Archive for January, 2009

Mounting Fears by Stuart Woods

Friday, January 30th, 2009

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I have just finished reading the latest Stuart Woods Washington, D.C. political mystery, Mounting Fears. I have to admit to never having read any of his books before, though he is the author of 38 others. Yet another one is due out in April 2009.

This is what the summary in our catalog says about Mounting Fears:
“New York Times’– bestselling author Stuart Woods returns with another page-turning thriller. President Will Lee is having a rough week. His vice president just died during surgery. Confirmation hearings for the new vice president are under way, but the squeaky-clean governor whom Will has nominated may have a few previously unnoticed skeletons in his closet. And Teddy Fay, the rogue CIA agent last seen in Shoot Him If He Runs, is plotting his revenge on CIA director Kate Rule Lee—the president’s wife. Plus there are some loose nukes in Pakistan that might just trigger World War III if Will’s diplomatic efforts fall short. It’s up to President Lee—with some help from Holly Barker, Lance Cabot, and a few other Stuart Woods series regulars—to save the world, and the upcoming election.”

Having stayed up late at night to finish this book, I am no longer surprised by the frequency with we are asked for this author at the reference desk. Mounting Fears has multiple plot lines, but Woods skillfully dovetails them all together while avoiding unbelievable coincidences and keeping our interest going in each suspenseful thread. I thought Woods showed himself to be a very sophisticated writer because he manages to maintain that suspense without hyperbole. There is violence and ruthlessnes, much of it under the surface and handled with kid gloves. Mounting Fears is a short book and no word is wasted; much as no word is wasted by the ruthless power players in the book. The spare prose just recounts events as they unfold. The reader feels that for the space of the book he or she is truly a Washington insider. The situations seem to be lifted straight from the news of today. Mounting Fears features Holly Barker and Lance Cabot of the CIA. These characters have appeared in other books and appear fully fledged in this one with no introduction. Rather than detracting from the book, this adds to the atmosphere of secrets, conspiracy, manipulation and the oppression of absolute power that makes this such a good read.

Sebastion Barry Wins 2008 Costa Book of the Year Award

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The Secret Scripture, by Irish author Sebastion Barry (Find this book in our catalog) was awarded the 2008 Costa Book of the Year Award. The Award was announced in London on January 27. Barry will receive £25,000 in prize money (click here for information on the Award).

The Secret Scripture is a moving account of one woman’s stolen life and her journey to reclaim the past. This is how it is summarized in our catalog: “A gorgeous new novel from the author of the Man Booker finalist A Long Long Way. As a young woman, Roseanne McNulty was one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland. Now, as her hundredth year draws near, she is a patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital, and she decides to record the events of her life. As Roseanne revisits her past, hiding the manuscript beneath the floorboards in her bedroom, she learns that Roscommon Hospital will be closed in a few months and that her caregiver, Dr. Grene, has been asked to evaluate the patients and decide if they can return to society. Roseanne is of particular interest to Dr. Grene, and as he researches her case he discovers a document written by a local priest that tells a very different story of Roseanne’s life than what she recalls. As doctor and patient attempt to understand each other, they begin to uncover long-buried secrets about themselves. Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scriptureis an epic story of love, betrayal, and unavoidable tragedy, and a vivid reminder of the stranglehold that the Catholic Church had on individual lives for much of the twentieth century.”

Sundance Film Festival honors Push, based on novel by Sapphire

Monday, January 26th, 2009

At the Sundance Film Festival (click here for more details of the Festival, which ran from January 15 to 25, 2009) the movie Push, based on the novel by Sapphire won three major awards–the Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Dramatic, the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, and a Special Jury Prize for acting.

Find this book in our catalog
This is what it says in our catalog about the book: “Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this “horrific, hope-filled story” (Newsday) is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious Jones, 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.”

Books Into Movies Strong Oscar Contenders

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Oscar Nominees were announced yesterday, Thursday, January 22, 2009 (click for the official list of nominees).

According to an article today in Shelf Awareness, an online publication of the American Booksellers Association, “Adapting novels to film once again proved to be a winning formula for Oscar nominations in major categories…”
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was nominated for best picture, best director (David Fincher), best actor (Brad Pitt), best supporting actress (Taraji P. Henson) and best adapted screenplay. The story was anthologized in Tales of the Jazz Age and can be found in our library in Novels and stories, 1920-1922 Find this book in our catalog.
Slumdog Millionaire, based upon Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A;, was nominated for best picture, best director (Danny Boyle) and best adapted screenplay. Find this book in our catalog.
The Reader, based upon Bernhard Schlink’s novel, was nominated for best picture, best director (Stephen Daldry), best actress (Kate Winslet) and best adapted screenplay. Find this book in our catalog.
Revolutionary Road, based upon the novel by Richard Yates, was nominated for best supporting actor (Michael Shannon), best art direction and best costume design.

