Family curse explored 'The Devil's Right Hand'

If the intersection of the real world and the supernatural thrills you, you may enjoy the new book The Devil's Right Hand: The Tragic Story of the Colt Family Curse by M. William Phelps. The legacy of the Colt family of gunmakers is largely remembered for a lurid murder case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Oblong Box," but it encompassed much more. Part historical true-crime, part family biography and cultural history, The Devil's Right Hand is a stirring narrative about a darkly cursed American dynasty.

Author of 'You're Not Doing It Right' is doing something right

Did you catch today's 'The Chew' on ABC?  If so, you heard about You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death and Other Humiliations.  This talked-about new book, available at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community library, shares acerbic observations about the author's family life in suburbia, from shopping for an unnecessary divorce home to attending kindergarten recitals.  Place holds now for this popular new release!

'The Dog that Talked to God' and other inspirational canines

Love inspirational dog stories? In the new Christian fiction book The Dog that Talked to God, a middle-aged widow named Mary Fassler adopts a miniature schnauzer with the surprising ability to speak.  With the help of her canine companion's simple faith, Mary sorts through the Job-worthy mess of her life.  For other books like The Dog that Talked to God, try Emily and Einstein, a secular story about a widow with a loveable dog, or The Art of Racing in the Rain, written from the point of view of a dying dog who meditates on the wisdom of his widowed master.

'The Wolf of Wall Street' Book to Movie Alert

Jordan Belfort's 2007 memoir The Wolf of Wall Street is being turned into a movie directed by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, Shelf Awareness reports.  Scorsese and DiCaprio have teamed up on a number of films in the past, including Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and Shutter Island, and now look forward to telling the story of the man who describes himself as a "stock market multimillionare at 26 [and] federal convict at 36" who "barely survived [his] rise and fall as an American entrepreneurial icon."  Terence Winter, the executive producer of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, is the scriptwriter.  Beat the rush to the library - check out this book before the movie version hits theaters!

Hilarious debut in 'The Fallback Plan'

What happens when you graduate college and your only plan happens to be your fallback plan?  This is Eshter Kohler's unenviable situation in the new book The Fallback PlanShe decides to move back in with her parents and take a job babysitting the neighbors' daughter May, but the job proves surprisingly complicated as May's parents pull Eshter in conflicting directions.  If you're looking for a hilarious debut novel that examines the challenging time between college commencement and the commencement of real life, check this book out from your Community Library.  Got any other pre-life crisis books to suggest?  Share your ideas in the comments!

Debut novels past and present: Fitzgerald's 'This Side of Paradise'

On March 26, 1920, exactly 92 years ago, F. Scott Fitzgerald's debut novel This Side of Paradise was published.  The now classic story garnered the 23-year-old author instant acclaim (see full article from, although Fitzgerald is arguably better known to modern readers for The Great Gatsby, which takes place here on Long Island.  What future literary talents are premiering today?  This blog often features promising debut novels available at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library - enter "debut" in the search bar at the top left to browse.

'A gripping debut' in 'Age of Miracles'

Check out The Age of Miracles, a brand-new book that Publishers Weekly calls "a gripping debut."  This coming-of-age story is set against the backdrop of a creeping natural disaster; main character Julia is only eleven when she learns that the Earth's rotation has started to slow, with gradual but devastating consequences.  For other books like The Age of Miracles, try Life as We Knew It, a story told in the form of a teenage girl's diary in which an asteroid collides with the moon, gradually causing cataclysmic weather changes on Earth.

Books like 'Hunger Games'

The wildly-anticipated Hunger Games movie was released in theaters today, sparking a resurgence of interest in the dystopian trilogy: Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.  For those of you who are addicted to these books, in which teens are forced to battle to the death on live TV, try checking out a few of these books like Hunger Games from your Community Library:
  • Matched by Ally Condie - Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her, so when Xander appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate--until Ky Markham's face appears for an instant before the screen fades to black.  The newly-released sequel is Crossed; the series is on-going.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth - In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.  The sequel, Insurgent, is coming soon; the series is ongoing.
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - Just before their sixteenth birthdays, when they will will be transformed into beauties whose only job is to have a great time, Tally's best friend runs away and Tally must find her and turn her in, or never become pretty at all.  This is the first in a completed 4-book series, followed by Pretties, Specials, and Extras.
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman -  In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to survive until they turn eighteen.  An as-yet unnamed sequel is forthcoming.
  • Maze Runner by James Dashner - Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.  This is the first in a completed trilogy, followed by The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.
There are plenty of other great dystopias out there for Hunger Games fans hungry for more; share your suggestions by commenting!

'The best exotic Marigold Hotel' book now a movie

If you've been to the movies lately, you might have seen or heard about The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a newly released film based on the book These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach.  In the story, British retirees are lured to India by the promise of indulgent living at a bargain price, but upon arriving, they are dismayed to find that restoration of the once sophisticated hotel has stalled, and that such amenities as water and electricity are . . . infrequent. But while their new life lacks in luxury, it's plentiful in adventure, stunning beauty, and unexpected love. 
Those who enjoyed this story might also want to try the new book An Available Man, in which a 62-year-old bookish widower is flooded with (initially) unwanted female attention after his stepchildren place a personal ad on his behalf.  The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, about the vengeful elderly subject of a secret government experiment, offers another humorous look at life and love in one's golden years.

'Young Lions' Fiction Shortlist

The New York Public Library recently announced its five finalists for the coveted "Young Lions" award, which honors a promising American writer under the age of 35.  This year's shortlisted books are:
The winner will be announced on May 14.

