


Trending now:

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

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


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


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


Now (or soon) playing...

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



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


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


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


Adult Summer Reading Program 201401 Adult Slogan 1

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

Great job! Way to master the Literary Elements!

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


September 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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




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

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

Patty Falconer, Hampstead Public Library, Hampstead, NH

2014 Hugo Awards

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


1939 Retro-Hugo Awards                    

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


New Book by Anne Rice

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

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Adult Summer Reading Program Ends Monday, August 11

Yes, its just about over. tubes

Bring in your completed Bingo form for your prize.      

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

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



Billie Letts (1938-2014)

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


Books to Movies/TV

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


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



Adult Summer Reading 201401 Adult Slogan 1

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

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 11.

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

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

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

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


2014 RITA Awards


On July 26, the Romance Writers of America, the trade firebirdassociation for
aspiring and published romance fiction authors, announced the winners of the 2014 RITA Awards. Named after Rita Clay Estrada, the first president of the RWA, the awards are given each year to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas. Winners are named in several different categories and presented with a golden statuette. Honorees include Sarah Maclean, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, (a December 2013 LibraryReads choice) in the Historical Romance category and Susanna Kearsley, The Firebird, in the Paranormal Romance category.

manbookerNew Rules of the Game

Due to a rules change last year, any writer whose book is originally written in English and  published in Britain is now eligible for consideration for the Man Booker Prize, one of England's most prestigious prizes for literature.  Until this change, only writers from the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth countries were eligible for the 50,000 pound
($85,000) honor. The decision to include all authors "whether from Chicago, Sheffield, or Shanghai" rankled some traditionalists, but the panel of judges has spoken. Last week they released this year's longlist, and it includes four Americans, six Britons, two Irish authors and one Australian.  A shortlist of six titles will be blazingworldannounced on September 9, with the winner  revealed on October 14, 2014. The Americans on the longlist are:

Joshua Ferris, To  Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Siri Hustvedt,The Blazing World

Richard Powers, Orfeo

100th Anniversary of the Great War

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

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

Colbert Champions Another Debut Author

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


August 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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



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


01 Adult Slogan 1

On vacation? Finally reading for fun?

The Adult Summer Reading Program runs until August 11. 


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

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

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

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

Master the Literary Elements!

Return of Hercule Poirot

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



The International Thriller Writers held their annual conference in New York last weekend to celebrate thriller books, the authors who write them and the fans who read them. Dubbed "Thrillerfest IX" (really, the Best Name for a literary conference. Ever.)
the conference ran for five days with the usual author panels, speeches and presentations.

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


Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014)

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


Coming soon...

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


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


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


Lucky Lepucki

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

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Summer is in full swing...                                                                         atom

Working on your Library Bingo? Logging your books online?

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

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

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

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

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


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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



100th Anniversary of the Great War

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

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

And the Reading is easy!

Trending Now:

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


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


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


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


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


July 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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


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


Based on the book...

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



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



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

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


Visit some other fantasy realms while you wait.

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


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


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


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


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

Click here for more titles.

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Started your Summer Reading yet?

PDL's Adult Summer Reading Program has begun!

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

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

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


New Book Club Kits                                                      BookClubKit                        

Looking for your next book club selection?                    

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

New Kits:

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


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


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


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


Operation Overlord - June 6, 1944

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

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


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


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


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

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

And the winner, announced on June 4:

Eimear McBride - A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing

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

The 2014 shortlist, announced in March, also included:      

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah                              

Hannah Kent - Burial Rites

Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland

Audrey Magee - The Undertaking

Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch                                            



iStock SummerReading XSmallLike graduations and weddings, summer reading lists and recommendations proliferate every year in June. Every media outlet, whether print, online, blog or broadcast, creates a list of best summer reads filled with non-fiction, fiction, beach reads and how-to books. The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Publishers Weekly,  The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Vogue and more have all weighed in with selections for your summer reading pleasure. This should help you find a good book to take on vacation (or help you with your Literary Elements Bingo.)


June 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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


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

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


New Edition of Taps at Reveille  

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


Now (or soon) playing:

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



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


Mary Stewart (1916-2014)

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


Summer (Reading) is coming!

01 Adult Slogan 1


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


MInotablebooksPDL Invites Book Lovers to
Meet Author Matt Bell


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

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


Still Scary After All These Years

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


If Traditional Mysteries are Your Cup of Tea

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


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



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


May 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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


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


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


 And the Winners Are:

ordinary graceBest Novel:
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

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



redsparrowBest First Novel:
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

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


May the Fourth Be With You!

starwarscrucibleTomorrow is the celebration of all things Star Wars and the Force is strong, indeed. The Star Wars franchise has generated thousands of related items, from movies, cartoons, video games, comics, books and memorabilia etc. There is enough Star Wars fiction to keep the most devoted geek traveling throughout the galaxy for a long, long time. Given the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney and the announcement of a seventh Star Wars film to be released in 2015, with J.J. Abrams directing, and veterans Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) returning, the Force will be with us, always.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014)

onehundredyearsColumbian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away Thursday at his home in Mexico City; he was 87. Famed for the use of a literary style known as magical realism, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. His fiction, while universal, was set in Latin America and melded magic with the mundane, creating storms that lasted for years and flowers that drifted from the sky. His masterwork, One Hundred Years of Solitude, published in 1967, about the rise and fall of generations of the Buendia family, echoed the history and political issues raging in South and Latin America at the time. He explained that magical realism sprang from the history of Latin America with its vicious dictators and romantic revolutionaries, and long years of hunger, illness and violence. One Hundred Years of Solitude sold millions of copies and established Garcia Marquez as a literary giant. Every new book became hotly anticipated, praised by critics and snapped up by readers, and he was able to live a very loveinthetimeofcholeradifferent lifestyle than that of his impoverished childhood. His influence cannot be overstated; "García Márquez mythologized the history of an entire continent, while at the same time creating a Rabelaisian portrait of the human condition as a febrile dream in which love and suffering and redemption endlessly cycle back on themselves on a Möbius strip in time." (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

Meet the Author                                     


Steve Luxenberg, author of Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Final-GMIR-logo-smlFamily Secret, will be speaking at several venues in the Metro Detroit area during the month of May as part of the continuing Great Michigan Read, the state-wide community read program sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council. Celebrate the success of this cultural program and join the discussion!


5/21 11:30AM The Jewish Community Center, West Bloomfield (fee)
5/21 7:00PM  The Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills
5/22 10:00AM  Westland Public Library
5/22 7:00PM  Rust Belt Market, Ferndale

All events, unless otherwise noted, are free of charge. For more information, see the Michigan Humanities Council website.


