New Must Read Memoirs

After Visiting Friends  by Michael Hainey: Michael Hainey was only six when his father, Bob, an editor with the Chicago Tribune, was found dead. But what never came clear were the exact circumstances of Bob's death. He was found dead on the street after visiting friends. As an adult – today deputy editor of GQ and living in New York – Michael decided it was time to find out.  What emerges is not only the buried story of Bob Hainey's life  but also a portrait of America in the 1960s, the newspaper profession as it was practiced at that time, and a snapshot of the city of Chicago itself. 

Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou: Angelou returns to her own story when, at the age of 13, she is sent from her grandmother’s home to reunite with “Lady” (the name she gives to the lively little woman she can’t quite bring herself to call “Mother”). Their beginning is rocky, but it soon becomes clear that this is a story of redemption.  Angelou gradually finds much to admire and eventually to cherish about her mother, making her memoir both a tender read and a lovely tribute. 

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala: The backdrop to this memoir is horrific: Deraniyagala lost her entire family – husband, two young sons, and parents – in the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in late 2004. In bits and pieces, Deraniyagala eventually allows herself to recall the beauty of her family and in the face of death – to vividly remind us of all that is most to be valued in life.

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Film rights to William P. Young's self-published inspirational 2007 blockbuster The Shack have been acquired by Summit Entertainment.  Gill Netter has signed on as the producer. He most recently produced the Ocsar-winning adaptation of Yan Martel’s Life Of Pi, a project he worked on for over a decade before it became a reality.  The Shack tells the story of Mackenzie Allen Philips, whose youngest daughter, Missy, was abducted during a family vacation with evidence indicating that she may have been brutally murdered in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.  Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will changes Mack's world forever.  Pickup the book before it hits the big screen!

Amanda Knox Speaks

Since the arrest of Amanda Knox in 2007, her murder case — with its lurid details and attractive young cast — has been heatedly debated by the news media on both sides of the Atlantic and in several books.  Prosecutors and some European tabloids depicted Knox as a cunning “she-devil,” but her family and her supporters have promoted an image of her as an American innocent abroad who got caught up in the gears of a dysfunctional Italian justice system.  After a controversial trial, Knox was convicted and imprisoned. But in 2011, an appeals court overturned the decision and vacated the murder charge. Free at last, she returned home to the U.S., where she has remained silent, until now.  Filled with details first recorded in the journals Knox kept while in Italy, Waiting to Be Heard is a remarkable story of innocence, resilience, and courage, and of one young woman’s hard-fought battle to overcome injustice and win the freedom she deserved.

Dark and Captivating New Novel

The Morels─Arthur, Penny, and Will─are a happy family of three living in New York City. So why would Arthur choose to publish a book that brutally rips his tightly knit family apart at the seams? Arthur's old schoolmate Chris, who narrates the book, is fascinated with this question as he becomes accidentally reacquainted with Arthur. A single, aspiring filmmaker, Chris envies everything Arthur has, from his beautiful wife to his charming son to his effortless creativity. But things are not always what they seem.  The Morels, by Christopher Hacker, takes a unique look at the power of art and challenges us as readers to think about some fascinating questions to which there are no easy answers. Where is the line between art and obscenity, between truth and fiction, between revolutionary thinking and brainless shock value, between craftsmanship and commerce? Is it possible to escape the past? Can you save your family by destroying it?

Baseball Mysteries

With baseball season fully underway, now is the perfect time to check out one of these baseball mysteries available at your Community Library!

Drawing Card by Dorothy Seymour Mills: In the early 20th century, two female baseball players signed with minor league teams only to have their contracts canceled when their gender became public. In this historical novel, Cleveland pitcher Annie Cardello does not go so quietly. Drawing Card demonstrates the danger of a woman scorned, especially one with a mean curve ball.

Caught Stealing by Charlie Houston: Henry Thompson, a former California ball player turned New York bartender, running for his life (and using his baseball bat in a totally new way) when something in his previous sports life sets a cast of thugs, goons, and mafia hit men on his tail.

