Happy 200th Anniversary, Pride and Prejudice!

January marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's classic novel, Pride and Prejudice.  Austen has always had her fans but her novels seem to be increasing in popularity in the last few decades and for good reason.  At its heart, Pride and Prejudice is a profound story about the nature of individual identity, the implication of gender roles, the issues of nature vs. nurture, and the disparity of appearance vs. reality.  All of these themes are relatable to modern day life making it the perfect time to read this classic for the first time or fall in love with it all over again!

Out this week: New Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods celebrates a big literary milestone with the release of his 50th book this week.  In Collateral Damage, the 25th installment in the Stone Barrington series, finds Stone back in New York after a productive trip to Bel-Air.  While he is ready to return to the world of fine dining and luxury, a surprise visit from his friend and sometimes lover, assistant CIA Director Holly Barker, draws Stone into a dangerous game of murder and vengeance.  This exciting blend of action, sophisticated gadgets, and last minute heroics does not disappoint!

Short Stories To Look Forward To in 2013

It's never to early to plan your reading list.  Check out these highly anticipated short story collections that will be released in the new year.  Don't forget, you can place your holds now!

Tenth of December by George Saunders: A short story collection that is being called "hilarious, wise, and surreal", which is definitely lighter that Saunders' previous effort, In Persuasion Nation.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell: A new collection of short stories by the talented young author of Swamplandia! featuring citrus munching vampires and other surreal characters.

Remembering Norman Schwarzkopf

General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the Allied forces during the Persian Gulf war, died yesterday at the age of 78.  In his refreshingly candid autobiography, It Doesn't Take A Hero, Schwarzkopf reviewed his life and his career including events and adventures that molded him into the distinguished and admired man he was.  Sometime blunt and full of soldier's wit, this book is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about one of America's unsung military heroes.

Beauty in Ruins: The Folly of The World

On a stormy night in 1421, the North Sea delivers a devastating blow to Holland in the form of the St. Elizabeth Flood.  This deluge of water was of epic proportions as it drowned out hundreds of towns, thousands of people, and forever altered the geography.  However, disaster can be profitable for the right type of individual.  In the wake of the flood in sail three conspirators, a deranged thug at the edge of madness, a ruthless conman at the cusp of fortune, and a half-feral girl between them.  Part fantasy and part historical fiction, Jesse Burlington's The Folly of the World  is full of dark humor, gritty details, and loopy characters.

Guy Reads: Brain on Fire

What happens when a normal 24 year old woman changes from a music loving writer to a manic prone bed ridden patient and then recovers?  If you're a journalist, then the answer is you write a book.  Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness is Susannah Calahan's account of her bout with a mysterious illness that developed into a full scale medical nightmare.  As she remembers very little of the time she spent suffering from a super rare form of encephalitis, Calahan pieces together her story using journals, video recordings, and medical reports to tell her story.  The result is a gritty and satisfying memoir that will keep you riveted.

Looking For A New Way To Track The Books You've Read?

The Game of Books Project has raised more than $100K on Kickstarter to fund this new way to keep track of how many books you've read. The website will log books you've read and give you opportunities to earn badges based on the theme of the books. The site is still under development but you can get a preview on their demo site here.

Great Books for Non Readers

Let's face it.  Not everyone love reading.  But just because you don't enjoy sitting down with a novel doesn't mean you can't enjoy books.  Check out these three books even "non-readers" will enjoy available now at your Community Library.

How Music Works by David Byrne: This book is a celebration of a subject that David Byrne has spent his whole life thinking about, music.  Touching on joy, physics, and the music industry, Byrne explores the cultural and physical context of music.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman: More than just a cookbook, this product of Pererlman's super popular blog features plenty of good natured, charming commentary.

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Phillip Pullman: Everyone knows and loves fairy tales.  This fresh spin on the Brothers Grimm, which includes both favorite and lesser known tales, is full of magic and escapism.

Armchair Travel Mysteries

The Black HouseThe Isle of Lewis, one of Scotland's Outer Hebrides islands, is as much a character in Peter May's novel as its hardscrabble residents. Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod returns to his boyhood home and its haunting memories when a murder on the island seems to mirror a similar one in the country's capital. His investigation will expose ugly island secrets, painful childhood memories and shocking revelations about a woman he once loved.

The Black BoxCrime writer Michael Connelly is a reliably good storyteller and his novels' endings  pack a satisfying punch. The Black Box, 18th in a 20-year-old series starring L.A.P.D. detective Harry Bosch, could be the best yet. It's perfectly balanced along two time lines. One is the 1992 L.A. riots sparked by the verdict in the Rodney King beating trial. The other takes place now as Harry hunts down the killer of a Danish journalist dumped in an L.A. alley in 1992.

The Boy In The SnowEdie Kiglatuk, half Inuit and 100% unique, is the troubled but irresistible heroine in M.J. McGrath's debut mystery set in Alaska during the Iditarod. Reluctantly, Edie has left her Arctic island home and travels to Anchorage to support her ex-husband Sammy who's competing in the famous dog sled race. But Edie's commitment to Sammy takes a turn toward life-threatening when she discovers the body of a baby boy in a snow-covered forest. Suspicion falls on an ancient sect, the Old Believers, but soon Edie, who already carries the weight of innumerable family tragedies in her heart, exposes ties to prostitution, human trafficking and baby selling. 