The Goldfinch wins the Pulitzer Prize

goldfinchToday at 3pm, the Pulitzer Prize committee announced the winners of this year's prizes. Donna Tartt's well-reviewed novel, The Goldfinch made the grade in the fiction category. The Goldfinch has also been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle prize and an Andrew Carnegie Medal, and on Monday was in the top 40 on Amazon's best seller list even before the Pulitzer was announced. 

The novel tracks Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, who miraculously survives an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills his mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to the picture, the one thing that reminds him of her. A coming-of-age tale and a mystery about a missing painting, the novel follows Theo on his journey to adulthood with unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense.


The Grapes of Wrath turns 75

gowOn April 14, a classic of American literature celebrates its 75th anniversary.  John Steinbeck's novel about the journey of a migrant Dust Bowl family seeking survival and justice on the road to California amid the hardships of Depression-era America was published in 1939. Steinbeck's purpose was to spotlight the plight of the "Okies" whose farms were lost to foreclosure due to drought and the disasterous effects of the Great Depression, and who found themselves homeless and on the road looking for jobs and futures. The Grapes of Wrath became a best-seller and went on to win the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Author John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

A 75th Anniversay edition of the novel has been published and various celebrations are planned across the country. The National Steinbeck Center in Washington D.C. is commemorating Steinbeck's achievement on April 24 with a panel of authors and artists, and NPR is inviting everyone to read and discuss the book online on Monday, April 14.




Next 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 Lives change @ your library. How have we changed yours?


Author, Environmentalist, Priest, Spy

inparadiseNoted author Peter Matthiessen passed away on Saturday, April 5, at the age of 86 from acute myeloid leukemia. He was the author of 33 books, fiction and non-fiction, the best known include Far Tortuga and At Play in the Fields of the Lord. His latest novel, In Paradise, will be released Tuesday; Matthiesen was the subject of an article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine written shortly before his death. Winner of National Book Awards for both fiction and non-fiction, Matthiessen, a naturalist, explored the destruction of nature and its indigenous peoples by modern man and industrialization in many of his works, stating, "No species but man, so far as is known, unaided by circumstances or climactic change, has ever extinguished another." Described in his New York Times obituary as "a man of many parts," Matthiessen was born to wealth, attended Yale, served a stint in the Navy, traveled widely to very remote places, co-founded the Paris Review while in Paris, spied for the CIA, and utlimately became a Buddhist priest.


International PEN, the worldwide association of writers, was founded in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers everywhere; to emphasize the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned, and sometimes killed for their views.  PEN America Center, founded in 1922, is the U.S. branch of this worldwide organization and is the largest of the 144 PEN centers in 101 countries that together compose International PEN, with many regional chapters.  The PEN organization confers over $150,000 annually to writers in the fields of fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, or poetry.

                                 Winner of the 2014 PEN/Hemingway Award for First Novel:

weneednewnamesWe Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The unflinching and powerful story of a young girl's journey out of Zimbabwe and to America. Darling is only ten years old when her home is destroyed and her school is closed by the paramilitary police. She joins her aunt in America in search of this country's famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few. "As Bulawayo effortlessly captures the innate loneliness of those who trade the comfort of their own land for the opportunities of another, Darling emerges as the freshest voice yet to spring from the fertile imaginations of talented young writers... who explore the African diaspora in America." (Library Journal)  Bulawayo's novel was short-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Prize:

weareallcompletelyWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. "I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee," she tells us. "She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister."  Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she's managed to block a lot of memories but, with some guile, she guides us through the family secrets via a series of flashbacks. "Fowler's (The Jane Austen Book Club) great accomplishment is not just that she takes the standard story of a family and makes it larger, but that the new space she's created demands exploration" (Publishers Weekly)


The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

Guest Cat 158 237 c1 smart scaleSmall, indie publishing house, New Directions, has published classics and literary stars like Muriel Spark and Robert Bolano since its founding in 1936. But in February the publisher had its first book on one of the New York Times Bestseller lists with The Guest Cat, a slight novel translated from Japanese. The story, called a "small miracle" by NPR reviewer Juan Vidal, is about a busy, professional couple whose lives revolve around their work to the exclusion of almost everything else until they are adopted by a neighbor's cat. Chibi's antics captivate them and soon they are smitten. Following her outside, they begin to notice the world around them and rediscover life and each other. Author Hiraide admits the cat is "totally based" on his own cat, stating "Cats always present a profound riddle of life. They sway between wild nature and infant characteristics."


edgarallanpoeOn May 1, 2014, the Edgar Awards for Best Mystery fiction, named after (you guessed it) Edgar Allan Poe, will be presented to various winning authors for books written in 2013. Every spring, the Mystery Writers of America award prizes in several categories, such as Best Novel, Best First Novel, Best Short Story and so on. According to the MWA, "the Edgar is widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious award" honoring the best in the mystery/crime genre.



Nominees for Best Novel:

ordinary grace

Sandrine's Case by Thomas H. Cook
The Humans by Matt Haig
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin
Until She Comes Home by Lori Roy



Nominees for Best First Novel:


The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight



Spur Awards

The Western Writers of America recently announced the winners of the Spur Awards for distinguished writing about the American West. 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.

lightoftheworldBest Western Contemporary Novel:

Light of the World
by James Lee Burke




 Best Western Traditional Novel:  crossingpurgatory      

Crossing Purgatory by Gary Schanbacher




spiderwomansdaughterBest First Novel:

Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman





Local Author Fair

bookstackSaturday, March 29, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

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

Drop-in ! Books available for review, purchase and signing. Prizes provided by Friends of the Plymouth District Library.

Click here for Flyer. Click here for List of Authors, Titles, and book summaries.



April 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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


#1 for April
: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin
StoriedLifeofAJFikry3DA. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island, becoming the curmudgeon he seems meant to be.  But then Fikry finds an abandoned toddler in his bookstore along with a note from the child's mother who cannot take care of her but wants her to grow up to be a reader. Little Maya steals his heart. The decision to take care of the little girl produces a dramatic transformation in both Fikry and his bookstore, allowing both to experience growth and love. "Funny, tender, and moving, it reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love." (Library Journal)

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

americanahOn March 13, The National Book Critics Circle Awards for achidie2013 were announced in New York. The awards are given each year to books published in English in the United States, with the winners selected by a group of about 600 critics and editors from major publications.  Adichie's novel is the story of two young lovers in Nigeria who attempt to leave the troubled country for an education in America. Ifemelu, beautiful, and self-assured, successfully attends college here all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze, the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor, had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Critics have praised the book for its insightful and observant discussion of race and social dynamics.  A prior novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, won the 2007 Orange Prize (now known as the Women's Prize) for fiction and has been adapted into a film to be released in 2014.