Mortal Stakes by Robert B. Parker:  Parker takes a straightforward plot—for reasons unknown, a top Red Sox pitcher may be throwing games—and turns it into a thrilling kill-or-be-killed tale, as well as a look at the dark side of baseball, where gamblers are always on the lookout for weaknesses to be exploited. 

Sony's New Interactive Inforgraphic

Sony has a new interactive infographic that it hopes will help readers discover new books (pictured below).  By answering a set of questions about books, readers are shuttled to one of 15 highly popular titles. Answer the questions and discover a new title today!  

Story of a Teenage Holocaust Survivor

In 1944, Helga Weiss came to terms with the idea of dying – with one important condition. She was only 14 years old and had never been strongly religious, but as she waited in a queue at Auschwitz she prayed she wouldn't die after her mother. She couldn't face being left alone.  Helga is one of only 100 children to survive Auschwitz out of the 15,000 sent there from the concentration camp. Altogether, between 1941 and 1945, she and her mother were sent to four camps: Terezín, Auschwitz, Freiberg and Mauthausen.  Helga kept a diary from 1939 on and documented her daily experiences including the increasing Nazi brutality in a diary.  Helga’s Diary resounds with a ferocious will to endure conditions of astonishing cruelty. It displays a rare capacity to remain keenly observant while shutting down the feelings that would normally reduce a person to despair and, then, to find the right words for transmitting an essential approximation of experience from memory into history, as an admonition for all time.

Does Decadence Know Any Bounds?

Four years have passed since the events of Eric Jerome Dickey's Pleasure, and Nia’s success as a writer has grown, bringing her  to Los Angeles.  She remains on a quest to quiet her inner storm, to draw on her well of emotions and explore them fully before leaving this season of her life and moving on to what could be the next stage: marriage and motherhood.  Drawn to an exclusive pleasure palace, where patrons try on roles, Nia’s ability to balance truth and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred. What has happened to the compartments she has so carefully created for the different aspects of her life? Will her relationship with the mysterious, often unavailable Prada survive the countless temptations? Will her successful literary career be given over to impulse indulgence? When Nia’s past comes back to mingle with her present, and when her staid public persona clashes with her fantasy life of decadence, readers will be stunned by the outcome of Decadence.

Tough Woman Fleeing Trouble

Nineteen-year-old Maya is sent by her fiercely devoted grandmother to live in an idyllic, insular island town off the coast of Chile in Isabelle Allende's Maya's Notebook. Here she leans on the support of a limping stray dog and a stoic writer to heal the wounds of her teenage years. As Maya recovers on the island, Allende weaves in a blistering portrait of her runaway history in Las Vegas, where she sank into drugs, crime, and prostitution.   With Allende's almost poetic writing, the present charms and the past rivets leaving readers enchanted with this story.

3 Book Sequels You Probably Didn't Know Existed

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott: Little Men revolves around a group of young orphans who are students at a school run by two characters from Little Women, Jo March and her husband, Professor Friedrich.

The Wind Done Gone  by Alice Randall: Margaret Mitchell's beloved Southern romance, Gone With The Wind, was not only one of the most famous books of the last century, but also spawned one of the most popular films to boot.  This unauthorized sequel is a satirical re-telling from the perspective of an O'Hara family slave. 

Closing Time by Joseph Heller: Joseph Heller's Catch-22 was one of the most popular novels of the 20th century, so much so that it even spawned the term "catch-22" as an everyday phrase. But what's not so popular is the book's sequel, Closing Time, published more than 30 years later. Since the original book was about World War II, long over by that time and not as ingrained into the cultural consciousness as it had been, Heller instead sets the sequel in '90s-era New York City, showing how various characters from the original novel deal with the difficulties of old age and their own mortality.

What To Read Next: The Flamethrowers

 The year is 1975 and Reno—so-called because of the place of her birth—has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world—artists have colonized SoHo, are staging actions in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamerswho submit her to a sentimental education of sorts. She begins an affair with an artist named Sandro, the semi-estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro’s family home in Italy, Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in the seventies. Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow.  Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers is a thrilling and fearless intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist.