The book that inspired the new movie 'Think Like a Man'

A new romantic comedy is coming on April 20th a theater near you!  Think Like A Man tells the story of four male friends who vow to fight back after discovering that their girlfriends are all using Steve Harvey's classic relationship advice book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man to manipulate them.  If you've become intrigued by the book that inspired this movie, look no further than your Community Library to satisfy your curiosity.

Released at last! 7th book in amazing alternate-history 'Temeraire' series

Fans of Naomi Novik will be delighted that Crucible of Gold, the newest book in the bestselling Temeraire series, is now available at their Community Library.  In this alternate-history universe sure to appeal to fans of sea stories, dragon stories, and military history alike, dragons serve in battle as living airships. Crucible of Gold tells the story of the noble Captain Laurence and his indefatigable fighting dragon Temeraire, who travel to South America to negotiate with the Incas as part of a plan to stop Napoleon's campaign for world domination.  New to the series?  Start with book 1, His Majesty's Dragon.  You won't be disappointed.

First female author wins Man Asian Literary Prize

Please Look After Mom has won the Man Asian Literary Prize, making its author Kyung-Sook Shin the first woman to win this prestigious award for works by Asian authors that are available in English.  The book follows the efforts of a family to find the mother who went missing from Seoul Station and their sobering realizations when they recall memories that suggest she may not have been happy.  The book has sold nearly 2 million copies in its native South Korea alone, a country with a population of only 50 million people.  For full details on this award, click here.

Best opening lines

Check out this article from Stylist magazine on the best 100 opening lines, taken from 100 classic novels.  From Pride and Prejudice ("It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife") and Moby Dick ("Call me Ishmael") to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ("Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.") and Eat, Pray, Love ("I wish Giovanni would kiss me") these books start with a flourish and end with millions of satisfied readers.

Beware the ides of March

Roman emperor Julius Caesar was famously warned to beware the ides of March (today, March 15), but he failed to heed the prophecy and was killed.  For more on his story, read Shakespeare's classic play "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" or the modern retelling The Ides of March.  For more thrilling tales of cautionary foretellings, you can also try Prophecy, The Paradise Prophecy, or The Romanov Prophecy.

Small town suspense in 'A Land More Kind Than Home'

Looking for a suspenseful story set in a small town?  Try the newly-published A Land More Kind Than Home.  In this book, Jess Hall grows up deep in the heart of an unassuming mountain town that believes in protecting its own.  But when his autistic older brother, Stump, sneaks a look at something he isn't supposed to, it has catastrophic repercussions, and plunges Jess into an adulthood for which he is not prepared.

Literary March Madness

How do the best books of the year face up in a March Madness-style tournament?  Visit The Tournament of Books by The Morning News to find out.  The staff of this publication are pitting 16 books published in 2011 against each other.  Read them for yourself and weigh in:

Three hot new Regency romances

Looking for Regency romances to set your heart racing?  Try one of these three new books available at your Community Library, all named "Top Picks" by the March 2012 issue of Romantic Times.
  • A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean - Determined to keep his new wife, the very proper Lady Penelope Marbury, away from London's illicit underworld, the Marquess of Bourne, the owner of London's most exclusive gaming hell, finds this task quite challenging when Penelope discovers her own desires.
  • The Revenge of Lord Eberlin by Julia London - Determined to destroy Lily Boudine, the woman whose childhood testimony helped send his father to the gallows for stealing the valuable Ashwood jewels, Tobin Scott returns to Hadley Green where he offers Lily a choice, but their dangerous game leads to passion and a shocking truth.
  • Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash - After her murderous blackguard of a husband tries to kill her, Roxanne Vanderhaven finds an unlikely champion in the notorious Duke of Kress, who, exiled to Cornwall by the Prince Regent himself, is searching for redemption. 
Happy reading from your Community Library!

6th book out in 'John Wells' series: 'Shadow Patrol'

Fans of Alex Berenson's popular "John Wells" series of suspenseful novels set in war-torn Afghanistan will be happy to hear that the sixth book in the series has just been published.  The Shadow Patrol continues the story of John Wells, an undercover operative for the CIA, as he travels to Kabul to investigate a drug trafficking operation that involves the agency, the military, and the Taliban.  New to the series?  Start with The Faithful Spy, and continue with The Ghost War, The Silent Man, The Midnight House, and The Secret Soldier.

Short mystery collections at MMSCL

For the amateur sleuth in all of us, here is a list of short mystery collections available at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library.  Perfect for those who don't have the time or the patience for full-length myseries!

Unlikely duo attempts to save the world in 'Angelmaker'

Enjoy your spy thrillers leavened with a bit of humor?  You may enjoy Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker, a blistering gangster-noir-meets-absurdist-comedy in which only an unassuming repairman and an octogenarian former superspy can save the world from total destruction.  Avoiding the lifestyle of his late gangster father by working as a clock repairman, Joe Spork fixes an unusual device that turns out to be a former secret agent's doomsday machine and incurs the wrath of the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator.

Book to movie alert: 'The Lucky One'

The Lucky One, a new book-based movie, is hitting theaters on April 20th.  Author Nicholas Sparks, whose heartfelt stories of love and loss resonate with millions, is no stranger to film adaptations.  Nights in Rodanthe (film version here), Dear John (film version here), The Notebook (film version here), and The Last Song (film version here) are only a few of his books that have made it to the big screen.  The Lucky One, his newest book to reach movie theaters,  tells the story of a Marine who comes into the possession of a photograph of a smiling woman he has never met.  He experiences a chain of fortuitous events that cause him to regard the photograph as a lucky charm, a belief that prompts a heartfelt search for the woman.  Check the book out now to beat the post-movie crowd!