April 14, 2014
This year’s Pulitzer Awards for excellence in journalism and the arts have just been announced. Click here for the main announcements page.
We own all of the literary awards except the poetry prize winner. I am reproducing those below.
Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch. Little, Brown, and Company, 2013.
The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend’s family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art”– Provided by publisher.
Taylor, Alan. The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832. W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.
Drawn from new sources, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian presents a gripping narrative that recreates the events that inspired hundreds of slaves to pressure British admirals into becoming liberators by using their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war.
Marshall, Megan. Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
Explores the life and career of the 19th-century American journalist, intellectual, and advocate of personal liberation.The author tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New-York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a late-in-life hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover, a young officer in the Roman Guard; she wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and she gave birth to a son. Yet, when all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller‘s fortieth birthday, the sense and passion of her life‘s work were eclipsed by tragedy and scandal. Marshall’s inspired account brings anAmerican heroine back to indelible life. –from inside jacket.
Recounts the decades-long saga of the New Jersey seaside town plagued by childhood cancers caused by air and water pollution due to the indiscriminate dumping of toxic chemicals.
February 19, 2014
If you’re a fan of The Office, B. J. Novak needs no introduction as an actor, but as an author he is debuting at the number 4 spot on the New York Times hardcover fiction list for Sunday February 23. His new book One More Thing, a quite long series of quite short essays and vignettes, is full of quirky “insight” into his world. It seems a perfect standby for bus stops and waiting rooms. I have a pristine ARC for the first to comment.
“B.J. Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction. A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes–only to discover how claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins–turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We also meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook. Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just. down. Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might just make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader”– Provided by publisher.
January 29, 2014
The Reference and User Services Association publishes a list of notables books for adults and we have the title information for 2014, thanks to Terry Beck and Nancy Messenger. The RUSA website should be publishing these soon as well. As the site explains,
Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader.
The list includes some exceptional literature. I’m posting the fiction and non-fiction here. Many of these titles are book kits as well, or likely will be soon. I am purchasing at least two copies of the audio of each title if we didn’t already own it and can acquire it.
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. Knopf.
Atkinson, Kate. Life After Life. Reagan Arthur Books.
Danticat, Edwidge. Claire of the Sea Light. Knopf.
Garey, Juliann. Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See. Random House.
Harding, Paul. Enon. Random House.
Jansma, Kristopher. Unchangeable Spots of Leopards. Viking.
Koch, Herman. The Dinner. Hogarth.
Marra, Anthony. Constellation of Vital Phenomena. Hogarth.
Messud, Claire. The Woman Upstairs. Knopf.
Ozeki, Ruth. Tale for the Time Being. Viking.
Tartt, Donna. Goldfinch. Little, Brown.
Anderson, Scott. Lawrence in Arabia. Doubleday.
Baruma, Ian. Year Zero. Penguin.
Basbanes, Nicholas. On Paper: the Everything of its Two-Thousand Year History. Knopf.
Beam, Cris. To the End of June: the Intimate Life of American Foster Care. Houghton Mifflin.
Brown, Daniel. Boys in the Boat. Viking.
Fink, Sheri. Five Days at Memorial. Crown.
Fox, Margalit. The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest. HarperCollins.
Garfield, Simon. On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks. Gotham Books.
Hilburn, Robert. Johnny Cash: The Life. Little, Brown.
Koerner, Brendan I. The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking. Crown.
Schlosser, Eric. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. Penguin Press.
Solnit, Rebecca. The Faraway Nearby. Viking.
December 30, 2013
Here’s a new batch of book discussion titles courtesy of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, with more to come.
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Andy Barber has been an ADA in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But after a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.
The Dinner by Herman Koch
An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives–all over the course of one meal.
An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage
The bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses brilliantly charts how foods have transformed human culture through the ages. Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict, and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is a pithy, entertaining account of how a series of changes–caused, enabled, or influenced by food–has helped to shape and transform societies around the world. The first civilizations were built on barley and wheat in the Near East, millet and rice in Asia, corn and potatoes in the Americas. Why farming created a strictly ordered social hierarchy in contrast to the loose egalitarianism of hunter-gatherers is, as Tom Standage reveals, as interesting as the details of the complex cultures that emerged, eventually interconnected by commerce. Trade in exotic spices in particular spawned the age of exploration and the colonization of the New World. Food’s influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britain’s solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleon’s rise and fall was intimately connected with his ability to feed his vast armies. In the twentieth century, Communist leaders employed food as an ideological weapon, resulting in the death by starvation of millions in the S oviet Union and China. And today the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development, the environment, and the adoption of new technologies. Encompassing many fields, from genetics and archaeology to anthropology and economics–and invoking food as a special form of technology– An Edible History of Humanity is a fully satisfying discourse on the sweep of human history.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
“They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose. 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 ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will has always lived a huge life–big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel–and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. 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 for this generation, Me Before Youbrings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common–a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? “– Provided by publisher.
Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES – #1 “NEW YORK TIMES “BESTSELLER With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424–one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
National Book Award Winner One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
A stunning debut reminiscent of the beloved novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to–an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess’s. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil–but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well. Told by three resonant and evocative characters–Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, a sheriff with his own painful past–A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all. These are masterful portrayals, written with assurance and truth, and they show us the extraordinary promise of this remarkable first novel.
A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
What do we really want when we ask for forgiveness? Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home. The change weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels. As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara’s increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. The arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction. A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable 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. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last–glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.
December 6, 2013
November 15, 2013
Annotations from Baker & Taylor or Ingram
Death of a Policeman Beaton, M. C. Local police stations all over the Scottish Highlands are being threatened with closure. This presents the perfect opportunity for Detective Chief Inspector Blair, who would love nothing more than to get rid of Sergeant Hamish Macbeth. Blair suggests that Cyril Sessions, a keen young police officer, visit the town of Lochdubh to monitor exactly what Macbeth does every day. Macbeth hears about Blair’s plan and is prepared to insure that Cyril returns back to headquarters with a full report. But Cyrilis soon found dead and Hamish quickly becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Do or Die Brockmann, Suzanne Navy SEAL Ian Dunn went rogue in a big way when he turned his talents to a lawless life of jewel heists and con jobs. Or so the world has been led to believe. In reality, the former Special Ops warrior is still fighting for good, leading a small band of freelance covert operatives who take care of high-stakes business in highly unofficial ways. That makes Ian the hands-down choice when the U.S. government must breach a heavily guarded embassy and rescue a pair of children kidnapped by their own father, a sinister foreign national willing to turn his kids into casualties. Confessions of a Wild Child Collins, Jackie Lucky Santangelo, a fifteen-year-old wild child ready to discover life, love and independence. Daughter of the notorious Gino, Lucky discovers her mother’s murdered body floating in the family swimming pool at the tender age of four. Since then Gino has kept her protected from life closeted in their Bel Air mansion. But in Jackie Collins’ Confessions of a Wild Child, Lucky finally breaks free, and running away from boarding school the adventures begin. Boys, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll – Lucky explores it all in preparation for the strong, kick-ass woman she eventually becomes. Delve into the world that Lucky rules! The Chase Evanovich, Janet / Goldberg, Lee Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted and untouchable criminals. The Museum of Extraordinary Things Hoffman, Alice From the beloved, bestselling author of The Dovekeepers, a mesmerizing new novel about the electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century. Moving Target Jance, Judith A. Lance Tucker, an incarcerated juvenile offender and talented hacker in his own right, is set on fire one night and severely burned while hanging Christmas decorations in a lockup rec room. B. Simpson, Ali Reynolds’ fiancé and the man who helped put Lance in jail, feels obliged to get to the bottom of what happened. With Ali off in England to help Leland Brooks at a reunion with his long-estranged family, B. turns to someone else to help out Ali’s good friend and Taser-carrying nun, Sister Anselm. Killer: An Alex Delaware Novel Kellerman, Jonathan The City of Angels has more than its share of psychopaths and no one recognizes that more acutely than the brilliant psychologist and police consultant Dr. Alex Delaware. Despite that, Constance Sykes, a sophisticated, successful physician, hardly seems like someone Alex needs to fear. Then, at the behest of the court, he becomes embroiled in a bizarre child custody dispute initiated by Connie against her sister and begins to realize that there is much about the siblings he has failed to comprehend. And when the court battle between the Sykes sisters erupts into cold, calculating murder and a rapidly growing number of victims, Alex knows he’s been snared in a toxic web of pathology. The Mark of Evil LaHaye, Tim F. / Parshall, Craig Economies have fallen, freedom has been suppressed, and peace is a distant memory. The world is falling apart. As a Biblical prophecy is fulfilled each new day, Ethan and the others in the Remnant struggle to eat, to procure necessary goods, and to avoid the Global Alliance—in short, to survive. The Forever Girl McCall Smith, Alexander At age 4, Thursday chooses her own name. At age 6, she falls in love with her best friend, James, with whom she happily spends all her time. But in the adult world, things are not so simple: at the same time that Thursday’s mother finds she’s fallen out of love with her husband, she realizes that James’s father is interested in her. As the children grow into adulthood, their connection becomes more complicated as well: James drifts away from Thursday, but she keeps him in her sights: she attends the same college in Scotland and then follows him to London, Sydney, Singapore, rebuilding her life in every city, hoping each time that James will see what he is missing. As Thursday and James, and their parents, navigate their irresistible but baffling mazes of emotion, we are given a beautifully realized tale about how love, even if unrequited, can shape a life. Kiss and Tell Michaels, Fern No annotation @ this time Posted by Jenifer Brown
October 18, 2013
October 10, 2013
Alice Munro, Canadian writer who is admired especially for her short stories, has won the Nobel Prize for literature. Here is the PW story.
We are short a few of her titles in print but have selected more eBooks in both OverDrive and 3M and eAudio in OverDrive.
October 1, 2013
September 27, 2013
I have an ARC of Dave Eggers’ new novel The Circle. Please claim by commenting to this post and I’ll see you get it. Thanks!
This title is on order.
“The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award. When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world–even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge”–