Ages 18+.

2015 Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced!


The 13 books nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize were announced yesterday, July 29th. This is the second year in which authors of all nationalities are eligible for the award - previously only authors from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth were considered. The award is given for an outstanding work of fiction, and is selected by a panel of five judges.

The list of nominees includes 5 Americans, up from 4 in last year's list. They include:
Bill Clegg - Did You Ever Have A Family? (release date September 8, 2015)
Leila Lalami - The Moor's Account (release date September 9, 2015)
Marilynne Robinson - Lila
Anne Tyler - A Spool of Blue Thread
Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life

You can find copies of all of the finalist books published so far that are owned by AADL on this list. The shortlist will be announced on September 15, revealing the final 6 titles under consideration. The winner will be announced October 13, 2015, so stay tuned!

NPR Books' Summer Of Love

The hottest month of the summer is almost upon us and in honor of their Summer of Love theme this year, NPR Books has just released a list of 100 swoon-worthy romances to keep you occupied during August and beyond. Readers and authors alike voted on their favorite romance novels, and then the votes were tallied and divided into categories to produce the final list, which you can check out here!

I love the diversity of the list: it includes historical, paranormal and LBGT romances, classics such as Pride and Prejudice, and entire series. There's even a YA category! Even readers who don't consider themselves readers of romance novels will be able to find something that catches their eye. Look for any of the books that interest you from the list in our catalog!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #544 - “Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.” ~ Walter Scott

If you are still waiting around for The Girl on the Train (or just looking for the next good thriller), then I suggest you try The Truth and Other Lies * * by German screenwriter Sascha Arango. Right now, this debut is flying somewhat under the media radar but I cannot guarantee that for much longer.

Henry Hayden, best-selling author is often praised for his thrillers of "strange happenings, dark secrets, dangers lurking everywhere, and really brilliant villains". Little does the reading public know fiction resembles the truth, and that this charming, modest and generous man is a carefully constructed facade. With his mistress/editor pregnant and his wife Martha's (who is the actual writer of the novels) untimely death; his past which he has painstakingly kept hidden, is finally catching up with him. Ingeniously weaving more lies and half-truths into a story as the police close in, Henry might just survive.

"A cross between James M. Cain and Patricia Highsmith, with a wide streak of sardonic humor, this is one wicked tale."

The Hand That Feeds You by A.J. Rich, a pseudonym adopted by Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, for their collaboration on a book their dying friend Katherine Russell Rich didn’t have time to write.(EW reveals the real story in an interview with the authors).

Morgan Prager, a criminal justice grad student returns to her Brooklyn apartment to find the mutilated corpse of her fiancé, Bennett, splayed across her bed and her beloved dogs, a Great Pyrenees, and two pit bulls, covered in blood. When she tries to locate Bennett's parents, she discovers that everything she knows of him is a lie. As the dogs face court mandate destruction, Morgan's research into Bennett's identity has taken on an urgency, especially when she finds herself on a trail littered with the bodies of other women engaged to Bennett.

"Sexy, disturbing, and highly suspenseful, this is a brilliant collaboration between two outstanding writers... who have created an emotionally and erotically charged thriller that vibrates with tension and passion."

Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant, a dark psychological thriller that is a departure from her chick lit. novels.

On the first anniversary of her husband Zach's death in a car crash, school librarian Lizzie Carter visits the accident scene in Cornwall for the first time only to find that someone named Xenia has left a bouquet and a love letter for Zach. Then things start being moved around and vanishing from their London house, she becomes convinced that Zach, always unstable and controlling, has faked his death and is just waiting for the right moment to kill her.

"The suspense builds with each page as secrets are revealed and the sense of menace grows at each turn. Durrant's fast-paced psychological thriller will satisfy readers who enjoyed Elizabeth Haynes's Into the Darkest Corner."

* * = 2 starred reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #543 - "Freedom Is just frosting On somebody else's Cake -- And so must be Till we Learn how to Bake.” ~ Langston Hughes

The Art of Baking Blind, a debut novel by Sarah Vaughan (Oxford, a former news reporter for The Guardian) is a MUST for fans of PBS' Great British Baking Show.

