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Adult Book News

And the winner is...


Julie Otsuka's "The Buddha in the Attic," a brief, poetic novel about young Japanese mail order brides who emigrate to the U.S. and marry men they have never met, has won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The Award for Fiction is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the author of the year's best work of fiction by a living American citizen. The Foundation is an outgrowth of William Faulkner's generosity in donating his 1949 Nobel Prize winnings, "to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers." The award is America's largest peer-juried award for fiction.

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. In addition to The Buddha in the Attic, Otsuka is the author of the novel When the Emperor Was Divine and a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in New York City.


Finished reading A Dance with Dragons? (Book 5)

gameofthronesLongtime fans of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire , are eagerly awaiting the next book in the sequence, The Winds of Winter. And new fans have discovered the books after seeing the HBO series, Game of Thrones, which tells the story of the first book and begins a second season in April. But Martin is somewhat famous for the amount of time he takes with each book, usually years, so how to endure the wait? Fortunately there are other great fantasy series that can help you pass the time. You may want to try:

                        The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings) by J.R.R. Tolkien

                   The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss

                   The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson

                   Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch) by Tad Williams

                   Gardens of the Moon (Malazan, Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erickson                  


fellowshipofthering     nameofthewind       wayofkings       shadowmarch      gardensofthemoon


                SURPRISE!  IT'S GOOD FOR YOU!

 iStock_woman_reading_ebook_XSmall According to a recent article in the New York Times, Your Brain on Fiction by Annie Murphy Paul, neuroscientists have discovered that reading fiction stimulates the brain in astonishing ways. The brain responds to reading about an experience and actually living that experience by activating the same neurological regions. Studies also show that there is significant overlap between the parts of the brain used to understand stories and the sections used in interpersonal encounters, thus helping us practice our social skills. "The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters....Reading great literature, it has long been averred, enlarges and improves us as human beings. Brain science shows this claim is truer than we imagined." 

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with an Irish Author!

          Ireland has a long and hallowed literary tradition that contemporary Irish authors are continuing and expanding with great new books of every genre.  Here are a few to help you get your Irish on.  Erin Go Bragh!


The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern.
Forced into a humbler life with relatives in Ireland after the sudden death of her father, spoiled sixteen-year-old Tamara Goodwin discovers a diary of future entries written in her handwriting that she hopes will reveal the truth about her mother's troubling health.




A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black (John Banville).
When newspaper magnate Richard Jewell is found dead at his country estate, clutching a shotgun in his lifeless hands, few see his demise as cause for sorrow. But before long Doctor Quirke and Inspector Hackett realize that, rather than the suspected suicide, "Diamond Dick" has in fact been murdered.




Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy.
A tale of joy, heartbreak and hope, about a motherless girl collectively raised by a close-knit Dublin community. When Noel learns that his terminally ill former flame is pregnant with his child, he agrees to take guardianship of the baby girl once she's born. But as a single father battling demons of his own, Noel can't do it alone. Fortunately, he has a competent, caring network of friends, family and neighbors.



The Last Storyteller by Frank Delaney.
Advised to find inspiration in mythological heroes, Ben MacCarthy is reluctantly enmeshed in a gun-running operation during Ireland's tumultuous 1950s and uses his new connections to recapture the heart of an actress he has loved for years.




The Dead Republic by Roddy Doyle.
Irrepressible Irish rebel Henry Smart is back-and he is not mellowing with age. His career in film over, Henry settles into a quiet life in a village north of Dublin, where he finds work as a caretaker for a boys' school and takes up with a woman named Missus O'Kelly. After being injured in a political bombing in Dublin in 1974, Henry is profiled in the newspaper and suddenly the secret of his rebel past is out.


1916 1916 by Morgan Llywelyn.
Ned Halloran has lost both his parents, and almost his own life, to the sinking of the Titanic, and has lost his sister to America. Determined to keep what little he has, he returns to Ireland and enrolls at Saint Enda's school in Dublin. Soon enough Ned becomes totally involved with the growing revolution...and the sacrifices it will demand.




