Best Sellers

Friday, November 29, 2013

Library Journal Genre Fiction Lists of Best in 2013

Library Journal has come out with their best in 2013 list and they include lists for the best in various genre. Today, I will talk about some of the ones that they included in their Romance; Women's Fiction; Historical Fiction and African American Fiction lists. I am not going to talk about every title in the list although I will give you the titles and authors of all of them.

The Arrangement by Mary Balogh. A war-blinded nobleman escapes to the country village where he grew up and is rescued from a marriage trap by a resourceful young woman.
No Place for a Dame by Connie Brockway
The Wanderer by Robyn Carr
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare - Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl. One reviewer has said this book oozes "humor, it’s filled with witty dialogue and the banter is ever flowing. It also has very sensual love scenes and offers a story that flows faultlessly from beginning to end. "
The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie
The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. Faith Holland avoided her hometown after fleeing to San Francisco. Having been jilted at the alter by the love of her life and he was outed by his best friend, she needed to be away from the pitying stares of her small hometown and running into her ex. But when she comes back to Blue Heron for a couple of months to work on a project at the family winery, she has to come face to face with the past and the man she felt ruined everything, Levi Cooper.
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean.  You may remember that MacLean's next book in this series, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, was just picked by librarians and the top book coming out in December.  In this title, Lady Philippa Marbury, the bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of a  cares more for books  and science than the fashion. Newly engaged , Pippa wants to explore the physical side of marriage before the big day. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross. 
Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster
Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak
The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

Women's Fiction
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. This is the debut novel for Graham - an actress in Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed.  This work is based on a fictionalization of her experiences in the New York acting scene in the mid-1990s.
Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann
The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey
Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer.  Lorca is a fourteen-year-old whose entire life revolves around trying to get her totally self-absorbed mother to love her with a penchant for cutting. She forms a bond with an elderly widow who teaches middle eastern cooking.

Historical Fiction
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Longbourn by Jo Baker. A retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with the focus on the servants.
The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally. Following the death of their mother, two Australian sisters volunteer as nurses during WWI.
The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale.  At the tail end of the cowboy days in East Texas, sixteen year old Jack Parker and his sister Lula have a helluva bad week. After their parents die in a smallpox epidemic, their grandfather is murdered by a gang of bank robbers who kidnap Lula. The only help that Jack can find is a grave digging black man named Eustace and the midget bounty hunter Shorty. Along with a giant hog, they set out to rescue Lula. Jack tries to hold to his Christian beliefs that the gang should be caught and tried, and he is horrified at Shorty and Eustace’s willingness to kill and ignore common decency in the name of a greater good, namely their own.  As they meet more victims of the gang along the trail and see how cruel they truly are, Jack starts to realize that there’s no way to get Lula back without getting blood on his hands and that his traveling companions may have a better understanding of the world than he  does.  It has been reviewed as " a rip-roaring adventure equal parts True Grit and Stand by Me".
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.

African American Fiction
Sister Betty Says I Do by Pat G'Orge-Walker.
Losing to Win by Michele Grant. 15 years after her high school cheer leading days, Carissa Wayne is bribed into becoming a contestant on a weight-loss reality show. 
Rise of an American Gangstress Part 2 by Kim K. 
Dirty Rotten Liar : The Misadventures of Mink LaRue  by Noire.
The Man in 3B by Carl Weber. 

We still have Mystery, Thrillers, SciFi/Fantasy and Christian Fiction to cover - but that will have to wait.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Just a Quick Listing of Amazon's Top 10 Books of 2013

All are available at the library. See what you think about Amazon's Top 10 of 2013.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Pilgrim's Wilderness : A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier by Tom Kizzia
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson
Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders
The Son by Philipp Meyer
A House in the Sky: A Memoir by Amanda Lindhout
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Friday, November 15, 2013

LibraryReads for December is Out

LibraryReads list of librarians choice of the best books arriving in December came out yesterday. Keep in mind that December is not a gigantic publishing month so - while I might not choose some of these titles, there are many other librarians who did. See what you think of the list.

