The Reading List 2016


At the ALA Midwinter in Boston, a committee of 8 librarians announced this past year's best of the best in genre fiction - the Reading List. The winner in each of the 8 categories are:

Adrenaline
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Three sisters are driven apart in the aftermath of one’s disappearance. When a violent crime occurs new fears arise and relationships shift again. Long term effects of family grief are exploited by the compulsions of a psychopath. Brutal and disturbing, this is ultimately a story of love and empowerment.

Fantasy
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
In this enchanted old-world fable, villagers threatened by a blighted magical wood allow the resident wizard to take one daughter into servitude for ten years. When he chooses klutzy Agnieszka, she faces an unexpected future and confronts the dangers of a wider political world and the roots of magical corruption.

Historical Fiction
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
Raised by his eccentric ex-suffragette godmother to be a free-thinker, young Noel is thrown into chaos when the London Blitz forces him into the home of a scam artist loyal only to her layabout son. Thrust together, the two oddballs are forced to find a way through the wartime landscape.

Horror
The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp
Flamboyant antiques dealer Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang made his fortune by accidentally killing a vampire with a horde of treasure. To protect the only person he loves, his niece, he’s forced to return to old Europe to assemble an eccentric team of vampire hunters in this gory, witty caper.

Mystery
The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
Cold cases cast a twenty-five year shadow of grief and guilt on the lives of two survivors of traumatic teenage crimes. New leads and new cases bring them back to Oklahoma City as past and present intersect in this poignant and compelling story of lives forever changed by random violence.

Romance
Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl
Sassy relationship advice columnist Veronica overcomes her commitment anxiety and gains confidence with the help of mountain-climbing librarian Gabe. Steamy romance evolves into a strong relationship as they scale a mountain of family conflicts and share secrets against a majestic Jackson Hole backdrop.

Science Fiction
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Insurgent Darrow inveigled his way into high Gold society in 2014’s Red Rising. In this dramatic, high octane follow-up, conflicting loyalties and his own ambitions lure Darrow into an untenable web of deceptions. Bolstered by new alliances, Darrow battles to overthrow corrupt lunar leadership and bring freedom to Mars.

Women’s Fiction
Re Jane by Patricia Park
Anxious to escape the strict upbringing of her uncle’s Flushing grocery, Korean-American Jane accepts an au pair position in the pretentious household of two Brooklyn academics and their adopted Chinese daughter. Park has created a bright comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living on one’s own terms.

Check out the complete list for a shortlist of honor titles in each category.

Survive the Night!

Now that fall is here, Halloween is already on my mind and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to dive into Danielle Vega's newest teen horror book Survive the Night!

Don't let the cover fool you: this is a seriously creepy novel. In it, Casey and her friends go to an all-night rave called Survive the Night. The secret party is located underground in the subways of New York, and there are crazy rumors about what goes on in the tunnels below. When Casey wanders off down the subway line, she finds one of her friends has been violently, viciously murdered. When she gets back to the party, everyone but the rest of her friends have cleared out and the manhole exit is sealed. Casey realizes that the killer is still in the subway system, and the group is trapped down there with them. What was once a party quickly turns into a frantic fight for survival, as Casey and her group realize they are being hunted by whoever (or whatever) is down in the subways with them.

This book is not for everyone (especially not tweens or those with a weak stomach). Survive the Night requires a little suspension of disbelief and takes a while to get going, but once it does it's a non-stop thrill ride right up until the end. My heart was pounding as I raced through the last few chapters as things kept building and building.

This is Danielle Vega's second book. The first, The Merciless, is another great teen horror novel and the film rights were just acquired by Lionsgate Films. The Merciless isn't available through AADL yet, but can be found through our MeLCat lending system.

Horror Director Wes Craven Dies at 76

Legendary horror director, writer and producer Wes Craven died August 30 at his Los Angeles home after battling brain cancer.

Best known for his Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream film franchises, horror movies and film buffs are indebted to his style and creativity. Scre4m actually filmed in Ann Arbor in 2011! Other notable films include The Hills Have Eyes, My Soul to Take, and The Last House On the Left - which was his first film and he wrote, directed, and edited it.

My childhood nightmares wouldn’t be complete without Freddy Krueger. Thank you Mr. Craven for all the thrills and chills.

Zombies and Samurais....sort of

Rot and Ruin: Warrior Smart is a collection of the first five comics of the series Rot and Ruin, based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Maberry. The story is a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller, and deals with the survivors of the zombie outbreak that happened prior to the start of the series.

The comics follow Benny Imura, a 15 year old boy, as well as his girlfriend Nix, his friend Chong, and a semi-feral girl named Lilah. One night, Benny and Nix see a jet fly overhead, something unseen since the outbreak started. So Benny and his friends decide to set out and find this jet, thinking that whoever built it must be working on putting the world back together. Having been trained by Benny's brother Tom in the ways of the samurai and sword fighting, the group prepares themselves to set foot outside their walled city and into the land of rot and ruin. While zombies are the first thing they encounter, the walking dead may not be the most terrifying thing beyond the city walls. On the run, the group comes across a farmstead village, protected from the zombies. Everything seems peaceful, and the people are happy and value hard work and children above all else. But not everything is as nice as it seems.

If you like Rot and Ruin, be sure to check out the novel series here, or any other of Jonathan Maberry's books.

Sinister Snowmen

Sunday February 7, 2016: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Secret Lab

This event is intended for grade 6 and up

Sick of the snow? Loathe that lovey-dovey stuff?

Unleash your stranger side and make a sinister snowman sock doll.

Vampire's Kiss Necklace

Wednesday October 14, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for teens in grades 6–12.

