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Adult Book News

Canada by Richard Ford

canadaOn June 30 the American Library Association announced this year's recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in fiction and non-fiction. The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best in fiction and non-fiction for adult readers published in the U.S. during the previous year. The Medals are funded thorugh a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and co-sponsored by ALA's Booklist magazine and the Reference and User Services division of ALA. This year's fiction winner, Richard Ford, accepted his medal and the $5,000 prize at the ALA's annual conference in Chicago. Ford's novel, Canada, is the tale of 15 year-old Dell Parsons, whose parents rob a bank. Their arrest and imprisonment forces Dell and his sister to confront  harsh realities and changes their lives forever.


Novelist Vince Flynn 1966-2013

last manBestselling author Vince Flynn passed away on June 19 from prostate cancer. He was 47. Flynn wrote 14 political thrillers, most featuring Mitch Rapp, a vigilante assassin who sometimes worked for the CIA to combat enemy espionage and terrorism. Flynn's first book, Term Limits, was self published and did so well that he got a contract with Simon & Schuster for more. Since then his books have consistently been best sellers with many fans in the federal intelligence community, including former President George W. Bush. Flynn remarked in an interview, "In my series the heroes are the men and women of the Secret Service, the C.I.A., Special Forces, the whole national security apparatus. And the villains are, shockingly enough, Islamic radical fundamentalists," ... "The secondary villains that I have are politicians and bureaucrats. It’s very easy to build a story around that because it’s reality.”  His most recent book, The Last Man, was published last year; his last, The Survivor, was scheduled for release later this fall.



World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

WorldWarZ 200-s6-c30Need a zombie fix now that  The Walking Dead is on hiatus? Brad Pitt is in a movie for you! Based on Max (son of Mel) Brooks' 2006 novel, World War Z opens this Friday in the U.S., although it has already had its London premiere where Pitt was mobbed by adoring fans. Pitt plays a former UN investigator who travels the world attempting to combat a zombie pandemic. The zombies in this film don't act like the shambling undead we're used to - they move quickly en masse, swarming across the globe to spread a worldwide plague. The novel, an "oral history," is structured as a series of interviews conducted by a U.N. employee with as many as 40 narrators.These first person accounts range from the doctor who dealt with one of the first cases to the politicians and military personnel who struggle to defeat the zombies, and include testimony from ordinary individuals who lived through the time of terror. Critics were postive: USA Today's review concluded that the book "possesses more creativity and zip than entire crates of other new fiction titles....Creepy but satsifying."




Like 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. Oprah, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Publishers Weekly, NPR, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today 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!


Novelist Iain Banks 1954-2013

hydrogensonataScottish author Iain Banks passed away June 9 in Scotland from advanced gall bladder cancer. Banks wrote novels in several genres: literary fiction as Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. He published 28 books in about 30 years, including a ten-book sci fi series about the Culture universe, an interstellar anarchic, utopian society, and several crime/thriller novels noted for their violence, plot twists and political subtext. Banks' one nonfiction book, his chronicle of a tour of distilleries, celebrated his love for single-malt Scotch whiskey. In an interview about a month before his death, Banks stated that he enjoyed writing his sci fi novels more than his other fiction, and the Culture novels best of all, calling that series "a hoot." The most recent book set in the Culture world is The Hydrogen Sonata, about the search for the oldest person in the Culture, a man more than 9,000 years old, who holds the truth for the development of civilization.




PDL'S  Adult Summer Reading Program has already begun. Join us for a summer of groundbreaking reads! There are two ways to play: Library Bingo or our Online
Log. Pick up a bingo sheet at the Library or sign up on the Library webpage to start earning your prize. Prizes include Plymouth Chamber of Commerce gift certificates and Penn Theatre tickets.  Enjoy!



Women's Prize for Fiction 2013

maywebeforgivenThe winner of this year's Women's Prize for Fiction, formerly known the Orange Prize, was announced in London on June 5. American author A. M Homes won for her novel May We Be Forgiven, beating our stiff competition from other well known nominees like Hilary Mantel (Bring Up the Bodies), Zadie Smith (NW), Barbara Kingsolver (Flight Behavior), Kate Atkinson (Life After Life), and  Maria Semple (Where'd You Go, Bernadette). 2013 marks the eighteenth year of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, which celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.

Homes' contemporary novel about a man picking up the pieces after a family tragedy
was favorably reviewed by NPR's Michael Schaub. "May We Be Forgiven is both a narrative masterwork and an impassioned cry of conscience against the selfishness and anomie of the digital generation. It's not just one of the best novels of the past few years, it's also the most deeply, painfully American."


baileys-logo3-793x344In related news, it was also announced this week that the prize has gained a new corporate sponsor, replacing the prior arrangement with the Orange telecommunications company. From next year, the prize will be known as the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction, as part of a new three-year partnership with the cream liqueur brand. Kate Mosse, founder of the prize, declared "they (Bailey's) were such a great fit as they are all about celebrating women".... continuing  "Everyone thinks of Baileys as a treat, as something which is about celebrating women and giving a great time."

                             This partnership could enliven many a book club meeting.

priestlysinsFr. Andrew Greeley, described in his New York Times obituary as "priest, author, scholar, scold" passed away May 30 at the age of 85.  As a writer his works ranged from sociological studies and theological scholarship to popular and somewhat explicit novels, especially for a priest thoroughly committed to his vocation. But as the NYT obituary continues, the word "maverick" seemed tailor-made for Greeley. "One could identify a left and a right in American Catholicism, and then there was Father Greeley, occupying a zone all his own." Probably best known to the public were the novels about Irish American families and their sons in the priesthood who confront both career and personal temptations along the way. At least ten of his novels made the bestseller lists. "“Sometimes I suspect that my obituary in The New York Times,” Father Greeley once wrote, “will read, ‘Andrew Greeley, Priest; Wrote Steamy Novels.'"


Adult Border


Starting June 1, adults will have the chance to win prizes for reading and using the Library. You can
play Library Bingo or, if Bingo isn't your thing, you can register online and log 5 books to earn your prize. Prizes
include Plymouth Chamber of Commerce gift certificates and Penn Theatre tickets. Check the Library's website
on June 1 for details.

Postcard Front


DON'T PANIC!hitchhikersguide2

Each year, on May 25, fans of  Douglas Adams, the deceased author of The Htichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, honor his legacy by carrying a towel all day. Why?  Because, as all devotees of Adams' books know, "A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have." In addition to reading any or all of Adam's very funny sci-fi humor, click here for tips on how to celebrate this great day. (The answer to everything is always "42.")




2012 Nebula Awards                         nebulaawardlogo

2312On May 18, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America presented author Kim Stanley Robinson the Nebula Award for Best Novel for his book, 2312. The futuristic story imagines scientific and technological breakthroughs that transform humanity. Earth is no longer the only home for humans; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and everyplace in between. On Mercury, in a city that is a marvel of design, Swan Er Hong arrives to mourn her recently deceased grandmother Alex, one of Mercury's movers and shakers, only to discover mysterious projects in the works that have the potential to destroy the entire solar system. "A brilliant, plausible account of how humans might colonize planets, moons and asteroids, 2312 is also about the future of art and family."(NPR Books)




The SFWA also named author Gene Wolfe as the 2012 Damon Knight Grand Master for his contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy. Wolfe's long career started inthe 1960's and he has been a prolific writer of novels and  short stories ever since. He is most famous for The Book of the New Sun, four volumes written from 1980-1983 about young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession - showing mercy toward his victim.




Last year, the bicentennial of Charles Dickens' birth, prompted literary critics to take renewed interest in his life and works. Dickens, as all would acknowledge, is one of the preeminent English writers of all time. Although many writers are compared to him, can any  contemporary author really measure up to the great master? Jimmy Soo, deputy books editor for Newsweek/The Daily Beast, compiled a list of novelists worldwide who could be favorably compared to Dickens, stating that "wherever an author is found chronicling the lives of ordinary folk with gripping prose and sprawling plots, a Dickens parallel is rarely far behind."  Among others included on his list is Michigan's own Elmore Leonard. "There is much talk of the Detroit scribe as the most American novelist today. So gritty is his realism that you can breathe the very odors of the land and hear the familiar noises of its blue-collar people." Another reason to appreciate "Dutch" Leonard - the Dickens of Detroit!

Elmore Leonard and his son, author Peter Leonard, will be speaking at the Friends Annual Meeting on May 22,  here at the Library. Call the Library at 734.453.0750, ext 4, to register.



Dan Brown's Inferno

infernoTomorrow, 5/14/13, Dan Brown's newest book will be released. Even that date is significant to the clues built into the book, which again stars The Da Vinci Code's Robert Langdon, Harvard symbologist and puzzle-master extraordinaire. His work is cut out for him this time, because the book is "jampacked with tricks...To the great relief of anyone who enjoys him, Mr. Brown winds up not only laying a breadcrumb trail of clues about Dante (this is “Inferno,” after all) but also playing games with time, gender, identity, famous tourist attractions and futuristic medicine." (Janet Maslin, New York Times) Will Langdon solve the clues and save the world from disasters caused by sinister cults, doomsday plots, and looming pandemics? Of course!

Copies of this book are also available in both EPUB and Kindle format through the Library's OverDrive site.  These e-books are available to Plymouth cardholders only. To search for this title, connect to the MCLS OverDrive site now.



 "If Traditional Mysteries are Your Cup of Tea..."

Agatha-Awards-Malice-DomesticThe Agatha Awards, named after Agatha Christie, honor "traditonal" mystery novels published by a living author during the calender year of 2012. They are presented during Malice Domestic, an annual convention devoted to mystery fiction. As the Malice Domestic website states, "For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex and contain no excessive gore or gratuitous violence. Materials generally classified as "hard-boiled" are not appropriate."



Best Novel: The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
This year's winner for Best Novel is The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. Penny has won the award four times before for other books in the same seriesDead Cold/A Fatal Grace (2007), The Cruelest  Month (2008), A Brutal Telling (2009), Bury Your Dead (2010). The series features Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of the homicide department of the Sûreté du Québec, and is set in the province of Quebec where Penny lives. The Beautiful Mystery is about a murder in a remote, peaceful monastery where the monks have taken vows of silence, but are well known for their glorious choir. The death of the choir master reveals that all is not harmonious in the cloistered community.




Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler

zNew on the May 5, 2013 New York Times Best Sellers List, Fowlers's novel about the woman-behind-the-man chronicles the marriage of Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Jazz Age beautiful couple. As one of the most famous modern literary and romantic relationships, their flirtation and marriage, and its eventual dissolution, has fueled scores of literary articles, biographies, and novels. So much of their story seems to turn up in Fitzgerald's fiction that, as New York Times reviewer, Penelope Green put it, their relationship was  "symbiotic to the point of cannibalism, with Scott drawing freely from Zelda’s diaries, letters and experiences (including her treatment for mental illness) for his own work." Their meeting and courtship, while he was a young, ambitious Army officer and she a Southern belle, evokes the romance of Daisy and Gatsby, and the hedonistic lifestyle which ultimately led to their downfall, echoes the plot of Tender is the Night. Fowler's novel "shows us a more complicated portrait of the muse to one of the century’s most well-known writers. Here is a woman bursting with creativity and life, but who would find herself thwarted --- by society, by the times, even by her own husband." (Bookreporter)



The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


The newest film adaptation, in 3-D, of this iconic novel will open in theaters on May 10. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. Fitzgerald's book serves as the quintessential book about the American dream, the Jazz Age, and the classic poor-boy-loves-rich-girl narrative of twentieth-century literature. Published in 1925, the book received critical acclaim but did not initially sell very well. It was only after Fitzgerald's death in 1940, and the revival of his work in the 50's and 60's, that the public embraced it. Gatsby is now widely regarded as a "Great American Novel;"  the Modern Library lists it as the second best English language novel of the 20th century. And if that's not enough, Stephen Colbert has selected it as the first book for his new book club, saying “We’re reading it for all the right reasons: because there’s a movie coming out.” 



May the Fourth Be With You!



Today 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 new Star Wars films to be made, the Force will be with us, always.