Fresh Perspective on Human Nature

After surviving a shooting at her high school, Linnea is sent to live with her estranged father, Art, who doesn’t quite understand how he has suddenly become responsible for raising a moody teenager. Art’s neighbor, Christie, is a nurse distracted by an eccentric patient, Mrs. Foster, who has given Christie the reins to her Humanity Project, a bizarre and well-endowed charity fund. Just as mysteriously, no one seems to know where Conner, the Fosters’ handyman, goes after work, but he has become the one person Linnea can confide in, perhaps because his own home life is a war zone: his father has suffered an injury and become addicted to painkillers. As these characters and many more hurtle toward their fates, the Humanity Project is born: Can you indeed pay someone to be good? At what price?  Jean Thompson's The Humanity Project, which was chosen as one of Amazon's best books of the month, delivers emotionally suspenseful and thoroughly entertaining characters, in which we see ourselves. Set against the backdrop of current events and cultural calamity, it is  an observant story of our twenty-first-century society

New Installment in the Thug Series

Urban lit’s favorite ride or die couple, Trae and Tasha, are back as they fight to hold onto their volatile relationship which gets closer to exploding with each passing day. Their friends, Angel and Kaylin, are caught up in their own drama which pits brother against brother in a final showdown. Faheem and his wife Jaz, face their worst nightmare which almost takes them totally out of the game. Meanwhile, Kyron, who brought Trae to the brink of murder and Tasha to the edge of insanity, is back and hell bent on revenge.  When Trae makes the deadly decision to work for the most violent Chinese crime organization in the city and renew a business relationship with Charli Li, the one woman who can never be trusted, his rocky marriage and life are threatened. Tasha is forced to step in, and things get really crazy. Can Trae escape the grips of the mob with his life and hold on to his wife?  Wahida Clark's Honor Thy Thug will leave you gasping for more!

Happy National Library Week!

2013 Hugo Award Nominees

 The nominees for the Hugo Award, a prize awarded annual for best science fiction and fantasy have been announced.  Check out these three novels in the running for best novel that are available now at your Community Library.

Redshirts by John Scalzi: Enjoying his assignment with the xenobiology lab on board the prestigious Intrepid, ensign Andrew Dahl worries about casualties suffered by low-ranking officers during away missions before making a shocking discovery about the starship's actual purpose.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold: Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life of a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Ivan, cousin to Imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, is not far down the hereditary list for the emperorship. Thankfully, new heirs have directed that headache elsewhere, leaving Ivan to enjoy his life on Komarr, far from the Byzantine court politics of his home system. But when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate, Ivan's chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril. 

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson: The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future. The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.

The explosive conclusion to the Charlie Hood series

 Los Angeles County deputy Charlie Hood is attached to the ATF, working undercover on the Iron River that flows across the U.S.-Mexican border. The  fillings he wears glimmer, distracting the men who sell the illegal firearms that enable the unspeakable violence on both sides of the map. Spotting the sparkle when Charlie Diamonds opens his mouth is often their first step toward life behind bars. Meanwhile, Bradley Jones, sheriff's deputy and employee of the Baja Cartel and son of the love of Charlie's life, the deceased L.A. outlaw Suzanne Jones, is expecting a son of his own. Suzanne was descended from famed Mexican desperado Joaquin Murrieta, whose embalmed head Bradley inherited from her and keeps nestled among piles of cash, proceeds from Bradley's own life of crime. Charlie knows all of Bradley's secrets; the question is what will he do with the information. Until he decides, his obsession remains the inexplicable existence of Mike Finnegan, the diminutive devil who flits in and out of both men's lives, knowing things he shouldn't, seemingly immortal. Three men  earnest law enforcer, inveterate lawbreaker, and the man who pits them against each other  hurtle toward one another in The Famous and the Dead the jaw-dropping conclusion to T. Jefferson Parker's mesmerizing vision of the border. 