Grammy Nominated Audiobooks

Congratulations to the audiobooks recognized on the 2013 Grammy Award nomination list!  This year, author narrated books swept the list of titles.  Read about the honored titles below and see a complete list of Grammy nominees here.  Which title gets your vote?

American Grown written and read by Michelle Obama is filled with advice for parents, schools, cities, and states on how to combat child obesity: how to start gardens, how to get children to like healthy foods, and how to find more opportunities for exercise.

Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government For A Strong Economy written and read by Bill Clinton lays out several strategies the former President thinks will be beneficial in restoring the economy in the United States.

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power written and read by Rachel Maddow invokes Thomas Jefferson's argument for limited government as it relates to the military.

Society's Child written and read by Janis Ian spans several decades to tell the singer/songwriter's personal story of love, loneliness, music, and hope.

New Contemporary Western Romance

Linda Lael Miller, hailed as "The First Lady of the West", is back with a new book in her Parable, Montana series.  Big Sky River introduces Tara, a big city girl who, with her marriage and career behind her, decides to start over in Parable.  Reinventing herself proves to be hard work and she finds life along Big Sky River to be full of surprises.  Sheriff Boone Taylor has a job, a ranch, two dogs, and a horse...everything but a woman.  He's not looking for live but when he meets Tara, they both start to believe in second chances.  Vivid writing and memorable characters make this a must read for romance fans!

Books to Screen Alert

Fans of Karin Slaughter, rejoice!  Her super popular Will Trent series, has been optioned to become a TV mini-series.  For those of you not familiar with the series, the books take place in Atlanta and feature Georgia Bureau of Investigation detective Will Trent and his partner, Faith Mitchell.  The first book in the seven book series is Triptych.  The mini-series is slated to follow the books closely and will cover the first three books in the series. No word on who will star in on the small screen yet, but it will be sure to be action packed and thrilling!

Book Trailer: The Bridge

Looking for a heartwarming holiday story?  The Bridge, by Karen Kingsbury. is an instant holiday classic!

New Search Engine for Lit Lovers

Curious about the book you're reading and want to poke around more?  Make Small Demons, an encyclopedia and "storyverse", your destination.  Officially launched in August, Small Demons is the latest mind game for book lovers.  Type in a book and a list of sub-categories is generated which includes people, places, songs, and products that are related to the story.  Each sub-category leads to other sub-categories proving everything really is connected.   Find out how many books mention Rice Krispies or the Beatles, which cold medicine is featured in 50 Shades of Gray, and more.  Be forewarned, it is addictive!

Overlooked Books of 2012 Part V

In Jonathan Odell's The Healing,Mississippi plantation mistress Amanda Satterfield loses her daughter to cholera after her husband refuses to treat her for what he considers to be a slave disease. Insane with grief, Amanda takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada, much to the outrage of her husband and the amusement of their white neighbors. Seventy-five years later, Granada, now known as Gran Gran, is still living on the plantation and must revive the buried memories of her past in order to heal a young girl abandoned to her care.  This rite of passage novel is marked with unforgettable characters making it a great selection for book clubs!

Overlooked Books of 2012 Part IV

Rich and poor, native and immigrant, the citizens of London provide an amazing oral history in Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now -- as told by those who love it, hate it, live it, left it, and long for it.    From the woman who is the voice of the London Underground to a Muslim currency trader to a guardsman at Buckingham Palace and many more, author Craig Taylor has put together a fresh and vivid portrait of 21st century London in this fascinating book.

Overlooked Books of 2012 Part III

Battleborn, Claire Vaye Watkin's first novel represents a near perfect intersection of sensibility and setting.  In ten unforgettable stories set in and around her home state of Nevada, Watkin's re imagines the mythology of the American West.  The state's unofficial nickname, which refers to Nevada's incorporation during the Civil War, gives Battleborn its title.   Full of wounded and lonely characters, secrets and intimacies, this stunning  debut has been likened to Cormac McCarthy and Richard Ford

Overlooked Books of 2012 Part II

The Master's Muse is a novel about New York City Ballet director George Balachine in the tradition of Loving Frank  and The Paris Wife.  Narrated by Balachine's fourth and last wife, Tanaquil Le Ciercq, a ballerina who contracted polio at age 27 and never walked again, the book closely follows events in the 20th century ballet world.  Their marriage is put to the test as Balachine begins to be inspired by younger, more talented dancers and Tanaquil battles to redefine her dreams in the wake of her illness.  Valery O'Conner has created a a portrait of a deeply complicated love set against a backdrop of intense artistic collaboration in this unforgettable novel.