A Dublin Student Doctor by Patrick Taylor.
Fngal O'Reilly enrolls at Dublin's Trinity College to study medicine, where he witnesses the plight of the city's poor, boxes and plays rugby, tries to keep up with his studies and work at Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital and romances a nurse named Kitty O'Hallorhan.




Faithful Place by Tana French.
Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin's inner city, and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives. But getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out.



Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories

The National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction has been given to Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman. Pearlman is deemed a "writer's writer," whose  "depictions of people, places, and manners are so perfect that the stories become totally immersive. The characters, always interesting, are limned just as strongly whether female or male, young or old." (Publishers Weekly)

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) was founded in April 1974 and the awards honor the best literature published in English in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. These are the only awards chosen by the critics themselves.The NBCC awards finalists’ reading and NBCC awards ceremony, presented annually in March, bring together authors, reviewers, publishing people and passionate readers for a celebration of the best of each year’s literary offerings. (National Book Critics Circle)


        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 1987 as “Women’s History Month."  Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

        This year's theme focuses on the struggle of women to gain equal access to education.  While American women currently outnumber men in colleges and universities nationwide, it was not always the case.  Throughout history, women have faced barriers to both basic and higher education due to to a variety of cultural norms and taboos. Much of the recent progress can be traced to the passage of Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in institutions that receive federal funding. As a result, women in the United States have much fuller access to all aspects of education, including athletics, scholarships, facilities, and academic programs once closed to them.

        Books like The Heart Specialist, about a young woman who overcomes academic obstacles to become a doctor, or Remarkable Creatures, the story of two 19th century female amateur paleontologists who confront the entrenched scientists of their time, can help us appreciate the present, and remind us of past hardships.

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


Try these books to fill the void:                                                                 amerheiress

Start with The American Heiress or The Buccaneers, two novels about rich young American girls who marry into British aristocracy, a la Lady Cora.

Continue with A Duty to the Dead and Maisie Dobbs, tales of English gentlewomen who become nurses during WWI, like Lady Sybil.

Explore the experiences of men like Matthew Crawley, and servants, Thomas and William, as they serve their country during the trench warfare, as depicted in Birdsong and A Farewell to Arms.

destinyTrace the societal upheaval the war brought in Flirting with Destiny, the story of four young girls whose expectations and futures change due to the loss of an entire generation of young men. (Lady Edith?)

Discover the repercussions felt by the soldiers, like Mr Lang, the valet, who returned to civilian life with the psychological scars of battle following them as in A Test of Wills.

Follow the span of history in Fall of Giants, the story of five interrelated families as they move through World War I, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women's suffrage.

                      This should hold you until Season 3!


LocalZASLOW-obit-articleInline best-selling author and columnist, Jeffrey Zaslow, died Friday, February 10th following an auto accident in northern Michigan.  He is survived by his wife, Sherry Margolis, a news anchor for Fox 2 in Detroit, and three daughters. Acclaimed for his Wall Street Journal columns, he was perhaps best known for The Last Lecture, a book co-authored with  Randy Pausch, a terminally ill professor, and for The Girls from Ames, an account of the long-term friendship of a group of women. His newest book, The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters, is about a bridal salon in Fowler, MI, and the hopes and dreams of the women who shop there. Not only a talented writer, Jeff was an entertaining speaker who appeared twice at PDL to discuss his books. We will miss him.


 Tuesday, February 7 is the bicentenary of Charles Dickens' birth in 1812. He was a master storyteller, a sharp social critic and reformer, the creator of unforgettable characters, and a comic genius. His novels continue to be classics, never going out of print, and have been adapted for TV, stage and film over and over. Celebrations are taking place all over the world with events and exhibitions devoted to his life and career.

Dickens started his career with little education, having been forced to drop out of school and work in a factory as a child to help support his family while his father was in debtor's prison. The themes of poverty and child labor are reflected in many of his novels, and he wrote compassionately of the plight of orphaned and poor children like Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Pip from Great Expectations.