England's Mighty and Overlooked

Dan Jones brings to live 300 years of English history in his new book, The Plantagenets.  The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic history, Dan Jones vividly resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world. We meet the captivating Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; her son, Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and King John, a tyrant who was forced to sign Magna Carta, which formed the basis of our own Bill of Rights. This is the era of chivalry, of Robin Hood and the Knights Templar, the Black Death, the founding of Parliament, the Black Prince, and the Hundred Year’s War. It will appeal as much to readers of Tudor history as to fans of Game of Thrones.  

New Nora Roberts!

Nora Roberts is back with a new spellbinding contemporary romance novel, Whiskey Beach, which is sure to delight her fans!  For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore. To tourists, it’s the jewel of the town’s scenery. To the residents it’s landmark and legend. To Eli Landon, it’s home. A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an year of public scrutiny and police investigation after being accused of murdering his soon-to-be ex-wife. And though there was never enough evidence to have him arrested, his reputation is in tatters. While Eli’s beloved grandmother is in Boston, recuperating from a nasty fall, Abra Walsh has cared for Bluff House, among her other jobs as yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist. She is a woman with an open heart and a wide embrace, and no one is safe from her special, some would say overbearing, brand of nurturing — including Eli. He begins to count on Abra for far more than her cooking, cleaning, and massage skills, and starts to feel less like a victim — and more like the kind of man who can finally solve the murder of his wife and clear his name. Passion and obsession, humor and heart flow together in a novel about two people opening themselves up to the truth — and to each other.  This book is sure to be a hit so place your hold today!

Billy Ray Cyrus Sets The Record Straight

Billy Ray Cyrus may have become famous with his 1992 hit song, "Achy Breaky Heart" but now he's putting out a memoir that suggests he has a heart of a different kind: a Hillbilly Heart. In it, Cyrus describes his life, from his Kentucky childhood listening to gospel and bluegrass music to his original pursuit of a career in baseball to his breakthrough in the music business.  Cyrus fans have always been able to piece together the details of his life through his lyrics—the ups and downs, adventures and disappointments—but Hillbilly Heart gives them a front row seat for his most candid performance ever.

Galvinizing Novel of Political Suspense

Stephen Carter’s thrilling new novel imagines an alternate history in which Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865-only to be impeached for overstepping his Constitutional authority during the Civil War. At the novel’s center is Abigail Canner, a young black woman recently graduated from Oberlin, who is hired by a D.C. law firm to assist in Lincoln’s defense. When one of Lincoln’s lead lawyers is found brutally murdered, Abigail finds herself plunged into a web of intrigue, politics, and conspiracy. The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln a sweeping drama that captures the emotional tenor of post-Civil War America, that explores the nature of presidential authority, and that gives us a galvanizing story of political suspense.

Catching Fire Teaser Trailer

Fans of The Hunger Games rejoice!  The teaser for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire debuts on April 14 during the MTV Movie Awards at 9 p.m. ET. Above is the teaser for that teaser (warning: even for a teaser, it’s pretty slight). The movie releases on Nov. 22.

Epic Post Summer Camp Coming Of Age

Six teens at summer camp dub themselves "The Interestings" in Meg Wolitzer's novel of the same name. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken. An Amazon best pick of the month for April, The Interestings is full of wit and intelligence.

Modern Classics

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano: Set over several decades all around the world, the novel tells the story of an elusive Mexican poetry group called the Visceral Realists–and those just as eager to find its origins.

Gilead  by Marilynne Robinson: As Father Ames faces his final days, he recounts his family’s past all the way back to the civil war. A meditation upon death and a subtle examination of daily American life, Robinson seems to be searching for the roots of spiritual transcendence in the ordinary.

The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem: Two boys growing up in 1960′s New York City receive a magical ring from a drunk that allows them to fly and be invisible in this mad-cap, postmodern tale about childhood in a tough place.