Overlooked Books of 2012 Part I

2012 was a great year for literature with many outstanding books and novels published.  Some received tons of press; others didn't.  To make sure you don't miss any of 2012's best books, the next 5 days will profile the most overlooked books of the year.  What Happened To Sophie Wilder by Christopher Beha tells the story of Charlie Blakeman, an aspiring novelist who reunites with his old college girlfiriend, Sophie, who fills him in on the past ten years during which she cared for a dying man.  Then Sophie abruptly disappears and Charlie sets off on a mission to find out exactly what happened to her.  Don't let the title fool you.  This is not a whodunit.  Rather this whip-smart debut novel is a beautifully written tale of love, faith, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

December Must Read: Umbrella

Will Self's novel, Umbrella, was shortlisted for this year's Man Booker prize but we are still anxiously awaiting it to be published stateside.  The wait ends on December 11.  This sprawling modernist novel tells the story of life in a 1970s London psychiatric hospital and has been likened to James Joyce's Ulysses.  At 400 pages, this unbroken stream of consciousness, is certainly not the easiest book to read but it is well worth the effort!

Oprah Announces New Selection for Book Club 2.0

The Twelve Tribe of Hattie by Ayana Morris is Oprah Winfrey's new selection for her Book Club 2.0.  This debut novel by a relatively unknown author tells the story of an African American family during the Great Migration.  "The opening pages of Ayana's debut took my breath away," Oprah said in her announcement. "I can't remember when I read anything that moved me in quite this way, besides the work of Toni Morrison."  There is no doubt that many will be talking about this book so make sure you pick up a copy!

Dark & Irresistible Horror

Be forewarned, this book is not for the faint of heart.  In Me and the Devil, Nick Tosches tells the story of an aging New York writer who's meeting with  a young woman, unleashes uncontrolled, primordial desires from within.  Desperate to sustain these feelings, the writer falls into vice, muck, and ultimately unspeakable horrors.  Tosches has been called America's last literary outlaw and he lives up to his reputation with this new novel.  This is a strange tale of modern vampirism is sure to shock and scare even the most dedicated horror fans!

GoodReads Choice Award Winners Part II

As promised here are the top non-fiction books of 2012 chosen by GoodReads members!  The complete list of award winners, chosen by readers themselves, can be found here.

Best Cookbook: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: food from my frontier by Ree Drummond, noted food blogger and tv personality, includes recipes for every course of a meal and menu plans for a variety of events

Best Humor: Let's Pretend This Never Happened (a mostly true memoir) by Jenny Lawson, the creator of Blogess, depicts humorous events in the noted blogger's life from her awkward Texas upbringing to her relationship with her husband.

Best History/Biography: Elizabeth The Queen: the life of a modern monarch by Sally Bedell Smith draws on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents to provide a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

GoodReads Choice Award Winners Part I

GoodReads Choice Award winners have been announced.  1,156,852 votes were cast by readers just like you!  Today we'll highlight award winning genre fiction.  Tomorrow, we'll highlight the non-fiction winners.  You can view the complete list of award winners here.

Best Novel: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling tells the story of a small town conflict that occurs after a seat on the parish council is unexpectedly vacated.

Best Science Fiction: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett tells the story of Larry, a recluse aggressively protective of his solitude, who finds his quiet existence shattered by the arrival of two accidents tourists and decides to do everything in his power to make them leave.

Best Horror: The Twelve by Justin Cronin, follow up to the bestselling book, The Passage, continues the efforts of the survivors of a government induced vampire apocalypse


Can't Get Enough Walking Dead?

If you're the type of Walking Dead fan who prefers to read the story volumes over individual issues, you're in luck.  Hot off the presses is The Walking Dead Volume 17 which collects the Something To Fear plot line.  In this volume, Rick and his band of survivors works to build a network of communities and soon discover that Negan's Saviors are a bigger threat than they could have ever imagine.  Crossing Negan will prove to have consequences for the group and it seems like for the first time since the Governor's reign ended, Rick will have something to fear.

What To Read After You Watch Skyfall

Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, celebrates the 50th year of the Bond franchise with a new story focusing on the job of espionage.  Atmospheric and beautifully shot with an action packed plot, the movie may leave Bond fans thinking what next?  While you wait for the next film, check out The Man With The Golden Touch: How Bond Films Conquered The World by Sinclair McKay.  Written in a conversational style, the book explores the cultural impact of the super spy and those who created him including producers, actors, and Ian Fleming, Bond's creator.  Highly engaging, this book will leave Bond fans with many things to think about while they re-watch the films in years to come.

New Tom Clancy

In Tom Clancy's latest thriller, Threat Vector, Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he his faced with an international threat.  The Peoples Republic of China has declared the South China Sea a protectorate and is preparing to invade Taiwan.  Full of the realism and authenticity that define Clancy's writing, this book is action packed.  Although it will be released Tuesday, you can reserve your copy now by clicking here.

Big Titles This Month

The literary world closes out the year with highly anticipated titles that will be available at your Community Library!

  • A possible life: a novel in five parts: International bestselling author Sebastian Faulks presents five linked stories that trace the experiences of soldiers who's relationships are shaped by war. 
  • Raised from the ground: This novel, originally published in 1980 by Portuguese Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago and translated for the first time in English, documents the lives of the poor Mao Tempo family during times of political strife.