The Mystery Writers of America presented the Edgar Allan Poe Awards honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2012 at their annual banquet on May 2.


BEST NOVEL:                                                                                                livebynight

LIVE BY NIGHT BY Dennis Lehane
In 1926 Boston, Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the citys most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one--neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover--can be trusted.



THE EXPATS BY Chris Pavone
In the cobblestoned streets of Luxembourg, Kate Moore's days are filled with playdates and coffee
mornings, her expatsweekends spent in Paris and skiing in the Alps. But Kate is also guarding a tremendous, life-defining secret—one that's become so unbearable that it begins to unravel her newly established expat life. She suspects that another American couple are not who they claim to be; her husband is acting suspiciously; and as she travels around Europe, she finds herself looking over her shoulder, increasingly terrified that her own past is catching up with her. As Kate begins to dig, to uncover the secrets of the people around her, she finds herself buried in layers of deceit so thick they threaten her family, her marriage, and her life.




D.E Johnson

Michigan author D.E. Johnson will be speaking at the annual Book and Author Luncheon co-sponsored by the Friends of the Canton, Plymouth, Northville and Novi public libraries on Thursday, May 9, 2013. Johnson's historical mysteries are set in the Detroit of the 1900's, and highlight the development of the first electric cars amid corporate intrigue, organized crime, blackmail, and murder.

Detroit_Electric_SchemeThe Detroit Electric Scheme
Will Anderson is a drunk, heartbroken over the breakup with his fiancee, Elizabeth. He's barely kept his job at his father's company - Detroit Electric, 1910's leading electric automobile manufacturer. Late one night, Elizabeth's new fiance and Will's one-time friend, John Cooper, asks Will to meet him at the car factory. He finds Cooper dead, crushed in a huge hydraulic roof press. Surprised by the police, Will panics and runs, leaving behind his cap and automobile, and buries his blood-spattered clothing in a garbage can. What follows is a fast-paced, detail-filled ride through early-1900s Detroit, involving murder, blackmail, organized crime, the development of a wonderful friendship, and the inside story on early electric automobiles. "...this gem of a debut showcases an author to watch very closely." (Booklist)



motorcityshakedownMotor City Shakedown
Detroit 1911: seven months have passed since the events of The Detroit Electric Scheme, and Will is in the throes of morphine addiction due to the injuries he sustained then. He lives for nothing except revenge against the people who contributed to a friend's murder--first among them crime boss Vito Adamo. When Will stumbles upon the bloody body of Adamo's driver, he knows he'll be a suspect, particularly since he was spotted outside the dead man's apartment that same night. He sets out to find the killer, and the trail leads him to a vast conspiracy in an underworld populated by gangsters, union organizers, crooked cops, and lawyers. Worse, it places him directly in the middle of Detroit's first mob war. "Johnson brings the turbulence and rampant corruption of the era to life through his flawed yet tenacious lead in this worthy successor to his debut." (Publishers Weekly)



detroitbreakdownDetroit Breakdown
Will Anderson and Elizabeth are called to the vast Eloise Insane Asylum outside of Detroit, where Elizabeth's cousin Robbie is a patient and now a murder suspect. The victim, like three others before him at the asylum in recent months, was killed with the infamous "Punjab lasso," the murder weapon of the Phantom of the Opera. Certain of Robbie's innocence, they begin an investigation with the help of Detroit Police Detective Riordan. Will has himself committed to the asylum to investigate from the inside, and Elizabeth volunteers at Eloise and questions people outside the asylum. "Johnson's spooky third series entry (after Motor City Shakedown) ensures its place among hot new historicals. His unique take on Detroit in the early 20th century and its burgeoning automotive culture make this entry a perfect crossover selection for historical fiction buffs. The lead characters-chapters alternate between the two narrators-have a checkered and violent past that Johnson fills in nicely for new readers." (Library Journal)



Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

underworldNovelist Don DeLillo has been named the first recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. The prize is a new lifetime achievement award announced on April 26th by Librarian of Congress James Billington. DeLillo will be presented with the award at the 13th annual National Book Festival held in Washington D.C. in September. According to a statement from the Library of Congress, the new Prize for American Fiction “seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that — throughout long, consistently accomplished careers — have told us something about the American experience.”  DeLillo is considered "the postmodern master of sweeping novels dealing with pressing contemporary American issues," (Daily Beast). HIs titles include   Underworld, Cosmopolis and Falling Man. DeLillo has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize twice.



11971229161331436180FunDraw_dot_com_Edgar_Allen_Poe_svg_medOn May 2, 2013, 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 2012. 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.


allididwasshootNominees for Best Novel:

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman
Sunset by Al Lamanda
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley



expatsNominees for Best First Novel:

The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
The Expats by Chris Pavone
The 500 by Matthew Quirk
Black Fridays by Michael Sears





sunglasses_sunAlthough it barely feels like spring, the editors at Publishers Weekly have already created their list of the 50 Best Summer Books coming out in 2013, some from big name authors, others from unknown writers. They promise that no matter what you like to read, they have something for you.

Kinda like a library! 


Trending Now...


lifeafterlifeLife After Life by Kate Atkinson
Recently shortlisted for the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize), Atkinson's latest novel features a heroine who lives multiple lives, blurring the line between life and death. On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies and is reborn repeatedly, in a variety of ways, re-living parts of her life, but differently each time, while the world marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. "Life After Life is a big book that defies logic, chronology and even history in ways that underscore its author’s fully untethered imagination." (New York Times)


flamethrowersThe Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
The year is 1975 and 21 year-old Reno--so-called because of the place of her birth--has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world--artists have colonized the industrial SoHo, are staging actions in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno falls in with a group of dreamers and raconteurs who instruct her in the ways of their world. Eager for experience, vulnerable, and bold, she begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera, the semi-estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro's family home in Italy, Reno becomes involved with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in the seventies and gets more than she bargained for, soon implicated in a kidnapping and death. "(A) brilliant lightning bolt of a novel..." (NPR)


burgessboysThe Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan--the Burgess sibling who stayed behind--urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. Strout's follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Olive Kitteridge, "shows just how impressively this extraordinary writer continues to develop. In these pages, Strout untangles a moldy knot of filial tensions in one family while tracing the prejudices that continue to reverberate through American culture since Sept. 11." (Washington Post)


interestingsThe Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules's now-married best friends, become shockingly successful; true to their initial artistic dreams. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken. "Ambitious and involving, capturing the zeitgeist of the liberal intelligentsia of the era." (Kirkus)



2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction


The Pulitzer Prize committee annnounced their winners Monday, and this year, unlike last year, a fiction winner was named. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson got the nod over the other two finalists, What We Talk About When We Talk about Anne Frank by Nathan Englander and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. After last year's disappointment, authors, publishers, and booksellers are rejoicing! Considered the biggest and most prestigious book prize in the United States, the Pulitzer Prize in fiction is awarded annually (usually) to an American author for a distinguished work of fiction.

An epic novel, The Orphan Masters Son follows a young man's journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world's most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.




Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery

On March 29, Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery was announced as the winner of the
Philip K. Dick Awardlosteverything at Norwescon, one of the largest regional science fiction and fantasy conventions in the United States. The Philip K. Dick Award is the science fiction award, named after the legendary science fiction author, Philip K. Dick, that annually recognizes the previous year's best science fiction paperback original published in the U.S.

In Lost Everything, set in the not-distant-enough future, a man takes a boat trip up the Susquehanna River with his most trusted friend, intent on reuniting with his son. But the man is pursued by an army, and his own harrowing past; and the familiar American landscape has been savaged by war and climate change until it is nearly unrecognizable. "This book calls to mind the starkness of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Narrated with a sense of quiet desperation and understated elegance, Slattery's cautionary tale deserves a wide readership beyond dystopian sf fans." (Library Journal)

Happy Birthday, Joseph Pulitzer!

220px-JosephPulitzerPinceNeznpsgovOn April 10, 1847, Joseph Pulitzer, the newspaper publisher and namesake of the Pulitzer Prizes, was born in Hungary. After a priviliged youth in Europe, he emigrated to America following the death of his father and the loss of the family business. He held several odd jobs and tried several professions, including law, before becoming a reporter for the Westlich Post, a German-American newspaper published in St. Louis. In 1879 Pultizer purchased two St. Louis newspapers and merged them into the St. Louis Post-Disptach. Later he purchased the New York World, a struggling New York paper, and turned it into the largest newspaper in the country by engaging in circulation wars with William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. In his will Pulitzer left an endowment to Columbia University for the establishment of a journalism school, and in 1912 the school founded the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The university created the Pulitzer Prizes, initially for excellence in journalism, in 1917, and later expanded the awards  to recognize achievements in literature, poetry, history, music, and drama. This year's Pulitzer Prizes will be announced on April 15.





On March 30th, the nominees for the 2013 Hugo Awards were announced at four science fiction conventions across the country. According to the World Science Fiction Convention, the awards are the most prestigious prizes in the science fiction genre and are given for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy in several categories. The awards have been presented annually since 1955 and are named after Hugo Gernsback who founded Amazing Stories, the first major American SF magazine, in 1926.

Nominees for Best Novel:


("World Science Fiction Society", "WSFS", "World Science Fiction Convention", "Worldcon", "NASFiC", "Hugo Award", and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.)


Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Novelist and Oscar-Winning Screenwriter (1927-2013)


Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, author of books inspired by her life in India and screenwriter of the popular Merchant-Ivory films, passed away Wednesday at the age of 85. She was born in Germany, educated in England, and settled in  New Delhi when she married an Indian architect. There she raised her family and wrote several of her novels, including Heat and Dust which won the Booker Prize in 1975. Jhabvala joined the film-making team of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory as the screenwriter for many of their literate and sophisticated films, winning Oscars for the screenplays of A Room with a View and Howard's End, both adapted from E. M. Forster novels. Her last short-story collection, A Lovesong for India, was published in 2012.




"Fools are without number." (Erasmus)

A fool or jester was an entertainer employed by a monarch to amuse and distract the court in medieval times. Fools' talents included acrobatics, music, storytelling, clowning, juggling, and posing riddles to captivate royal audiences. Treat yourself like a sovereign this April Fools' Day - indulge in some foolish fiction.


foolFool by Christopher Moore
Pocket, King Lear's fool, sets out to straighten out the mess the mad king has made of the kingdom and the royal family, only to discover the truth about his own heritage. Moore "takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) in a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters—a rousing story of plots, subplots, counterplots, betrayals, war, revenge, bared bosoms, unbridled lust . . . and a ghost (there's always a bloody ghost), as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head." (Back Cover)




The Lark's Lament: A Fools' Guild Mystery by Alan Gordon
In 1204 A.D., the Fools' Guild is in hiding, under attack from the forces of Pope Innocent III. Theophilos and Claudia, jesters with the Guild, are sent to enlist the help of a former guild member - the minstrel Folquet, now the abbot Folq at a Cistercian monastery - to intercede with the pope on their behalf. But while they are at the abbey pleading their case, a gruesome murder takes place - a monk is killed in the librarium and a cryptic message written on the wall in his blood. The jesters, who also operate as spies for the government, must find the killer in order to save the Guild from destruction.



queensfoolThe Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family.


jesterJester by James Patterson with Andrew Gross
While known for his contemporary thrillers, Patterson delivers a suspenseful story set in 1096, a time of castles, knights and Crusades. The hero, Hugh De Luc, is an ordinary innkeeper who returns from the Crusades to find his home burned and his wife in the custody of a cruel and barbaric knight. To gain access to the castle he assumes the role of a court jester, attempting to save his wife and to overthrow the corrupt nobleman and his henchmen. "From start to finish, this is supersmart popular fiction, slick yet stirring, packed with colorful details of medieval life, bursting with unforgettable characters and clever tropes and themes. Patterson's fans will adore this one." (Publishers Weekly)



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Admisson by Jean Hanff Korelitz 
For years, 38-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy
(and sometimes punishing) career as admissona Princeton University admissions officer. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a prior life-altering decision after she visits a down-at-the-heels New England town on a scouting trip and meets Jeremiah, a talented but rough-around-the-edges 17-year-old who may not  measure up as Princeton material. "Korelitz, a Dartmouth graduate and former Princeton admissions reader, offers a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the college admission process." (Bookmarks Magazine)  Comedienne/actress/author Tina Fey stars as Portia in the film adaptation directed by Paul Weitz and also featuring Lily Tomlin and Paul Rudd.   


hostThe Host by Stephenie Meyer
Meyer, author of the hugely popular Twilight series, tries her hand at an adult sci-fi novel about the invasion of Earth by an alien species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Most, but not all, of Earth's inhabitants have succumbed. Melanie, a young woman deeply in love with Jared, refuses to relinquish possession of her mind and instead fills her invader with thoughts and desires of human love. "Likely the first love triangle involving just two bodies, it's unabashedly romantic, and the characters (human and alien) genuinely endearing." (Amazon) The film is directed by Andrew Niccol and stars Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and William Hurt.



