Ages 18+.

Tempting fate (or not?)

Is fate a tease, an illusion or a controller of one's life? These are questions David Case who re-names himself Justin Case, ponders. As evidenced by this name change, Justin thinks he needs all the help he can get after the close call when his year old brother Charlie almost flies out the window. Justin doesn't fit in and soon finds some kindred souls in Angela, a photographer who likes to take pictures of disasters, an imaginary greyhound named Dog and Peter, the most normal of the lot, who encourages Justin to take up long distance running.

When Justin and Angela find themselves among the survivors of a catastrophe at the airport, Justin's fears multiply and he can't see his way free from the forces of doom.

Alternately funny, horrifying and always thought provoking, Meg Rosoff's new book, Just in Case has some of the same dark elements as her Printz Award winner, How I Live Now.

Slow Week for New Titles

Only one new title Into White by Carly Simon cracked the top 50 on the Billboard 200 this week. Into White entered at number 15. Moonlight Serenade was her last release in 2005.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (1/7/07)

There are no new titles this week! However, it is also that time of year when newspapers and magazines start making their "Best Fiction of 2006" lists. I want to nominate one of my personal favorites, The Dead Hour by Denise Mina. It may not make an official list but this riveting thriller will delight many readers looking for something different. Featuring Glasgow crime reporter Paddy Meehnan, the most unconventional heroine to come along in a long time, this is the second (after Field of Blood) in a planned series by Mina. And after you have read these books, you can have the pleasure of catching up with her earlier books, including the Garnethill series.

1001 Nights of Snowfall

For those of you already familiar with Bill Willingham’s Fables, you probably don’t need my recommendation to check out this anthology. For those of you not familiar with the Vertigo/ DC Comics series, 1001 Nights of Snowfall is a great introduction to the characters that make up Fabletown.

Snow White is sent as an envoy to solicit the help of King Shahryar, an Arabian Sultan, against the Adversary, enemy to all of Fablekind. She soon finds herself entrapped by the Sultan and must fill the nights with stories to beguile him and save her own life. Backstories of some familiar characters are told, which Willingham approaches with more detail than was given in the original tales. Find out what happened to the witch after Hansel and Gretel pushed her into the oven; the unexpected twist in the tale of Snow White after she marries her prince (she’s more independent than Disney portrayed); and why the Big Bad Wolf is so big, bad, and bitter. This book is also a splendid showcase for the talents of the many artists who contributed.

Please remember, though this book does retell the tales of beloved fairy tale characters, this book is not intended for children.

Celebrating Fiction Shorts

Short stories are one of the most under-appreciated fiction genres. That’s why it was so satisfying to see The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel picked as one of New York Times’ TOP 5 FICTION OF 2006.

While Amy Hempel is one of a handful of writers who has built a reputation based solely on short fiction, there are many more recent releases that deserve a serious look.

Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories* by Elizabeth Hand.
Lovely and unsettling - these 8 stories give a sensual and apocalyptic perspective on modern society, with art, death and sex all swirled together.

The View from Castle Rock :Stories* by Alice Munro.
12 exquisitely constructed tales from the grand dame of short fiction, centered around the Scottish Laidlaws and their migration to the New World, drawn from letters and family lore.

Lately* by Sara Pritchard.
11 loosely linked stories which "examine the quirkly lives of a handful of people...(who) sparkle with equal part courage and bewilderment". Masterful.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves*(FFF) by Karen Russell.
This first story collection of 10 upbeat, sentimental fables, narrated by articulate, emotionally precocious children from dysfunctional households is a thing of beauty, not to be missed.

Everybody Loves Somebody : Stories* by Joanna Scott.
From a McArthur Fellowship and Lannan Award winner, a stylish and apt depiction of everyday life, quietly well crafted, that will leave a lasting impression.

*= Starred Review(s) You might ask - "What about the guys?" That's next, I promise. <--!break-->

Anime books and magazines

The library doesn’t just have great anime tv series and films in its dvd collection; it also has books about anime in our nonfiction collection. I especially like Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier and The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation since 1917 by Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy.

And if you want the very latest news on anime, take a look at Newtype USA magazine, which is available at all library branches.

New Adult Documentaries

If you are interested in documentaries there are some new additions to the AADL.
There is a new documentary about two boys growing up in Appalachian, Kentucky over a period of three years. The documentary Country Boys is a portrait of these young boys and the struggle that they go through. For a totally different perspective of America check out Stephen Foster . Stephen Foster was a man who was ahead of his times when it came to music. His music was the rock and roll of its time. If you would like to learn more about the man that created songs such as Oh Susannah!, Camptown Races, Beautiful Dreamer there is a documentary about his life made by PBS. If you are more interested in foreign documentaries there is a new film called Jesus, Du Weisst. This is a documentary by Ulrich Seidl at the opinions of six different people concerning the Catholic Church. Come in and check them out!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #46

Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, “this brilliant debut is a must read”.

Set in Chicago, The Blade Itself opens with a botched pawnshop robbery that would send young Evan to prison while Danny, his partner and childhood friend walks away and builds himself a respectable life. Seven years later, Evan is out and looking for payback. In an attempt to outwit Evan without succumbing to his past life, Danny devises a kidnap/ransom scheme that would bring on escalating collateral damage.

Michigan Notable Books 2007

The Library of Michigan's annual selection (annotations are from the Library of Michigan list):

Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke by Dean Kuipers. Bloomsbury.
This detailed and readable account describes the 2001 tragedy on Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm's farm in Vandalia, a rural Cass County town. Crosslin founded Rainbow Farm in 1993 as a shelter for marijuana smokers, libertarians, disconnected gays and lovers of live music. Local authorities charged Crosslin and Rohm with growing marijuana, used social services to remove Rohm's son from the farm, and began taking the necessary steps to confiscate the property. Kuipers provides an account of the incident and argues that maximum force is not always morally justified when dealing with the emotional issues surrounding the War on Drugs.

Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder by Steve Lehto. Momentum Books.
This book explores the enduring mystery and drama surrounding the 1913 Christmas Eve tragedy at Italian Hall in Calumet. After a still-unidentified man falsely cried, "Fire," more than 70 people, many of them children, were crushed to death in the stairwell amidst the panicked crush to flee the building. The author expertly analyzes the objectivity of the local newspaper coverage, the coroner's inquest, and the mystery surrounding the doors (did they open inward or outward?), and reaches several thought-provoking, startling, and controversial conclusions.

Donutheart by Sue Stauffacher. Alfred A. Knopf.
In this young adult sequel to Donuthead set in fictional central and west Michigan, Franklin is still obsessive but begins to gain a heart for others. His good friend Sarah needs help, but will not tell Franklin what is going on. Will Franklin take action and help Sarah? An enthralling tale of two youngsters who each learn to make their own decisions and deal in very individual ways with a puzzling grownup world. The story is a beautiful mixture of funny and original characters, intermingled with the frustrating issues of growing up.

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