A Mother-Daughter Love Story

Despite her busy schedule, comedienne Carol Burnett always made time for her three young children. But her oldest daughter, Carrie, faltered in adolescence, losing the self-esteem that had fueled her popularity and success in school and hiding her pain in a downward spiral of addiction. Carrie lived her adult life of sobriety to the fullest, enjoying happy and determined independence and achieving a successful artistic career as an actress, writer, musician, and director. Carrie’s passion for life and her humorist’s view of the world never wavered as she aggressively battled cancer. Carrie died at the age of 38.  Burnett's memoir Carrie and Me is a funny and poignant portrait of a complex parent-child relationship.

New Mary Higgins Clark

In this a novel by New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark, a dark secret from a family’s past threatens the lives of two sisters, Kate and Hannah. When the family-owned furniture firm, including the mansion where antiques are kept, explodes into flames in the middle of the night, Kate must escape to save her life. But the suspicious circumstances point to her involvement.  And why was Gus, a retired and trusted employee, with her? Now Gus is dead and Kate lies in the hospital gravely injured. Hannah, Kate’s sister and a rising fashion designer, must discover what drew them there and what dangerous secrets lies hidden in the ashes. Step by step, in a novel of dazzling suspense and excitement, Mary Higgins Clark once again demonstrates the mastery of her craft that has made her books international bestsellers for years. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting presents the reader with a perplexing mystery and a fascinating cast of characters—one of whom may just be a ruthless killer.

The Rise and Fall of Time Sizemore

Tom Sizemore's career spiral, famously greased by addiction, took the tough-guy actor from stellar movies like “Saving Private Ryan” to a highly publicized season on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”  There was a prison term along the way.  His new memoir, By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There, reads as a brutal cautionary tale. The fallen star spares no detail, ugly or beautiful. Fans of Hollywood and celebrity culture will enjoy the scoop Sizemore dishes on well known names!

Unappreciated Ghostwriter In The Spotlight

From Linda Barnes, the author of the Carlotta Carlyle series, comes a new standalone novel, The Perfect Ghost  Required to complete a celebrity biography on her own after the suspicious death of her charismatic partner, agoraphobic ghost writer Em Moore struggles through the job's required interviews with alluring film director Garrett Malcolm, who alludes to dark family secrets and trouble with a fellow star.  With perfect pacing and prose, Barnes slowly winds the tension in this story leading readers deeper and deeper into this twisted plot.

Novel of Identity and Aspirations

A Harvard graduate student, a Jew from Egypt, is preparing to become the assimilated American he longs to be. But when he bonds with an Arab cab driver nicknamed Kalashnikov, he begins to neglect his studies. Together they carouse the bars and cafés of Cambridge, seduce strangers, ridicule America, and skinny-dip in Walden Pond. As final exams approach and the cab driver is threatened with deportation, the grad student faces the decision of his life: whether to cling to his dream of  assimilation or ditch it all to defend his Old World friend.  From bestselling novelist Andre Aciman comes Harvard Square, a powerful tale of love, friendship, and becoming American in the 1970s.

PW Results on The Great American Novel

Publisher’s Weekly's Great American Novel Poll closed yesterday, and after nearly 5,000 votes, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was the runaway winner, taking almost 20% of the vote. This Pulitzer winning novel examines the conscience of a small town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy alongside one man's quiet quest for justice.  Whether you've read it before or not, now is a great time to pick up this nouveau Great American Novel!

Big Titles This Month

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud: Nora, long ago compromised her dream to be a successful artist, mother and lover. She has instead become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and neighbor always on the fringe of others’ achievements. Then into her life arrives the glamorous and cosmopolitan Shahids—her new student Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale, and his parents: Skandar, a dashing Lebanese professor who has come to Boston for a fellowship at Harvard, and Sirena, an effortlessly alluring Italian artist. When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies, Nora is drawn deep into the complex world of the Shahid family; she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora’s happiness explodes her boundaries, and she discovers in herself an unprecedented ferocity—one that puts her beliefs and her sense of self at stake. 

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by Dave Sedaris:  From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new book of essays taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich: While working for a mysterious financial consulting firm that offers insurance to corporations against impending catastrophic events, a gifted young mathematician becomes increasingly obsessed with doomsday scenarios until one of his actual worst-case scenarios unfolds in Manhattan.