The Company You Keep by Neil Gordon
Gordon mixes political turmoil and family drama to deliver a an intricate plot about a single dad
whose student-companyyoukeepradical past catches up with him and his young daughter. Still wanted for a long-ago deadly bank robbery, Jim is found out by a reporter looking for story and forced to abandon his child and go underground where he connects with old comrades and adversaries. The novel explores the legacy of the Vietnam War and the divisive events of the sixties as "Gordon  skillfully combines a tense fugitive procedural, full of intriguing lore about false identities and techniques for losing a tail, with a nuanced exploration of boomer nostalgia and regret." (Publishers  Weekly) The film, in limited release, is directed by and stars Robert Redford. Stanley Tucci, Shia LaBeouf and Julie Christie also appear.


ontheroadOn the Road by Jack Kerouac
Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "Beat" and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago. It chronicles Jack Kerouac's years spent traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. His thinly veiled characters include aspiring writer Sal Paradise, who relates his escapades with the charismatic Dean Moriarty, and the many friends and lovers that the pair encounter. Sal admires Dean's passion for experiencing as much as possible of life and his wild flights of poetic fancy. Kerouac's story and writing style caused a sensation when the book was published, to widely differing opinions as to its value and relevance, but the book continues to influence writers, poets, musicians, and actors.  The current film adaptation stars Sam Riley,
Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, and Kirsten Dunst and is directed by Walter Salles.


Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)

thingsfallapartCelebrated African author, Chinua Achebe, passed away on March 21 at the age of 82. His first novel, Things Fall Apart, published in 1958 when Achebe was 28, was internationally acclaimed and became a classic in world literature. Achebe is credited with re-invigorating African literature and presenting the stories of the African continent from an indigenous perspective. Many of his narratives are about the people of his native Nigeria, who are caught between the traditional African culture and the new ways of the Westerners who colonized their land. "In his writing and teaching Mr. Achebe sought to reclaim the continent from Western literature, which he felt had reduced it to an alien, barbaric and frightening land devoid of its own art and culture." (New York Times) He received the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in 2007 and continued writing and teaching until recently.




Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins


On March 13, author Claire Vaye Watkins was awarded the Story Prize for 2012 for her collection of ten short stories about life in the American West. The title refers to the state motto of Nevada, Watkins' home state, where many of the stories are set. She was presented with an engraved silver bowl and a check for $20,000 at an event held at the New School in New York City. Watkins is the ninth winner of the award, established in 2004 to honor the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction, and the first woman to win since 2007. Reviewers were enthusiastic about Watkins' work, calling the stories "gloriously vivid" (Kirkus) and "arresting"(Library Journal).

The other finalists were authors Dan Chaon for Stay Awake and Junot Diaz for This Is How You Lose Her, who each received $5,000 as runners-up.


shamrock_symbol_jonadab__01St Patrick's Day

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.

weekinwinterA Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
Binchy's last book, published posthumously, celebrates community as a diverse group of people spend a week together on a holiday at Stone House, an old mansion re-purposed as a resort in a small Irish coastal town. Binchy, whose books are synonymous with Ireland, tells her tale with her trademark warmth and humor. “Classic Binchy... her fans will find solace as hearts mend and relationships sort themselves out one last time." (Kirkus Reviews)




Pi Day Countdown
March 14 is PI 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.

Celebrate all things PI - mathematics (pi), baking (pie) or detectives (P.I.s) - enjoy a slice of life on PI Day!



Life of Pi by Yann Martell
When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.





Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams
When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flakey crust. But her pies aren't just delicious. They're having magical effects on the people who eat them--and the public is hungry for more. Discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe.




Pie Town by Lynne Hinton
Pie Town, New Mexico, was once legendary for its extraordinary pies. But it's been a while since these delectable desserts graced the counter at the local diner. The townspeople-a hearty mix of Anglos, Hispanics, and Native Americans-like to think of themselves as family, especially when it comes to caring for Alex, a disabled little boy being raised by his grandparents. But, unforeseen by all, Pie Town's fortunes are about to take a major turn-due to the arrival of a new priest, who seems woefully unprepared for his first assignment.




The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, must exonerate her father of murder. Armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together and examine new suspects, she begins a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself.





Death Warmed Over: Dan Shamble. P.I. by Kevin J. Anderson
Ever since the Big Uneasy unleashed vampires, werewolves and other undead denizens on the world, it's been hell for zombie P.I. Dan Chambeau who works with a human lawyer as his partner. His cases now include a resurrected mummy that is suing the museum that put him on display, two witches that were victims of a curse gone terribly wrong seek restitution from a publisher for not using "spell check" on its magical tomes. And Dan must also find out who caused his own death.




Return of the Thin Man: the Original Screen Stories by Dashell Hammett
Hammett brings back his classic characters, retired private investigator Nick Charles and his former debutante wife Nora, who return home to find Nora's family gardener murdered, pulling the couple back into another deadly game of cat and mouse. Hammett has written two fully satisfying "Thin Man" stories, with classic, barbed Hammett dialogue and fully developed characters. Neither of these stories has been previously published.





Vatican Fiction

Most of the world is currently fascinated by the ritual and drama playing out in the Vatican this week,
as the College of shoesofthefishermanCardinals of the Roman Catholic Church gathers to elect a new Pope. Authors have also found this narrative compelling, using the election of a new Pope as either primary plot or background to other stories in several novels. Try one of these titles as you wait for the white smoke.

The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris White                                                       
A pope has died, and the corridors of the Vatican hum with intrigue as cardinals from all over the world gather to choose his successor. Suddenly, the election is concluded with a surprise result. The new pope is the youngest cardinal of all - and a Russian.


by Greg Tobin
The Pope is dead, and the College of Cardinals has convened to elect a new one. In the running is 64-year-old archbishop Timothy John Mulrennan, who finds himself under attack for decades-old sins.




White Smoke by Andrew Greeley                                                                    
The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have gathered in Rome for the papal election while a lone assassin stalks the Vatican, his crazed mission: to destroy the next pope as soon as the traditional white smoke issues from the cardinals' meeting room in the Sistine Chapel.


accidentalpopeThe Accidental Pope by Raymond Flynn  and Robin Moore
Following the death of Pope John Paul II, the College of Cardinals convenes to elect a new pope. While the whole world watches, an Irish cardinal named Comiskey tells a story about his seminary friend Bill Kelly, an ex-priest-turned-fisherman, who once saved a group of fellow seminarians from drowning. Unable to reach a consensus after seven days, the cardinals end up casting their votes for the same fisherman.







Fans of Dan Brown's earlier efforts will be thrilled to learn that the author of The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol has a new book due to be published in May. Inferno will feature Brown's familiar protagonist, Robert Langdon, professor of symbology at Harvard University, who is drawn into a conspiracy centered around the classic work of the poet Dante Alighieri. Langdon must pursue clues, solve riddles and engage a cunning adversary before the world as we know it is changed forever. Inferno is the title of the first part of Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy during which Dante is guided through Hell's nine circles of suffering by the poet Virgil. Written in the 14th century, it is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature (that most of us have never read.)



National Book Critics Circle Award - Fiction 2012


Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain
Debut novelist Ben Fountain is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction published in 2012. His book is the story of 19-year-old Billy and the members of his squad who survived a firefight in Iraq and became overnight heroes. Brought home for a "Victory Tour," they are poised to make a public relations appearance at the Dallas Cowboys stadium with all the hoopla that big-time football can offer. "A bracing, fearless and uproarious satire of how contemporary war is waged and sold to the American public.” (San Francisco Chronicle)



 Windham Campbell Prizes

These prizes are new literary awards established at Yale University and endowed by a significant bequest from the estate of Donald Windham, a writer who died in 2010. Each winner receives $150,000.00, making these the most lucrative of the American literary prizes given to writers for fiction, non-fiction and drama. The purpose is to "recognize emerging and established writers for outstanding achievement..." 
           James Salter
, Tom McCarthy and Zoe Wicomb are the first recipients of the awards for fiction.


                                  allthatis ctheonethat



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.

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


Acquaint yourself with some fabulous females:



helenkellerinlove mrslincolnsdressmaker eightgirls chaperone


2012 Nebula Award Nominees Announced

nebulaawardlogoThe Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America recently announced the finalists for the 2012 Nebula Awards for science fiction and fantasy writing. Nominees are named in the best novel, novella, novelette, short story, dramatic presentation, and young adult categories, and the voting takes place throughout March. The winners will receive their prizes during the 48th Nebula Awards Weekend in May.



Contenders for Best Novel:

                                             Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
                                              Ironskin by Tina Connolly
                                             The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
                                             The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan
                                             Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
                                             2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson


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


Its Oscar time...

Many of this year's Oscar contenders are based on popular or well-known books. So, is the book always better than the movie? Should you read the book first so you can understand the movie? How does the movie differ from the book (or the facts) and do the changes tranform the book's message into something altogether new? Questions like these give critics, readers and movie-goers plenty to think, talk and write about, especially during Oscar season. Join the conversation - read an Oscar-worthy book!

lifeofpiThe Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. The film is directed by Ang Lee, described by A. O. Scott as "an exuberant and inventive visual artist."..."There are images in “Life of Pi” that are so beautiful, so surprising, so right that I hesitate to describe them. Suffice it to say that the simple, elemental facts of sky, sea and animal life are captured with sweetness and sublimity." (New York Times)


silverliningsplaybookThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending--the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat's now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he's being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; it all seems to come down to dancing and football! David O. Russell directed the movie with stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. "Mr. Russell, ... a virtuoso of chaos, has supreme command over a movie that regularly feels as if it’s teetering on the edge of hysteria, in respect to the characters and director both. But Mr. Russell doesn’t just choreograph bedlam, he also tames it, and worrying that it might all go kablooey with one shout too many is one of the pleasures of his work..." (New York Times)

annakareninaAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Few stories are more famous than the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of Russian high society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness. And we all know how it ends. Keira Knightley stars as the tragic Anna in the film directed by Joe Wright which takes artistic risks in staging Tolstoy's epic. "Compressing the important events of Tolstoy’s thousand pages into an impressively swift two hours and change, Mr. Wright turns a sweeping epic into a frantic and sublime opera." (New York Times)


lesmiserablesLes Miserables by Victor Hugo
Hugo's tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, and by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty. Les Misérables is a novel on an epic scale, moving from the eve of the battle of Waterloo to the July Revolution of 1830. Adapted as a popular musical which has run for years on stages throughout the world, it has now been filmed with Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in the major roles."Instead of pre-recording the songs and having the actors mouth the words on set, (director) Hooper took the risky course of having them sung and recorded as the cameras lends an unusual power, intensity and colour to the performances." (Guardian/Observer)



Trending now...

