Pulitzer Prizes announced

April 21, 2015

The 2015  Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday.

The winners of the 2015 Pulitzer Prizes are:

Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Drama: Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis

History: Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth A. Fenn

Biography or Autobiography: The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer

Poetry: Digest by Gregory Pardlo

General nonfiction: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Music: Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe

We own all of the fiction and nonfiction except the poetry which Darren is buying.

Posted by Becky

April 15, 2015
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Many of you in the branches have done an excellent job disabusing me of the notion that westerns are a fading genre. In some places, you’ve been insistent that there are younger readers of Westerns, too. Because of that, in 3M I’ve been purchasing and re-purchasing the classic writers like Ralph Compton and Louis L’amour, as well as newly popular authors writing westerns as such or regular fiction with a western “feel.” In talking books, fans of the Smoke Jensen series have requested the series be filled in and it, too, is being built up.  I’ll try to get some more copies in the first place as these are published in print.

As part of the effort, I’m also asking Leanne to build a 3M display shelf for Westerns. Look for its appearance soon.

Some examples of recent “mainstreamed” western fiction :

The sonMeyer, Philipp. The Son. 

The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim Spring, 1849. The first male child born in the newly established Republic of Texas, Eli McCullough is thirteen years old when a marauding band of Comanches storms his homestead and brutally murders his mother and sister, taking him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and language, answering to a new name, becoming the chief’s adopted son, and waging war against their enemies, including white men–which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is.



The bully of order : a novel

Hart, Brian. The Bully of Order. 

Washington Territory, 1886 Jacob and Nell Ellstrom step from ship to shore and are struck dumb by the sight of their new home–the Harbor, a ragged township of mud streets and windowless shacks. In the years to come this will be known as one of the busiest and most dangerous ports in the world, and with Jacob’s station as the only town physician, prosperity and respect soon rain down on the Ellstroms. Then their son, Duncan, is born, and these are grand days, busy and full of growth. But when a new physician arrives, Jacob is revealed as an impostor, a fraud, and he flees, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Years later, on a fated Fourth of July picnic, Duncan Ellstrom falls in love. Her name is Teresa Boyerton, and her father owns the largest sawmill in the Harbor. Their relationship is forbidden by class and by circumstance, because without Jacob there to guide him, Duncan has gone to work for Hank Bellhouse, the local crime boss. Now, if Duncan wants to be with Teresa, he must face not only his past, but the realities of a dark and violent world and his place within it.


And an older title recently reprinted…

The homesman

Swarthout, Glendon. The Homesman. 

IN PIONEER NEBRASKA, A WOMAN LEADS WHERE NO MAN WILL GO Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Tommy Lee Jones, The Homesman is a devastating story of early pioneers in 1850s American West. It celebrates the ones we hear nothing of: the brave women whose hearts and minds were broken by a life of bitter hardship. A “homesman” must be found to escort a handful of them back East to a sanitarium. When none of the county’s men steps up, the job falls to Mary Bee Cuddy-ex-teacher, spinster, indomitable and resourceful. Brave as she is, Mary Bee knows she cannot succeed alone. The only companion she can find is the low-life claim jumper George Briggs. Thus begins a trek east, against the tide of colonization, against hardship, Indian attacks, ice storms, and loneliness-a timeless classic told in a series of tough, fast-paced adventures. In an unprecedented sweep, Glendon Swarthout’s novel won both the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award and the Western Heritage Wrangler Award.


May Library Reads

April 13, 2015

Here is the link to the list with librarian reviews – always a uniquely valuable perspective. Check out also the Titles to Know and Recommend from last Friday’s EarlyWord, again featuring librarian and bookseller reviews. I’m especially intrigued by the Royal We, a humorous romance takeoff of William and Kate, which so far has 19 holds and could build momentum as an identified “beach read.”  It’s really interesting to see an epic fantasy chosen as LibraryReads favorite and a teen title (A Court of Thorns and Roses) make the list.

LibraryReads Favorite

Novik, Naomi.  Uprooted.

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik”Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known onlyas the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows–everyone knows–that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose”–



Titles to Watch Pick

The royal we

Cocks, Heather and Jessica Morgan. The Royal We. 