Number one among the titles was No Good Duke Goes Unpunished: The Third Rule of Scoundrels by Sarah MacLean. Obviously, the third in the series following A Rogue by Any Other Name andOne Good Earl Deserves a Lover has been met with romance readers acclaim. If you are into historical romances, this series could be for you. Mara Lowe mysteriously disappears on the eve of her wedding day. It is widely believed that Temple is responsible for her murder. 12 years later, Mara reappears and asks for his help. Will he help or seek his revenge?

Next is The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol. Pancol is a French contemporary author and this title is a translation of one of her more popular works. This one is one that I would define as 'chick lit' or a woman's story. When her husband runs off to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress, Joséphine Cortès is left in an unhappy state of affairs. The mother of two attempts to maintain a stable family life while making ends meet on her meager salary as a medieval history scholar. Meanwhile, Joséphine’s sister Iris charms a famous publisher into offering her a lucrative deal for a twelfth-century romance, she offers her sister a deal of her own: Joséphine will write the novel and pocket all the proceeds, but the book will be published under Iris’s name. All is well—that is, until the book becomes the literary sensation of the season.

Roland Merullo's Vatican Waltz is next. Cynthia Piantedosi lives a quiet, unassuming life with her elderly father just outside of Boston. When she loses her beloved grandmother as a child, her faith takes a turn for the devout, and she begins experiencing what she describes as "spells"-moments of such intense prayer that she loses herself. she develops a deep friendship with the parish priest, whose ideas are often seen as too provocative by his congregation but who encourages her to explore her "spells." When he dies in a suspicious hit-and-run accident, the "spells" intensify and their message begins to take shape: God is asking her to be the first female Catholic priest. She reaches out to other unreceptive officials within the Catholic establishment and is met with ridicule. Unable to tune out the divine messages, she leaves behind all that she knows, letting the power of her unswerving faith drive her all the way to the Vatican in pursuit of a destiny she doesn't fully understand-and a turn of events that will rock the Church to its foundation. The writing in this has been praised for it's beauty.

From the religious to the occult in one sentence. Molly Harper's How to Run with a Naked Werewolf, the third in her Naked Werewolf series is a supernatural romance. Written with just the right mixture of romance and humor, this series has become increasingly popular. In this title, Anna Moder has just witnessed a shooting, seen her car pulverized, and rescued a wounded stranger only to discover he’s really a werewolf. Lycanthropes don’t faze Anna. Doctoring a wolf pack outside Grundy, Alaska, is the closest thing to home life she’s known in years. The problem is—Caleb employs his lupine tracking abilities as a not quite- legal bounty hunter, and Anna is suspicious of both him and his profession. On the run from her past, with old problems closing in, she’d like to stay far, far away from anybody with connections to the law. Caleb, however, seems determined to keep her close. Are his intentions noble, or is he working a more predatory angle?

Adriana Trigiani gives us The Supreme Macaroni Company. It is a portrait of a woman and the man she loves, her passion for craftsmanship, and the sacrifices it takes to build and sustain a family business while keeping love and laughter at the center of everything. It follows Valentine (of Very, Valentine and Brava, Valentine) of the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village in her attempts to handle business, a husband and then children.

Then we have Innocence by Dean Koontz. Its a gentle love story wrapped up with tragedy, mystery and a touch of supernatural spices. It is also said to be different from what you might expect and one of his best works. He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen.She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching.

Also making the list is Dangerous Women a book of short stories edited by George R.R. Martin. Among the authors represented are Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Sherilynn Kenyon, Lawrence Block, Carrie Vaughn, S. M. Stirling, Sharon Kay Penman, and many others. There are 21 stories that will take you all over this world and other worlds as well.

