Friday, August 22, 2014

American Author wins the Hugo Award at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention

First awarded in 1953, the Hugo Award is named for Hugo Gernsback, founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. The Hugo is awarded for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy and many consider it to be the most prestigious science fiction award. Voting for the Hugo award is open to all members of the World Science Fiction Society.

Recently announced in London, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is the winner of the 2014 Hugo for best novel. Take a look at this review on for more information on this novel narrated by a starship that has been described as ambitious, brilliant and thrilling. The next book in the trilogy, Ancillary Sword is due out in October.

Other books shortlisted for the 2014 Hugo Award:

The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan and Brian Sanderson
Parasite by Mira Grant
Warbound by Larry Correia
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rural Noir

Rural noir is dark and gritty, involving crime or violence about characters in rural settings and desperate circumstances. The storyline always moves downward from bad to worse and the protagonist moves expeditiously towards disaster. The characters are typically working-class or impoverished and the storylines and pacing can range from fast-paced and suspenseful or more deliberate with a great deal of description.  In contrast to its harshness in tone and plot many novels have beautiful and lyrical text and many of these novels are considered literary fiction. Below are some noteworthy titles in the genre.

Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
American Salvage and Once Upon A River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Winter's Bone, Tomato Red, Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell
Father and Son by Larry Brown
Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
The Adjustment, Cottonwood, The Walkaway by Scott Phillips
Ranchero  Beluga by Rick Gavin
Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
Serena by Ron Rash

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

For the Armchair Traveler in Need of a Last Minute Vacation

Susan Orlean embodies the the travel journalist with her book of essays entitled My Kind of Place: Travel Stories From a Woman Who's Been Everywhere. She travels to Paris, features the African music scene, attends World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield, Illinois. In each place she finds people worth knowing about and a world you did not realize that it was out there.

Marlena de Blasi is a chef who goes to Venice to explore and experience the cuisine that region has to offer. She ends up in a life changing romance in A Thousand Days in Venice. A lush tale for a beautiful city.

The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around the World by 
Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner is next on our list. This is the tale of three friends at a crossroads in their twenties quit their high pressure New York media jobs, leave their friends and everything familiar behind, and embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world. 

Alice Steinbach is a journalist from the Baltimore Sun who goes on sabbatical. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer explores the nature of independence, chronicling her own adventures as a woman in search of freedom from the things that define her as she journeys to Paris, Oxford, Milan, and beyond. Her book is Without Reservations: the Travels of an Independent Woman.

Frances Mayes is well known for her book Under the Tuscan Sun. However in her other title,  A Year in the World, she travels a month at a time - each to a different location. Once month it is Spain, the next it could be England. Each time they travel, she and her companion try to live in the community that they are exploring. Her descriptions of food and the beauty of her surroundings will have you planning your next journey.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


We've all heard about the terrible Ebola epidemic unfolding in West Africa and threatening to become a worldwide epidemic of a severity never seen before on earth. According to epidemiology experts, the likelihood of the virus spreading to other parts of the world is real. If that fact doesn't frighten you enough, here are some fiction titles that explore what could happen if this possibility becomes a reality.

Fever by Megan Abbott

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community. The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community. As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

Immunity by Lori Andrews
When his partner collapses and dies, DEA agent Castro Baxter refuses to believe that the cause of death was an overdose, a suspicion that is corroborated by tests which reveal a deadly contamination that could cost the lives of thousands.

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
How far would you go to protect your family ? Ann Brooks never thought she’d have to answer that question. Then she found her limits tested by a crisis no one could prevent. Now, as her neighborhood descends into panic, she must make tough choices to protect everyone she loves from a threat she cannot even see. In this chillingly urgent novel, Carla Buckley confronts us with the terrifying decisions we are forced to make when ordinary life changes overnight.

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun
Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

Life Support by Tess Gerritsen
A delirious patient in critical condition disappears without a trace, and Dr. Toby Harper is under fire from the hospital administration for losing a patient. Toby knows she must find the patient, and her hunt is intensified when a second delirious patient dies in the hospital's care.

The Babel Effect by Daniel Hecht
When Ryan and Jessamine McCloud are hired to investigate the neurological and genetic implications of violence, they uncover a possible link between human violence and a contagious unknown toxin that is causing a global epidemic.

Isolation Ward by Joshua Spanogle
Called in by the CDC after three mentally handicapped women with the same mysterious symptoms check into the same Baltimore hospital, Dr. Nathaniel McCormick is caught in a web of deceit as he follows the trail of a lethal virus to California.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Shark Week!

Any week can be a Shark Week if you have a library card. You will not have to wait for the show to be on T.V. – just come in and check-out these DVDs to enjoy with your family and friends. 
If you want to learn more facts about these creatures, then these are just for you:
Shark Week – the 25th Anniversary Collection
Shark Week – Jaws of Steel Collection
 However, if you are into science-fiction, like the suspense, the action, or even the comedy of it all, we have that too. Top of the list would be Jaws and Jaws 2, followed by Shark Night and Open Water. And whether you like or not, the latest movie on the scene is Sharknado. 

 Take your pick now before Sharknado 2: the Second One, comes to a library near you.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Man Booker Prize - 2014 Longlist

 On July 23rd, the longlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize was announced. This will be the first year that the Booker Prize has allowed submission of any novel that is written in English, from anywhere in the world. The list resulting from the new rule includes four American writers, six British, two Irish, and one Australian.
The shortlist of six titles will be announced on September 9th, the winner on October 14th.
Meanwhile, we have thirteen great suggestions for reading away the final weeks of summer. Which six would get your vote for the shortlist? Which one would be the final winner?

Joshua Ferris – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Siri Hustvedt – The Blazing World

Howard Jacobson – J *

Paul Kingsnorth – The Wake *

Neel Mukherjee – The Lives of Others *

David Nicholls – Us

Joseph O’Neill – The Dog 

Richard Powers – Orfeo

Ali Smith – How to be Both*

Niall Williams – History of the Rain

*Not yet available in a U.S.edition
For a judge's opinion of the selections, click on the following link:
Man Booker Prize Judge - The Guardian

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Lake & Cottage Stories

The Big House: a century in the life of an American summer home by George Howe Colt. Faced with the sale of the century-old family summer house on Cape Cod where he had spent forty-two summers, George Howe Colt returned for one last stay with his wife and children. This poignant tribute to the eleven-bedroom jumble of gables, bays, and dormers that watched over weddings, divorces, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, breakdowns, and love affairs for five generations interweaves Colt's final visit with memories of a lifetime of summers. Run-down yet romantic, the Big House stands not only as a cherished reminder of summer's ephemeral pleasures but also as a powerful symbol of a vanishing way of life.

The Lake House by James Patterson. The six children who escaped horrifying government experiments in James Patterson's When the Wind Blows are back at last--in a new thriller that tests the limits of the imagination. All they want is to return to the one place where they ever felt protected--the waterfront cabin known as the Lake House.

The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Doran Barbieri. Learning of the infidelity of her husband, Nora Cunningham packs up her daughters--Annie, seven; and Ella, twelve--and takes refuge on Burke's Island, a craggy spit of land off the coast of Maine where her mother disappeared at sea long ago. Just as Nora begins to regain her balance, her daughters embark on a reckless odyssey of their own--forcing Nora to finally face the truth about her marriage, her mother, and her long-buried past.

The Lake by Richard Laymon. A woman is forced to confront her horrifying past when her eighteen-year-old daughter, while hanging out at the lake during the summer, is tormented by a sadistic killer who plunges them both into a world of terror and insanity.