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
ghostmanWhen a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry, the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favor from someone who's occasionally called Jack. While it's doubtful that anyone knows his actual name or anything at all about his true identity, or even if he's still alive, he's in his mid-thirties and lives completely off the grid, a criminal's criminal who does entirely as he pleases and is almost impossible to get in touch with. Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times called this a "smoking-fast new thriller" whose author "seizes our attention and holds it tight, not so much through his plotting or his characters but through his sheer, masterly use of details, and the authoritative, hard-boiled voice he has fashioned for Jack."


paintedgirlsThe Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
In 1878 Belle Epoque Paris, two sisters find their lives turned upside down after their father's death and the financial ruin that follows. With their mother in thrall to an addiction to absinthe, there is little else to be done but find work. Marie joins the Paris Opera as a dancer, her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage production. Soon Marie is modeling for the painter, Edgar Degas, and Antoinette is drawn into an illicit relationship with a dangerous man and the unsavory life of the Parisian demimonde. "A dark valentine to Belle Epoque Paris."(Vogue)


The Dinner by Herman Koch
The darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives  - all over the course of one meal. It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse, but behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love. "A European Gone Girl." (Wall Street Journal)



The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
A novel based on the complicated marriage of Anne Morrow and Charles Lingbergh, the celebrity American couple of the 1920's and 30's. Anne Morrow was a shy senior in college when she met Colonel Charles Lindbergh, the national hero who had just completed his solo flight across the Atlantic. Accustomed to being in the background in her colorful family, Anne assumed that Charles wouldn't notice her. Instead, he recognized her as a kindred spirit and fellow adventurer. The two married in a wedding marked by media attention. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles took great pains to shield himself and his new bride from scrutiny, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. Despite her own accomplishments, she was destined to be known forever as the aviator's wife. " the vein of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank. (USA Today)



Happy Valentine's Day!

Tired of gritty reality? Take a Valentine's Day break with books that feature happy endings, amorous mayhem,
romantic humor, silly flirtations, and a little hanky-panky. As the Beatles famously sang "All you need is love."
(and perhaps, chocolate.)



Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier
Lucy Stone--part-time reporter, mother of four, and amateur sleuth--discovers that love is not the only thing in the air this Valentine's Day. Murder is, too. After the suspicious drowning of a local fisherman and the murder of a sultry chocolate-store manager, she must track down a killer, all while navigating the craziness of the Tinker's Cove Valentine's Day tourist promotion.



The Girl's Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Dana Bate
When her boyfriend relationship collapses, Hannah Sugarman seizes the chance to do what she's always loved and launches an underground supper club out of her new landlord's town house. Though her delicious dishes become the talk of the town, Hannah faces various romantic prospects that leave her guessing and confused, parents who don't support cooking as a career, and her own fears of taking a risk and charting her own path. A charming romantic comedy.



The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan
Valentine's weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls' ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. While they sightsee like tourists during the day, at night they risk it all at the roulette wheel to fix their finances-and save their marriage. A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness and last chances, and a reminder that love, like life, is always a gamble.


husbandlistThe Husband List by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly
Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers. Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all . . . Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title. A completely unacceptable suitor in the eyes of Caroline's mother.


Until the End of Time by Danielle Steel
A couple destined to be together forever meet an untimely demise and wind up reincarnated as a hardened New York City publisher and a shy Amish woman writer, both of whom feel an uncanny attraction to each other. Robert is a hardworking independent book publisher in Manhattan who has given up all personal life to build his struggling business. Lillibet is a young Amish woman, living as though in the seventeenth century, caring for her widowed father and three young brothers on their family farm. In secret at night, by candlelight, she has written the novel that burns within her. Fate is at work here as the two come together, driven by a love that never dies.

2013_snake_year_of-2Year of the Snake

Chinese New Year falls on February 10 this year and ushers in the Year of the Snake. The New Year's celebration is the most important of the Chinese holidays, celebrated by over 1.3 billion people in China and by millions of ethnic Chinese around the world.  Each year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. According to Chinese astrology, people born in the Year of the Snake are said to be keen, determined, sophisticated and calm.

redsorghumJoin in the celebration by reading about China, past and present. Start with the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mo Yan, whose short stories and novels weave sprawling, intricate portraits of Chinese rural life, based in the province of his birth. He is perhaps best known abroad for his novel, Red Sorghum, an epic set during the Japanese occupation of China about a young girl betrothed against her will to the owner of a sorghum winery, which became a successful movie in 1987. 

redchamberIn The Red Chamber, debut author, Pauline A. Chen, reimagines the Chinese classic, Dream of the Red Chamber, about the secret world of the women’s quarters of an aristocratic household in 18th century Beijing, and the love triangle that ensues between a young man and his two female cousins. Cousins Daiyu and Baochai develop a complicated friendship despite their love for the same man as they watch their wealthy family's fortunes decline when a political coup deposes the Emperor. Chen suggests that American readers may recognize the story; she sees a "strange resemblance" between this novel and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.



hundredflowersA Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama tells the story of a family caught up in the start of China's Cultural Revolution. In 1957, Chairman Mao declared a new openness in China : "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend." With many intellectuals fearing that it was a trap, Kai Ying's husband, Sheng, a headstrong teacher, promised not to jeopardize his family's safety. Nevertheless, one early July morning, Sheng was dragged away for writing a letter criticizing the Communist Party and sent to a labor camp to be "reeducated." Kai Ying struggles to hold her small family together while striving to find peace in a world where the old order is falling. A powerfully moving story of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances with grace and courage.



Outstanding Genre Fiction

godsofgothamSince 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. As the RUSABlog explains, "The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres: adrenaline (including suspense, thriller and adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and women’s fiction. This year’s list includes novels that will please die-hard fans, as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction."

ADRENALINE: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
FANTASY: The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
HISTORICAL FICTION: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
HORROR: The Ritual by Adam Nevill
MYSTERY: The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
ROMANCE: Firelight by Kristen Callihan
SCIENCE FICTION: Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey
WOMEN'S FICTION: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

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 and their central role in our nation's history.

Explore the African American experience with these books:


Beloved by Toni Morrison
It is the story--set in post-Civil War Ohio--of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked death in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad: a woman of "iron eyes and backbone to match." Sethe lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing intruder who calls herself Beloved. Sethe works at "beating back the past," but it is alive in all of them.




Another Country by James  Baldwin
This novel, set in  1950's Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, illuminates the ways that prejudices of race, gender and sexuality destroy good people and deprive American society of their gifts. Rufus Scott, a jazz drummer, begins an ill-fated relationship with Leona, a white Southern woman, which ends in her hospitalization and his descent into depression and suicide.The book explores the relationships among Rufus's friends, family, and acquaintances in the wake of his death and their attempts to understand his despair and handle their own guilt.




colorpurpleThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her. Separated from her sister, Celie yearns to hear from her and learns eventually that her husband has been keeping her sister's letters from her for years. Her rage at this cruelty, combined with the support of her close friend, Shug, prompts Celie to discover her own strength and fight for her independence.




eyeswereTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This 1937 classic tells the story of Janie Crawford, a confident, middle-aged black woman, who returns to her Florida hometown after a long absence to find herself the object of her neighbors' gossip. Wanting to set the record straight, she relates the story of her life and loves to an old friend. It is the tale of her three marriages to three very different men and her evolving quest for identity and independence. Janie perseveres through good times and bad, and survives not only a hurricane, but her late husband's attempt on her life, ultimately living life on her own terms.




The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has an unusual mentor -- William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful man in Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation -- as well as of his own slaves.  Henry is a free black who owns slaves, thus offering another angle on the complexities of slavery and social relations in a Virginia town just before the Civil War. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart - the social order of the known world cannot be maintained.



* Maya Angelou, 1978


Fred T. Korematsu Day

campnineToday, January 30, Japanese Americans commemorate the life of Fred T. Korematsu, a civil rights advocate who challenged the internment of Japanese American citizens by the U. S government during World War II. Korematsu was interned in a camp in Utah following the passage of Executive Order 9066 which required that all Japanese American citizens be removed from their homes and sent to internment camps as a military security measure. Korematsu sued the government and lost. He spent the rest of his life advocating for fair treatment and redress for Japanese American internees. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed a special commission to investigate the internment. The commission concluded that the decisions to remove those of Japanese ancestry to prison camps occurred because of "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" Many books have been written about this chapter of U.S. history, including historical fiction such as Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka.



200th Anniversary of the Publication of Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen's famous and immensely popular novel of manners and matrimony
was first published on January prideandprejudice28, 1813. Fans of the author and her works will be celebrating all year. A re-creation of the Netherfield Ball, where Elizabeth and Darcy danced and bickered, will be held at Chawton House in England and filmed by the BBC for later broadcast, and other Jane Austen groups and societies are planning their own commemorative events. Plan to re-read the book or, at least, watch one of the many film adaptations. You will be excessively diverted!





Now Playing...


flashfireParker based on Flashfire by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
Richard Stark is the best known pseudonym for Donald Westlake, the prolific and award-wining crime author with over one hundred books to his credit. Writing as Stark, he produced twenty four novels featuring Parker, a ruthless professional thief who follows his own rules. In Flashfire, Parker’s in West Palm Beach, competing with a crew that has an unhealthy love of explosions; when things go sour, Parker finds himself shot and trapped—and forced to rely on a civilian to survive. Jason Stratham stars as Parker and Jennifer Lopez is the real estate agent he enlists to help him get his revenge on the crook who double-crossed him. Other Parker novels have been adapted successfully for films: The Hunter, released as Point Blank (1967), starring Lee Marvin, and as Payback (1999) with Mel Gibson, and The Seventh, released as The Split (1967) and starring Jim Brown and Gene Hackman.




Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
 A zombie/romance novel about a zombie named R who falls in love with a human girl, Julie, one of the few remaining people in the world, and the daughter of a General in charge of the city where most of the living reside. R meets Julie when he eats the brain of her long time boyfriend Perry, and appropriates his memories of his girlfriend. When he realizes that Julie is right there in the room, R rescues her from his undead companions and hides her away in an abandoned plane, experiencing thoughts and feelings he didn't know he could ever have again. An unlikely romance blooms. The film stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer as the star-crossed lovers, R and Julie ( get the reference?) "Rom-zom-com reaches new heights in this startlingly unconventional debut novel." (Library Journal)



What's Up with Florida?

Feeling the bite of winter in Michigan? Longing for sunny beaches and balmy breezes?  Florida writers, Dave Barry and Tim Dorsey have just the thing for you - funny fiction set in the Sunshine State.


Insane City by Dave Barry
Miami-based Barry's latest is about a Florida destination wedding where anything and everything goes wrong. Groom Seth Weinstein arrives in Miami for his wedding to Tina Clark already drunk, minus his luggage, and missing the wedding ring. It doesn't get any better. Somehow rioters, Russian gangsters, angry strippers, a desperate python, medicinal marijuana, an orangutan named Trevor, and Seth and Tina's parents combine to achieve "the impressive Dave Barry standard of escapist fun." (Janet Maslin, New York Times) Goofy screwball comedy from a master.




The Riptide Ultra-Glide by Tim Dorsey
Dorsey returns with another in his series featuring Serge A. Storms, a vigilante enforcer
and self styled Florida expert who spreads mayhem wherever he goes. While working with his stoner buddy, Coleman, to create a reality show, Serge tangles with beach bullies, incompetent doctors, shady lawyers and an OxyContin trafficking ring. Meanwhile, the McDougalls, laid-off teachers from Wisconsin, arrive for their vacation and are promptly robbed and left stranded. The very nice but clueless couple strike Serge as the perfect stars for his reality show."Serge, the McDougalls, and the warring traffickers collide on a course that proves often hilarious and sometimes fatal." (Publishers Weekly)



Our Man in the Dark
by Rashad Harrison                                                                                ourmaninthedark

Harrison's book is both a noir and an historical novel set during the months leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Feeling underappreciated and overlooked, John Estem, a bookkeeper for Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, steals $10,000 from the organization. Originally planning to use the money to seed a new civil rights initiative in Chicago, he carelessly squanders the stolen funds. To the bookkeeper's further dismay, the FBI has been keeping close tabs on Dr. King and his fellow activists--including Estem--for years, and solicits Estem as an informant. The reviewer for Kirkus Reviews writes, "As with novels incorporating historical figures, readers might stumble over the contrast between public persona and fictional presentation. King's humanity is amplified by imagined conversations with Estem wherein King admits his sexual appetites, but King is also beautifully drawn as a questioning, vulnerable, lonely man consumed with his cause. ...  The dark conclusion descends into powerful moral ambivalence about love, loyalty and family. Harrison's debut novel contemplates a nightmare inside a dream."