The Oscars will be presented Sunday, February 22.

John Mortimer, Barrister and Writer Who Created Rumpole, Dies at 85

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

According to the New York Times of January 17, 2009, “John Mortimer, barrister, author, playwright and creator of Horace Rumpole, the cunning defender of the British criminal classes, died on Friday[January 16] at his home in Oxfordshire, England. He was 85.”
Click here for the New York Times article.
Mr. Mortimer is known best in this country for creating the Rumpole character, an endearing and enduring relic of the British legal system who became a television hero of the courtroom comedy.
Here is a list of some of his titles:
Rumpole Misbehaves Find this book in our catalog
Quite Honestly Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole on Trial Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Reign of Terror Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Reign of Terror [audiobook] Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Reign of Terror [large print] Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Angel of Death Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole Rests His Case Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Primrose Path Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders [audiobook] Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole and the Age of Miracles [audiobook]Find this book in our catalog
Rumpole a la Carte Find this book in our catalog

American Book Awards 2008

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

The American Book Awards for 2008 were recently announced by The American Booksellers Association. Click here for more information.

The American Book Awards, established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation, recognize outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers.

2008 Awards:
How Does It Feel to Be a Problem Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka, 1802 And 1804 by Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Richard Dauenhauer, and Lydia T. Black, and Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká
All That Lies Between Us by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998 by Nikki Giovanni
Prairie Style by C.S. Giscombe
Where I Must Go: A Novel by Angela Jackson
Each Month I Sing by L. Luis Lopez
Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America by Tom Lutz
Steer Toward Rock by Fae Myenne Ng
The Ocean in the Closet by Yuko Taniguchi
Don’t Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition by Lorenzo Thomas, Aldon Lynn Nielsen, editor
Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid by Frank B. Wilderson III
Al’ America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel
Lifetime Achievement Award: J.J. Phillips, Author of Mojo Hand: An Orphic Tale

Edgar Allan Poe Awards Announce Nominees

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

According to a press release of 1/16/09, The Mystery Writers of America has announced the nominees for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, as it celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Poe.

Awards will be presented on 30th April in New York City.
Missing by Karin Alvtegen
Blue Heaven by C J Box
Sins of the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno
The Price of Blood by Declan Hughs
The Night Following by Morag Joss
Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
The Kind One by Tom Epperson
Sweetsmoke by David Fuller
The Foreigner by Francie Lin
Calumet City by Charlie Newton
A Cure for Night by Justin Peacock
The Prince of Bagram by Alex Carr
Money Shot by Christa Faust
Enemy Combatant by Ed Gaffney
China Lake by Meg Gardiner
The Cold Spot by Tom Piccirilli
For The Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb and the Murder that Shocked Chicago by Simon Baatz
American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century by Howard Blum
Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It To The Revolution by T.J. English
The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Hans van Meegeren by Jonathan Lopez
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale

Click here for more details

“Authors revealed” for book groups

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Simon and Schuster has launched a new website, according to Craig Morgan Teicher in PW Daily Report for 1/14/09:

Teicher writes, “The completely redesigned site replaces the old and features an array of new capabilities, including in-depth author and book hubs, author blogs, multimedia and interactivity… A main feature of the new site is the “Author Voices” section, a series of blogs by S&S; authors, each of whom is given access to a dashboard through which they can post at will (subject to S&S; approval). Other author-related features include “Authors Revealed,” for which authors answer a standard set of non-book-related questions to give readers a broader impression of who they are. S&S; also built an in-house digital studio, where the company films author videos for use on the site. All author content is woven together on each author’s page, and also appears in other relevant places on the site.”

Check this site out as a resource for your book discussions.

Book groups can contact speakers’ bureaus for authors

Friday, January 16th, 2009

I learned in The PW Morning Report for 1/14/09 in an article by Dermot McEvoy that Macmillan has become the latest publisher to establish a speakers bureau for its authors. Several other publishers have already established this service. Speakers can usually be arranged for a fee. Book groups especially enjoy the many authors who are willing to do telephone chats for free.

Click here for more information on Macmillan

From a quick check of the site it does not look as if the speakers will do phone chats; however, MacMillan does say, “We can find a speaker uniquely positioned for your audience and budget. We would be pleased to help you begin your speaker selection. Please contact us and we will assist you in finding the ideal talent for your event.”

When visiting the website you can search a database of about 100 speakers by topic, name, or geographic location. You can sign up to receive information about speaker appearances,special offers, and news.

Finalists for Story Prize

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

The three finalists for the Story Prize, which honors a book of short fiction, are:
* Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
* Demons in the Spring by Joe Meno
* Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff

The prize will be awarded in March