In the nonfiction realm, first there is The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, & a Family Secret by Catherine Bailey.In April of 1940 John the 9th Duke of Rutland, and one of Britain's wealthiest men, ended his days, virtually alone, lying on a makeshift bed in a dank cramped suite of rooms in the servants' quarters of his own home, Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire. For weeks, as his health deteriorated, his family, his servants - even the King's doctor - pleaded with him to come out, but he refused. After his death, his son and heir ordered that the rooms be locked up and they remained untouched for sixty years. What lay behind this extraordinary set of circumstances? Catherine Bailey unravels a complex and compelling tale of love, honour and betrayal, played out in the grand salons of Britain's stately homes at the turn of the twentieth century, and on the battlefields of the Western Front.

Scott Stossel, the editor of The Atlantic has written an all-encompassing treatise on the condition of anxiety. My Age of Anxiety : Fear, hope, dread, and the search for peace of mind is learned and empathetic, humorous and inspirational, offering the reader great insight into the biological, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to the affliction.

Lastly, Olivia Laing's The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking. Laing travels the US following the trails of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver and their relationship with drinking.

OK - all of these are in the catalog if you want to get your name on the list before they are published in December. See what YOU think.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Publisher's Weekly Best Mysteries of 2013

Well, to follow up PW's Best 10 Books of 2013 - I will give you some of their Best Mysteries of 2013. I don't know if I agree with them but take a look and see what you think.

First, Hour of the Red God by Richard Crompton. Crompton was a BBC journalist. He had written a book about a Nairobi police detective investigating the death of a fellow Maasai tribe member. Nairobi does not have the facilities and technology that Britain and the United States do, so Detective Mollel uses the old fashioned way - physically tracking down clues. The title comes from the Maasai belief of two gods - Enkai Narok, the benign Black God and Enkai Nanyokie, the Red God of anger, vengeance, and death. His work is being compared to Ian Rankin and there is the possibility that this is the beginning of a series.

A.S.A. Harrison's The Silent Wife is next. Harrison is a Canadian and this work was compared to Gone Girl as it is the story of a faltering marriage. The reviewers unanimously agreed that it wasn't at all like Gone Girl but most seemed to think it could stand on it's own. Todd is a perennial cheater and Jodi is in perennial denial. How far will Jodi go to keep what is hers? A true psychological thriller.

Next, David Morrell's Murder as a Fine Art. Thomas De Quincy was a real English essayist and the author of both On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts and the controversial Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. Morrell's work supposes De Quincy was a major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier. The killings seem to exactly match De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives. Morrell's truth in fiction with a Gothic mystery feel has been reviewed very strongly.

Of course, Louise Penny MUST have her work included. Really Penny's work is more than just a mystery - it is literature. How the Light Gets In is the ninth in her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. Gamache begins investigating a murder of a once-famous celebrity who also was a friend of the bookstore owner in Three Pines. While he uncovers clue after clue, he also deals with enemies in his own Sûreté du Québec police department who are trying to destroy his career. He faces the wrenching realization that he may not be able to help his former colleague, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, defeat his personal demons. This one is said to be even better than her last award winning series entry.

Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, the authors of The Boy in the Suitcase, gives us the third in the Danish Nurse Nina Borg series, Death of a Nightingale. Borg bonds with a Ukrainian refugee accused of murder. The refugee is pursued by a powerful Ukraine as well as the police and Borg rushes to find the real killer. This series has social justice and morality at it's core.

The last entry I am going to cover is Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. Matthews spent 33 years as a CIA agent before writing this, his debut novel. It is a contemporary thriller, set in Putin's Russia but could just as easily taken place in cold war Russia. State Intelligence Officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow. Definitely expect more from this author.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Today I am going to talk about just one book. It has been creating alot of controversy in the library community and although we have it and it is in the catalog, it is not yet ready to go on the shelf. The title is S. The idea came from JJ Abrams, the director of Star Wars and the creator of the television series Lost and Alias. He apparently came up with the idea and drew Doug Dorst into the plan to create this book. I call it a book only in the technical sense. Lots of libraries around the country have decided not to put it on their shelves but just as many are excited about the concept and are willing to try. Why the fuss? Let me tell you.

