August 13th - Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

alfred hitchcockalfred hitchcock

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on August 13, 1899, in Leytonstone, London, England. One of the best-known and most popular filmmakers of all time, he pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. Here at the AADL our DVD department is stocked with lots of classic Hitchcock films and television shows for your viewing pleasure. Watching Psycho, probably his best known film, will always make your next experience in the shower one to remember. My personal favorite has always been The Birds (love that schoolyard scene!), but we also have lots of other faves like Dial M for Murder, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Rebecca, which won an Oscar for Best Picture in 1940, Spellbound and Vertigo. Fans of Hitchcock's old television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents will find season one and two on our library shelves and, for anyone not familiar with Alfred Hitchcock, check out the Dick Cavett Show where he was featured as a guest way back in 1972. Hitchcock died from renal failure in April 1980, just four months after he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year's Honours.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #121

Wendy Lee's accomplished debut Happy Family* explores the immigrant experience and what it means to belong.

Hua Wu exchanges proverty in Fuzhou with loneliness and back-breaking restaurant work in New York City. Meeting Jane Templeton and her adopted Chinese daughter, Lily, seems a stroke of good fortune, especially when she was asked to nanny. But things are not quite what they seem...

Fans of Gish Jen's Mona in the Promised Land, and National Book Award winner Ha Jin's latest - A Free Life will find Wendy's debut a compelling read.

Wendy Lee is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University’s Creative Writing Program. She lives in New York City.

* = Starred Reviews

McCarthy's The Road Coming to Theaters

Before film production began on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Road, there must have been a rather interesting debate over the city that would provide a suitable backdrop for the desolate, ruined landcape so critical to the story. How does one decide between Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, or the many other crumbling post-industrial cities? Perhaps the final vote came down to abandoned coal mines versus abandoned auto plants, so as coal is a fossil itself, Pittsburgh won the crown. Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron will star in the film that is set to be released this November. Check out pictures of the upcoming movie, or borrow the book or the audiobook from the AADL before the film hits the theaters this fall.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #120

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society*, a winning debut from the aunt-niece writing team of Mary Ann Shaffer & children's author Annie Barrows is at once "a warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining celebration of the power of the written word." ~ Library Journal

This novel is presented as an exchange of letters between Juliet Ashten, a Times columnist turned novelist, and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society during the waning days of WWII. Guernsey, a small fishing British island, was occupied by the Germans during the war. Amid privation, war atrocities, Juliet saw the possibility of her next book - an incredible story of a little pig, a missing prisoner of war, the intriguing man who found her name on the flyleaf of a book by Charles Lamb, and a community with secrets and a big heart.

"Reminiscent of 84 Charing Cross Road", readers might also seek out Peter Ho Davies' The Welsh Girl for readalikes. Highly recommended, and a sure bet for book groups. (Also available as an audiobook download)

* = Starred Review

Muffy's note: Mary Ann Shaffer was born in 1934 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She became interested in Guernsey while visiting London in 1976. She died in February 2008, just before the publication of her book.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #119

In Finding Nouf*, young, privileged Nouf disappears just before her wedding. Her wealthy Saudi family first hires desert tracker Nayir al-Sharqi to find her and then to investigate her death discreetly.

Nayir, a conservative Palestinian Muslim finds it difficult to traverse the world of women, especially with Katya Hijazi - an intelligent, insightful female medical examiner, and his unexpected ally in the investigations.

Debut novelist Zoë Ferraris, who has lived in Saudi Arabia, "gets deep inside Nadir’s and Katya’s very different perspectives, giving a fascinating glimpse into the workings and assumptions of Saudi society." As a mystery, it's fairly well-turned, "but it's the characters and setting that sparkle". An utterly gripping read.

* = Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #118

A bestseller in Europe, Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key* opens in Paris, July 1942. Thinking she would be home in a few hours, ten year-old Sarah locks her younger brother in their secret hiding place as the police round up Jews for Stadium Vlodrome d'Hiver, en route to Auschwitz.

Sixty years later, American journalist Julia Jarmond is in Paris to investigate the round-up and stumbles onto a trail of family secrets that link her to Sarah.

Book groups all over the world have posted their discussion questions at the Sarah's Key blog site to share. The film rights have been sold to French producer Stéphane Marsil.

Tatiana de Rosnay writes for French ELLE. Since 1992, she has published eight novels in French. Sarah's Key is the first written in English.

This "shocking, profoundly moving, and morally challenging story" is highly recommended for book groups that have enjoyed Suite Française. For information on this time period, try Vichy France and the Jews.

* = Starred Reviews

Slam

Nick Hornby has done it again: he has written a relateable and engaging book that gives a peek into the realities of the average mind. A fun read for anyone looking for a shorter book to check out, Slam is carried at each of our locations. The library carries Hornby's other works as well, including High Fidelity, A Long Way Down, and How To Be Good.

Enough Crying, It's Summer

Tired of all those gut-wrenching, weepy tales of loss and sacrifice from Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, and other emo-mongers? Looking for a fun summertime read instead? Then jump on the Benzini Brothers' traveling circus train with 23 year old Cornell vet school dropout Jacob Jankowski and the amazing menagerie of creatures and freaks that he brawls and befriends in Sara Gruen's novel, Water for Elephants. This novel is a splendid book club selection because the AADL owns copies of the book club to go! We also own single copies of the book and copies of the audio book.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #117

In The Dirty Secrets Club*, the best clue San Francisco forensic psychiatrist, Jo Beckett finds at the 3rd high profile murder-suicides of the week is the word “dirty” scrolled on the thigh, in blood-red lipstick, of the latest victim – Callie Harding – the Assistant U.S. Attorney. Someone is picking off the members of the “Dirty Secrets Club”, A-list celebrities who trade secrets and thrills.

Meg Gardiner’s hardback U.S. debut boasts a taut, complex plot, break-neck pacing; a smart, tenacious and emotionally vulnerable protagonist with her own secrets to hide; and a realistic rendering of a city under siege.

Critics are comparing Gardiner to Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver and Tess Gerritsen. Gardiner practiced law in LA and taught at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her previous Evan Delaney (available only in paperback) novels are big hits in the UK where she now lives.

*=Starred Reviews

Tweens can Download Savvy--free!

Attention tweens! Savvy is a new novel about a girl whose family members each manifest a special power at age 13.

Of course, it can be hard to get your hands on one of the AADL's copies of popular new titles like this one, but luckily, to promote this debut novel by Ingrid Law, Penguin is teaming up with 35 tween-centric Web sites to give away free e-book copies of the title.

From July 14 to 20, visitors to those sites, including: bered.com, Allykatzz.com, and Girlslife.com, will be able to download a copy of the book via Penguin's minisite for Savvy. The e-books can be read through Web browsers and posted on blogs or social networking sites; the book will only be readable during the weeklong promotion. (If you can't wait until then, chapter one is already available for download here.)

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