“I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they’ll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next.” American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face. Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become. Which is how she gets into trouble. Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

Covers of Other Selections 

A court of thorns and roses  A God in Ruins  The Water Knife  Early warning : a novel  Seveneves : A Novel

Late last month the story broke (NPRThe Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium Series #4) article) that a new title would continue the late Stieg Larsson’s  Millennium series featuring Lisbeth Salander. It is due September 1st but I am sneaking it into the window and this should appear in the catalog within a couple weeks.

Reportedly, this resumption of the popular character’s story has the blessings of Larsson’s estate if not his partner, Eva Gabrielsson.  The author continuing the legacy is David Lagercranz, a Swedish crime reporter.




The Wright Stuff

April 8, 2015

David McCullough, Pulitzer-winning author of Truman, focuses his historical attention on another American icon, or rather pair of them – Wilbur and Orville Wright.  Becky ordered 10 copies to start a few months ago and I’m enthusiastic after The Wright Brothers : Wright Brothersreading a digital arc of this on Edelweiss over the weekend.  [It is easy to request DRC’s and I’ve never been turned down yet].

The Wright Brothers brings the dawn of American aviation to life from news accounts and extensive correspondence.  For me it was full of surprises.  For one, what the Wrights specifically accomplished at Kitty Hawk was the first mechanically powered flight of a machine and person all heavier than the air, taking off and flying for all of 59 seconds and landing at a point at least as high as where it launched.  But this feat went largely unrecognized by the public until 1907 and then only after the brothers demonstrated flights in Le Mans, France.  Partly this was the result of the brothers’ secretiveness. They had reason to be this way – there were many grandiose and publicly funded attempts at powered flight that ended in humiliating failure and cast the whole attempt in a comical light for the skeptical.  Also, they were concerned about patent protection. As it was, Wilbur fought these law suits for years after his own last flight in the early teens.

This book is an amazing account of stolid, self-reliant individuals (apparently refusing all offers of financial help) who achieved their dream after persistent but careful experimentation, even closely studying all species of birds they could find to solve the problems of balance, control, and navigation.  They were also inspired by a lifelong habit of voluminous reading and even researched boat propellers in their local library when designing their air propellers. Even as the recognized inventors of the first successful flying machines, what most impressed people about them was their own broad knowledge and character.

This is a great recommendation for non-fiction readers looking for a new angle and fuller picture of events we think we know about.  I especially think it’s a good follow-up to Bill Bryson’s 1927.




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Charlie Martz and Other Stories: The Unpublished Stories

Elmore Leonard

A collection of fifteen stories, eleven of which have never been previously published, from the early career of bestselling American master Elmore Leonard.

The President’s Shadow

Brad Meltzer

To most, it looks like Beecher White has an ordinary job. A young staffer with the National Archives in Washington, D.C., he’s responsible for safekeeping the government’s most important documents . . . and, sometimes, its most closely held secrets.

Wildfire in His Arms

Johanna Lindsey

#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey’s passionate new tale about a gunfighter running from his past who finds his future when he escorts a beautiful outlaw to her hanging. Featuring one of Lindsey’s most intriguing heroes: the dangerous and mysterious Degan Grant from One Heart to Win.

Truth or Die

James Patterson

After a serious professional stumble, attorney Trevor Mann may have finally hit his stride. He’s found happiness with his girlfriend Claire Parker, a beautiful, ambitious journalist always on the hunt for a scoop. But when Claire’s newest story leads to a violent confrontation, Trevor’s newly peaceful life is shattered as he tries to find out why.

Ever After: A Nantucket Brides Novel

Jude Deveraux

Hiring a friend’s cousin to be her physical therapist after inheriting a house on Nantucket, Hallie Hartley discovers that her housemate is suffering from PTSD during a summer marked by regional mysteries, matchmaking ghosts and island romance.

The Long Utopia

Terry Pratchett

Human society continues to evolve on Datum Earth, its battered and weary origin planet, as the spread of humanity progresses throughout the many Earths beyond. Lobsang, now an elderly and complex AI, suffers a breakdown, and disguised as a human attempts to live a “normal” life on one of the millions of Long Earth worlds. His old friend, Joshua, now in his fifties, searches for his father and discovers a heretofore unknown family history. And the super-intelligent post-humans known as “the Next” continue to adapt to life among “lesser” humans.

The English Spy

Daniel Silva

Master novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled readers with seventeen thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back—from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. His brilliant hero, Gabriel Allon—art restorer, assassin, spy—has joined the pantheon of great fictional secret agents, including George Smiley, Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and Simon Templar.

posted by Leanne Nott


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