So rediscover Dickens - how can you not love an author who starts a book "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...?" (A Tale of Two Cities)


edithTwo of America's most famous authors were born in January:poe

Edith Wharton (January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937) and Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849.)

Edith Wharton, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner, grew up in upper-class pre-World War I society and became one of its most astute critics. In such works as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence she employed both humor and empathy to describe the lives of New York's upper class and the vanishing of their world in the early years of the 20th century. (The American version of Downton Abbey!)

Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. His poetry is also renowned. Who can forget The Raven (nevermore!) or Annabel Lee? Countless readers have thrilled to the beating of The Tell-Tale Heart and the horrors of The Pit and the Pendulum. As befitting a gothic author, Poe died under mysterious circumstances, after having been found in the street by a passer-by. His medical records were lost so the cause of his death has never been determined.



As part of the continuing activities of the Great Michigan Read 2011-2012, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History and the Michigan Humanities Council will present a reenactment of the Ossian Sweet murder trials on Saturday, January 14 at 1pm. The murder trials and ultimate acquittal of Dr. Sweet are the subjects of the  book,  Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle, chosen as this year's Great Michigan Read. This event is FREE and open to the public. The Great Michigan Read is presented by the Michigan Humanities Council with support from Meijer and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Great Michigan Read program, please visit




 The Library of Michigan recently announced the list of Michigan Notable Books for 2012. The list includes 20 titles published in the last year that feature people, places, events, or authors related to Michigan. The intent is to celebrate life in Michigan, and the list includes a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children's books. While inclusion in the list does not involve prize money, authors appreciate the prestige and visibility that comes with being named. The books on the list offer fascinating portraits of our Michigan experience: biographies of famous Michiganders, histories of Michigan icons like Jacobson's and the Big Three automakers, murder mysteries, ghost stories, travelogues, and poetry by Jim Harrison. Many of the titles are available at PDL - just ask us!

(2012 Medallion-copyright The Library of Michigan)


snowangel lonestar lawman mistress xmashome lancaster lonestar

     It seems every author has a holiday story to tell. Romances, mysteries, westerns, sweet and inspirational tales - you  can always find a holiday-themed book to suit your fancy, tickle your funny bone, or warm the cockles of your heart!

killers xmasshoppe elves tradingc bite nine xmastreasures


          Tis the season for every newspaper, media outlet, blogger, and pundit to print, publish or post a"Best Books of 2011" list.  There's the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011, Amazon Editors Top 100, Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction, Library Journal's Top Ten, O Magazine's Best Fiction of 2011, Bookpage Best Books of 2001,and the Barnes and Noble Best Books of 2011 - to name a few!  There are lists for genres, catregories and niches - the book critics at the New York Times have even narrowed their big list down to a manageable ten. This should help you find that perfect gift for your crazy sister-in-law or great-uncle Earle.



Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835.  Author of numerous books, newspaper articles, lectures, and essays, he is considered to be the quintessential American author. Twain was a master at mimicking colloquial speech and popularized a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, the Prince and the Pauper, and the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court are among the many unforgettable characters he created.




Prolific science fiction author Anne McCaffrey passed away recently at the age of 85. Best known for her best-selling series Dragonriders of Pern,  she was also the author of over 100 novels, short stories, and novellas. McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2005. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006.

The Dragonriders saga, which is notable for combining elements of fantasy with pure science fiction, is set on the planet Pern which is threatened by the Thread, a type of deadly spore that falls from the sky. To combat this peril, the inhabitants have joined forces with a species of intelligent, telepathic dragons.  Christopher John Farley of the Wall Street Journal wrote that McCaffrey "reimagined the ancient mythology of dragons, transforming them from enemies of men into friends, creating a psychological and emotional bond between humans and the fire breathing creatures, and successfully tapping into a deep-seated fantasy most readers didn't even know they had - the desire to ride on the back  of a dragon and fly across the sky."


