Momoirs: In Celebration of Mothers' Day

Mother's Day is coming up; why not celebrate your own mother(hood) by reading one of these "momoirs"?

A Visit from the Goon Squad: Book to TV Alert

First a Pulitzer, next a TV series... Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad is being turned into a television series on HBO, according to this article from Deadline. The book (and the planned TV series) tell interlocking stories across a span of decades centered around Bennie Salazar, an aging ex-punk rocker from San Francisco. Egan's book is available to Mastics-Moriches-Community Library cardholders in multiple formats: print, e-book, CD audiobook, and downloadable audiobook. Reserve a copy by clicking the red check-mark "request" link and entering your cardnumber & PIN/password.

Lukas Prize Winners

The winners of the 2011 Lukas Prizes, which "recognize excellence in nonfiction that exemplify the literary grace and commitment to serious research and social concern that characterized the work of the awards' Pulitzer Prize-winning namesake, J. Anthony Lukas," are:

J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize ($10,000):

Winner: Eliza Griswold for The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam

Jefferson Cowie for Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class
Paul Greenberg for Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food
Siddartha Mukherjee for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

Mark Lynton History Prize ($10,000):

Winner: Isabel Wilkerson for The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Finalist: Patrick Wilcken for Claude Levi-Strauss: The Poet in His Laboratory

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards: Reader Review

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Rating: 4 out of 5 (very good)

Review: On a cold wintery, snowy night, a woman goes into labor. Her husband, a doctor himself, manages to get them to his office. His nurse, apparently in love with him, waits to help with the delivery. The first baby, a boy, is born perfect and beautiful. A second unexpected baby girl is born. As the doctor looks at his daughter he makes a decision to have his nurse take the baby to an institution. The baby has Down Syndrome. The wife is unaware and he wanted to protect her from a life with a child with Down Syndrome. The story spans 25 years. It is about the consequences of our decisions and their outcomes, how they affect the many lives we touch. A compelling story.

Reviewed by: e l

New Book: Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow

For readers who enjoy thrilling suspense mixed with a touch of fantasy and a no-nonsense heroine, The Diviner's Tale is a solid choice. Single mother Cassandra Brooks discovers a hanged body, but by the time the authorities arrive it has disappeared, forcing Cassandra to reopen a closed chapter of her painful past. Bookpage recently did an interview with author Bradford Morrow; find out about his proudest moment as a writer, the book he's most embarassed not to have read, and the literary character he'd most want to be stranded on an island with. If you enjoyed The Diviner's Tale, you might also want to look at one of Morrow's earlier books, Ariel's Crossing, about another single mom-to-be who seeks out her birth father in the wilds of New Mexico.

Debut Released Today: In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard

Today is the release date of Jo Ann Beard's debut novel In Zanesville, a book that Kirkus describes as a story of "angst, and a grudging reconciliation to childhood being left behind." The novel opens in a small town in the 1970s, when the narrator and her best friend Felicia spend the summer babysitting six children, only to quit in disgust after witnessing the parents' gruesome punishment of a disobedient child. Following the two friends as they navigate the social pressures of high school, the story is what Kirkus calls "a bittersweet remembrance of a time when life was more difficult than it should have been." Reserve your copy of this debut novel today!

Coming Tomorrow: The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson

All who have ever despaired of teaching their life partners to pick up after themselves can relate to the premise of this new release from Christina Hopkinson (author of Cyber Cinderella and other stories). Mary, the heroine of The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs, loves her husband Joel and their sons, but she is extremely frustrated by Joel's failure to do his part around the house. Unknown to Joel, Mary starts a spreadsheet tallying Joel's domestic achievements (or their lack); if he fails to make the grade within six months, she is determined to divorce him. A humorous look at the trials of modern married life; reserve it today!

New Fiction

Check out or reserve these new fictional titles! (Or subscribe to your Community Library's NextReads service to get a monthly emails about the new releases in the genres that interest you.) In Touch, a pastor in the woods of northern Canada must confront inner demons to gain inner peace. Friendship Bread and The Bird Sisters both explore the relationship between sisters, the former from the perspective of younger women and the latter from older women's. The bestselling book The Uncoupling asks what would happen if all women in one town just stopped having sex one day. Finally, Gone with a Handsomer Man is a culinary murder mystery/romance about an out-of-work pastry chef who must turn to her lawyer ex-boyfriend for help when she is accused of killing her fiancee.

Celebrate Earth Day

Here are some non-fictional reads with practical tips on how to green your daily routine, your cleaning, your diet, your career, your travels, and even your decor in celebration of Earth Day. Click here for a complete list of "green"-themed books, compiled by librarian Jessica O.

Pulitzer Prize Winners

Few literary awards are as well-known as the coveted Pulitzer Prize. These are winners of the recently-announced 2011 Pulitzer Prizes in the letters and drama categories:

Fiction: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
General nonfiction: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
History: The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner
Biography: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
Poetry: The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan

Many of these titles have been featured in previous "best of" lists on this blog, so take this post as your reminder to check out these library books and treat yourself to some high-quality writing.