If you like Downton Abbey (and who doesn't?)

ashenden Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide
An epic saga of the upstairs and downstairs residents of an English country house spans some 240 years and includes the stories of its original architect, a Victorian family that shared four decades of family history, soldiers billeted in the house during World War I and a young couple who restores the house in the 1950s. "Ashenden’s history is based on the history of Basildon Park, which was also built in the 18th century, lived in by many families, turned into an army hospital and a prisoner of war camp, and lovingly restored in the 1950s. This charming book suggests a house is a living, ever-changing thing, deeply affected by the people who live and work in it." (Bookpage)




Habits of the House by Fay Weldon
The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns and the ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert's wife Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady's maid who orders the life of her mistress. Lord Robert can see no financial relief to an already mortgaged estate, and, though the Season is over, his thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful Chicago heiress with a reputation to mend, seems the answer to all their prayers.

      January is Hot Tea Monthbloodorange

C. S. Lewis once said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Celebrate Hot Tea Month by brewing a cup of your favorite tea and reading a good book, long or short. You might try one of the many flavors in Laura Childs' Tea Shop mystery series. With titles like Death by Darjeeling, Chamomile Mourning, Blood Orange Brewing and Oolong Dead, you might gain a new appreciation for the old-school beverage.




Trending now...

mebeforeyouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life--steady boyfriend, close family--who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for wealthy ex-businessman Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy--but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A love story that brings together two people with nothing in common.




tenthofdecemberTenth of December: Stories by George Saunders
Recently lauded in the New York Times Magazine as the "best book you'll read this year," this book of stories is Saunders' most honest, moving and accessible work to date. Saunders is considered a "writer's writer"  - "For people who pay close attention to the state of American fiction, he has become a kind of superhero. His stories now appear regularly in The New Yorker, he has been anthologized all over the place, and he has won a bunch of awards, among them a “genius grant” in 2006 from the MacArthur Foundation." (Joel Lovell, New York Times). Writing about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience and takes on the big questions about what makes us good and what makes us human.



A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
When Robert Jordan died in 2007, it was feared that the conclusion to the The Wheel of Time series would never be written. But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Sanderson has completed the epic saga of the universe created by a deity who also forged the Wheel of Time, which spins all lives. In the time in which the novels are set, mankind lives under the shadow of a prophecy that the Dark One, the enemy of the Creator, will break free from his prison and the Dragon, the champion of the light, will be reborn to face him once more, raining utter destruction and chaos on the world.



The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring, writes her first historical novel set in America. She introduces Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker who moves to Ohio in 1850, only to find herself alienated and alone in a strange land. Sick from the moment she leaves England, and fleeing personal disappointment, she is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in a harsh, unfamiliar landscape. Drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two surprising women who embody the remarkable power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes, whatever the personal costs.




minotablebksskeletonbox        worldfewminutes        canada

The Library of Michigan recently announced the list of the 2013 Michigan 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 Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley, The World of a Few Minutes Ago by Jack Driscoll, and Canada by Richard Ford. The list also includes children's books, memoirs, poetry, photography, and a book about the amphibians and reptiles found in our state.

(Medallion 2013 - copyright the Library of Michigan)


Kinsey and Me: Stories

Usually at this time of year fans of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone detective series start to look for a new book. kinseyandmeBecause the series follows the alphabet, everyone knows that the next title must start with W, since the last book was V is for Vengeance. Except... this year Grafton has deviated from her usual pattern and will release a book containing nine short stories about Kinsey and several stories (the And Me part) about Sue Grafton. This combination of fiction and memoir reveals just how closely the character of Kinsey mirrors that of her creator. Kinsey's pronounced independence seems to have had its beginnings in Grafton's early life as part of a troubled family that allowed her the freedom to roam at will due to her mother's emotional distance. Its been thirty years since Kinsey was first introduced in A is for Alibi, and to mark this anniversary Grafton has delivered additional insights into Kinseys's origins and her own past. (Press Release)



Jack Reacher

wantedmanLee Child's tough-guy hero, Jack Reacher, finally appears on the big screen. Child first introduced him in 1997 in Killing Floor, as an ex-military policeman who travels the country without baggage (literally) and rights the wrongs that the system cannot. Since then, Child has written 16 more Jack Reacher thrillers. In the books, Reacher stands 6 foot 5 and weighs 250 pounds, so he is a mighty force for righteous and rough justice. (Tom Cruise plays him in the film.) The movie is based on the 2005 book, One Shot, about an alleged sniper and a shooting that is not what it seems. (Not to worry, Reacher will sort it out.) Child's most recent Reacher tale, A Wanted Man, was published in September and landed on the top of the best seller lists. "Smart, breathless books" with "quick action and solid detective work" and starring "one of the most enduring action heroes on the American landscape." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)



2012 Best/Favorite Books...

wheredyougoThe New York Times daily book reviewers have each compiled a list of Favorite Books of 2012. As Janet Maslin explains, "Favorite is not synonymous with best... We pick what we actually liked, not what we only admired,... Bottom line, for each of us: Is this a book I’d give to a friend?" The three lists are idiosyncratic and do not necessarily align with the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best  Books of 2012 - each reviewer listed several unique titles not found on other "Best Of" lists. Maslin noted that Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple was "Sheer bliss. A riotous comedy of bad manners..."

For another perspective on "Best Of" lists, check out Amazon's Bestselling Books of 2012. The #1 seller, Fifty Shades Freed also does not appear on other lists, such as the NYT's 100 Notable Books or NPR's Best Books of 2012, but its popularity cannot be denied. Other books that sold well are The Racketeer by John Grisham and Defending Jacob by William Landay. 

To every reader, his or her book.



Looking for your next book club selection?

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

New Kits:



The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that has vast repercussions for everyone involved with the mysterious Cirque des Reves.



Tshoemakerswifehe Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
Set during the years preceding and during World War I, two star-crossed lovers--Enza and Ciro--meet and separate, and meet again. A riveting tale of love. loss, war and family inspired by the author's family history.




kitchenhouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan arrives on a tobacco plantation where she is put to work as an indentured servant with the rest of the slaves, and although she bonds to her adopted family, she is forever set apart from them by her white skin.




The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



talesfromtheperilouslegendofsigurdsilmarillion       childrenofhurin


As you may have heard, director Peter Jackson has released a new movie based on the J.R.R. Tolkien book, The Hobbit: or There and Back Again. Jackson's vision is an ambitious one: he has expanded the rather slim story of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures with dwarves and dragons into a planned trilogy that reveals more of the history of Tolkien's imaginary world, Middle-Earth. He claims all of his source material can be found in Tolkien's own notes and the appendices to various books, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson is certainly correct in asserting that Tolkien wrote extensively about his fantasy universe. Tolkien first wrote about Middle-Earth in 1916 or 1917, and as his son, Christopher explained, “throughout my father’s long life he never abandoned it, nor ceased even in his last years to work on it”. Tolkien's books set in Middle-Earth include The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-Earth, The Children of Hurin, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, Tales From the Perilous Realm and The Tolkien Reader.

A true Tolkien geek will read them all!


The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

twelvetribesYesterday Oprah announced her latest book club selection, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a debut novel by Ayana Mathis.  Originally scheduled to be published in January, the book's release date has been moved to December 6. The novel tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one family. In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Devastated by her loss, Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle, but little love, trying her best to prepare them for a cold and cruel world that will not be kind to them. Advance reviews of the book have been positive; Kirkus Reviews calls it, "An excellent debut that finds layers of pathos within a troubled clan."


wreath_ltsIf you enjoy reading seasonal fiction this time of year, then get into the Holiday Spirit with a large selection of e-books and e-audiobooks available through the Library.  Whether you love a good Christmas mystery or a heartwarming story with romance, you'll find something appealing.  See our handy list of titles and then go to the Download button on our homepage to login to OverDrive and select a good read!

To get you in a holiday mood...

angelsattheAngels at the Table: a Shirley, Goodness and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber
In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, Debbie Macomber rings in the season with the return of Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, delivering laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention. Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel's work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year's Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. To reunite a young couple, they cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.



twelvecluesThe Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the new year--before a Christmas killer wrings another neck. To escape being snowed in at Castle Rannoch with her bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig, Georgiana contrives to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol ! But no sooner does she arrive than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie falls out of a tree, dead…. Dickensian, indeed. Freddie's merely a stocking stuffer. On her second day in town, another so-called accident turns up a holiday surprise. The village is buzzing!




The Christmas Kid and Other Brooklyn Stories by Pete Hamill
Never before collected in one volume, here are Pete Hamill's stories about Brooklyn, the borough in which he was born and grew up, and the one closest to his heart. A young boy with a mysterious past forever transforms the lives of the neighborhood toughs. A man returns to his old haunts to avenge the death of his brother. A couple chooses to embrace their memories of a bygone era rather than live in a diminished future. These are stories of a New York almost lost but not forgotten. They read like messages from a vanished age, brimming over with nostalgia for the world after the war, the city before heroin and crack, the days of the Dodgers and Giants, even, for some, the world of the Depression. This collection is classic Hamill.


seasonofwonderSeason of Wonder edited by Paula Guran
The best stories from many realms of fantasy and a multitude of future universes, gift-wrapped in one spectacular treasury of wintertime wonder. Stories by masters like Harlan Ellison, Orson Scott Card  and Connie Willis combine to celebrate the splendors of the winter holidays. Yuletide brings marvels and miracles both fantastic and scientific. Christmas spirits deliver haunting holidays, seasonal songs might be sung by unearthly choirs, and magical celebrations are the norm during this very special time of the year.



twelfthnightsecretsTwelfth Night Secrets by Jane Feather
A Christmas house party, a sexy lady spy, and an enigmatic earl spell holiday magic. While others dance and flirt, Lady Harriet Devere has a secret life, assisting her older brother Nick with his duties as a British spy. When Nick is killed, however, Harriet assumes that her work passing coded messages to the Ministry of War will cease. Instead, she is charged with a vitally important mission: spend Christmas determining if Julius Forsythe, Earl of Marbury, is a double agent for the French. Harriet expects danger - just not to her heart. A seductive story of spy and counterspy dueling beneath the mistletoe.




New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2012                                       shineshine

pureToday the New York Times Book Review published the annual list of 100 books deemed "notable" for 2012. The List is divided into two categories: Fiction & Poetry and Nonfiction, and contains many of the best-selling and widely praised titles one would expect. Many have been nominated for or won various literary prizes (Bring up the Bodies, The Round House, Salvage the Bones etc.) while others are by well known authors (Michael Chabon, Ian McEwan, Orhan Pamuk, Colm Toibin). Lesser known titles include Pure by Juliana Baggott, a postapocalyptic sci fi adventure story, and Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer, about an astronaut, his wife and their autistic son. There's even a reimagining of the Watergate burglary with a surprisingly sympathetic Nixon (Watergate by Thomas Mallon).


Philip Roth Retires

goodbyecolumbusPhilip Roth (79), one of America's preeminent writers and frequently mentioned as a nemesispossible Nobel Prize winner, has recently announced that he will no longer write fiction.  His career has spanned 53 years- his first book was written in 1959- and he has met with continued critical success ever since. Roth has been one of the most honored authors of his generation: his books have twice been awarded the National Book Award, twice the National Book Critics Circle Award,  three times the PEN/Faulkner Award and he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. Well known for titles such as Goodbye Columbus, Portnoy's Complaint, Amercan Pastoral, The Human Stain and The Plot Against America, his 31st and last book, Nemesis was published in 2010. Four of his works have been adapted for film. In any survey of contemporary literature, Roth is considered one of the most gifted writers in recent history. As New York Times writer A.O Scott observed in an essay, "If we had asked for the single best writer of fiction of the past 25 years, [Roth] would have won." Roth intends to relax, read, cooperate with his official biographer, and continue to learn to use his new iPhone.



roundhouseLouise Erdrich, a well regarded author of over 25 books, has won the National Book Award for The Round House, a tale of injustice set on a tribal reservation in North Dakota. Erdrich, who is part Ojibwe, has explored the lives of Native Americans and their uneasy relationship with the prevailing white culture many times in her long career (Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, The Bingo Palace, The Plague of Doves). As the reviewer in USA TODAY put it "In considering Louise Erdrich's powerful body of fiction, the word "authenticity" comes to mind."

