Not another New Year's

If you routinely grumble at your neighbors' New Year's noisemaking and wouldn't be caught dead in Times Square on December 31st, then this lighthearted 'bah-humbug' book might be just what you need to lift your spirits.  In Not Another New Year's, Hannah Davis plans to spend the holiday at a bar alone with beer and bitter memories of her fiancé's betrayal.  But she surprises even herself when she allows herself to be picked up by a gorgeous and brooding man, who turns out to be former Secret Service agent Tanner Hart, a man with his own ghosts to put to rest.

2011 Top Fiction and Nonfiction

It's a daunting challenge to select the best books of the year, but Booklist has done it!  They have chosen Susan Orlean's Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend as the best adult nonfiction book of 2011; their selection for best adult fiction book of 2011 is The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright.  But regardless of what you're reading and how (print or electronic), we at the Community Library would like to wish you a 2012 filled with wonderful reading material.

Books like Le Carre's 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'

Love top-notch spy thrillers?  Filmgoers who have seen the new award-winning movie Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy might have (re)discovered John Le Carré's 1974 novel of the same name.  In this classic suspense story, British agent George Smiley hunts for a Soviet double agent within the ranks of the Secret Service.  And if you're similarly on the hunt for a good read-alike, try these three books, recommended by Novelist:
  1. Secret Asset by Stella Rimington - Secret Asset portrays agent Liz Carlyle's attempt to thwart a terrorist attack and root out a mole in British intelligence. Rimington's eye for the details of life in a secretive community conveys a contemporary upgrade of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  2. Morning Spy, Evening Spy by Colin MacKinnon - In Morning Spy, Evening Spy, a CIA agent investigates the death of a fellow agent during the year leading up to 9/11, uncovering ineptitude, almost willful blindness, and scrambled priorities reminiscent of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy's portrayal of Britain's MI5.
  3. The Eighth Dwarf by Ross Thomas - Set in war-torn Germany in the late-1940s, The Eighth Dwarf features more action than Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and the pacing is faster than Le Carré's. However, both portray a world-weary cynicism and an equally compelling cast of minor characters.  
Remember, you can log onto Novelist yourself anytime using your Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library card.

Weres and Wolves

Love wolf/werewolf fantasy?  Here are four suggestions just for you:

Promise of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst - Set 14,000 years ago, Promise of the Wolves takes us to a land where time is counted in phases of the moon, distance is measured in wolflengths, and direction by the scent of the nearest trail.
Wolfsangel by MD Lachlan - Acting on a prophecy, the viking King Authun raids an Anglo-Saxon village and captures twin boys, taking them back to the witches who live on the perilous mountain of the Troll Wall. Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear - A young nobleman chosen to become a wolfcarl, a warrior bonded to a fighting wolf, Isolfr is bound to Viradechtis, a queen wolf, as they confront a powerful force supernatural creatures that threatens the complaisant human holdings.
Benighted by Kit Whitfield - Lola Galley, an ordinary human in a world in which nearly all the population is lycanthropic, sets out to bring to justice the rogue lune responsible for the mauling of an old friend.

A more comprehensive version of this themed list was originally published in the library's Fantasy December 2011 NextReads newsletter - subscribe free here for once-a-month emails about new releases and themed booklists in your favorite genre. 

Don't miss this Shakespearean/Victorian mashup!

Inspired by two beloved works of English literature (Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest), All Men of Genius takes place in an alternate Steampunk Victorian London, where science makes the impossible possible. Violet Adams wants to attend the exclusive, all-male Illyria College, founded by the late Duke Illyria.  She gains entry disguised as her twin brother, Ashton, but keeping the secret of her sex isn't easy, especially when the duke's young ward starts to develop feelings for Violet's alter ego. Not to mention blackmail, mysterious killer automata, and the way Violet's pulse quickens whenever the young duke, Ernest (who has a secret past of his own), speaks to her. For another enjoyable story about a cross-dressing girl at a male-only school, try Tamora Pierce's young adult fantasy novel Alanna: The First Adventure, or the more recent work of realistic fiction, Babe in Boyland.

