Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #22

I frankly cannot remember the last time a debut thriller generated such buzz. Library Journal, Booklist, as well as Publishers Weekly all gave John Hart’s The King of Lies starred reviews.

Critics are calling it ”stunning…, an exceptionally deep and complex mystery thriller”; “The writing is beautiful and the story is gripping, but it is the character study… that puts this debut novel on the must-read list.”

At the center of the mystery is Work(man) Pickens, a struggling North Carolina attorney with some serious baggage – one of them is being accused of his father’s murder. You won’t want to miss this one.

Read about Geeks Behind Video Games

For those who didn't make it to the Electronic Entertainment Expo here's a book that might provide some perspective on the videogame industry: Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution, by Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby. From the jacket: "Meet the geeks, geniuses, and mavericks behind this burgeoning culture." The book is showing available, shelved with new non-fiction books on the second floor of the Downtown Library.

Fred Eaglesmith at the Ark!

Fred Eaglesmith

For all you country-folk fans, here's a concert that you won't want to miss... Fred Eaglesmith will perform Thursday night (5/18), 8pm at The Ark. So log on to Ticketmaster and get your tickets will-call; then call your emergency babysitter and plan to leave work early on Thursday so you can catch dinner on Main Street and even stop by the AADL and pick up his CD.

If you love Eaglesmith, you'll also enjoy these artists:

Quirkiness abounds when Leo Kottke and Phish bassist Mike Gordon join forces

Acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke is well known for his masterful fingerpicking on traditional and folk tunes, such as Bach's "Bourree" or his own hauntingly beautiful "Crow River Waltz." But his fans also know him for his quirky original music and odd sense of humor, as demonstrated in his in experimental album That's What (1990). It seems strangely appropriate, then, that Kottke should team up with Phish bass player Mike Gordon on his latest album, Sixty Six Steps.

Sixty Six Steps follows on Kottke and Gordon's well-received first collaboration, Clone (2002). Like Clone, Sixty Six Steps features amazing fingerwork, clever lyrics, and a catchy sound, resulting in an album strangely familiar to fans of both artists while still breaking new ground. Listeners may notice a bit more of a tropical flair in the new album, however, as Kottke and Gordon experiment with island music. The album may seem familiar for other reasons, too: it features a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" and a very deadpan rendition of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion."

First Impressions

"For the rest of her life, Charlotte Cleve would blame herself for her son's death because she had decided to have Mother's Day dinner at six in the evening instead of noon, after church, which is when the Cleves usually had it."
So begins The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. Librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl considers this a great first line, a first line that compels the reader forward into the thick of the Cleve family's tragedy. Other compelling first lines: Christopher Morley's Parnassus on Wheels, Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys, and even a slightly morbid nonfiction work, Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. But there must be others...

What, Me Worry?

MAD

If upon reading above caption, you immediately grin, smirk, chuckle, snort, or downright guffaw, then you're one of the millions who've enjoyed MAD since its inception in 1952.

So go ahead, check out what AADL has in its collection - from the magazine (yes, there's even a kids' version) to several books put out by the "Usual Gang of Idiots."

And for those of you who have never read the magazine, but watch MADTV, just where did you think Spy vs. Spy came from?

Enjoy, kids!

- Alfred E. Neuman

Two new fiction titles

Anne Tyler's latest book, Digging to America has its typical cast of quirky characters including Bitsy McDonald, newly adoptive mom of Jin-Ho who has just arrived from Korea. A bit self-righteous but well meaning, Bitsy initiates a friendship with an Iranian couple who are picking up their daughter, Susan, at the airport at the same time. The two couples and their extended families meet every year for an anniversary party to celebrate the girls' arrival day. The story is not only about the adjustment of the girls but the difficulties of assimilation for any immigrant. Maryam, Susan's grandmother and frequent caretaker, exemplies this predicament as she tries to preserve her own cultural traditions in the midst of the americanization of the children.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (5/14/06)

Even though a couple of colleagues are huge fans, I had never caught the Harlan Coben bug, until he published his first standalone (Tell No One). Then I was hooked and read every subsequent novel. But I still initially passed on his latest book because it marked the return of Myron Bolitar. Through sheer luck I picked up a copy and had a terrific time.

At #2 is Promise Me by Harlan Coben: in the eighth release of this series Myron Bolitar investigates the disappearance and possible kidnapping of two teenage girls who attended his old New Jersey high school.

At #6 is Susannah's Garden by Debbie Macomber: a return to her hometown propels a young woman to think about the direction of her life and the choices she has made.

At #10 is Everyman by Philip Roth: after leaving the funeral of his good friend Saul Bellow, Roth went home and immediately started writing this contemplation of aging and death.

At #14 is Vanished by Karen Robards: a young woman turns to her best friend (who just happens to be a handsome former FBI agent) for help in finding her missing daughter.

At #15 is Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein: before she died earlier this year, this award-winning playwright penned her own 9/11 novel.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #21 (Happy Mother's Day)

It is not for everyone but it will richly reward the patient reader.

The stream-of-consciousness narrative in Love Burns, the debut novel by noted Israeli playwright Edna Mazya, and the experimental writing style might feel like sand between the toes, but this "surprisingly fresh, deeply sardonic" (Publishers Weekly) tale of obsessive-love-turns-homicidal would keep you turning pages, and the provocative blend of sly humor and suspense might just win you over.

Ilan, a middle-aged astrophysics professor at a Haifa university is obsessed with his beautiful young wife while life is spiraling out of control. A fateful encounter with his wife’s sexy Russian lover proves to be his undoing. Thank heavens there is mother to take charge.

Already a bestseller in Europe.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (5/7/06)

There were only two new titles this week. You can choose to spend time with the rich and idle of New York City or the humble and hardworking of South Africa.

At #2 is Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith: "The seventh novel in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, featuring Mma Ramotswe and her assistant, Grace Makutsi."

At #15 is The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes: "Life among New York's rich, young, thin and newly ummarried, from the author of 'Bergdorf Blondes'."

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