Debut Released Today: Guilt by Association

Marcia Clark, lead prosecutor in the high-profile OJ Simpson trial, turns her hand to writing in this debut novel that earned a starred review in Kirkus. In Guilt by Association, a tough-as-nails female prosecutor refuses to believe that the fifteen-year-old daughter of a wealthy physician was raped by the obvious suspect, a poor Latino gang member. Before the story's done, many surprises await. You can reserve this book from your community library by clicking "request" on the record and entering your barcode & password/PIN.

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Finalists

Finalists have been named for the £10,000 (US$16,388) Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, which honors the best work of contemporary fiction in translation, the Guardian reported. When the winner is announced on May 26, both writer and translator will share the prize money equally. Four of this year's shortlisted titles are available at your Community Library:

Book to Movie Alert: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Yann Martel's bestselling masterpiece of psychological fiction Life of Pi is being turned into a movie! This 2002 Man Booker prize-winning book is about an Indian boy named Pi, who survives a shipwreck only to end up stranded on a life raft with a strange assortment of zoo animals: a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a tiger. According to this report from Deadline, actor Tobey Maguire has just been cast as a writer who interviews Pi as an adult. You have plenty of time to read (or re-read) the book that inspired the movie, as the movie is not scheduled to reach theaters until December of 2012.

Reader Review: Vampire Diaries Series by L.J. Smith

The Awakening & The Struggle (books 1 & 2) Rating: 3/5 (OK) Review: I enjoyed it. It was a fast read. I had hoped it would be closer to the show, which I love.

The Fury & Dark Reunion (books 3 & 4) Rating: 1/5 (terrible) Review: I didn't really enjoy Book 3, The Fury. It seemed to be going "off" track from what the previous books were. I barely finished Book 4, Dark Renunion. It was a challenge to read. I didn't even relate to the characters anymore, from the first 3 books. I enjoy the show so much more.

Reviewed by: Johanna H.

Song of Ice and Fire: High Fantasy on TV

For many, the genre of high fantasy is defined by a few monumental series, including "Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan, and "The Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin. Tomorrow, "The Song of Ice and Fire" premieres as an HBO TV series entitled "Game of Thrones." For readers who need a refresher (or people who are just discovering the series), here's a complete list of the books in chronological order. Be warned, however, that the series does not conclude with book 4; fans have been waiting six years for the next installment with no apparent publication date in sight.

1. A Game of Thrones
The kingdom of the royal Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and the arrival of barbarian hordes.

Five separate factions vie for control of the realm of the late Lord Eddard Stark, while an ancient form of magic, an everlasting winter, and an unearthly army threaten to return.

The Seven Kingdoms are torn by strife as the three surviving contenders for the throne continue their struggle for power, Robb Stark defends his fledgling kingdom from the ravaging Greyjoys, Winterfell lies in ruins and Jon Snow confronts an escalating threat from behind the Wall, and Danerys Stormborn and her dragon allies continue to grow in power.

The kingdom exists in a state of perilous equilibrium following the death of a monstrous king, a regent ruling in King's Landing, and few claimants to the Iron Throne, until new conspiracies and alliances begin to erupt in the Seven Kingdoms.

Moonwalking with Einstein: Read-alikes

Can't get enough of Joshua Foer's exciting new book Moonwalking with Einstein? Here are three read-alikes recommended by NoveList, the readers' advisory database available for free to Mastics-Moriches-Shirley cardholders.

Presents the astonishing first-person account of living with the only diagnosed case of a remarkable superior memory condition, whereby the author remembers all the days of her life since age 14 in astonishing and unstoppable detail.

Warns that the huge burden of information overload and multitasking can exceed the limits of our slowly evolving stone-age brain. Includes keen writing on the impact on working memory of problem solving, meditation, computer games, caffeine and the existence of attention deficit disorder.

A tour of brain science explores the disparity between the brain's seemingly endless capacity and its tendency to fail at even simple tasks, in an account by a famous autistic savant that incorporates elements of his own story.

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan: Reader Review

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan

Rating: 5 out of 5 (excellent)

Review: A fictionalized biograpy about the poet, Pablo Neruda, whose real name is Neftali Reyes. Neftali is a dreamer of words, he collects words, he's amazed by them and savors them. He grows up being ridiculed by his strict dictator of a father. At one point, the father takes him and his sister as small children to what seems to be a vacation by the water. However, he instructs both children to go deep into the ocean (even though they do not know how to swim) so that they can get stronger. Neftali winds up saving his sister on more than one occasion but his father is a ruthless man. Neftali eventually grows up and becomes aware of the problems and issues facing the Mapuche people in his Chilean homeland and becomes proactive in their plight. This is an ALA Notable Children's Book. Excellent.

Reviewed by: e l