New Release: The Red Market by Scott Carney

Human trafficking, narcotics trafficking... organ trafficking? Yes, there is a lucrative market for human body parts, and investigative journalist Scott Carney examines it thoroughly in his new book The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers. For fictional titles involving organ trafficking, try Bone Thief by Jefferson Bass, in which a doctor faces an ethical dilemma when asked to heal his friend using black market body parts, Eye of Heaven, a romantic suspense story in which a Las Vegas star works together with an undercover operative to expose an organ smuggling ring, or Jodi Picoult's look at a death row organ donor in Change of Heart. In another book by the same name, Change of Heart by Sylvia Claire is one woman's true recounting of how receiving a heart and lung transplant utterly transformed her life. People interested in the ethics of organ transplantation can also try reading The Match: Savior Siblings and One Family's Battle to Save their Daughter, the nonfictional account of parents who have a designer baby in order to save their first child from anemia (which for some will bear an eerie similiarity to another fictional story by Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper).

Memory of Love wins Commonwealth Writer's Prize

Congratulations to author Aminatta Forna, who recently won the £10,000 (US$16,233) Commonwealth Writer's Prize for her novel Memory of Love. In the book, a gifted young surgeon is haunted by memories of the civil war that has decimated his Sierra Leone home; meanwhile, a patient relates disturbing stories about the post-colonial years and a well-intentioned British psychologist draws all of them into the path of an enigmatic woman. Other books that were recognized by the awards committee include Room by Canadian author Emma Donoghue, in which an abused five-year-old boy narrates the story of his life growing up in a single room, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by UK author David Mitchell, a work set in 1799 Japan telling the story of an ambitious clerk for the Dutch East Indies Company who has only five years to amass enough money to marry his sweetheart back home.

New Nonfiction: Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

After the publication of Lost Horizon in 1933, "Shangri-La" came to mean any remote, unspoiled place. Small wonder, then, that an inaccessible valley high the central mountains of New Guineau was dubbed "Shangri-La" when it was first discovered by the outside world during World War II. It quickly became a flyover tourist attraction, at least until one plane crash-landed in this not-so-idyllic Eden. Lost in Shangri-La tells the true story of the survivors of this plane crash and how they managed to return home. Click here for Bookpage's interview with author Mitchell Zuckoff about this exciting new publication. For more suggestions on real-life adventure stories, click here to see a booklist compiled by Mastics-Moriches-Shirley librarian Carolyn P.

Comic Fiction Prize goes to Super Sad True Love Story

Looking for something funny to read? The Guardian reported that Super Sad True Love Story recently won the UK's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, the first book by a US author to do so. This book by Gary Shteyngart tells the story of middle-aged Russian-American Lenny Abramov. Living in a depressing near-future America, Lenny is obsessed with three things: living forever, his books (or "printed, bound media artifacts," as they're now known), and Eunice Park, a 24-year-old Korean-American who both entices and torments him. But despite the title, perhaps this love story will not have a super sad ending...

WWII Time-Travel Story Wins Nebula Award

In February, this blog announced the list of 2011 Nebula nominees for best novel. Now, the winner has finally been chosen: Connie Willis for Blackout its companion volume, All Clear. The books tell the story of three time-travelling historians from 2060 who become trapped in World War II, with dire consequences. These accessible titles will appeal not only to science fiction readers, but also to fans of historical fiction/alternate history and to people who enjoy books like The Time Traveller's Wife.

Locus Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2010 Locus Awards in Fantasy and Science Fiction have been announced (and are available in their entirety here). Winners in each category will be announced at the end of June 2011; while the judges are making up their minds, why not check one out? The nominees from the two main categories are listed below:


Science Fiction

Something Borrowed: Bestselling Book Now A Movie

If you've been to the movies lately, you might have seen Something Borrowed, a new romantic comedy based on the 2004 book by Emily Giffin. After a night of indiscriminate partying, Rachel sleeps with a close friend's fiancé and is consumed with guilt, until the intensity of her feelings forces her to make a difficult choice. Check out the entire series: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You're With, and Heart of the Matter.

New Release: America Pacifica by Anna North

For fans of doomsday novels like Cormac McCarthy's The Road, this debut novel about one of the last habitable places on Earth may be a good next read. After an Ice Age descends upon the planet, the fictional island America Pacifica is one of the last places that supports human life. It doesn't take long for a strict heirarchy to establish itself, with ordinary people like Sarah and her 18-year-old daughter Darcy at the bottom eating jellyfish and seaweed while a privileged few at the top dine on steak and potatoes. When Sarah mysteriously goes missing, Darcy discovers that her mother is involved in a clandestine resistance movement, and that nothing will ever be the same for either mother or daughter on this postapocalyptic island nation of American Pacifica.