Recent Literary Prizes

tenthofdecemberOn March 5, author George Saunders was awarded the $20,000 Story Prize for his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Tenth of December. A week later, Saunders won the inaugral Folio Prize, which rewards the best English-language fiction published in Britain, also for Tenth of December. The Folio Prize is worth about $67,000. Saunders' book was widely praised and on every "best" list in 2013, including 10 consecutive weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list for hardcover books. Saunders himself was included in Time Magazine's 2013 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. A good time to be George Saunders!

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian

beforeyouknowkindnessIn April, the Plymouth District Library will participate in Everyone’s Reading, the one-book community reading program sponsored by Metro Detroit public libraries in Oakland and Wayne counties. Everyone’s Reading promotes public dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book with friends, neighbors, and others in the community. This year's selection is Before You Know Kindness, the story of a family thrown into chaos after one nightmarish day.

PARTICIPATE by reading the book and joining the book discussions at the Library: Contemporary Books on April 8 at 7:30pm, and Brown Bag Books on April 23 at noon.  Books are available at the Library.

bohjalianMEET the author, Chris Bohjalian, on April 30 at 2pm at the Birmingham Community House or later that day at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, Southfield at 7pm. Call the Library for ticket availability, 734.453.0750, ext 4.

karenpatterson200wLEARN about the animal welfare issues raised in the book by attending the presentation by Karen Patterson, Director of Humane Education for the Humane Society of Huron Valley, on April 24 at 7pm.  Sign-up requested, call 734.453.0750. ext. 4.

TV Cult Heroine

veronicamarsFor those marshmallows (aka fans of Veronica Mars) who have already watched all the television episodes on DVD, and just saw the new, partially crowdfunded movie starring Kristen Bell this past weekend, there's now another way to follow the adventures of the sarcastic, teen/young adult sleuth they love. Rob Thomas, the creator of the TV show and director of the movie, has signed with RH/Vintage for two books based on the character. The first will be released March 25 and will feature the 28-year-old Mars after the events of the movie. In Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, she takes on Neptune's darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts - with a little help from old friends Logan Echolls, Mac Mackenzie, Wallace Fennel, and even Dick Casablancas. It all goes to show that you can't keep a good woman down.


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.



An Irish Country Wedding by Patrick Taylor
fingaloreillyLove is in the air in the colorful Ulster village of Ballybucklebo, where Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly has finally proposed to the darling of his youth, Kitty O'Hallorhan. There's a wedding to be planned, but before O'Reilly can make it to the altar, he and his young colleague, Barry Laverty, M.B., must deal with the usual round of eccentric patients-and crises both large and small. Being a G.P. in a place like Ballybucklebo often means more than simply splinting broken bones and tending to aches and pains. It can also mean helping a struggling young couple acquire their first home, clearing the name of a cat accused of preying on a neighbor's prize pigeons, and encouraging a bright working-class girl who dreams of someday becoming a doctor herself. And, if you're Barry Laverty, still smarting from a painful breakup, there might even be a chance for a new romance with a lovely school teacher.


The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

silkwormJ.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame has written another mystery using the name Robert Galbraith. Last spring, a mystery, The Cuckoo's Calling, purportedly by debut author Robert Galbraith, about a military veteran turned private eye, was published to little fanfare until it was discovered that the author was really J.K. Rowling, using a pseudonym. The book, which had received positive reviews and had middling sales, became a best-seller after Rowling was revealed as its writer. The Silkworm continues with the same protagonist, Cormoran Strike, a struggling private eye, and his young assistant, Robin Ellacott, as they track down a missing writer who, of course, turns up dead. It seems the writer has just completed a tell-all manuscript featuring the unsavory secrets of almost everyone he knew. The manuscript could ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him dead. The Silkworm will be released in June.


piPi/Pie/P.I. Day

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. The number pi is extremely useful when solving geometry problems involving circles.

Celebrate all things mathematical...

oddsagainsttomorrowOdds Against Tomorrow by Nathanial Rich
In the near future Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician, is hired by a mysterious new financial consulting firm, FutureWorld. Mitchell is employee number two. He is asked to calculate worst-case scenarios in the most intricate detail, and his schemes are sold to corporations to indemnify them against any future disasters. This is the cutting edge of corporate irresponsibility, and business is booming. Just as Mitchell's predictions reach a nightmarish crescendo, an actual worst-case scenario overtakes Manhattan and Mitchell realizes he is uniquely prepared to profit.


blackberrypiemurderBlackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Life is never really quiet for Hannah Swenson. After all, her mother's wedding is a little over a month away and guess who's in charge of the planning? Yet just when Hannah believes her biggest challenge will be whether to use buttercream or fondant for the wedding cake, she accidentally hits a stranger with her truck while driving down a country road in a raging thunderstorm. But an autopsy soon reveals the mystery man, his shirt covered in stains from blackberry pie, would have died even if Hannah hadn't hit him. Now, to clear her name, Hannah will have to follow a trail of pie crumbs!


criticalmassCritical Mass by Sara Paretsky
Private Investigator V.I. Warshawski's closest friend in Chicago is the Viennese-born doctor Lotty Herschel, who lost most of her family in the Holocaust. Lotty escaped to London in 1939 on the Kindertransport with a childhood playmate, Kitty Saginor Binder. When Kitty's daughter finds her life is in danger, she calls Lotty, who, in turn, summons V.I. to help. The daughter's troubles turn out to be just the tip of an iceberg of lies, secrets, and silence, whose origins go back to the competition among America, Germany, Japan and England to develop the first atomic bomb. The secrets are old, but the people who continue to guard them today will not let go of them without a fight.


