Ages 18+.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (6/18/06)

You're in for thrills and chills and things that go bump in the night this week. Check out these 8 new titles on the List. And if you loved Casablanca and have not yet discovered Alan Furst, don't wait for his latest, rush to the shelves for any of his novels. They are wonderful!

At #1 is The Husband by Dean Koontz: a man races against the clock to save his kidnapped wife.

At #4 is The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: in the last volume in the Pendergast trilogy (Brimstone and Dance of Death), two brothers face off against each other in a battle of good and evil.

At #5 is The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver: a forensic detective hunts for a serial killer, the self-styled Watchmaker.

At #7 is Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon: along with the rain, there are vampires on the loose in Seattle; the latest in the Dark-Hunter series.

At #8 is Killer Dreams by Iris Johansen: a research scientist suspects a drug company is using her discovery to create zombies.

At #10 is Betrayal by Aaron Allston: in the latest Star Wars novel, the Skywalker and Solo clans find themselves on opposite sides in a galactic war.

At #14 is Telegraph Days by Larry McMurtry: a lighthearted romp in the Old West, featuring a strong-willed heroine.

At #15 is The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst: Italian refugees plot against Mussolini in wartime Paris.

Beach Reads 2006 (#2)

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School’s out. Grab these and head out for some fun and a little sun. Remember to sign up for the Summer Reading program.

The Attack by Yasmina Khadra. A Tel Aviv surgeon’s life is turned upside down by his link to a suicide bomber. Intense and timely.

Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern. Autistic Adam is the only witness and the prime suspect in another child’s murder. A gripping literary thriller.

The Mangler of Malibu Canyon by Jennifer Colt. Second crime-solving romp by the sleuthing McAfee twins on their pink Harley – this time involving a headless corpse in Aunt Reba’s Malibu digs. Wildly entertaining.

The Piano Man by Marcia Preston. A grieving mother tries to save the talented musician who received her son's transplanted heart. Compelling and graceful.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher. Modern crime fantasy series set in Chicago where wizards battle black magic to protect the mortal population. A TV pilot is expected to air this summer.

Restoring Grace by Katie Fforde. A sparkling, breezy read about an old crumbling mansion, three women in need of a home, and finding much more in the end. (Her previous titles are just as delightful).

Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes by Cathy Holton. Three Georgian beauties exact revenge from straying spouses with aplomb and style. The Ya Ya Sisterhood meets the First Wives Club!

Slipstream by Leslie Larson, Drama, romance, and misfortune entangle the desperate souls working at LAX. Rich and seriously frightening.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts # 26

As a rule I don’t get particularly excited over debut novels by Hollywood insiders. However, the cover blurb intrigued me. Literacy and Longing in L.A. is about a book junkie.

When other thirty-something L.A. socialites with failed marriages and time on their hands shop, yoga and lunch, (Eu)Dora book binges, albeit in style - with $50 bubble baths, Coltrane, a steady supply of red wine and a doorman who shops and delivers.

Despite being a bit of a literary snob, Dora is sexy, smart, and likable, with a healthy dose of insecurity and a strong sense of family. She is open (to historical romance and the hunky clerk in a bookstore) and generous (I will let you find out).

The Chick Lit. ending won’t surprise you. Not brain surgery for sure, but what a fun read! And keep your eyes out for the very funny book quotes.

Good ending v Bad ending

Should "Caution: Bad Ending Ahead" warning labels come on books like content warnings come on CD's? Should we be warned ahead of time that a book is going to leave us hanging off the cliff, and sometimes falling into the never ending pit, of literary "Nowhereland"?
After reading The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon, I am thinking maybe a cautionary warning label would be a welcomed disclaimer.
For the record, I am no literary wimp, and have been known to accept and eventually even embrace the "surprise" ending, the "untidy" ending, or the "out of character" ending.

James Shapiro's book on Shakespeare wins the Samuel Johnson Prize

James Shapiro, a Professor of English at Columbia University, was named the winner yesterday of the 2005 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction. His acclaimed book, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, studies the pivotal year in Shakespeare's life when he was 35 and not only wrote As You Like It and Henry V, but also finished the first draft of Hamlet.

Shapiro, who also wrote Shakespeare and the Jews in 1996, was awarded the $55,000 purse in this most prestigious UK nonfiction prize.

Good News

It's nice to hear something positive in the news. Nearly four months after refusing potentially life-extending treatment for his failing kidneys, Art Buchwald is alive against all expectations.

On the Diane Rehm show June 8, 2006 Diane visited with Mr Buchwald at the hospice where he’s been staying before he leaves to write a book on Martha’s Vineyard this summer.

Art Buchwald, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist has been ranked among America's finest humor writers for decades. The library has a number of his works available including his latest Beating around the Bush

How It All Started

On June 14, 1951, Univac 1 was unveiled in Philadelphia. Designed for the Bureau of the Census, this was the first commercial electronic computer although it had been preceded by ENIAC, both systems developed by John Mauchy and others at the University of Pennsylvania. Massive in size and short on memory compared to our gigabyte world, UNIVAC, as it was soon called, represented a tidal shift in technology whose repercussions have affected every aspect of life as we know it.

Two current and entertaining books on the history of computers are What the Dormouse Said-:How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff and Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age by Mike Hally.

Colm Toibin wins the 2006 International Impac Dublin Literary Award

Colm Toibin

Colm Toibin, Irish author extraordinaire, won the world's largest literary purse yesterday for his novel, The Master, which came close to winning the 2004 Man Booker Prize.

Toibin, 51, the first Irish author to win The International Impac Dublin Literary Award, is in great company. Previous winners are Edward P. Jones (2005), Tahar Ben Jelloun (2004), Orhan Pamuk (2003), and Michel Houellebecq (2002).

The IIDLA, worth 100,000 Euros ($125,767), receives nominations from 180 libraries from 43 countries.

UM's Donald Hall is named Poet Laureate

Donald Hall

Donald Hall, former professor of English at The University of Michigan from 1957-1975, will become the nation's 14th poet laureate.

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, will bestow the appointment on Prof. Hall, who succeeds Ted Kooser.

Hall, 77, as well known for his clean spare poetry and prose as for his passionate outspoken defense of government arts grants, now lives in New Hampshire.

Beach Reads 2006 (#1)

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They are delightfully fresh voices in fiction, for the most part still under the media radar. That also means no long waiting lists. Enjoy.

The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson. A deep cover CIA agent in the al-Qaeda camp is sent home to unleash the most devastating post-9/11 terrorist attack. A heart-pounding debut thriller by a former New York Times reporter.

Last Bite by Nancy Barr. A debut culinary romance by veteran cookbook author and Julia Child’s executive chef. Delicious and dishy, and rumored to be slightly autobiographical.

London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave. Emmy accompanies her very confused brother, Josh on a pre-wedding road trip and comes to see herself clearly for the first time. An absorbing debut novel not to be missed.

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. An impulsive taxi ride with a stranger in 1950s London indelibly changes Penelope Wallace's life. British Chick Lit. with substance.

Sun Storm by Asa Larsson. Winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award. Attorney Rebecka Martinsson is drawn into a murder case and a dark, nostalgic trip home. An atmospheric and chilling procedural.

Triangle by Katharine Weber. The truth behind the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 146 and the secrets kept by feisty Esther Gottesfeld, the last remaining survivor. Another gem by the author of The Little Women.

Voodoo Heart by Scott Snyder. Dark and an absurdly funny collection of short stories by a fiercely original young writer, populated by odd and unforgettable characters that will steal your heart before you know it. A sure bet.

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