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.)

Lost Book Club

My mother is a huge fan of the television series, "Lost," and loves to discuss her theories about what is happening or will happen next. Unfortunately, I have only seen the show sporadically (someday when I have the time I'll borrow them, starting with the first season and catch up), so it's hard for me to understand the complexities of the plot. Finally, though, we have a point of mutual reference for the show! The show producers have started a Lost Book Club over on the official show website, which features books referenced in the show.

I checked out the list and found several of my old favorites, and I think that even non-fans will enjoy many of their selections. For instance, if you enjoy excellent humor carved out of serious situations, the list includes Joseph Heller's Catch-22, as well as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. If classics are more your style, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens made the list, as did The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Even young fans can get in on the book club, with selections like William Golding's classic tale of schoolboys surviving on an island, Lord of the Flies, and even (no kidding) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which apparently got referenced in episode #117.

So, if you are a Lost fan, or if you are just in the mood for an eclectic book list, you can read them by season, or pick and choose from the entire list. Have a look at the list, and then head over to your local branch to check some of these out!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #116

Lauren Groff's "exuberant" debut The Monsters of Templeton* is a "fantastically fun read, a kind of wild pastiche that is part historical novel and part mystery, with a touch of the supernatural thrown in for good measure".

Pregnant and troubled, archaeology student Wilhelmina (Willie) Upton slinks home to Templeton, N.Y., after a disastrous affair with her professor, on the very day a long-feared sea monster surfaces in Lake Glimmerglass, quite dead. When Vi, Willie's flower-child mother let slip that Willie's father is in fact a respected citizen in town rather than a nameless hippie from Vi's commune days, Willie dives headlong into untangling the roots of the town's greatest families and her father's identity.

Brilliantly incorporating accounts from generations of Templetonians — as well as characters borrowed from the works of James Fenimore Cooper, who named an upstate New York town Templeton in The Pioneers, Groff, a native of Cooperstown(on which Templeton is based), will delight readers with Willie's sharp wit, literary/historical references and lore.

* = Starred Reviews

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