In The Round House, a young Ojibwe boy seeks justice for the brutal attack on his mother which has left her despondent and their family destroyed. Frustrated by the inability of the legal systems, both Native American and white, to deal with the crime, 14 year-old Joe sets out on a quest for truth and vengeance with three friends only to discover the complexities of adult life and the pain, sorrow and guilt that follow acts of retribution. "Deeply moving, this novel ranks among Erdrich's best work, and it is impossible to forget." (USA TODAY)

Erdrich accepted her award by first speaking in her tribal language and then English as she dedicated her honor to "the grace and endurance of native people."


The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers               yellowbirds                    

To understand and honor the sacrifices and struggles of our service members on this Veterans Day, consider The Yellow Birds, a novel by Kevin Powers who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. After his discharge he studied English and received his M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Texas, Austin.  His debut novel, which has been named as a finalist for the National Book Award, features a young American soldier’s life in the Army, from basic training, through fighting in Iraq, confinement in a military prison and his difficult reentry into civilian life. It begins, "The war tried to kill us in the spring." and continues with a harrowing tale of friendship and loss as two young soldiers try to do everything they can to protect each other from the constant dangers posed by the enemy insurgents, the physical fatigue and mental stresses they face. "A novel of grit, grace, and blood by an Iraq war veteran....Kevin Powers moves gracefully between spare, factual description of the soldiers' work to simple, hard-won reflections on the meaning of war." (Washington Post Ron Charles )


Bond. James Bond.

casinoroyaleThe new Agent 007 movie, Skyfall, opens today with the newest Bond, Daniel Craig. This is the 23rd movie about Ian Fleming's iconic character who was introduced in the novel Casino Royale in 1952. The uber-cool spy has outlasted Cold War espionage and now confronts global terrorism and other threats to the civilized world. Fleming's novels, eleven written between 1952 and 1966, were very successful and the character of Bond has become part of our popular culture. (We all know how he likes his martinis.) After Fleming's death his estate contracted with other writers to continue the franchise. Raymond Benson, John Gardner, Kingsley Amis, Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver have all written James Bond novels and William Boyd is currently working on a new title to be released in 2013.
           M: "Bond, I need you back." Bond: "I never left" (Quantum of Solace)



riseofthegovernorDid you see last night's episode of the compelling but gory TV adaptation
of The Walking Dead? roadtowoodburyWow! The show has become the biggest hit of the fall television season - according to the New York Times, 15.2 million viewers watched the first episode. Fans of the show know that the story is adapted from the hugely popular graphic novels of Robert Kirkman about a ragtag and desperate band of people fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse. What many may not know is that Kirkman has written two adult science fiction novels about the same characters: The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor (2011) and The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury  (2012) .  If you find watching the zombie carnage too intense, you can read about it instead!


Best Books of 2012 Lists



As November begins and the end of the year is in sight, the book reviewing world starts to compile lists. Publishers Weekly issued their Best Books of 2012 list on Friday, November 2. The top ten list contains fiction and non-fiction, some of the usual suspects, and others that may not be on anyone's radar yet. Fiction titles include Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, which recently won the Man Booker Literary Prize, and The Round House by Louise Erdrich which has been nominated as a finalist for the National Book Award. Also named is Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain, a collection of short stories by Pulitzer Prize winner Lucia Perillo.



Louise Penny: A Trick of the Light

trickofthelightThe Anthony Awards are literary awards for mystery writers presented each year at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. The awards are named for Anthony Boucher (1911–1968), one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America, and have been presented since 1986. Canadian author, Louise Penny, author of the popular Inspector Gamache books, has won the Best Novel Award for two years in a row (2011 and 2012) for Bury Your Dead and A Trick of the Light. Penny also received Agatha Awards (another mystery prize-named after Agatha Christie) for five books from her successful series: Dead Cold/A Fatal Grace (2007), The Cruelest Month (2008), A Brutal Telling (2009), Bury Your Dead (2010) and A Trick of the Light (2011). The series features Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of the homicide department of the Sûreté du Québec and is set in the province of Quebec where Penny lives. Of the eight books in the series, six have won one prize or another. Her newest title, The Beautiful Mystery, will surely please her fans and probably be nominated for next year's awards.


Go Get 'Em, Tigers!

The Detroit Tigers have made it to the World Series, fulfilling all of our hopes since Opening
Day. If you can't get enough baseball, try any of these titles:huntingadetroittiger                                                                  

  Hunting a Detroit Tiger by Troy Soos                The Natural By Bernard Malamud   

The Art of Fielding by  Chad Harbach                   Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella 

Blockade Billy by Stephen King                           Battle Creek by Scott Lasser

Double Play by Robert B. Parker                          All the Stars Came Out that Night
                                                                                      by Kevin King

Calico Joe  by John Grisham



     blockadebilly     doubleplay     natural    shoelessjoe    battlecreek


And the Winner is ... Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel


Hilary Mantel, winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, wins again for her Tudor sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which  begins after Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn, who has produced Henry's second daughter Elizabeth I. But Henry still longs for a son and his eyes are starting to stray toward Jane Seymour, the daughter of another powerful and ambitious family. Thomas Cromwell connives as he must, always aware, in NYTimes reviewer Janet Maslin's words, "that being Henry's henchman, fixer and stand-in (he even ghostwrites a love letter as Henry courts Jane) is a mixed blessing."

The Man Booker prize, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008, aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.


This year's shortlist:

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
The Garden of Evening Mists
by Tan Twan Eng
The Lighthouse
by Alison Moore
by Will Self
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

Mo Yan - Storyteller Named "Don't Speak"




The Nobel Prize jury selected Chinese writer Mo Yan as the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday for his "hallucinatory realism," which "merges folk tales, history and the contemporary." In his novels and short stories, Mo weaves sprawling, intricate portraits of Chinese rural life, based in the province of his birth, often using fanciful techniques — animal narrators, elements of fairy tales — that evoke the works of South American magical realists. He is perhaps best known abroad for his novel, Red Sorghum,” an epic set during the Japanese occupation of China about a young girl betrothed against her will to the owner of a sorghum winery, which became a successful movie in 1987.





The National Book Foundation, whose mission is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America," has announced the finalists for the National Book Awards, this country's most prestigious literary prizes. The Foundation also announced that it will bestow its Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL) on novelist Elmore Leonard in recognition of his outstanding achievement in fiction writing. He, and the other winners, will be honored at the awards ceremony in November.

Fiction Shortlist:

Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King Louise Erdrich, The Round House Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers           Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her

          Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King

          Louise Erdrich, The Round House

          Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

          Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds


 Celebrate your right to read!

       tokillamockingbird waterland beloved bravenewworld adventuresofhuckleberryfinn

 2012 marks the 30th Anniversary of the observation of Banned Books Week. 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!



Looking for your next book club selection?


The Library has over 80 Book Club Kits for your group to use for your next book discussion. Each kit contains ten (10)  copies of a given title, plus discussion questions, book reviews, author interviews and other resource materials to enhance your book club meetings. The Kits can be checked out for 8 weeks at a time and can be reserved ahead of time to fit into your group's schedule. New kits are added frequently. Recent additions include In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Faith by Jennifer Haigh, and Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. A complete list of available Kits can be found on the Library webpage under Services/Book Clubs.



September 22 is Hobbit Day!

Hobbit1 Hobbit Day is observed on September 22 each year in honor of the shared birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the hobbit heroes of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. According to the American Tolkien Society, Hobbit Day which is always during Tolkien Week, began in 1978 as a celebration of Tolkien fandom and serves to honor J.R.R. Tolkien and his son and editor, Christopher J.R. Tolkien, and extol the Middle-earth books: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King), Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth. Hobbit parties tend to be merry and boisterous with food, drink, dancing, and fireworks. Even if you can't party like a hobbit today, you can always take off your shoes and go barefoot! (Hobbits don't wear shoes.)


Avast! - Its Talk Like a Pirate Day!

pirateking     September 19, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the worldwide celebration of
International silverTalk Like A Pirate Day. Whether you talk the talk or not, you can read plenty about pirates - from action adventure stories like Silver: Return to Treasure Island or Pirates of the Levant, to swashbuckling romances such as A Pirate of Her Own. There are pirate mysteries like The Pirate King or Dead Man's Chest, and even modern pirates in Elmore Leonard's Djibouti. Why Talk Like a Pirate Day? Because its fun! So shiver your timbers and enjoy.



New Fall Titles

Book critics and casual readers alike are excited about the bumper crop of new books coming out this fall. So many A-list authors have new titles in the mix that the publishing activity has been called a literary traffic jam. Some have already been published and more are coming out every week. Check out the extensive list of fall books in the preview published in the Detroit News. Its enough to make a book critic (or librarian) swoon! A small sample...

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Due to be released on September 27th, this is the first novel for adults written by the Harry Potter author. Set in a small English town, it combines a mystery with small-town power struggles after the sudden death of a prominent parish council member. Who will win the election to his seat ? What secrets will be revealed in this "perfect" community? We'll have to wait and see if Rowling can deliver another blockbuster.



telegraphavenueTelegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
A contemporary and comic  story set in California on the avenue that runs between Berkeley and Oakland, CA, by the author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Small indie record store owners, Archy and Nat, are beset by trouble when a megastore owner wants to build a mall in their neighborhood. Their wives, midwives and business partners, are also facing professional pressures as one of their patients considers a lawsuit and hospitals threaten to revoke privileges. Reviewers find Chabon's writing to be "witty and exuberant", "rooted in pop culture and expressed in delicious American vernacular."


This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Pulitzer Prize winner Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, has written a book of short stories about love and heartbreak in the relationships of Dominican-American men and the women they desire. "This slim collection... succeeds not only because of the author's gift for exploring the nuances of the male experience...but because of a writing style that moves with the rhythm and grace of a well-danced merengue. (Seattle Times)


Winter of the World by Ken Follett
Follett's sequel to his popular Fall of Giants follows the same five families (American, Russian, German, English and Welsh) through the Rise of the Third Reich, the Spanish Civil War, and the tumult of the World War II years. He interweaves their stories as they experience the astounding political and social changes that marked the mid-century. This one is bound to be as well received as Follett's other historical opus, The Pillars of the Earth. Lengthy but well worth the time.

Now Playing...

cosmopolis  Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo
One day in April 2000, Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age 28, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. On this day he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town. His journey to the barbershop is a contemporary odyssey, funny and fast-moving. David Cronenberg directs Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche in "an eccentric and beautiful-looking movie—a languid, deadpan, conceptualist joke." (David Denby, The New Yorker)



                             Lawless based on The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant
wettestcountyBased on the true story of Matt Bondurant's grandfather and two granduncles, The Wettest County in the World is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. Directed by John Hillcoat and starring Tom Handy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce. "The proper ingredients are here to cook up a fine backwoods liquor-war tale. The archetypes are broad and obvious, and the violence is shocking and unflinching. There's also a powerhouse cast." (Roger Moore, McClachy-Tribune News Service)



  The Eye of the Storm by Patick White eyeofthe_storm
Terrifying matriarch Elizabeth Hunter is facing death while her impatient children - Sir Basil, the celebrated actor, and Princess de Lascabane, an adoptive French aristocrat -wait. It is the domineering mother who stilll commands attention, and who in the midst of disaster will look into the eye of the storm and choose her own time to go. Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling and Judy Davis are directed by Fred Schepisi, who "knows how to make the kinds of movies almost no one makes anymore" with "craftmanship, which is superb" and "performances which are sterling."(Stephanie Zacharek, NPR)

Wallander on PBS

Masterpiece Mystery on PBS begins its fall season on September 9 with the third in the
Wallander series starring facelesskillersKenneth Branagh and based on the Swedish mysteries by Henning Mankell. Many consider Mankell's books, featuring the moody and possessed-by-inner-demons detective, Kurt Wallander, to be the beginning of the whole Nordic mystery craze, which became so popular in this country with the publication of Stieg Larsson's trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series (The Snowman). Mankell's first book about Wallander, Faceless Killers, was published here in 1997 and has been followed by nine others, with the most recent in 2011, The Troubled Man. Tune in Sunday for some dark and brooding detection.





