Fabulous Fiction Firsts #49

AT LONG LAST!!! The much anticipated first novel from Peter Ho Davies, named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists 2003 for his two award winning short-story collections The Ugliest House in the World and Equal Love, is finally here.

The Welsh Girl* is an ambitious and moving wartime romance. The story opens with the building of a POW camp for German prisoners in the remote Welsh countryside in 1944. 17 year-old Esther, pregnant after being rape by an English soldier, and Karsten, a German POW haunted by the loss of honor, are thrown together during his escape.

Adding texture and contrast to Esther and Karsten’s story is British army officer Rotheram’s difficult assignment to interrogate captured nazi officer Rudolf Hess, both of them haboring secrets and struggling with matters of honesty and honor.

“What makes this first novel …an intriguing read isn't the plot, …but the beautifully realized characters, who learn that life is a jumble of difficult compromises best confronted with eyes wide open.” (Publishers’s Weekly)

Read an interview with P.H.D. and an interesting piece in Michigan Today by Leslie Stainton.

* = Starred Reviews

2007 Edgar Award Best Young Adult Nominees

On the 198th birth of Edgar Allan Poe the 2007 Edgar® Nominees were announced. The winner will be announced April 26 in NYC. Read the list and tell us which one you think should be named the winner.

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks

Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready

The Night My Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (1/28/07)

While Richard North Patterson has been writing big (!) bestsellers for several years, his first book The Outside Man is still my favorite. The story is compelling, the plotting tight, the prose concise and he delivers all this in only 236 pages.

At #1 is Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich: "A mysterious man in Stephanie Plum’s life helps her track down a matchmaker who skipped bail."

At #6 is Exile by Richard North Patterson: "A San Francisco lawyer defends a Palestinian woman accused of assassinating the Israeli prime minister."

At #15 is Web of Evil by J.A. Jance: "Alison Reynolds, a former Los Angeles news anchor. comes under suspicion when her about-to-be-ex husband is murdered."

Baby Bits - Go, Go, Go

We did "things that go" in Baby PlayGroup this week. You can go home with books like Beep Beep Let's Go; Sail Away Little Boat; Sheep In A Jeep; Jiggle Joggle Jee; Giddy-Up! Let's Ride; or I Love Trucks and GO some more.

Happy Rebuild Day, Library of Congress!

The Library of Congress is marking 192 years since Congress accepted Thomas Jefferson's offer to rebuild the collection after the library was destroyed by the British. TJ offered books from his famously large personal collection, including, apparently, a copy of the Quran recently used in the swearing-in ceremony for Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress. Writers' Almanac has more.

February 2: Imbolc (Imbolog), Candlemas, and Groundhog Day

February 2 is a cross-quarter day, marking the mid-point of Winter, midway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. We have gotten off easy so far this Winter. Let's hope Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow.

Stormfax Weather Almanac has historic data. The odds favor six more weeks of winter. Shadow: 96 years; No Shadow: 14 years.

On Groundhog Day the Pittsfield Branch is hosting Harley, a groundhog from the Howell Conference and Nature Center. We are not sure what weather effect can be expected when the groundhog visits the library on Groundhog Day.

Wikipedia (have you noticed how many recent New York Times articles cite Wikipedia? An article in Monday's New York Times reported on the use of Wikipedia by judges in their opinions) on Imbolc; Candlemas; and Groundhog Day

Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day

Library books about Groundhog Day

Library picture books and readers about Groundhog Day

Someone has busily been tagging the library's Groundhog Day materials.

On The Night You Were Born

On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Beautiful illustrations. Lovely text. No wonder this book is given a lot at baby showers as a gift for the newborn. What people might not know however is that this is not just a book for the very young... Try reading it aloud to anyone you want to give an instant ego boost to. Really, you can't help but feel good after hearing this book, like everything is right with the world, like your life has purpose. It's like someone naming a building after you or making you your favorite desert for no reason. It's that nice.

"Smoke gets in your eyes," Mr. Kern

Today, January 27, is the birthday of American composer, Jerome Kern. Kern was born in New York City in 1885. In addition to writing scores for stage and screen, Kern wrote many memorable songs like "Ol' Man River" and "The Last Time I saw Paris." His song, "The Way You Look Tonight" won an Oscar for the best song of the year in the film, "Swing Time." Who can forget those sweetest of verses:

"Lovely...Never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it?
'Cause I love you...Just the way you look tonight."

There's Nothing Like the Art from our Youth

If the Downtown Library seems like a cozier place to be during this icy month, it may be due to the warm colors and shapes emanating from the paintings by young artists on the lower level and third floor of the building. Now the glass case in the Youth Department is filled with colorful ceramic, woodwork and other hand work created by the 1st through 12th grade students from the Rudolf Steiner School. We look forward to this exhibit each year! For books to inspire youthful creators, try A Rainbow at Night, My Wish for Tomorrow and Children of the World Paint Jerusalem.

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