Resurrection/The Returned

Curious about the promos for a new ABC show starting on Sunday, March 9?returned
Resurrection is the story of the people in a small town in Missouri whose deceased loved ones start returning from the dead, unchanged since their deaths. Its is based on the novel, The Returned by Jason Mott, which centers on eight year-old Jacob Langston who tragically drowned at his own birthday party thirty-two years ago. That is, until he is found alive in China and returned to his incredulous parents. And he is not alone: all over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, is it a miracle or a sign of the end? "Mott brings a singularly eloquent voice to this elegiac novel, which not only fearlessly tackles larger questions about mortality but also insightfully captures life's simpler moments, as when a father and son earnestly discuss the finer points of how to tell a good joke. A beautiful meditation on what it means to be human." (Booklist)


Mystery Writer

ghostmedicineCuban-born author, Aimee Thurlo, who wrote three separate mystery series with her husband, David, passed away this week from cancer. The couple, working together and individually, published more than 70 novels in a variety of genres. All three mystery series are set in the American Southwest and feature three very different sleuths: Ella Clah, a special investigator for the Navajo Police Department; a nun, Sister Agatha, who was an investigative reporter before joining a monastery in New Mexico; and New Mexico police officer and Navajo vampire Lee Nez who works with FBI agent Diane Lopez. The couple's last novel, Eagle's Last Stand, is due out later this year.

mardigrasbeadsCan't make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras?

March 4 is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras in French, the traditional time for feasting and partying in New Orleans prior to the beginning of the Lenten season.

Immerse yourself in the charm and spice of New Orleans with these titles:



French Quarter Fiction: The Newest Stories of America's Oldest Bohemia by Joshua Clark
Anchored in the picturesque New Orleans neighborhood, 37 short stories are collected here for the first time. These works branch across every genre from mystery and romance to surrealism and prose poetry, forming an eclectic mix of some of the most exciting modern fiction found anywhere.

thatoldblackmagicThat Old Black Magic by Mary Jane Clark
Aspiring actress and wedding-cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her pastry skills at the renowned French Quarter bakery Boulangerie Bertrand when a ghastly murder rocks the magical city. Intrigued by the case, Piper can't help but look for the "Hoodoo Killer" among the faces around her.

tigerragTiger Rag by Nicholas Christopher
In 1900 New Orleans the virtuoso cornet player Charles "Buddy" Bolden invents jazz, but after a life consumed by tragedy, the groundbreaking sound of his horn vanishes with him. Rumors persist, though, that Bolden recorded a phonograph cylinder, and over the course of a century it evolves into the elusive holy grail of jazz.



A Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butlersmallhotel
Kelly, glamorous at 49, checks into a room she knows intimately at the Olivier House, a discreet, classy hotel in New Orleans and a place of great significance in her long marriage to reticent attorney Michael. He is staying at a restored plantation with a woman half his age. Kelly was supposed to finalize their divorce that very day, but she has not. The story of Kelly and Michael's marriage is told in flashbacks, starting with their meeting during Mardi Gras so many years before.


March is Women's History Month


Women's History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as "Women's History Week." In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women's History Project, Congress designated the month of March as "Women's History Month" in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women. This year's theme is "Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment."

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


A few of "Herstories" :

revolutionaryRevolutionary by Alex Myers
In 1782, during the final clashes of the Revolutionary War, one of our young nation's most valiant soldiers was, secretly, a woman. When Deborah Samson disguised herself as a man and joined the Continental Army, she wasn't just fighting for America's independence-she was fighting for her own. After years as an indentured servant in a sleepy Massachusetts town, chafing under the oppressive norms of colonial America, Deborah couldn't contain her discontent any longer. When a sudden crisis forced her hand, she decided to finally make her escape. Embracing the peril and promise of the unknown, she cut her hair, bound her chest, and rechristened herself Robert Shurtliff. "A vividly detailed fictionalization of the true story of Massachusetts-born Deborah Sampson." (Boston Globe

mrslincolnsrivalMrs. Lincoln's Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini
Kate Chase Sprague was born in 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second daughter to the second wife of a devout but ambitious lawyer. Her father, Salmon P. Chase, rose to prominence in the antebellum years and was appointed secretary of the treasury in Abraham Lincoln's cabinet. Beautiful, intelligent, regal, and entrancing, young Kate Chase stepped into the role of establishing her thrice-widowed father in Washington society. Her efforts were successful enough that The Washington Star declared her 'the most brilliant woman of her day. None outshone her. 'None, that is, but Mary Todd Lincoln. Though Mrs. Lincoln and her young rival held much in common, they could never be friends, for the success of one could come only at the expense of the other. When Kate Chase married William Sprague, the wealthy young governor of Rhode Island, it was widely regarded as the pinnacle of Washington society weddings. President Lincoln was in attendance. The First Lady was not.


wivesoflosalamosThe Wives of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit
Their average age was twenty-five. They came from Berkeley, Cambridge, Paris, London, Chicago--and arrived in New Mexico ready for adventure, or at least resigned to it. But hope quickly turned to hardship as they were forced to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was a secret, including what their husbands were doing at the lab. They lived in barely finished houses in a town wreathed with barbed wire, all for the benefit of a project that didn't exist as far as the public knew. Though they were strangers, they joined together. And while the bomb was being invented, babies were born, friendships were forged, children grew up, and Los Alamos gradually transformed from an abandoned school on a hill into a real community. "This well-researched and fast-paced novel gives a panoramic view of the lives of ordinary women whose husbands worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. Recommended both for its important subject matter and for the author's vivid storytelling." (Library Journal)

March 2014 LibraryReads List

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.



WeightofBlood3D#1 for March: The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there 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. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls--the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't save--and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri's death. What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills. "This is an outstanding first novel, replete with suspense, crisp dialogue, and vivid Ozarks color and atmosphere."(Publishers Weekly)

Marriage Thrillers

youshouldhaveknowmAccording to an article in The Daily Beast/Book Beast, "marriage thrillers" have become a publishing phenomenon of late. These novels depict a dangerous and darker side of marriage with treacherous spouses, hidden secrets, betrayals, and even death. Books like Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl,  S. J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep, and A. S. A Harrison's The Silent Wife are psychological page-turners that demonstrate that happily-ever-after isn't all its cracked up to be. And more are on the way. Lucie Whitehouse's Before We Met and Jean Hanff Korelitz's You Should Have Known will be released shortly. Is this trend a new one? Not really, traditional gothic stories like Rebecca (1936) and Jane Eyre (1847) often showcased relationships founded on secrets and lies. What may be different now is how these newer novels capture a more modern ambivalence about marriage itself and the resulting loss of independence that some partners experience. Cautionary tales indeed!



Celebrate Presidents' Day!

In 1971, as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Congress designated the third Monday of February as the day to honor two of our most illustrious presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, both of whom were  born in the month of February. Although much is known about both men and their presidencies, consider reading some fiction to enhance your appreciation for their accomplishments.



Valley Forge: George Washington and the Crucible of Victory by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen
Chronicles the unique crucible of time and place where Washington and his Continental Army, against all odds, were forged into a fighting force that would win a revolution and found the United States of America.