And the Winner Is...bonse

 Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday, November 16, for Salvage the Bones, a haunting tale of the struggles of a 15-year-old pregnant girl in a black community as a hurricane bears down on a fictional Gulf Coast town in Mississippi. Although the novel's characters face down Hurricane Katrina, the story isn’t really about the storm. It’s about people facing challenges, and coming together to overcome adversity. Ward's novel was based partly on first-hand experience. She was with her family in Mississippi when Katrina hit. They fled their house, fearful of drowning in their own attic. "I wanted to write about the experiences of the poor and the black and the rural people of the South," said Ward.

deathFans of both Jane Austen and P.D. James will be intrigued to learn that P.D. James, the queen of modern British mystery fiction, has written a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Due to be published in the U.S. in December, Death Comes to Pemberley features Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy as sleuths in a murder investigation. James, better known for her books about Adam Dalgleish and Scotland Yard, says that the new novel allowed her to merge two of her great enthusiasms: the novels of Jane Austen and writing detective stories. As demonstrated by the legions of sequels, spin-offs, mash-ups, TV adaptations and movies, Jane Austen's popularity continues to endure. It is a truth universally acknowledged!

catch22Joseph Heller's Catch-22, the iconic, satirical send-up of war and bureaucracy that created the perfect phrase to describe a hopelessly no-win situation, was published in 1961. Fifty years later it remains a classic of American literature and is one of the funniest books ever written.  Set in Italy during World War II, it introduces Yossarian, a bombardier who is attempting to survive the war despite the U S. Army policy - the Catch-22 - that keeps increasing the number of missions he must fly to complete his service.  The novel has sold more than 10 million copies, and is read by people from all over the political spectrum, from anti-war activists to the cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Anniversary celebrations have included presentations, TV interviews, an animated video, and the publication of a 50th Anniversary edition with an introduction by Christopher Buckley.

Enjoying the new Masterpiece Mystery series based on Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books? Besides Case Histories, Brodie is featured in three other titles: One Good Turn, When Will There be Good News?, and Started Early, Took My Dog. Potrayed by Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films), Brodie is a tough private detective with a soft heart who can't resist coming to the rescue of the lost and lonely. Atkinson's mysteries are not typical crime novels, they unfold leisurely with alternating points of view and seeming tangents. "The mysteries Atkinson is most invested in are those of the human heart." (NYTimes)


Finalists Announced
Winners will be announced at the National Book Awards Ceremony on November 16, 2011 in  New York.
Finalists for fiction are The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obrecht, The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak, The Buddha in
the Attic by Julie Otsuka, Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman, and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.
The National Book Awards are the preeminent literary prizes in the United States and have been awarded
since 1950 by the National Book Foundation in order to recognize exceptional books written by American
authors and to increase public awareness of reading in general.

October 8th is World Zombie Day

prideRead up on some of your favorite literary undead characters here at the Library. Titles include the ever popular parody Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (optioned for film), Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!, a short story collection, and Warm Bodies,  about a zombie who falls in love with a human. Literary mashups like The War of Worlds, Plus Blood, Guts, and Zombies and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead are a great way to get your zombie on!

Media buzz is building for several newly released books.  Reviewers have praised debut novelist Chad Harbach for his baseball themed coming-of-age tale, The Art of Fielding#6 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, featuring rival magicians who fall in love, has been released to much fanfare.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles continues to climb the lists since it was picked as an  Early Show read. 

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, about a foster child who uses the Victorian language of flowers to find her way in the world, is turning out to be a sleeper hit. 



low-res_coverGMR_logoArc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle

Plymouth patrons will once again join hundreds of communities across the state participating in the Great Michigan Read, the statewide one-book reading initiative sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council, by reading Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder by native Detroiter Kevin Boyle. Arc of Justice tells the story of Detroit in the Roaring Twenties when Ossian Sweet, an African American physician, purchased a home for his family in an all-white Detroit neighborhood in 1925, and started the chain of events that eventually led to a sensational murder trial, with the famous attorney Clarence Darrow for the defense. Arc of Justice was published in 2004 and garnered high praise, winning the 2004 National Book Award, and nominations for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was named a Michigan Notable Book in 2005, and is the basis for the play Malice Aforethought: the Sweet Trials, performed at the University of Detroit Mercy in 2007.