Mermaids are splashing into fiction

Tired of vampires and werewolves? Mermaids may be the hot new trend in paranormal romance, according to this article from USA Today. Even Stephenie Meyer, whose fame was built on the Twilight vampire series, is currently working on a story involving mermaids. Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon (which received a five-star review by a Mastics-Moriches-Shirley cardholder in this year's Winter Reading Club) is only one of many new mermaid titles. There's also Catch of a Lifetime, in which an environmentally-conscious mermaid convinces a gruff fisherman to join her fight against water pollution, and Siren's Surrender, about woman who denies her mermaid heritage until forced to work with covert agent Blake Whittaker to track the evil mermaid queen. Keep an eye out for forthcoming mermaid-themed books as this trend takes off.

Book to Movie Alert: One Day

Planning on watching some movies this summer? One Day, a romantic comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, is scheduled to be released in July. Beat the rush; reserve the book that inspired this movie today! In the book One Day by David Nicholls, Dexter and Emma try to maintain the connection they shared on the eve of their college graduation with letters or meetings every year on the day they met, but conflicting personalities, careers, and misconceptions hinder their efforts.

Uplifting Stories for a Rainy Day

It's been gray & rainy in the Shirley area this week; lift your spirits by curling up with your favorite hot beverage and one of these books from your Community Library (recommended in Flavorwire's article "10 Uplifting Books for Lonely People"). Got any uplifting book suggestions of your own? Share them in a comment!

Debut Released Today: The Craigslist Murders by Brenda Cullerton

Today marks the release of The Craigslist Murders by first-time novelist Brenda Cullerton. Kirkus summarizes the plot of this new release: "Chic interior designer vents her frustration by bumping off wealthy women she stalks online." Part social commentary, psychological drama, and love story, The Craigslist Murders shares juicy details about the exclusive world of the uber-rich as seen through the eyes of interior designer Charlotte Wolfe. Sample this new author's writing talent and reserve The Craigslist Murders here at your Community Library.

New SciFi/Fantasy

If you're a fan of science fiction and fantasy, here are a few brand-new releases just for you! In Queen of Kings, Cleopatra is re-imagined as a shape-shifting vampire bent on vengeance against those who have wronged her family. Meanwhile, Hounded by Kevin Hearne looks at the ancient history of another part of the Earth for inspiration, though the story is set in modern times: Atticus O'Sullivan, the last of the Druids, finds his peaceful life shattered by the arrival of an angry Celtic god who wants Atticus's magical sword. Another contemporary fantasy story, Dead Reckoning, continues the wildly popular Southern Vampire series with clairvoyant Sookie Stackhouse witnessing the firebombing of the bar where she works, and also discovering that her vampire lover, Eric Northman, and his "child," Pam, are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master.

Additionally, two new books deal with human colonization of space. In Fuzzy Nation by Hugo-winning author John Scalzi, contractor Jack Holloway believes he has become a wealthy man when he discovers a gem node on a distant planet, until he encounters an indigenous race of small, furry and very sentient beings who his corporate partners would eliminate to secure their stake in the treasure (probably a good read for fans of the movie Avatar). In Embassytown by China Mieville, Avice Benner Cho tries to keep a tenuous peace on planet settled by both humans and the alien Ariekei when the arrival of a new group threatens to upset their fragile balance. Any other suggestions for great new scifi/fantasy? Comment!

New Nonfiction

Check out these new works of nonfiction! The Reading Promise and In the Garden of Beasts both deal with father-daughter relationships, one in the modern day and the other in Hitler's Berlin, while The Convert tells the famous true story of Margaret Marcus of Larchmont, NY, who abandoned the religion and country of her birth, converted to Islam, and moved to Pakistan. A History of Marriage and Origins of Political Order (a newcomer on the New York Times bestseller list) both trace the origins of two intriguing and often controversial social institutions: marriage and democracy.

Physics of the Future & Read-alikes

Consider all the inventions that have been made in the last century, from cars to cell phones. Now, try predicting what the world be like one century from now. It is this daunting question that well-known science writer Michio Kaku considers in his new book The Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100. A few of his predictions include that the Internet will be in your contact lens, you can remotely control appliances by thinking abou them, nanobots will monitor your health and increase your life expectancy, and radically new spaceships using laser propulsion will replace the expensive chemical rockets of today.

For similar speculations on the science of the near future, the readers' advisory database Novelist also recommends: What Remains to be Discovered by John Maddox and The Edge of Physics by Anil Ananthaswamy.