I am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War by Jerome iamabrahamCharyn
A novel written in Lincoln's voice, a combination of majestic prose and rural humor, about the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln's tempestuous relationship with Mary Todd.


Now (or soon) Playing:

Endless Love by Scott Spencer
endlessloveYoung David Axelrod is desperately in love with pretty and rich Jade Butterfield - in fact, they are consumed with each other. And when Jade's father banishes David from their home, he fantasizes the forgiveness his rescue of the family will bring, and he sets a "perfectly safe" fire in their house. What unfolds is a nightmare, a dark world in which David's love is a crime and a disease, a world of anonymous phone calls and crazy letters in the pursuit of the one thing that remains most real to him: his endless love for Jade and her family. The 1979 novel was first adapted for film in 1981 with Brooke Shields.



Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
winterstaleOne evening, in a mythical Belle Epoque New York, Peter Lake, orphan, master mechanic, and master second-story man, attempts to rob a fortresslike mansion in the Upper  West Side.  Although he believes the house to be empty, it is not.  Beverly  Penn, terminally ill daughter of the owner, is home. Thus begins a  love affair between the middle-aged Irish burgler and the fatally-ill  heiress. It is a love so powerful that Peter, a simple and uneducated man, will be driven to stop time and bring back the dead. Helprin's book was pubished in 1983 and this movie is its first film adaptation.


In Secret (Based on: Thérèse Raquin) by Émile Zola
insecretIn a dingy apartment on the Passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris, Therese Raquin is trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille. The numbing tedium of her life is suddenly shattered when she embarks on a turbulent affair with her husband’s earthy friend Laurent, but their passion for each other soon compels the lovers to commit a crime that will haunt them forever. Therese caused a scandal when it appeared in 1867 and has been filmed numerous times in many languages.


                              It's Almost Valentine's Day! 
 doubleheartsGet your heart racing with a love story -   


First Love by James Patterson                                       firstlove
Axi Moore is a "good girl": She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn't tell anyone that all she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson—who she also happens to be madly in love with. When Axi spontaneously invites Robinson to come with her on an impulsive cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life.


someoneelseslovestorySomeone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She's finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She's got enough to deal with before she gets caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station mini-mart and falls in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who steps between the armed robber and her son to shield the child from danger. Shandi doesn't know that her blond god has his own baggage.


Loving Lord Ash by Sally Mackenzie
Kit, the Marquis of Ashton, is in a sticky wicket. He married young and for love--how lovinglordashnaïve. Now he is saddled with a wife he's reluctant to trust. And however much evidence he gathers against faithless Jess, he can't seem to prove her guilt to the final judge--his foolish heart. Jessica knows she's bobbled her marriage, however innocently. A fairytale wedding makes no difference if she hasn't got the marquis charmed to show for it. Well, she's had enough of accidental encounters with naked gentlemen and near misses explaining things to her husband. It's time to buck up and go win her man back.



somethingtorememberyoubySomething to Remember You By : a perilous romance by Gene Wilder
Romantic, dramatic fiction set during World War II. In a foxhole in Bastogne, Belgium, the innocent yet charmingly clever protagonist, Corporal Tom Cole, is injured, sending him to London to convalesce and fall in love for the first time. But who is the lovely Danish girl he meets at a cafe? Anna says she's a monitor at the War Office, scanning radio waves for incoming German planes. But is she? When Cole goes to the War Office one day to surprise his new lover, she's nowhere to be found. So begins Cole's quest to find and save the woman he loves.
The Widow's Guide to Sex & Dating : a novel by Carole Radziwillwidowsguidetosex
Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the widow of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, was a renowned sexologist and writer, until he was struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture. After his death, Claire must reinvent herself. Over the course of a year, she sees a shrink (or two), visits an oracle, hires a "botanomanist," enjoys an erotic interlude (or ten), eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player, a billionaire, and even an actor. As she grieves for Charlie and searches for herself, she comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger than she had before--possibly, love.   


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:


weddingThe Wedding by Dorothy West
An unforgettable history of the rise of the black middle class, set on the island of Martha's Vineyard in the 1950s. The proud, insular community known as the Oval is made up of the best and brightest of New York's and Boston's black bourgeoisie. Dr. Clark Coles and his wife Corinne, pillars of this community, are mortified that their youngest daughter Shelby is set on marrying Meade Wyler, a white jazz musician from New York. Equally alarmed is Lute McNeil, a successful black furniture maker from Boston who is new to Oak Bluffs and desperate for social acceptance. Lute has fallen in love with Shelby Coles, or at least the way of life she represents. As the day of the wedding approaches, the tension builds, climaxing in a single tragic act that will forever change the lives of three families.

invisiblemanInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison
An award winning literary classic that was the subject of a school ban in September 2013, Ellison's novel adresses many of the issues faced by African Americans in the 20th century. The nameless narrator describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and then retreating to his basement after violence breaks out in order to write about his experience, his identity and his place in American society.


deeperloveinsideA Deeper Love Inside by Sister Souljah
An unforgettable coming-of-age story in the words of Porsche Santiaga, a young girl separated from her parents by the authorities. Sharp-tongued, quick-witted Porsche is cut from the same cloth as her father, Ricky Santiaga: she is a natural-born hustler. Passionate and loyal to the extreme, she refuses to accept her new life in group homes, foster care, and juvenile detention as she pushes to get back everything that ever belonged to her wealthy, loving family.The stunning sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever.



goodlordbirdThe Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, the novel tells the story of Henry Shackleford, a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857 -  the region a battlefield between anti and pro slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an arguement between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes Henry is a girl. Over the next months, Henry conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. He finds himeself with Brown at the historic raid on Harper's Ferry, one of the catalysts for the Civil War.


 * Frederick Douglass


Chinese New Year - Year of the Horseyearofthehorse

The Chinese year 4712, the Year of the Horse, begins on Jan. 31, 2014. New Year's festivities traditionally start on the first day of  the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. 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 fireworks, parties and family visits, dragon dances, and red decorations everywhere. Each year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. It's said that people born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and  good with their hands.

