Archive for May, 2011

Home – Who Knew?

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

  Bryson, Bill.  At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Find in our catalog).

In 1979, I was enthralled by the BBC series, Connections, hosted by James Burke.  His nonlinear approach to history linked events like the Norman invention of stirrups to the invention of modern telecommunications.  As a lover of this kind of trivia, I found Bill Bryson’s new book At Home: A short history of private life to be right up my alley.  It is a delightful romp through the history of domesticity, and much like his previous book A Short History of Everything it takes the scenic route through the past. 

My favorite parts of the book are the great inventors you never heard of: Sir William Grove, inventor of the light bulb (you thought it was Edison, didn’t you?) and Canvass White, inventor of hydraulic cement whose invention kicked off Americas rise to economic power.  Bryson’s stories are also delicious; he tells us of the countess who found a family of mice living in her huge wig and the lady who served the newfangled discovery, “tea” boiled on toast. 

This is a must read for information lovers or anyone who is in need of cocktail party small talk!

Posted by Linda Zuckerman

Water for Elephants – Book to Movie

Monday, May 9th, 2011

  The movie  Water for Elephants, based on the novel by Sara Gruen, opened Friday, April 22. Robert Pattinson is a veterinary student who decides to join the circus after the death of his parents. Also stars Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz.

(Find the book in our catalog) Summary of the book in our catalog:  “Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell. Jacob was there because his luck had run out – orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive “ship of fools.” It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn’t have an act – in fact, she couldn’t even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. Surprising, poignant, and funny, Water for Elephants is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is reluctant to put it down; with characters so engaging, they continue to live long after the last page has been turned; with a world built of wonder, a world so real, one starts to breathe its air.”

Book World News – New Mystery Website

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The publishing firm Macmillan has launched, an online community for fans of crime and mystery fiction, focused on celebrating the genre and offering a combination of new material and pre-release excerpts as well as fan and writer commentary and more.

Like its sister community sites,, focused on science-fiction and fantasy, and, for romance, CriminalElement is a “publisher neutral” community, reaching beyond Macmillan authors to include crime and mystery authors and creators from all publishers.  The site is beginning with original fiction and articles by such noted crime writers as Rosemary Harris, Luis Alberto Urrea, Joseph Finder and Steve Hamilton.
Liz Edelstein, senior manager and editor of CriminalElement and a published author herself, said the site was not simply to promote Macmillan authors. “We think of as a community for fans, by fans, and the focus is on editorial content rather than on marketing.” Edelstein said the site will highlight the vast range of crime and mystery writing—from  Noir and procedurals to mystery graphic novels—and reach out to fans of the genre to make the site a destination for creators and fans.

Street Lit Book Awards

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


The Street Lit Book Award Medal Committee comprises of a group of volunteer librarians and library workers from across the U.S. who work with Street Lit and its readers in public and school libraries. The Committee collected, discussed, and nominated titles based on library patron popularity, book club interest, and overall reception of the story as a valuable addition to the Street Literature genre. Three rounds of nominations resulted in the following winners for 2010 publications:

  Winner: Decoded by Jay-Z (Find in our catalog)

Summary:  “”Decoded” is an intimate, first-person portrait of the life and art of Jay-Z, organized around a “decoding” of his most famous and provocative lyrics. This beautifully designed, fully illustrated book offers a surprising and revealing look at the life, influences, and artistic process of one of the most successful, widely admired, controversial, and compelling figures in American culture today.”

Honor Books:

  Damaged by Kia DuPree

Summary:  “Camille Logan feels trapped. After she is sexually and emotionally abused by her foster parents, she turns to the one person she knows she can trust–her boyfriend Chu, a mid-level drug dealer. But when life finally starts looking up for Camille, Chu is brutally murdered. Again feeling abandoned and helpless, and refusing to return to the system, Camille finds herself living with a stable of women in a tiny run-down apartment building in Washington, D.C., working for Nut, a deranged pimp. Fed up with her life, Camille is forced to right her wrongs, and slowly learns that her past does not necessarily determine her future.”

  Welfare Wifeys by K’wan

Summary:  “After the deaths and arrests of his entire crew and an informant-fueled investigation into his past, the man known on the streets as Animal relocates to Texas and finds fame and stardom as the newest act signed to the notorious Big Dawg Entertainment. His girlfriend, Gucci, is thrilled when she gets the news that he’s coming back to New York on a promotional tour, but when she discovers the hidden agenda behind his homecoming nothing can prepare her for the life-altering consequences that will come of it. There goes the neighborhood… again.”

  The Streets Keep Calling by Chunichi

Summary:  “The “Essence”-bestselling author of “Married to the Game” returns with a compelling story about the choices a man makes for survival, even if it means risking everything.”

  Diary of a Young Girl by Mark Anthony

Summary:  “Urban favorite Anthony returns with a gripping tale of a young woman who is forced to confront the dangerous lies she told as a teenager, and come face to face with some ugly demons.”

A full write up of the awards with committee comments and committee member bios can be accessed at the Street Literature blog

Edgar Awards

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

The Mystery Writers of America held its annual Edgars award banquet at Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt Thursday, April 28. 

  Best Novel Edgar: Steve Hamilton’s The Lock Artist (Find in our catalog).

Summary in our catalog:  “ Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it’s a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an eight-hundred pound safe … he can open them all.  It’s an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever close to a life of crime. Until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long.”

  Other winners included Bruce DeSilva’s Rogue Island (Find in our catalog) for Best First Novel,

Summary:  “Liam Mulligan is as old school as a newspaper man gets. His beat is Providence, Rhode Island, and he knows every street and alley. He knows the priests and prostitutes, the cops and street thugs. He knows the mobsters and politicians—who are pretty much one and the same.  Someone is systematically burning down the neighborhood Mulligan grew up in, people he knows and loves are perishing in the flames, and the public is on the verge of panic. With the whole city of Providence on his back, Mulligan must weed through a wildly colorful array of characters to find the truth.”

  Best Paperback Original: Robert Goddard’s Long Time Coming (Find in our catalog).

Summary:  “Stephen Swan is amazed when he hears that the uncle he thought had been killed in the Blitz is actually alive. But in this tale of revenge and redemption, justice is an illusion. When it comes to duplicity and intrigue, Goddard is second to none.”–”Daily Mail.”

A full list of winners and nominees in all categories is available at the Edgars website.