Press enter after choosing selection
Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #698

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 6:17pm by muffy

silent_patientChosen to launch a new MacMillan imprint, Celadon Books, The Silent Patient is an “edgy, intricately plotted“ (Publishers Weekly) psychological thriller, and marks screenwriter Alex Michaelides’ fiction debut.

Six years after shooting her husband Gabriel in the face, the once “dazzling, fascinate and full of life” artist Alicia Berenson is at The Grove, a "secure forensic unit" in North London, heavily sedated.  She still has not spoken a word since that fatal night - her only communication being a provocative self-portrait entitled Alcestis, a character in an Athenian tragedy.

Newly appointed criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. Obsessed with getting Alicia to talk and to uncovering her motive for murdering her prominent fashion photographer husband, Theo secretly conducts his own investigation into Alicia’s past, looking for clues and connections. But when Alicia finally opens up to Theo, the truth might just consume them both.

The Silent Patient is unputdownable, emotionally chilling, and intense, with a twist that will make even the most seasoned suspense reader break out in a cold sweat.” (Booklist)

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #697

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 6:45pm by muffy

Atlas_of_reds_and_bluesThe Atlas of Reds and Blues,*  poet Devi S. Laskar’s fictional debut is at once powerful, difficult, yet timely and necessary reading.

Drawing on the author’s own experience, the narrative takes place over the course of a single morning, as a woman, known only as Mother lies sprawled on her driveway in an upscale Atlanta suburb, bleeding from a gunshot wound.

In short, graphic chapters, Mother recounts lucidly of her girlhood in North Carolina of immigrant parents, the family’s visits to India, her experience as a reporter in a hostile work environment, her relationship with a husband who is virtually absent, leaving her to raised their three daughters in a community that is fixated on their otherness. While her daughters are harassed and bullied at school, Mothers endures zealous traffic cops, “discrimination, cruelty, and stupidity in routine circumstances” because her skin is brown.

The Atlas of Reds and Blues grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience and what it means to be a woman of color in today's America. Laskar's bravura drama of one woman pushed to the brink by racism is at once sharply relevant and tragically timeless.” (Booklist)

Will appeal to fans of The Hate u Give by Angie Thomas.

* = Starred review

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #696

Sun, 02/10/2019 - 7:22pm by muffy

after_the_rain

After the Rain is the first novel by television news-anchor/reporter Jane Lorenzini.

Fort Myers, Florida, January 1888.  Having lived in the storeroom of the local grocer since running away from home as a teenager, 25 year-old Belle Carson was about to turn her life around when she answered a newspaper ad for a gardener at Seminole Lodge - the winter home of Mina and Thomas Edison. She was excited by Mina’s plan for an extensive garden along the Caloosahatchee River, and for the first time, her own cottage on the grounds. As she gained confidence and courage, made friends, started a woman’s club, and contemplated a relationship with Boone, the Estate’s young groundskeeper, her dark past resurfaced. When Belle fought back, the repercussion threatened to destroy everything she had so carefully cultivated.

“Well-drawn characters and descriptions of Edison's laboratory, the estate, and a mysterious listening device that allows Belle to eavesdrop on private conversations help to vivify this particular time period.” (Publishers Weekly)

Readers eager to learn more about Thomas Edison the man and his milieu would enjoy Electric City by Elizabeth Rosner, and The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #695

Sat, 02/02/2019 - 6:36pm by muffy

unmarriageable

If you too, are desperate for the next release of the Austen Project, fret no more. We have a fix!!! “Austen devotees will rejoice in this respectful cross-cultural update of a beloved classic.” (Library Journal)

Unmarriageable * * by award-winning essayist (and a literacy ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation) Soniah Kamal,  is a contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice  set in Pakistan.  

Faithful to the original plot, almost scene by scene, the Bennets are now the Binats, having relocated to Dilipabad (fictional town outside of Lahore, Pakistan) due to a reversal of fortune. To supplement the family's income, Jena (32) and Alys (30) teach English Literature at the local girls’ school where their younger sisters Qitty, Mari, and Lady also attend. When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for eligible bachelors, never mind that the Binat girls are deemed “unmarriageable.”  When Jena catches the eye of the rich and handsome Bungles, Mrs. Binat eagerly awaits an advantageous proposal. But his friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family and declared so.

“What ensues is a funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites.” (Publishers Weekly)

* * = 2 starred reviews

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Printz Award Winners Announced!

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 4:42pm by manz

pThis week many awards were given for excellence in books, video and audio books for children and young adults at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards. One the biggies given annually is the Michael L. Printz Award, which is given for excellence in literature written for young adults. This year four Printz Honors were named in addition to the winner.  

The winner is The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. The book also won the National Book Award for Young Peoples’ Literature. Both are a big deal, so this is one to check out.

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

 Honors were awarded to Damsel by Elana K. Arnold, A Heart in a Body in the World Deb Caletti, I, Claudia by Mary McCoy.

Looking for more Printz winners? Here’s a list of the winners and the honors that have been awarded since 2000.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Newbery & Caldecott Award Winners Announced!

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 4:15pm by manz

dThis past Monday was a big day in children’s literature! Award winners were announced in many categories at the midwinter conference of the American Library Association.

The John Newbery Medal is awarded for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. This year’s winner is Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Madina. Honors were also awarded to The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani, and The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The winner is Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall. Four honor books were also announced, including Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin, The Rough Patch by Brian Lies, and Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #694

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 3:08pm by muffy

age_of_light

The Age of Light * * * by Whitney Scharer opens on a hot July day in 1966 at a Sussex farmhouse where Lee Miller is throwing a sumptuous dinner party for her Vogue editor, trying to forestall her dismissal as the magazine’s food writer for perpetually missing deadlines. After a series of comic mishaps that threaten to ruin the dinner (not the least being Lee’s secret drinking), she is shocked to find her new assignment is to write about her years with Surrealist artist Man Ray. Lee finally agrees, with one caveat: not his photos, hers.