Join us in creating an illusionist piece of jewelry to add to your Halloween wardrobe or costume. Using red beads, clear wire and a few basic tools you'll make necklace that will show your artsy side!

The Dark Side II: Highway of Horror With Bestselling Horror Authors Andrew Pyper & Nick Cutter

Tuesday March 3, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event will be recorded

Get ready for a spine-tingling evening when bestselling horror genre authors Andrew Pyper and Nick Cutter visit the Downtown Library for one night of chilling readings and conversation, as part of their Dark Side II: Highway of Horror author tour. There will also be plenty of time for questions and answers — if you dare! A book signing will follow, and books will be for sale.

Andrew Pyper is the award-winning author of six internationally bestselling novels, including The Killing Circle, a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. Three of Pyper’s novels, including The Demonologist, are in active development for feature films. His new novel, The Damned, was released in February 2015 and has already been optioned as a feature film by Legendary Pictures.

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for Scotiabank Giller prize-nominated author Craig Davidson. Davidson has published four books of literary fiction, including Rust and Bone (which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name), and Cataract City. Under the name Nick Cutter, he published The Troop in 2014 and his newest book, The Deep, in January 2015.

This event is cosponsored by Nicola's Books.

The 2015 Reading List

While most of the country's households were glued to the Superbowl, and Chicago was slammed with a memorable snowstorm, the intrepid librarians at ALA Midwinter announced this past year's best of the best in genre fiction - the Reading List. The winner in each of the 8 categories are:

Adrenaline
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Detroit serves as the economically battered backdrop of this inventive, visceral suspense story about a series of bizarre murders that draws a group of memorable characters into a complex web of violence. Smart, stylish and addictive, this page-turner shows how the American Dream has failed many on a personal level.

Fantasy
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Following the sudden, suspicious deaths of his entire family, exiled half-goblin Maia becomes emperor, a role requiring diplomacy and adherence to strict protocols. Focusing on the intricacies of court life, this elegant novel unfolds at a pace that allows readers to savor the rich tapestry of character, setting and plot.

Historical Fiction
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Banished from the court of Versailles, spirited Charlotte-Rose de la Force meets a nun who weaves together the strands that form the Rapunzel fairy tale, revealing its surprising origins. A captivating marriage of history and folklore featuring characters true to their time periods, yet timeless in their dreams and desires.

Horror
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
Beneath the streets of 1970s New York, Joey meets the merry children, a gang of ancient child vampires, and discovers that immortality isn't all fun and games. Gritty, clever and gonzo, this fresh take on the vampire mythos gets darker and creepier as the pages turn.

Mystery
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver
This classic English mystery follows Amory and her estranged husband, Milo, whose paths cross at a seaside resort, where suspicious deaths implicate Amory’s former fiance, Gil. A vivid mystery that sparkles with personality as Amory and Milo puzzle out the truth behind the murders and negotiate their own complicated relationship.

Romance
Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
Comic misunderstandings ensue when playboy Bollywood director Samir travels to America to secure an annulment for his brother, married at age four to Mili in a traditional arranged Indian wedding ceremony. Appealing protagonists, a diverse supporting cast and a colorful multicultural backdrop lend this charming story unexpected emotional depth.

Science Fiction
The Martian by Andy Weir
Stranded on Mars, wisecracking botanist Mark Watney proves that an astronaut has to be smart, resourceful and, perhaps, a little crazy to survive. Strong characterization, well-researched but accessible technical detail, and a deft blend of suspense and humor will please science enthusiasts and fans of survival stories on any planet.

Women's Fiction
My Real Children by Jo Walton
Patricia Cowan, an elderly woman suffering from dementia, remembers two different lives, two different careers, two different families and two different worlds. A striking novel of how tragedy turns to joy and heartbreak turns to love with a narrative twist that hooks the reader and never lets go.

Check out the shortlists and readalikes, in the complete list.

Cinema of Jean Rollin

Fall is a good time of year to explore some darker films that make us think. Jean Rollin is a French film director, actor and novelist that helps us do just that. A slew of Rollin's French language films are now in the AADL catalog! What should you expect from his films?

Revered by enthusiasts of fantasy and horror films, but largely overlooked by the critical mainstream, French filmmaker Jean Rollin (1938-2010) is finally being given the recognition he deserves. His surreal, dreamlike films are grounded in traditional gothic imagery but are flavored with 1970s-era eroticism, resulting in a body of work that is as eerie as it is outrageous. Though constrained by low budgets, Rollin managed to drench his films in atmosphere and used them as unvarnished expressions of his own personal fears and desires. As Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog has written, Rollin’s films represent “the very heart and soul of ‘le fantastique’-”its flamboyance, its melodrama, its sense of the impossible made possible. They do not scare us; they were designed to delight us, to arouse our imagination, to move us.”

A sampling of our collection includes: The shiver of the vampires, Zombie lake, Two orphan vampires, The grapes of death, and many more to choose from.

Ghost Stories

If your kids are anything like mine they’re already planning for Halloween. It just can’t be helped with the feel of fall in the air and the local stores already stocking spooky decorations and treats. The Ann Arbor District Library has a plethora of books to help feed your ghostly appetite and really get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end. The books Ghosts of the Alamo, Ghosts of Alcatraz, Ghosts of Gettysburg, and Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery will send readers on trips through different parts of the United States that claim to have ghostly inhabitants. Each book has eerie pictures and real life accounts of ghostly sightings and spooky encounters. You'll visit the sights of haunted hotels, creepy caves, ghastly graveyards and more. The series isn't too scary for the timid, but eerie enough that ghost-lovers will want to read the whole set!

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