Five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs. Eaden, Mrs. Eaden being Kathleen, the recently deceased wife of the upscale supermarket chain's founder and the author of the 1966 classic, The Art of Baking. The winner not only will take away £50,000 but a baking career is almost a sure thing.

Housewives Vicki, Jenny, and Karen; single dad Mike; and single mom Claire will face off at the Eaden country estate through rounds of cakes, biscuits, breads, pies and pastries, pudding, and "celebratory tea" while dealing with personal challenges and difficult family dynamics. As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, they will learn, as did Mrs. Eaden before them, that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in life.

"Delectable 'food porn', as one character puts it."

The Cake Therapist by award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig brings to mind Aimee Bender's The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

Claire "Neely" O'Neil, a pastry chef of extraordinary talent has a unique gift. She can "taste" feelings - cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. She can also customize her creations to help her clients, whether to celebrate love, overcome fear, or mourn a devastating loss.

When she returns home to Millcreek Valley (OH) after a series of personal and business set-backs in the big city, opening her own bakery seems the perfect move, especially now that the town has become a thriving bridal district. Neely's talents for helping people through her pastry palette have always been useful, but a recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals a long-ago story involving a unique piece of jewelry begs to be told. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.

"Fertig crafts a culinary tale that has as much substance as sweetness and is as pleasingly layered as Neely's signature rainbow cake. "

For readers who enjoyed The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate; The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister; When in Doubt Add Butter by Elizabeth Harbison; and The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee.

Have you wanted to read Proust but were intimidated by Proust? Well here's your chance for a novel introduction to one of his classics.

In Search of Lost Time is arguably one of Proust's greatest novels. Split into 7 volumes it encompasses themes such as memory and the nature of art. The first volume of this great work is Swann's Way and if you want to jump right into the novel go ahead, but if you, like me, have been intimidated by Proust's work then perhaps the new graphic novel of In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way is the way to go.

The artwork is beautiful and at times breathtaking, especially the artists great grasp of the importance of background in graphic novels. It is not a perfect adaptation but it is one worth your time. If you have ever wanted to tackle a work by Proust then here is a perfect chance. If you've never heard of Proust, here's your chance to get to know his works in a manageable manner.

If after reading this you want to read some of Proust's other work check these out

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #542 - "Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination." ~ Jeanette Winterson

What a joy it is to meander the waterways through the heart of France with The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, the first English translation for a bestselling German author.

Fifty year-old Monsieur Perdu watches over the other inhabitants of 27 Rue Montagnard. By day, he runs a literary apothecary on a floating barge docked along the Seine, prescribing appropriate books to (mostly willing) customers for the myriad of ailments and hardships of life. His intuition and profound knowledge of books serves him well, mending broken heart and souls, except for his own.

For twenty years he refuses to open the letter left for him by Manon, the love of his life, until the chance encounter with a new tenant stirs up emotions long buried within. Once he reads the letter, the devastating contents compel him to haul anchor, take the bookstore barge on a trip upriver to Avignon, in search of closure and forgiveness - but not before taking on an uninvited guest. His neighbor Max Jordan, a young American author with severe writer's block, is looking for fresh ideas and the perfect story, and is in need of a sanctuary from over-zealous paparazzi and adoring fans.

"The two navigate the canals of France trading books for food (The Enchanted April to a baker's daughter, and the latest John Irving to a lockkeeper's wife), engaging in adventures small and large, all against the backdrop of quaint villages and bittersweet memories."

"A charming novel that believes in the healing properties of fiction, romance, and a summer in the south of France." All aboard.

