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Adult Book News

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!


The Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday - for the first time since 1977, there was no Pulitzer Prize awarded for fiction. No explanation was offered beyond the statement, “The three books were fully considered, but in the end, none mustered the mandatory majority for granting a prize, so no prize was awarded.”The Fiction Award, in the amount of ten thousand dollars, is usually bestowed on a work of distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.  According to the New York Times, the publishing world is shocked and dismayed, to say the least.  Author and bookstore owner, Ann Patchett, expressed her frustration in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, stating "If I feel disappointment as a writer and indignation as a reader, I manage to get all the way to rage as a bookseller."  

"Nominated as finalists in this category were:

  "Train Dreams," by Denis Johnson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a novella about a day laborer in the old American West, bearing witness to terrors and glories with compassionate, heartbreaking calm;  

 "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell (Alfred A. Knopf), an adventure tale about an eccentric family adrift in its failing alligator-wrestling theme park, told by a 13-year-old heroine wise beyond her years, and  

 "The Pale King," by the late David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown and Company), a posthumously completed novel, animated by grand ambition, that explores boredom and bureaucracy in the American workplace."

  (Quotations and annotations from Pulitzer press release) 

All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity. 

The literary world has lost two best-selling, gifted authors this month: Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012)
and Miss Read (Dora Saint, 1913-2012).


Thomas Kinkade was a prolific painter of bucolic and idealized scenes who also wrote novels emphasizing faith, simple pleasures, inspirational messages, and life-affirming values. He became known as "the Painter of Light," painting, in his words, "scenes that serve as places of refuge for battle-weary people." Although art critics dismissed his work as kitsch, sales of his inviting, light-bathed landscapes made many millions, and his works, and/or reproductions are ubiquitous in American homes. In his novels, he invites readers to enter locations similar to his paintings. His stories center on a picturesque little village, Cape Light, nestled in coastal New England, where folks still enjoy a strong sense of community, and everybody cares about their neighbors. 



Dora Saint, whose novels about the rhythms of English village life were written under the crisp, bookish pseudonym of Miss Read, died on April 7 in Berkshire, England. She was 98. In more than 30 books published from the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s, Saint chronicled the goings-on in two fictional villages, Fairacre and Thrush Green. Written in the first person, the books were narrated as the memoirs of a “Miss Read,” a rural schoolteacher, as Saint had been in life. Both series, which have been likened to the work of Jane Austen or Jan Karon, center on the ebb and flow of small town, rural life: schooldays and church events, tea parties and flower shows; thatched cottages, herb gardens, and evocative descriptions of all creatures large and small. Gentle but not too sweet, the books contain generous humor, few real threats or disasters, no sex, and no language to make you blush.


         April 15, 2012 marks the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the
majestic oceanliner, the RMS Titanic.  The story of the doomed ship and its passengers has inspired scores of research, books, movies, TV shows and songs, and still captivates our sympathy and imagination. Commemorative  events are being held across the globe, with memorial services, themed dinners, re-enactments and exhibits. There will be observances in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where Titanic was built; in Southampton, where it began the voyage; in Halifax, Canada, where 150 victims are buried; and in New York, the port Titanic never reached. And at the spot where Titanic went down, 350 miles southeast of Newfoundland, millions of rose petals will be scattered on the water.

        Take part in the remembrance  - a good book is amost like being there!


Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
The fated voyage of the Titanic, with its heroics and horror, has been dramatized many times before, but never by an artist with the skills and sensibility of Beryl Bainbridge.  Bainbridge vividly recreates each scene of the voyage, from the suspicious fire in the Number 10 coal bunker, to the champange and crystal of the first-class public rooms, to that terrible midnight chaos in the frigid North Atlantic.  This remarkable, haunting tale substantiates Bainbridge as a consummate observer of the human condition.

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.