S is the title and Abrams and Dorst are the authors. When we recieved the book, it was in a cardboard sleeve. 'Hmmm' we said and opened it up. Out came a book entitled 'Ship of Thesus by V.M Straka

What are libraries to do with this???? We do not usually check out items in cardboard boxes. But if we don't, the title on the book will not be the title OF the book.

In addition, Abrams and Dorst have included 22 loose items like postcards, letters, even a map on a paper napkin. Their aim (and according to reviewers they succeeded) was to make this a reading experience rather than just a good read. OK - here is another thing that makes this a complex thing to check out. So, some libraries have decided to return the items they ordered. We, however, don't want our community to lose a chance to experience this ..... well invigorating event. We will be checking this out as an adult kit.

Now to it's unique construction. Once opened, one discovers that Ship of Thesus is a stolen library book, with at least two distinct people writing in the margins. Tucked inside the various pages are mimeographs, postcards, and newspaper clippings within greeting cards. The two college students, Jennifer and Eric, are trying to decipher the mystery of the story, the author, and much more. It reawakens Plutarch's question about Thesus's ship and if it had been completely reconsturcted down to every board over time, was it still the same ship?

Here is what one reviewer said "The experience of reading this book was just really fun and different and I will be reading it again, and raving about how incredible the production of it is to everyone I know (you have been warned)."

We are excited to be able to offer this to our community and it will be ready sometime next week, after we complete its' processing as a kit.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The First Best Books of 2013 List

Publishers Weekly has come out with the first Best Books of 2013 list. Today, I will talk about the top 10 - 5 nonfiction and 5 fiction. I don't know whether I agree with their list but then I have not read all of them. Most are available at the library today although there are two of them that are on order and you will need to put your name on the list if you want to see if you agree with their opinion.

First is Sea of Hooks by Lindsay Hill - a one time banks and published poet. With an experimental narrative design, Hill portrays the troubled childhood of San Franciscan Christopher Westall and also, at the same time, his search for himself as an adult. Those who have read it, declare it the best book of the year. If you are a fan of literary fiction, then this might be your cup of tea.

The next novel is Hanya Yanagihara's The People in the Trees. The memoirs of Norton Perina who is currently in prison. Perina is a scientist who, after graduating from Harvard medical school in the 1940's, travels to a remote Pacific island chain where he might possibly have found the secret to immortality.This work has been particularly praised for it's world building but apparently, it is not for the faint of heart.

Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is next. This is Marra's debut novel and it has made quite an impact. It takes place in Chechnya where an 8 year old girl watches her father taken away and her home burned to the ground. A neighbor rescues her and takes her to what he thinks is a safe place, an abandoned hospital where a sole doctor remains to help the wounded. It is a study of what humanity remains in a war torn country.

The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees is a translation of a work by a Syrian author. Sirees is currently living in the United States and as an outspoken opponent of the Syrian government, escape his country to live in Egypt. The hero in this novel is a banned author who is arrested after stopping to assist a student being beaten by police. His work has been compared to Kafka and Orwell.

Lastly in the fiction category is The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.It is the account of a slave boy who becomes involved with John Brown's antislavery group and must pass as a girl to survive. An adventure story for sure, where Brown is portrayed as a well intentioned lunatic, but also definite deeper truths are also present.

Nonfiction wise - most are defined by their title so I won't be doing much describing:

Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief

Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill exposes how the war on terror is actually conducted.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward recounts the tragic deaths of five important men in her life.

Robert Kolker's Lost Girls : An Unsolved Mystery covers this tale of the five young escorts whose bodies were found on Long Island's Oak Beach.

Finally, Carla Kaplan's Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance.

These are the top 10 for the editors of Publisher's Weekly. We will see how they match up with other publications of 'Best' lists - like the New York Times.