Books like Umberto Eco's 'The Prague Cemetery'

Enjoy atmospheric historical fiction and conspiracy theories?  Then you've probably already discovered Umberto Eco's new book The Prague Cemetery, which follows the controversial nineteenth-century story of a European world where violence and occult practices shaping key historical events are commonly linked by a solitary evil genius.  If you loved it and are looking for similar titles, NoveList also recommends:
  1. An instance of the fingerpost - Iain Pears - These two titles are both highly intellectual historical mysteries that bring Europe's past to life. Each focuses on a fictional character but features real historical figures, and each has elements of religious hatred, ethnic prejudice, and deception.
  2. My name is Red by Orhan Pamuk - If you enjoy mysteries full of historical detail, a strong sense of place, and a many-layered plot, you may want to read The Prague Cemetery and My Name Is Red.  
  3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - The Prague Cemetery and The Count of Monte Cristo are stories of 19th-century intrigue, action, and conspiracy. Both are lyrically written and feature men who excel at keeping their true selves hidden in order to enact devious plans of revenge.
Log on to NoveList yourself using your Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library card, and discover even more books that are similar to your favorites.

War Horse leaps from print to screen

Heading to the movie theater this holiday season?  War Horse, a new film directed by Steven Spielberg, opens on Christmas.  This movie tells the emotional story of a young man and his horse, who get caught up in World War I.  Like many movies, War Horse is based on a book.  Read Michael Morpurgo's original tale in the Kingfisher Book of Classic Animal Stories, available from your Community Library! 

All I Did Was Shoot My Man

The fourth and most recent installment of Walter Mosley's popular Leonid McGill mystery series has been released!  In All I Did Was Shoot My Man, main character Leonid McGill finds himself caught between his sins of the past and an all-too-vivid present.  When Zella Grisham is accused of both shooting her boyfriend and stealing more than six million dollars from the Rutgers Assurance Corp., Leonid McGill investigates, while his own family life begins to unravel around him.  New to the series?  Start with The Long Fall, followed by Known to Evil and When the Thrill is Gone.

Books like 'Clockwork Prince'

Adults and teens alike enjoy the work of Cassandra Clare, whose second book in the "Infernal Device"s series, Clockwork Prince, has just recently been published.  The Community Library owns three copies; unsurprisingly, all three of them are checked out.  Whether you've read it already or are still waiting for your copy, try these similar reads, recommended by the readers' advisory database NoveList. 
  1. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa - These sometimes (some might say "deliciously") melodramatic fantasy romances both have steampunk elements in the mix, and characters in each one are involved in a tense love triangle. This is book 3 in the 'Iron Fey' series, so start with The Iron King.
  2. The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton - Both of these romantic historical fantasy novels present a version of Victorian London in danger of being overrun by the supernatural, with heroines ill-prepared but determined to save the day.
  3. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer - Teens looking for fantasy novels with intricate plotting, steadily increasing tension, steamy love triangles, and plenty of twists and turns will be satisfied by either of these compelling reads.
And of course, if you're new to the series, start with Infernal Devices, book 1: Clockwork Angel, or the first book from another series in the same universe: Mortal Instruments, book 1: City of Bones.

Nothing Can Make Me Do This

Enjoy domestic drama?  Nothing Can Make Me Do This by David Huddle tells the story of a family torn apart by its patriarch's dirty secret.  This book received a starred review in Booklist: "Huddle zestfully traverses the erratic arc of love, lust, and everything in between."  Be the first at your Community Library to put a hold on this exciting new book.

Top-notch hard-boiled crime fiction in 'Angel Face'

Looking to read a suspenseful, gritty crime novel set in nearby New York City?  Try the new book Angel Face, which Booklist praises as "top-notch hard-boiled crime fiction."  Young prostitute Angel Tamanaka's life becomes intertwined with hit man Leonard Carter after Angel witnesses Leonard killing one of her clients, a high-profile member of organized crime who told Angel about a hidden cache of money before he died.  You'll be turning pages until midnight with this one!

Long Island Reads

The "Long Island Reads" book selection for 2012 has been announced: The Lost Wife, by Alyson Richman.  Set in the last moments of calm in prewar Prague, Lenka, a young art student, and Josef, who is studying medicine, fall in love. With the promise of a better future, they marry -- only to have their dreams shattered by the imminent Nazi invasion.  Readers who loved The Lost Wife can also take a ten-day tour through the book's setting in the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary - get details here.