Join in the fun by reading about China, past and present.


fivestarbillionaireFive Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
A novel that offers rare insight into the booming world of Shanghai, a city of elusive identities and ever-changing skylines, of grand ambitions and outsize dreams. It is a portrait of four new arrivals to the city: a venerable business woman, a pop star, a factory girl turned socialite, and an inheritor of his family's lands -  all of whose fates are tied to an elusive billionaire. All bring their dreams and hopes to Shanghai , the shining symbol of the New China. "Aw reveals that the American Dream isn't so uniquely American..." (Amazon)



Pearl of China by Anchee Minpearlofchina
At the end of the nineteenth century in China, nine-year-old Willow, the only child of a destitute family in the small southern town of Chin-kiang, meets Pearl, the eldest daughter of a zealous American missionary. Pearl is independent and fiercely intelligent, and will grow up to be Pearl S Buck, the Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning writer. From the start the two are thick as thieves, but when the Boxer Rebellion rocks the nation, Pearl's family is forced to leave China. As the twentieth century unfolds in all its turmoil, through right-wing military coups and Mao's Red Revolution, through bad marriages and broken dreams, the two girls cling to their lifelong friendship across the sea. 


enigmaofchinaEnigma of China by Qiu Xiaolong
Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police wanted to be a poet in college but was state-assigned upon graduation to the police bureau. When the party orders him to sign off on the death of the son of a major party member as a suicide, his instinct is that the deceased may have been murdered. The man (head of the Shanghai Housing Development Committee) was outed by “netizens” who investigated his corrupt practices through the Internet, starting with a photo of one very expensive pack of cigarettes. Now Chen will have to decide what to do - investigate the death as a possible homicide and risk angering unseen powerful people, or seek the justice that his conscience requires.


Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyamawomenofthesilk
Set in rural China in 1926, the novel tells the story of a young Chinese girl, Pei, who is sent by her impoverished family from their struggling fish farm to begin work in a silk factory. Initially terrified, Pei soon settles into the communal routine, and finds the 12-hour factory day made bearable by the kindness of supervisors and fellow workers. Along with her best friend, Lin, she decides at 16 to go through the hairdressing ceremony, in which girls pledge to dedicate their lives to silk work instead of marrying. Leading the first strike the village has ever seen, the young women use the strength of their ambition and friendship to achieve the freedom they could never have hoped for on their own.



Outstanding Genre Fiction               

outcastsSince 2007, the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA, a division of the American Library Association) has announced The Reading List in order to highlight outstanding genre fiction. 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 2014 winners are:

ADRENALINE: Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

FANTASY: Vicious by V.E.Schwab

HISTORICAL FICTION: The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent

HORROR: Last Days by Adam Nevill

MYSTERY: Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

ROMANCE: Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

SCIENCE FICTION: Love Minus Eighty by Will MacIntosh

WOMEN'S FICTION:  Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


underthewideandstarryUnder the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Recently the Today Show Book Club announced its third reading selection, Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan, whose first book, Loving Frank, about Frank Lloyd Wright and his star-crossed relationship with Mamah Cheney, became a popular book club choice after its publication in 2007. Horan's new book features another famous man and the woman who loved him. It tells the tale of Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped, and his wife and muse, Fanny Van de Grift, who left her husband in 1875 to travel the world with Stevenson. Her opinions were said to have had a profound impact on his writings - she was known to be his toughest critic. Horan drew heavily from the couple's letters and Stevenson’s writings to paint a realistic portrait of their relationship, based on both fact and fiction. "What I did with this book and also with the previous book is take the journey with these couples,” she said.


"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

voyageoutBorn into a privileged English household on Januray 25, 1882, writer Virginia Woolf was raised by literary and free-thinking parents. She began writing as a young girl and published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915. Her nonlinear, free form prose style established her as a modernist and innovator. After she married writer Leonard Woolf in 1912,  the couple became part of an avant-garde  literary and artistic circle known as the Bloomsbury Group, which became influential in the arts of the early 20th century. Woolf's best known books are the novels, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and Orlando. Her famous book length essay, A Room of One's Own, included the much-quoted observation about the freedom needed to write successfully. Woolf suffered from bouts of depression throughout her life and committed suicide in 1941 at the age of 59 by walking into a river near her country home. Her body was not found for several weeks.



 Michael Cunningham's 1998 book, The Hours, imagined the lives of several women influenced by reading Mrs. Dalloway and depicted aspects of Woolf's life. It was adapted as a movie in 2002 starring Nicole Kidman as Woolf. Kidman won the Academy Award for Best Actress for that role.

February 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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



RedRising3D#1 for February:
Red Rising
by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow--and Reds like him--are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. "The next read for those who loved The Hunger Games."


Reading Civil Rights

freshwaterroadFifty years ago, on August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the huge crowd assembled at the March on Washington with his "I Have a Dream" speech.  In recognition of the enormous power of words in the civil rights movement, Columbia professor Samuel G. Freedman compiled a list of the classic books on civil rights. Many of the books listed are histories and narrative non-fiction. Also included is Freshwater Road, a novel by Denise Nicholas, "which may well be the finest novel about the civil-rights era." Set in Pineyville, Mississippi during the three months of the "Freedom Summer" of 1964, it 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.


anniesghostsMeet the Author of Annie's Ghosts

Steve Luxenberg, the author of the Michigan Humanities Council's Great Michigan Read selection, Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret, will be speaking at Schoolcraft College's VisTaTech Center, Rm 550 on Thursday, January 30th at 1:15 pm. Following an audience and author conversation, a book signing opportunity will be available.

Annie’s Ghosts is the personal account of Luxenberg’s quest to learn about the aunt he never knew. Her name was Annie and she was hospitalized at the Eloise asylum in Westland for most of her life, forgotten in time and memory. Part memoir, part detective story, and part history, it is a tale of family secrets, personal journeys, genealogy, mental illness, poverty, immigration, and ultimately, understanding and forgiveness.


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



onsuchafullseaTrending Now...

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
In a future, long-declining America, society is strictly stratified by class. Long-abandoned urban neighborhoods have been repurposed as highwalled, self-contained labor colonies. In this world lives Fan, a female fish-tank diver, who leaves her home in the B-Mor settlement (once known as Baltimore), when the man she loves mysteriously disappears. Fan's journey to find him takes her out of the safety of B-Mor, through the anarchic Open Counties, where crime is rampant with scant governmental oversight, and to a faraway charter village, in a quest that will soon become legend to those she left behind. "... (an) electrifying postapocalyptic novel..." (Booklist)

radianceoftomorrowRadiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah
Beah, author of the highly-regarded memoir, A Long Way Gone, about the civil war in Sierra Leone and the child soldiers involved, has written his first novel. Set in the post war Sierra Leone, it is the story of Benjamin and Bockarie, two longtime friends who return to their hometown, Imperi, after the civil war. The village is in ruins, the ground covered in bones. As more villagers begin to come back, Benjamin and Bockarie try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers, but they're beset by obstacles: a scarcity of food; a rash of murders, thievery, rape, and retaliation; and the depredations of a foreign mining company intent on sullying the town's water supply and blocking its paths with electric wires."... a formidable and memorable novel-a story of resilience and survival, and, ultimately, rebirth." (Publishers Weekly)


