Summer's Fabulous Books to Film

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Set in Belle Époque Paris, Chéri is the story of the love affair between the beautiful courtesan Léa and Chéri, the son of her old colleague and rival. When a marriage is secretly arranged for Cheri to another rich courtesan, they found out, too late, how much they meant to each other.

The sumptuous period drama with blinding star voltage (Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates) is based on a short novel by Colette, pen name for the flamboyant French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. (Limited release - a chick pick)

The Hollywood adaptation of My Sister’s Keeper is based on popular novelist Jodi Picoult's 2004 bestseller.

Sisters Kate and Anna share a bond closer than most sisters. Throughout their young lives, the sisters endure various medical procedures and hospital stays. Kate has Leukemia, and Anna was conceived to save her sister's life. Anna, now 11 seeks medical emancipation, hires her own lawyer, and initiates a court case that would divide the family. (3 hankies)

Public Enemies is adapted from Bryan Burrough's Public Enemies : America's greatest crime wave and the birth of the FBI, 1933-34 - the true story of legendary Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger, the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover's fledgling FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis. Starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard, one would not be surprised to find this the action/thriller of the summer.

First Woman to Row Alone Across an Ocean

Tori Murden McClure has an AB from Smith College, a master’s in divinity from Harvard, a JD from the University of Louisville, and an MFA from Spalding University. Very impressive -- as is her new book, A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean. Currently vice president at Spalding, McClure is the first woman to row alone across an ocean. This beautifully written memoir offers readers a spectacular blend of adventure, romance, and self discovery.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #157

In Aussie Toni Jordan's Addition, there is no getting around the fact that Grace Lisa Vandenburg is neurotic - lovable but definitely neurotic! - counting the bristles on the toothbrush and the poppy seeds on her cake (daily) neurotic. Her obsession with counting renders her unemployable and very much a loner except for Nikola Tesla, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century inventor whose portrait sits on her bedside table and who rescues her in her dreams.

Seamus Joseph O'Reilly, an Irish transplant is intrigued by Grace who steals his banana at the check-out line. A shared table at Grace's morning coffee run soon blossoms into romance, and Grace begins to want a normal life with this passionate and darling man. The path to recovery as well as true love is never smooth - but on the way, Grace learns a few valuable lessons and we are treated to a "sweet, agreeable romantic comedy".

This superb debut marks Jordan (interview) as a writer to watch.Discussion questions are available for an upbeat book group choice.

For a novel on the topic of obsessive-compulsive disorder, try teen novelist Terry Spencer Hesser's Kissing Doorknobs. For another humorous take on the subject, try Steve Martin's The Pleasure of My Company.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #156

David Cristofano's The Girl She Used to Be* is a "compulsively readable, skillfully constructed" first novel that you won't be able to put down.

After assuming 8 different identities since aged 6 through the Government's Witness Protection Program that ultimately could not safeguard her parents, Melody McCartney is no longer sure who she is and therefore is stunned when someone actually calls her by her real name!

Enter Jonathan Bovaro, son of the Mafia family that is at the root of her troubles. He is elusive, dangerous, and charming. Melody should run the other way but she cannot resist him, and stays.

Major nail-biting suspense with lots of plot twists, intense and itchy-sexy. Don't miss this one.

* = Starred Review

It's not your Grandma's Harlequin!

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Harlequin, one of the most recognized publishers is celebrating 60 years of bringing romance to the American reader. As part of the celebration, it is offering 16 free downloads of full-length titles from its various imprints.

Whether your interest is in :

African-American, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Inspiration, Mystery, Paranormal, or Suspense & Adventure, they have something that would appeal to your notion of the romantic. There is even an imprint for romance in Spanish.

Tell Harlequin is a special website where readers are encouraged to voice their opinion (and get free stuff!).

Sean Connery + Nonstop Shenanigans

Darby and King BrianDarby and King Brian

What better way to celebrate the banishing of snakes from Ireland than to watch a young Sean Connery sing Pretty Irish Girl? In Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Disney created some pre-CGI special effects that, amazingly, still hold up. Just try to guess how the scenes involving Darby (Albert Sharpe) and King Brian of the Leprechauns (Jimmy O'Dea) were created. You'll be amazed to find out that both actors were nearly the same height and that there was no chroma key involved!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #145

Fans of NPR-Books shouldn't miss first-novelist Jamie Ford's interview and discussion of his Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Set in Seattle 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor, amidst mounting racial tension and the frenzy of Japanese Americans' relocation, is the heartwarming story of Henry Lee, his first love Keiko Okabe and their shared passion for jazz.

For a closer look at this chapter in our shared history, see the Manzanar Series - images captured by Ansel Adams. Readers might also try Sandra Dallas' Tallgrass, a vivid portrayal of life in the internment camps and how they, forever altered our cultural landscape.

Also recommended is Disappearing Moon Cafe by Sky Lee, "...a feisty, complex, and award-winning first novel" - an intimate look at the many facets of Chinatown USA.

Read more about Jamie Ford from his website and the Panama Hotel on which the title is based. For book groups, a discussion guide is available.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #138

Noted historians and university professors of American History Jane Kamensky (Brandeis) and Jill Lepore (Harvard) met as graduate students at Yale and have been friends for 20 years. Blindspot: by a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise is their first novel.

Set in 1760s Boston, originally conceived by the two authors as "a playful spoof of two genres: the picaresque, with its rogue hero exposing the hypocrisy around him, and the sentimental epistolary narrative—in this instance, a series of letters from a young 'fallen' woman to a friend," it was meant as a gift to their mentor at Yale, John Demos.

The result (accomplished mostly through email) - is an astonishingly, wildly entertaining, clever, surprising, funny, sexy, historical romance with a strong sense of time and place.

* = Starred Reviews

Twilight: Audiobook

You may have noticed the buzz when Stephenie Meyer's fourth book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, just came out this August or when the Twilight film grabbed Harry Potter's original release date of November 21st (it's not Twilight's fault, don't get mad at them). All this publicity also means that the original Twilight novel is still in hot demand here at the library. But if you're like me and you enjoy audiobooks, then there's a significantly shorter holds list on the Twilight audiobook.

As for the story and audio themselves, for any who've managed to avoid the media, Twilight is a vampire teen romance novel. For personal reasons Bella Swan (the name kinda makes me think of a certain Pirates of the Caribbean character) arrives in the small town of Forks to live with her father. Used to the warmth and sun of Arizona, Bella languishes in the dreary gloom of Washington state until she meets a strange boy at school...

Fabulous Fiction Firsts # 96 (Books to Fall In Love With)

The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! (Already?) The wonderful folks at Bookrerporter.com have some sweet and heart-themed treats for you. From January 25th through February 6th, readers will have the chance to win one of five Bookreporter.com Valentine's Day baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of the featured books - from heartwarming novels, philosophical commentary, musical analogies, to some titles that are just plain fun.

I am especially excited with Beginner's Greek by first time novelist (former editor at the Times) James Collins.

Peter Russell is a deeply romantic guy who believes the woman of his dreams is destined to sit next to him on an airplane. And there is Holly, a pretty, strawberry blonde woman who reads Thomas Mann for pleasure. A thousand complications ensue in this delicious novel of missed opportunities, second chances, and lost love. I won't spoil it for you. Enjoy the ride.

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