Readers' Choice Best Books of 2011

'Best-of' book lists offer readers a chance discover gems they may have missed.  Bookpage offers the top 30 books of 2011,based on votes from over 2,500 readers, all of which are available through your Community Library.  And here they are:

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
3. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
4. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
5. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
6. (2-way tie) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
8. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
9. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
10. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
11. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
12. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
13. (3-way tie) The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht, and The Affair by Lee Child
16. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
17. (2-way tie) Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks & The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
19. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
20. (4-way tie) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean, The Greater Journey by David G. McCullough, and The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
24. (3-way tie) A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
27. (3-way tie) The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
30. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Another Top 10 Books of 2011 List

Want a second opinion to the New York Times top 10 books of 2011 list?  Here's the top 10 picks of the year (including both fiction and nonfiction) from a Shelf Awareness freelance book reviewer (read the full article here.)  Only one book made it onto bost 'Top 10' lists: Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding, about a disasterously thrown baseball that affects the lives of five people in surprising ways.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach *
The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier
Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman
Volt by Alan Heathcock
Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert
History of a Suicide: My Sister's Unfinished Life by Jill Bialosky
Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III
Blue Nights by Joan Didion
The Other Walk: Essays by Sven Birkerts

Lose yourself in amazing 'Amazir'

If you like your historical fiction to transport you to destinations as vividly drawn as  characters, try the newly-released Amazir: A Novel of Morocco, which Booklist describes as "an epic adventure-cum-love story set in 1938." When an idealistic young Englishman, Harry Summerfield, befriends an American oil explorer in Gibraltar, their meeting sparks a journey for both men that will take them across Morocco and northern Africa.  There, they encounter the harsh realities of Berber opposition to French colonial rule and the passion and conflict of a love for the same young French woman.   The book's publisher describes Amazir as "a breathtaking journey into the souks and mountains of Morocco that chronicles a powerful love affair and a nation's political turmoil."

Newest Joe Gunther novel Tag Man

Tag Man, the newest in the popular Joe Gunther mystery series, has just been released.  This follow-up to Red Herring has Vermont detective Joe Gunther on the heels of what appears to be an unlucky burglar.  When this burglar breaks into the heavily secured homes of wealthy Vermont citizens and discovers evidence of a string of murders in one of the homes, Joe Gunther untangles conflicting evidence while the burglar flees for his life.  New to the series?  Each book stands well alone, but sticklers for series order should start with 1993's The Skeleton Key.

If you like the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series...

If you like Alexander McCall Smith's "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" books, you might also enjoy these other mystery series (on display downstairs in the Fiction section):
  • China Bayles Mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert - China Bayles is a herbalist and loveable amateur sleuth.  The books work well alone, but for those readers who are sticklers about series order, start with 1992's Thyme of Death, available for pick up at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Library via loan from other Suffolk County libraries.
  • Miss Marple Mysteries by Agatha Christie - A truly classic series featuring an unflappable upper-class British heroine, who solves mysteries over a cup of tea.  The first title, A Murder at the Vicarage, was published in 1930 and has since been re-released.
  • Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown - Mrs. Murphy is a clever housecat with a nose for trouble; starting with the publication of 1990's Wish You Were Here, she helps her owner solve crimes.  For other murder mysteries involving cats, try Lilian Jackson Braun's "Jim Qwilleran" feline whodunit series, starting with 1966's The Cat Who Could Read Backwards.
  • Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle - Clare Cosi, the manager of a small coffeeshop, gets drawn into amateur crime solving.  The series started in 2003 with On What Grounds.
  • Maxie and Stretch by Sue Henry - Independent retiree Maxie McNabb is 63 and as sharp as ever; she solves crimes with the help of her loveable dachshund Stretch. Start with 2004's The Serpent's Trail.
  • Someday Quilts by Clare O'Donohue - Nell Fitzgerald and her knitting club, "Someday Quilts," somehow get themselves entangled in mysteries that they alone can solve.   Series newcomers should start with 2008's The Lover's Knot.

Happy Birthday, William Floyd

William Floyd School District, William Floyd Parkway, William Floyd Plaza - William Floyd's name is all over this community, but who was William Floyd anyway?  In fact, William Floyd was a local resident (his estate in Mastic is now a historic site) who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Celebrate this local founding father's 277th birthday on Saturday, December 17th by visiting your Community Library.  At 3 pm, local schoolchildren will perform music and read selections from their essays, after which all are invited to help blow out the candles on William Floyd's birthday cake and enjoy some light refreshments.  Can't make it to the party?  Read up on William Floyd - check out a book from your Community Library's "Happy Birthday William Floyd" display.

NYT 10 Best Books of 2011

It's that time of year again!  Everyone with an opinion is busy compiling 'best-of lists' for 2011, and the book world is no exception.  Here is The New York Times's recently released list "10 Best Books of 2011:" 
  1. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  3. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  4. Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
  5. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
  6. Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens
  7. The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son by Ian Brown
  8. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
  9. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  10. A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman
Do you think the New York Times missed one?  Share your opinions - comment!