1929. The 22 year-old Lee - Vogue’s cover-girl, famous for her staggering beauty, arrives in Paris intending to forge a new identity as an artist. As her funds run low, she talks her way into assisting Man Ray in his chaotic studio, learning every aspect of the artistic process. Their personal and professional lives soon become intimately entwined. The student/muse becomes a collaborator and innovator - a fact that grates on the much-older and egotistical Ray, and eventually leads to bitter betrayals on both of their parts.

“Scharer sets her viewfinder selectively, focusing on her heroine’s insecurities as much as her accomplishments as an artist; her hunger to be more than “a neck to hold pearls, a slim waist to show off a belt” is contrasted with her habit of solving problems by simply leaving. The price for Lee is steep, but it makes for irresistible reading. Sexy and moving.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Check out these titles in our Fine Arts collection for more on the life and art of Lee Miller, especially Lee Miller's War: Photographer and Correspondent With the Allies in Europe, 1944-45, which were among the first photographs of the death camps to reach the American public.  For readers who enjoyed The Muralist by Barbara A. Shapiro, and The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #693

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 10:39am by muffy

my_sister_the_serial_killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer *, Nigerian Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel has been called “(p)ulpy, peppery and sinister, served up in a comic deadpan…This scorpion-tailed little thriller leaves a response, and a sting, you will remember.” (The New York Times)

Petite and light-skinned, beautiful and charismatic Ayoola could do no wrong growing up in her complicated family. Her older sister Korede knows better. A nurse at Lago’s St. Pete’s Hospital, she is the one who cleans up the bloody mess each time Ayoola, claiming self-defense, kills a boyfriend (“Three and they label you a serial killer.”)  Korede is willing to protect Ayoola until her secret crush, Dr. Tade Otumu becomes smitten with Ayoola on one of her impromptu visits to the hospital. Now, the long-suffering, overlooked and underappreciated Korede must make a choice.

“(W)hat makes Braithwaite’s first novel stand out from others in this genre (gothic mystery) is the unobtrusively sly approach she takes to the conventions of “black widow” storytelling and the appealing deadpan voice of the jittery yet world-weary Korede. Along the way, there are scattered glimpses of life in Lagos, most acidly when Korede deals with the routine corruption involved in a traffic stop.” (Kirkus Reviews)  Will appeal to Dexter fans, and begs the question - "how much will we sacrifice for the sake of family?" as in Stay with Me by fellow Nigerian Ayobami Adebayo.

* = Starred review

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #692

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 10:22am by muffy

one_day_in_december

I have been saving the galley to One Day in December by Josie Silver for quite some time, waiting for a long stretch of uninterrupted time so I could kick back and enjoy it, and it did not disappoint. Called “unabashedly romantic”, it is the story of 2 Londoners who cross paths on a cold December evening and spend the next decade circling each other’s lives.

Hotel clerk Laurie James spotted a young man at a bus stop from her upper-deck seat.  They locked eyes and the connection was electric but before either one of them could make a move, the bus pulled away. Over the course of the next year, Laurie never stop looking for her “bus boy”. When she finally met him, he was Jack O’Mara - her best friend/roommate Sarah's new boyfriend. For different reasons, they decided not to tell Sarah while their deep connection remained -- even after Laurie took herself off to the wilds of Thailand and met the dreamy Robinson Crusoe/banker Oscar Ogilvy-Black.

“There’s no question where the book is going, but the pacing is just right, the tone warm, and the characters sympathetic, even when making dumb decisions. Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an emotional, satisfying read.” (Kirkus Reviews)  Enough said!  For fans of Miss you by Kate Eberlen, and definitely if you have been bingeing on Love Actually this holiday season.

If you don't insist on a happy ending, may I suggest Harriet Paige's highly stylish Man With a Seagull on His Head ? - "(A) novel about... the electric charge that comes from real if unexpected connection. Beautiful, lyrical, and strangely moving...".

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #691 - Small Gems

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 1:14pm by muffy

crudoWith winter solstice approaching and our to-do lists becoming overwhelming, there is no reason why your pleasure reading should suffer. The trick for me is to try out small gems - books under 200 pages.

Crudo, at 141 pages, is the first work of fiction by award-winning author Olivia Laing. This “brief, breathless experimental novel” (Kirkus Reviews) has been named a 2018 New York Times Notable book. 

Set in the summer of 2017, the 40-year old narrator is American writer Kathy Acker (a writer who too, is known for basing much of her work on the writing of others) is about to be married while the whole world is falling apart (nuclear testing in North Korea, floods in Houston, the Grenfell Tower fire, white supremacist march in Charlottesville, and antics of an increasingly unstable president). Frolicking with her much-older fiance and a well-heeled crowd in a Tuscan hotel, Kathy must come to terms with the idea of a lifelong commitment.

“A narrative written with immense vitality and, miraculously, the lightest of touches... It's a subversive love story that shouldn't work, but does.” ~ Deborah Levy (Wall Street Journal)

Want some suggestions : Try BuszzFeed’s  46 Brilliant Short Novels you can read in a day; 10 Best Books under 200 pages;  and Short and Spectacular: 21 great novels under 200 pages : From classic to contemporary, discover favorite short books and novellas, guaranteed to stay with you long after the final page - one as short as 60 pages.