Jo Walton, FTW!

amongothersJo Walton, author of Among Others, was awarded the Hugo Award for Best Novel on September 2, 2012 at the 70th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago. The Hugo is considered the most prestigious science fiction writing award and is named for Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. Walton is a double winner - in May she received the Nebula Award for Best Novel from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, also for Among Others. As Walton put it, “I was surprised and delighted to win a Nebula, I am gobsmacked and awed to win a Hugo.”

Among Others is the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood spent with a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic. Morwenna finds her salvation in books: the great novels of modern fantasy and science fiction. The novel is loosely autobiographical; Walton drew elements of the story from her own childhood (except for the magic) to create an appealing heroine on a journey of self-discovery.



Romance Writers of America Annual Conference

Last month the Romance Writers of America held their annual conference in Anaheim, California. Established and aspiring writers of the genre gathered to attend workshops, view demonstrations, and share writing techniques and trends, like the use of bondage themes in certain current bestsellers. Another important item on the agenda was the announcement of the RITA Award winners. 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. Winners include:

howtobake 2012 RITA Winner for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal






2012 RITA Winner for Best First Book




2012 RITA Winner for Romantic Suspense

New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb






2012 RITA Winner for Regency Historical Romance

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare





2012 RITA Winner for Historical Romance

The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne






Harry Harrison 1925-2012

Author of over 60 science fiction novels, Henry Maxwell Dempsey, better known as Harry
, passed away on August 15 in England at the age of 87. He wrote fanciful
yet stainless.steelratpointed science fiction and fantasy novels that often employed satire to address serious themes. His 1966 book, Make Room! Make Room! became the basis for the Charlton Heston movie, Soylent Green, about a planet with too many people competing for too little resources, including food. In addition to his novels, Harrison wrote over 100 short stories, a science fiction textbook, and edited several anthologies and journals. He created Slippery Jim DiGriz, aka the Stainless Steel Rat, a scoundrel and con artist who travels through the galaxy stealing from humans, aliens, and robots alike in a dozen novels with titles like The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues and The Stainless Steel Rat for President. In 2004 Harrison was elected to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and five years later the Science Fiction Writers of America gave him its Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. According to his New York Times obituary, he was also a champion of the international language, Esperanto, claiming to have written the only Esperanto science fiction story in existence.




While PDL's Adult Summer Reading Program is officially over, eligible prize-winners can still pick up their prizes this week - just stop by the "Help" Desk on the Main Level. Many thanks to everyone who participated. We hope you had fun.

Maeve Binchy  1940-2012


Popular Irish author, Maeve Binchy, passed away on July 30 at the age of 72,
after a brief illness.  Binchy was the beloved writer of sixteen heartwarming novels usually set in Dublin or Irish small towns and often centered on a cast of engaging characters who come together as a community, whether to raise a child, start a business or assist young lovers.  Her books, including Circle of Friends (1990), Tara Road (1998), and Minding Frankie (2010), sold over 40 million copies worldwide. Binchy started her career as a teacher and then turned to journalism, working for the Irish Times during the 1970's. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle (1982), was initially rejected by five publishers but went on to be a bestseller. Considered a natural story-teller, she never stopped writing fiction despite developing health problems in the last few years. Her latest book, A Week in Winter, will be published in October 2012.



Gore Vidal 1925-2012

palimpsetGore Vidal, the witty, versatile and prolific writer passed away Tuesday, July 31, at the age of 86. Prominent in literary circles, he not only published 25 novels, but also wrote memoirs, essays, plays, and movie scripts. His political drama, The Best Man, is currently running on Broadway starring James Earl Jones  and John Larroquette. Vidal's long career also included two unsuccessful political campaigns for public office, for which he felt himself suitably qualified. As he stated, “There is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.” His New York Times obituary describes Vidal as the "last of a breed" that included literary lions like Norman Mailer and Truman Capote. Never one to shrink from publicity or controversy, Vidal "could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy." While several of his earlier books were considered scandalous at the time of publication, his most successful books were historical novels about American history in his American Chronicles sextet: Washington, D.C.  (1967) , Burr (1973), 1876 (1976), Lincoln (1984), Hollywood (1990) and The Golden Age (2000).



Trending now...

gonegirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
One of the runaway hits of this summer, this suspense novel is narrated in turns by Nick and Amy Dunne, a couple about to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary when Amy goes missing. Nick is worried and mystified by Amy's disappearance, especially when her diary entries seem to point to him as the culprit. Nick is oddly evasive and definitely bitter, but is he a killer? A fast-paced, well plotted thriller.




nextbestthingThe Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
Weiner sets her story against the backdrop of the Los Angeles show biz world as young screenwriter Ruth Saunders strives for both career success and personal happiness. She thinks she's finally made the grade when a sitcom that she wrote is given the green light, but her dreams of fame and fortune are brought up short by demanding actors, unreasonable executives, and her grandmother's impending marriage. Not to mention her unrequited crush on her boss. A heartfelt and funny read.

ageofmiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
A coming-of-age story of a young girl, Julia, in a world that has begun to change in alarming ways. The Earth's rotation has begun to slow, causing the days and nights to become longer, disrupting gravity, and throwing the environment into chaos. Julia must navigate this strange new world while dealing with the usual upheavals of daily life, like the rift in her parent's marriage, the unpredictable ways of friends and the mysteries of first love. Growing up is hard enough without global catastrophe.





I, MIchael Bennett by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
What would summer be without a new James Patterson page-turner? Forced to leave Manhattan after a convicted drug lord vows revenge, Detective Michael Bennett takes his children and their beautiful nanny to upstate New York on a vacation but walks into a raging gang war in the town he remembers as idyllic. The local police are overwhelmed and he is pressed into service to protect his family. Non-stop action - just what Patterson does best.



Broken Harbor by Tana French
Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, one of the toughest detectives on the Dublin murder squad, faces what at first appears to be an easy case, the murder of a family in a new half-finished subdivision in suburban Ireland. But there are too many unanswered questions and strange details that don't add up. To make matters worse, the scene reopens old memories for Kennedy and his sister of a shattering experience at Broken Harbor when they children. A blend of police procedural and psychological thriller, this may be French's best book yet.




Olympic Fiction: Gold

goldChris Cleave's new book, Gold, has been released just in time for the London Olympics. Cleave, author of Little Bee and Incendiary, centers his new novel on the friendship and rivalry of two world-class cyclists, and the focus, talent, sweat, and sacrifice required of elite athletes.  Both Kate and Zoe have their sights on Olympic gold, maybe to the exclusion of all other things in their lives, like Kate's young daughter who is suffering from leukemia or Zoe's relationships with other people. Having missed the prior Olympics due to her daughter's illness, Kate feels that 2012 is her last chance at glory. Zoe prizes winning above anything and is ruthless in her pursuit of fame and fortune. A rules change pits the two against each other in order to win the one coveted spot to represent their country at the Games. No spoiler here, you'll have to read the book to find out who prevails!


A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

farewelltoarmsHemingway aficionados will certainly appreciate a new edition of his classic novel, 
A Farewell to Arms,
published this week by Scribner, because of its bonus material: all of the alternate endings that Hemingway experimented with before he settled on the one that was published in 1929. In all, there are 47 ways in which the book could have ended, some using only a short sentence, some paragraphs long. The multiple endings are gathered in an appendix along with the many possible titles Hemingway tried and discarded. ("Of Wounds and Other Causes" or "Love in War") All of this supplemental text had been preserved in Hemingway's papers in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum since 1979, but never before published. This edition offers the reader rare insights into Hemingway's thinking and writing process by reproducing the handwritten notes and crossed-out sections that demonstrate both his talent and his craft - and allows us to second-guess a genius!





Savages, the film directed by Oliver Stone and adapted from the 2010 novel by
Don kingsofcoolWinslow, opens in theaters today, July 6. Winslow's book, his 13th, received rave reviews and is considered his breakthrough work. The story of two young and successful marijuana dealers confronted by a Mexican drug cartel unhappy with the competition has "wisecracks ... so sharp, ... characters so mega-cool and ... storytelling so ferocious" that the "effect is to fuse the grave and the playful, the body blow and the joke, the nightmare and the pipe dream. It’s flippant and dead serious simultaneously." (New York Times.) Winslow has since written a prequel, The Kings of Cool, about the same characters and the back story that explains how they became the people they are in Savages.


"Spies and parents never sleep."
                                                     Linda Gerber

     Espionage novels fell out of favor for awhile during the 1990's but have lately enjoyed a resurgence of interest due to the events of 9/11 and the rise of global terrorism.  Spymasters John Le Carre and Alan Furst have continued to write for the genre, and now new authors and readers have joined them in the cloak and dagger pursuit.

missiontoparisMission to Paris by Alan Furst
It is the late summer of 1938, Europe is about to explode, but Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie for Paramount France. The Nazis know he's coming- a secret bureau within the Reich Foreign Ministry has for years been waging political warfare against France, using bribery, intimidation, and corrupt newspapers to weaken French morale and degrade France's will to defend herself. For their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don't know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris.

foreigncountryA Foreign Country by Charles Cummings
On the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, a meticulously-planned kidnapping takes place on the streets of Paris. Amelia Levene, the first female Chief of MI6, has disappeared without a trace, six weeks before she is due to take over as the most influential spy in Europe. It is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep her disappearance a secret, Britain's top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Tossed out of the Service only months before, Kell is given one final chance to redeem himself - find Amelia Levene at any cost.

lehrterstationLehrter Station : A John Russel thriller by David Downing
John Russell is walking home along the banks of the Seine when Soviet agent Yevgeny Shchepkin falls into step alongside him. Shchepkin tells Russell that American intelligence will soon be asking him to undertake some low grade espionage on their behalf-assessing the strains between different sections of the German Communist Party-and that Shchepkin's own bosses in Moscow want him to accept the task and pass his findings on to them. He adds that refusal will put Russell's livelihood and life at risk, but that once he has accepted it, he'll find himself even further entangled in the Soviet net. It's a lose-lose situation. The only way out for the two of them is to make a deal with the Americans. If they can come up with something the Americans want or need badly enough, then perhaps Russell will be forgiven for handing German atomic secrets over to Moscow.



expatsThe Expats by Chris Pavone
An international spy thriller about a former CIA agent who moves with her family to Luxembourg where everything is suspicious and nothing is as it seems. Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage . . . and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew. She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, but she's terrified that her own past is catching up to her. She discovers fake offices and shell corporations and a hidden gun, a mysterious farmhouse and numbered accounts with bewildering sums of money, and finally unravels the mind-boggling long-play con that threatens her family, her marriage, and her life.



jack1939Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews
It's the spring of 1939, and the prospect of war in Europe looms large. The United States has no intelligence service. In Washington, D.C., President Franklin Roosevelt may run for an unprecedented third term and needs someone he can trust to find out what the Nazis are up to. His choice: John F. Kennedy. It's a surprising selection. At twenty-two, Jack Kennedy is the attractive but unpromising second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt's ambassador to Britain (and occasional political adversary). But when Jack decides to travel through Europe to gather research for his Harvard senior thesis, Roosevelt takes the opportunity to use him as his personal spy. The president's goal: to stop the flow of German money that has been flooding the United States to buy the 1940 election - an election that Adolf Hitler intends Roosevelt lose.

Nora Ephron 1941-2012

heartburnWriter Nora Ephron died on Tuesday, June 26, at the age of 71. Acclaimed as smart, funny and stylish, she was a journalist, essayist, screenwriter, director, novelist, playwright and blogger. Although she is probably best known for rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, Ephron also wrote sharply observed essays about topics as diverse as aging, divorce, feminism and Teflon pans. She started out as a journalist at the The New York Post and contributed articles to Esquire and the New Yorker. In the 70's she began writing screenplays and adapted her own novel, Heartburn, for a movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. The novel is a thinly veiled account of Ephron's marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein (Watergate) and their messy divorce after his affair with a mutual friend. As Ephron frequently remarked "Everything is copy."