For those who enjoyed The Storied life of A. J. Fikry by Gabirelle Zevin, and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

25th ADA Anniversary at Ann Arbor Amtrak Station - July 23

On Thursday, July 23 at 2:00 pm everyone is invited to a 25th American Disabilities Act (ADA) Anniversary and celebration of the new Setback/Shuttle Platform at the Ann Arbor Amtrak Station. The Lt. Governor of Michigan will be on hand to officially recognize the occasion, because as Amtrak ADA Project Director Gary Talbot noted: “this could have only been developed in Michigan because that’s where the creativity, capability and capacity is for design, development and prototype build.” This solution benefits everyone with level boarding, getting on/off the train at stations that also have freight traffic. For more information, contact Gary Talbot’s office at 267-702-1901.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #541 - “On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but I remembered just in time that I'd killed a man." ~ Albert Camus, The Stranger

Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud's The Meursault Investigation * * is “(a) tour-de-force reimagining of Albert Camus's 1942 classic The Stranger, from the point of view of the mute Arab victims.” It won the Prix François Mauriac and the Prix des Cinq-Continents de la francophonie, and is a finalist for the Prix Goncourt. A feature film based on the novel is slated for release in 2017.

The narrator, Harun was the younger brother of “the Arab” killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name—Musa—and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.

Night after night, "(a)s Harun meditates on guilt, alienation, and his failed affair with Meriem, a university student, his quarrel is revealed to be not just with his mother and Meursault, but with post-Independence Algeria and God himself. Ultimately, Harun identifies more with his brother's killer than with his own zealous countrymen. "

"The novel…not only breathes new life into The Stranger; it also offers a bracing critique of post-colonial Algeria…" (The New York Times Magazine)

"Fiction with a strong moral edge."

”For its incandescence, its precision of phrase and description, and its cross-cultural significance, The Meursault Investigation is an instant classic.“ (The Guardian)

* * = 2 starred reviews

Teen Books on Film in July!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is in theaters now, and is based on the book of the same title by Jesse Andrews. It tells the story of 17 year old Greg, who mainly spends his time being antisocial except for making films with his “friend” Earl until his mother forces him to befriend the girl down the street who was recently diagnosed with cancer. It sounds morbid, but it’s delightfully funny and Greg’s one-liners and views on the world are priceless. And Earl is just one of the funniest characters in teen lit. But then there is the whole girl-with-cancer thing that tugs on your sleeves. It’s not as sad as The Fault In Our Stars, but it’s definitely in the same “sick lit” vein.

Speaking of John Green, the film version of his novel Paper Towns hits theaters July 24 and there is so much buzz about it! In the story Margo arrives at Quentin’s window in disguise a month before graduation and drags him out on a night that ends up being a revenge mission against all those who did her wrong during high school. Soon afterwards Margo goes missing and Q follows clues to try to find out what happened to her. I’m really curious to see how this turns out on the big screen!

Both were good reads and recommended if you like realistic teen fiction.

EDIT: Paper Towns movie is now in the catalog!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #540 - “Sensual pleasure passes and vanishes, but the friendship between us, the mutual confidence, the delight of the heart, the enchantment of the soul, these things do not perish and can never be destroyed.” ~ Voltaire

The Enchanted April (1922), a women's fiction classic by Elizabeth Von Arnim is transported a century forward and across oceans by children's author/publisher Brenda Bowen into Enchanted August, her debut novel for adults, and an invitation to get away from it all, if only for little while.

Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.
August.

When Lottie Wilkes and Rose Arbuthnot spotted this notice at their children's preschool bulletin board on a dreary spring morning, it seemed like a godsend, and a much needed break from relentless child-rearing demands and husband-troubles. To cover the steep rent, they invited two strangers - Caroline Dester, an indie actress in need of anonymity to nurse a very public humiliation; and elderly Beverly Fisher, who is not at all what they were expecting. If its not a perfect quartet, they were determined to make it work. That is, until the late-August blue moon, when real life and its complications made their way to this idyllic island.

"Bowen has conjured up a delightful and inviting island summer complete with all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Maine to create a feast for the senses." "A thoroughly pleasant summer read as breezy as the island itself."

Also suggested are: The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons; Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan; Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews; and the latest from Jane Green - Summer Secrets.

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