andrewsbrainAndrew's Brain by E.L. Doctorow
Speaking from an unknown place and to an unknown interlocutor, Andrew is thinking, Andrew is talking, Andrew is telling the story of his life, his loves, and the tragedies that have led him to this place and point in time. And as he confesses, peeling back the layers of his strange story, we are led to question what we know about truth and memory, brain and mind, personality and fate, about one another and ourselves. Written with psychological depth and great lyrical precision, this suspenseful and groundbreaking novel delivers a voice for our times--funny, probing, skeptical, mischievous, profound. "... an exquisitely disturbing, morally complex, tragic, yet darkly funny novel of the collective American unconscious and human nature in all its perplexing contrariness." (Booklist)


windisnotariverThe Wind is Not a River by Brian Payton
An epic love story in which a husband and wife-separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil-fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands.
John Easely, a journalist, heads north from Seattle to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government. While he is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as "the Birthplace of Winds." There, John must battle the elements and starvation while evading discovery by the Japanese. Meanwhile, John's wife, Helen, living in Seattle, resolves to search for her missing husband by joining a USO troupe set to entertain American soldiers in the Aleutians. "...a suspenseful, beautifully researched title." (Library Journal)


Danielle Steel Awarded French Legion of Honor

honorthyselfOn January 1st, author and "Queen of Romance" Danielle Steel
was the latest American to francereceive one of France's highest awards, the Legion of Honor, in recognition of her service to France. Steel was made a "Chevalier"  (Knight) of the order, which was founded by Napoleon in 1802. She joins several other Americans, like Julia Child, Philip Roth and Bob Dylan, who have been honored in the past. Steel is a part-time resident of Paris who once remarked that she loves French literature, especially the works of Colette. Her books have sold over 600 million copies worldwide and are published in 43 languages.


MInotablebooksThe Library of Michigan recently announced the list of the 2014 riverswimmerMichigan Notable Books - 20 books  highlighting Michigan people, places and events. The books must have been published during last year, and be about Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or authored by a Michigan writer. The books are chosen by a committee of librarians, reviewers, booksellers and authors working with the Library of Michigan's Center for the Book. Fiction on this year's list includes The River Swimmer by Jim Harrison and In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell. The list also includes children's books, memoirs, poetry, photography, and a biography of Tiger Mark Fidrych, also known as "The Bird."


January 2014 LibraryReads List

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

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



dead in their vaulted arches#1 for January:
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia De Luce Novel
by Alan Bradley
On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train's arrival in the English village of Bishop's Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces' crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office--and making spectacular use of Harriet's beloved Gipsy Moth plane, "Blithe Spirit"--Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.


Romance Author

calderpromiseJanet Dailey, author of 155 books, including the Calder santainmontanaseries, has passed away in Branson, MO. She was 69. Long a fixture on best-seller lists, her romance novels are somewhat unique in that they often feature working women, rather than well-to-do socialites, and are located in American settings with American sensibilities, rather than European capitals. While critics of the genre may shrug, Dailey sold an estimated career total of 100 to 300 million books which were translated into 19 languages. She was a hard working writer, producing 3 to 7 books a year. She once remarked,"My romance readers are like me. They are work-oriented women who are under a great deal of stress.”


To get you in the holiday mood...

Duck the Halls by Donna Andrews                                                                duckthehalls
Skunks in the choir loft, ducks in the nave, it's clear that some serious holiday pranksters are on the loose. Meg Langslow is determined to find them but before she can, a fire breaks out at the church, and one of the elders is dead. Who would have murdered such a harmless - if slightly cranky - old man? Who has the time during the busy holiday season to herd all of these animals into the town's churches? And will Meg ever be able to finish all of her shopping, wrapping, cooking, caroling, and decorating in time for Christmas Eve?


dogsofchristmasThe Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron
Can a surprise litter of Christmas puppies really change one man's life? While nursing a broken heart, Josh Michaels is outraged when a neighbor abandons his very pregnant dog, Lucy, at Josh's Colorado home. Josh can't resist Lucy's soulful brown eyes, and though he's never had a dog before, he's determined to do the best he can for Lucy-and her soon-to-arrive, bound-to-be-adorable puppies. Soon in over his head, Josh calls the local animal shelter for help, and meets Kerri, a beautiful woman with a quick wit and a fierce love for animals. A charming and heartwarming holiday tale that explores the power of love, trust, and a basket full of puppies.


A Cosmic Christmas 2 You edited by Hank Davis                                               cosmicchristmas2
Twelve cosmic days of Christmas tales ranging from vampires to robots, from the hills of Appalachia to a high orbit space station, all celebrating the holiday in off-beat ways. This anthology of science fiction stories by authors Joe Lansdale, Connie Willis, Sarah A. Hoyt, Larry Correia, and more, serves up some holiday warmth for a cold wintry evening. Particularly strong entries include Haldeman's "Angel of Light," about a father trying to sell a scandalous ancient book of SF to buy Christmas presents, and Willis's "Christmas Card," in which aliens compete to think up the best not-gifts.


starrynightStarry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: she can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author who lives in the remote Alaskan wilderness. It's the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.


silentnightSilent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel by Robert B. Parker with Helen Brann
It's December in Boston, and Spenser is busy planning the menu for Christmas dinner when he's confronted in his office by a young boy named Slide. Homeless and alone, Slide has found refuge with an organization named Street Business. Slide's mentor, Jackie Alvarez, is being threatened, and Street Business is in danger of losing its tenuous foothold in the community, turning Slide and many others like him back on the street. But it's not a simple case of intimidation - Spenser, aided by Hawk, finds a trail that leads to a dangerous drug kingpin. Unfinished at the time of his death, the novel was completed by Parker's longtime agent, Helen Brann.


ladyjennysLady Jenny's Christmas Portrait by Grace Burrowes
For Christmas, soft-spoken Lady Jenny Windham craves the freedom to pursue her artistic ambitions, though it will mean scandalizing her ducal parents and abandoning all hope of a family of her own. She confides her plans to successful artist Elijah Harrison when he's commissioned to paint a portrait of her small nephews. Elijah finds in his unlikely assistant not only an inspiring muse and unappreciated talent, but also a lovely and passionate woman. If he supports Jenny's career, his own professional interests will suffer, but more significantly, he will lose Jenny forever. Both Jenny and Elijah must choose between true love and a lifelong dream.