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction


forgottenwaltzThe American Library Association and the Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded the inaugural Medals for adult fiction and nonfiction writing at a banquet Sunday, June 24, during the annual American Library Association conference.The ALA has a long history of awarding literary prizes for children's books (Caldecott, Newberry), but this is the first time the group has sponsored awards for books written for adults. What is also new is that the judges are not critics or other writers, but library professionals. The creation of this new prize was announced in mid-May and joins a plethora of literary awards including the National Book Awards, the Pulitzers, the Orange Prize and the Man Booker, to name a few. As author Cynthia Ozick put it in an op-ed piece about the Orange Prize in the New York Times, "it may also be true, for the sake of literature itself, that a prize is a prize is a prize. For readers and writers, in sum, the more prizes the better, however they are structured, and philosophy be damned."

The biography Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie took the nonfiction prize; Anne Enright's novel The Forgotten Waltz won in fiction.




While we all know that President Abraham Lincoln is "widely lauded for saving the Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead" had remained untold. That is, until author Seth Grahame-Smith (of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fame) "stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln. ... Using the journal as his guide, ... Grahame-Smith has reconstructed the "true" life story of our greatest president for the first time" in his book, Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter - "revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation." Now this amazing tale has become a major motion picture produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov which opens on June 22.
Honest Abe and vampires - 'nuff said!


(Quotations from description on book jacket)




"What hath night to do with sleep?" 

nightcircus                             The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.




 nightswimmer                             The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant
A suspenseful novel about a young American couple--Elly and Fred--who win a pub on the southern most tip of Ireland and discover the body of an eccentric villager Elly knows floating in the sea. Was it a suicide?






                              nighttriffidsThe Night of the Triffids by Simon Clark
David Masen, is a pilot, still searching for a method of destroying the implacable triffid plant as it continues its worldwide march, seemingly intent on wiping out humankind. David eventually manages to reach New York, where a very different sort of colony has been set up, a colony whose members seem to be immune to the triffid string and where David comes face to face with an old enemy from his father's past.





                              nighttosurrenderA Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
A love story to remember-kicking off the wonderfully inventive Spindle Cove series, set in England's Regency Era in a small seaside resort town that caters specifically to ladies “of good breeding and delicate constitution.” Passionate chaos ensues when a dashing British officer, under orders, “invades” this community of strong-willed “spinsters,” only to discover he's met his match in Miss Susannah Finch!





                              nighttoodarkA Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow
When an abandoned pickup truck complete with suicide note leads a search party to find human remains that have clearly served as a snack for a bear, case closed - suicide by Alaska. But things get complicated when the dead man stumbles out of the wilderness and onto Kate's homestead weeks later. Kate and Trooper Jim Chopin must unravel the story of the man and the body, whoever he is, which is wrapped up in the politics of the Suulutaq Mine, a gold mine near Niniltna that is proving to be a breeding ground for trouble.




bradburyRay Bradbury 1920-2012

One of science fiction's giants, author Ray Bradbury, passed away June 5 at the age of 91. Credited with making science fiction accessible to mainstream readers, he was a prolific and imaginative storyteller, chronicling the varied and mixed blessings of technology, space travel and progress. Many of his books, like The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, are fixtures in school English courses, read by several generations of students. In 1954, the National Institute of Arts and Letters honored Bradbury for “his contributions to American literature", and in 2004, he was presented with the National Medal of Arts. While none of his books won a Pulitzer Prize, Bradbury received a Pulitzer citation in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” His New York Times obituary refers to him as a "master of science fiction" and millions of readers would agree.


The Orange Prize 2012

songofachillesThe Orange Prize for Fiction, Britain's annual award given to a female author, was presented to Madeline Miller on May 30 for her debut novel, The Song of Achilles, a retelling of the events of the Trojan War through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles' best friend. Author Joanna Trollope, Chair of the Judges Committee, said: “This is a more than worthy winner — original, passionate, inventive and uplifting. Homer would be proud of her.”

The award was established in 1996 to promote female authors and has been sponsored every year since by Orange, a British mobile communications company, hence the name. Unfortunately, Orange has decided to end its sponsorship of the prize after this year so the Orange Prize may not be orange in the future. Literary prizes in Britain frequently attract corporate sponsorships and Kate Mosse, the co-founder and honorary director of the Orange Prize, verified that new brand partners are being sought.

Other nominees this year:

Half Blood Blues by ESi Edugyan
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

She's back!

201206-wild-oprah-promo-6-300x205      Oprah Winfrey recently announced that she's reviving her book club, now called Oprah's Book Club 2.0, after a two-year hiatus. The latest selection, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, is a memoir of the author's solo hiking trip through the deserts and mountains of California after experiencing the loss of her mother and other personal setbacks. Along with the familiar stickers on the print copies of books, Oprah has updated her club to include digital and social media elements, including discussions on Facebook and Twitter, and margin notes in the e-book versions of the selected book. Publishers and book sellers are rejoicing!

(Photo courtesy of

Nebula Award for Sci Fi Novel

amongothersOn May 19, 2012, The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America announced the winners of the 2011 Nebula Awards. Since 1965, the Nebula Awards have been given each year for the best novel, novella, novelette, and short story written in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

The prize for Best Novel went to Among Others, by Jo Walton, the story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood spent with a mother who dabbled in magic.

Other novels considered in this category include:

     Embassytown, China Miéville 
    Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine
    The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin



 June 1 – August 11, 2012

PDL’s Adult Summer Reading Program, featuring the popular Library Bingo game, will be back again this summer. Starting June 1, adults will have their chance to win prizes for reading and discovering the Library’s many resources. Complete five boxes in a row on the Bingo form to earn prizes, like Penn movie tickets and certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants. Bingo forms will be available in the Library and online at No registration is required – grab a bingo sheet and begin!


Bingo not your thing? Try the new Online Adult Summer Reading Program. Sign up at to create your adult summer reading account, then read five (5) books of your choice and list the titles on your online log. When you’ve finished your five, stop by the Library to pick up your prize. Prizes include certificates to Plymouth stores and restaurants and Penn movie tickets. You can start reading on June 1 and continue until August 11.

 Discover what’s between the covers (of a book) this summer!

(One prize per person, please.)

Carlos Fuentes 1928-2012

oldgringoInfluential Mexican author, Carlos Fuentes, died on May 15 of an internal hemorrhage, after collapsing at home in Mexico City. Fuentes'  New York Times obituary describes him as "one of the most admired writers in the Spanish-speaking world," part of the "explosion of Latin American literature in the 1960s and ’70s," known as El Boom, that brought Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and others to international recognition. A prolific writer and thinker, he wrote in all genres and received numerous international literary honors and awards. His 1985 novel, The Old Gringo, about the adventures of American writer Ambrose Bierce during the Mexican Revolution, became the first U.S. bestseller written by a Mexican author. It was later adapted for film and starred Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda. 

Trending Now...


Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview the young, enigmatic entrepreneur Christian Grey she encounters a man who is brilliant, beautiful, and deeply flawed. Lured by her looks, stung by her wit, and challenged by her independent spirit, Grey is determined to make Ana his possession. (Admit it, you're curious about all the hype!)



Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
It's vampire politics as usual around the town of Bon Temps, but never before have they hit so close to Sookie's heart… Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie Stackhouse realized early on there were things she'd rather not know. And now that she's an adult, she also realizes that some things she knows about, she'd rather not see-like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one.



The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found.




In One Person
by John Irving
Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a "sexual suspect," a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of "terminal cases," The World According to Garp. His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany.




The Shoemaker's Wife
by Adriana Trigiani
Two star-crossed lovers--Enzo and Ciro--meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever. Set during the years preceding and during World War I.




Tudors Redux...

Finished with the Edwardians of Downton Abbey? Still craving that English history fix?

wolfhall           Remember the Tudors? Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Mary and Elizabeth had their place in the forefront of popular culture a couple of years ago with their own TV series (The Tudors) and several best-selling books like The Other Boleyn Girl (also a movie). In 2009, Hilary Mantel won the Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, the story of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell set amid the political and religious intrigue resulting from Henry's desire to shed his first wife for the younger Anne Boleyn.  As Janet Maslin of the New York Times puts it,"Wolf Hall” was a historical novel that ingeniously revisited well-trod territory (the early marriages of Henry VIII), turned the phlegmatic villain Thomas Cromwell into the best-drawn figure, and easily mixed 16th-century ambience with timeless bitchery."


            bringupthebodiesMantel is now back with the second of a planned trilogy. Bring Up the Bodies begins after Henry's marriage to Anne, which has produced Henry's second daughter Elizabeth I. But Henry still longs for a son and his eyes are starting to stray toward Jane Seymour, the daughter of another powerful and ambitious family. Thomas Cromwell connives as he must, always aware, in Maslin's words, "that being Henry's henchman, fixer and stand-in (he even ghostwrites a love letter as Henry courts Jane) is a mixed blessing." And he's made a few enemies along the way. What happens to Anne and Cromwell himself is no mystery, but "The wonder of Ms. Mantel’s retelling is that she makes these events fresh and terrifying all over again." (Janet Maslin, NYT)



Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

wherethewildAcclaimed children's author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, passed away Tuesday due to complications from a stroke. He started as an illustrator in 1951, then authored his first book in 1956. His best books were highly original, challenging the way children were portrayed in picture books by featuring characters who were not sweet, well-behaved, pink or glittery. In Sendak's world, children and creatures felt strong emotions, acted out (whether from anger or exuberance), had bizarre adventures, and did not necessarily learn a lesson. In his best known book, Where the Wild things Are, Jack, an angry little boy is sent to his room without his supper and from there journeys to join other wild things, huge shaggy monsters who roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth. After rampaging for awhile, Jack finally returns home, where he finds his dinner waiting, still warm. While considered a children's writer, Sendak's books speak to a wider audience - many adults find themselves captivated by his work. Whatever one believes about an afterlife, let us hope that Maurice Sendak is enjoying the wild rumpus.


sherlockThe new season of Sherlock, with three new episodes, begins on Sunday May 6, on PBS. This contemporary series is the latest in a long tradition of Sherlock Holmes books, spin-offs, adaptations, sequels, prequels, updates, mash-ups, graphic novels, movies, comics, etc. Introduced in the classic Arthur Conan  Doyle stories, Sherlock Holmes, the world's greatest detective, is an indelible character, with almost supernatural skills of deduction, who seems to live on and on. There are as many versions of Sherlock Holmes as there are fans. "Excellent! I cried. Elementary said he."



The new annotated Sherlock Holmes ; Volume I / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ; edited, with a foreword and notes by Leslie S. Klinger ; with additional research by Patricia J. Chui ; introduction by John Le Carre.




And the Winner is...  Gone by Mo Hayder

goneIn Gone, Hayder's seventh novel, and the fifth to feature her popular murder detective Jack Caffrey, the scene is set in early winter, in the West Country. Caffrey is brought in to interview the victim of a car-jacking. So far, so routine. But this incident is different. This time the car was taken by force, and on the back seat was a passenger, an eleven year old girl. She is still missing. Before long the jacker himself starts to communicate directly with the police, and Caffrey knows this wasn't a one-off. He will strike again - another car with another child on the back seat. Even scarier still is the fact that the jacker seems to be one step ahead of the police, no matter how quickly they pursue him.

(Book Description from



On April 26, 2012, the Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel, named after (you guessed it!) Edgar Allan Poe, will be presented to one of the five nominees shown here. 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" in the mystery/crime genre.  So, should it be The Ranger by Ace Atkins, Gone by Mo Hayder, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino, 1222 by Anne Holt, or Field Gray by Philip Kerr?




Edgar Allan Poe coming to the big screen!

In The Raven, American writer and master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, is on the case, turning sleuth to hunt down a Baltimore serial killer whose crimes are based on Poe's own creepy tales such as The Tell-Tale Heart and The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Actor John Cusack plays Poe, the haunted poet who is credited with inventing the detective genre, and he captures the gaunt, jaundiced demeanor of the alcoholic and dissolute writer. Of course, the bird that is the omen of death and the inspiration for Poe's most famous poem puts in an appearance. The movie opens on April 27th. Nevermore!