White Christmas by Diana Palmer
whitechristmasEveryone in Nicole White's office described their boss's mysterious older brother as a real woman hater. So when Nicki has to tag along with her ailing employer to his brother's Montana home, she is prepared for the worst. To her surprise, what she found was a man more roughly masculine than any she'd ever met. But Winthrop Christopher's distrust of women runs straight to the bone. Nicki knows she should steer clear of him, but she can't hide the feelings he stirs in her. Can she ever teach him to love again?




Now (or soon) Playing...

Hobbit1The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Everyone on Earth (and Middle Earth) knows that director Peter Jackson has adapted the story of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures with dwarves and dragons into a movie trilogy, the second of which has just opened. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues with Bilbo's journey to the Lonely Mountain and introduces the fiery dragon Smaug, voiced by actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post declares," ... for those of us who love Tolkien, the new movie is a treat."



myworldThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
A short story by the incomparable James Thurber, writer, cartoonist and humorist, inspires this new film due to open later this month. Walter Mitty, a mild mannered milquetoast, lives large in his fantasies, daydreaming of improbable adventures in which he performs feats of derring-do and heroism. The story was first published in The New Yorker in 1939 and is considered a classic. It was made into movie starring Danny Kaye in 1947 and the 2013 remake is directed by and stars Ben Stiller. If you've never read Thurber, treat yourself to some of the best and funniest short story writing in American literature.


labordayLabor Day by Joyce Maynard
The lives of thirteen-year-old Henry and his lonely single mother Adele change forever one Labor Day weekend when they are approached by a bleeding man in need of assistance. Over the next few days, as they shelter him in their home, Frank teaches them to open themselves up to new experiences, and even love, while the rest of the community searches for an escaped murderer. “At once beautiful and disturbing, this remarkable novel…is a moving read.” (Bookpage)  Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star in the film adaptation directed by Jason Reitman that opens in limited release on December 27.


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

inventionofwingsToday, Oprah Winfrey announced her latest selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. The book, The Invention of Wings, will be published in January and is written by author Sue Monk Kidd, who had huge success with her prior best-seller, The Secret Life of Bees, which became a movie in 2008. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, also sold well.

Kidd's new book, a 19th-century story about a slave girl and a slave owner's daughter, was inspired by the life of the historical Sarah Grimke, the American abolitionist and suffragist. In a statement released today, Oprah said," These strong female characters represent the women that have shaped our history and through Sue's imaginative storytelling, give us a new perspective on slavery, injustice and the search for freedom."

This is the third choice for the 2.0 version of the book club. The other selections were The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.

Apartheid Fiction

crythebelovedcountryCry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
The story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. With his sister turned prostitute, his brother turned labor protestor and his son, Absalom, arrested for the murder of a white man, Kumalo must grapple with
how to bring his family back from the brink of destruction as the racial tension spreads throughout Johannesburg.

by J. M. Coetzeedisgrace
Set in post-apartheid South Africa, the story of David Lurie, a twice divorced, 52-year-old professor who is forced to resign and retreats to his daughter Lucy’s farm in the country. There he struggles to rekindle his relationship with Lucy and to understand the changing relations of blacks and whites in the new South Africa.


White Dog Fell from the Sky by Eleanor Lincoln Morse
In apartheid South Africa in 1977, medical student Isaac Muthethe is forced to flee his country after witnessing a friend murdered by white members of the South African Defense Force. After finding work as a gardener in Botswana, he disappears.



The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutchhousemaidsdaughter
Irish-born Catherine is unhappy in her marriage, isolated and estranged in a small town in the harsh Karoo desert of South Africa, and her only real companions are her diary and her housemaid, and later the housemaid's daughter, Ada.


drywhiteseasonA Dry White Season by Andre Brink
Ben Du Toit is a white schoolteacher in suburban Johannesburg during the time of state-sanctioned apartheid. A simple, apolitical man, he believes in the essential fairness of the South African government and its policies until the sudden arrest and subsequent "suicide" of a black janitor from Du Toit's school.


notimelikethe presentNo Time Like the Present by Nadine Gordimer
Steve and Jabulile, once clandestine lovers under a racist laws forbidding sexual relations between black and white, are living in a newly free South Africa. Both were combatants in the struggle against apartheid, and now, he, a university lecturer, and she, a lawyer, are parents of children born in freedom.


absolutionAbsolution by Patrick Flanery
Clare Wald, a controversial South African writer of great fame, is haunted by the memories of a sister she fears she betrayed to her death and the anti-apartheid activist daughter she fears she abandoned.

Carol Award Gold - no base transparent backgroundBest Christian Fiction

The American Christian Fiction Writers present the Carol Awards annually to the best in Christian fiction traditionally published in the previous calendar year. The group's purpose is "to promote Christian Fiction through developing the skills of its authors, educating them in the market, and serving as an advocate in the traditional publishing industry." ACFW has over 2600 members worldwide, consisting of authors, editors, agents, publicists and aspiring writers and was organized in 2000.

This heartechoesyear's winners span many genres andwherethelilacs include Heart Echoes by Sally John in the Contemporary category and Where the Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick in the Historical category. The awards are named for Bethany House fiction editor, Carol Johnson who saw the possibility for Christian based stories when she read a manuscript written by Janette Oke in the early '80's.


Trending Now...

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
goldfinchTheo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills his mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to the picture, the one thing that reminds him of her. A coming-of-age tale, an examination of loss and friendship, and a mystery about a missing painting, the novel follows Theo on his journey to adulthood with unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense.


The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
valleyofamazementViolet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of Shanghai's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, 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 erased by World War II. An evocative narrative of the profound connections between mothers and daughters, filled with insight and humor.


Brown Dog by Jim Harrison
browndogThis collection of Harrison's previously published novellas featuring "one of literature's great characters," Brown Dog,  a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian who roams the Upper Peninsula avoiding hard work while looking for love, beer, and good fishing, also includes a new story. Brown Dog, or B.D. as he is known, becomes a husband at the age of 50, although in a way that only B.D. could, by marrying his lesbian best friend, Gretchen,
who is interested in becoming a parent. Can the raffish, comically honest, and totally un-materialistic Brown Dog really end up domesticated in a cabin in the woods? Probably not, says Harrison, "It might interrupt his fishing."

 The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani
suprememacaroniFor over a hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides the twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher turned shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past, and a secret. But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the hard reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Romantic and poignant, told with humor and warmth, and bursting with a cast of endearing characters, this is a sumptuous feast of delights: an unforgettable narrative about family, work, romance, and the unexpected turns of life and fate.