Archive for May, 2012

Nebula Award for Science Fiction Novel

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The winner of this year’s Nebula Award for best novel, sponsored by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, is:

  Among Others by Jo Walton (Find in our catalog)

Summary in our catalog: ‘Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment. Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled–and her twin sister dead. Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England-a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off… Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude , this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin. One of School Library Journal ‘s Best Adult Books 4 Teens titles of 2011 One of io9′s best Science Fiction & Fantasy books of the year 2011.”


Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

  Frances Wilson won the British Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography for her book How to Survive the Titanic or The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay (Find in our catalog).

The prize is given by The Society of Authors and is generously sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer. Professor Roy Foster (Chair of the judging panel) commented:

‘The judges looked at a number of heavy-weight and absorbing historical biographies this year, but unanimously chose a book that brought something new to the genre.

‘How To Survive the Titanic explores the contours of J. Bruce Ismay’s life to draw a portrait of the repressions, confidence and insecurity of the apparently gilded world of the Edwardian plutocracy. The book revolves around his behaviour during the sinking of the Titanic, counterpointed with the theme of Joseph Conrad’s contemporary novel Lord Jim- cowardice and panic in the face of adversity, and how to live with the aftermath.

‘To make this succeed required acute psychological insight, the ability to balance conflicting evidence, a judicious sense of empathy with a dislikeable subject, and a powerful but disciplined historical imagination – as well as the ability to find and pursue ‘fascinating sources. Frances Wilson possesses all these qualities, and has used them with scrupulous panache to create a tour de force.’


Book Club Books

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The following books available in Harford County Public Library were among the most popular book club books during April based on votes from readers and leaders of more than 32,000 book clubs registered at Book Movement , a website “dedicated to delivering the very best book ideas for book clubs, via email and the web.”  (Click on the highlighted title to go to the book in our catalog)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay

 The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel by S.J. Watson

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

[Many thanks to!]


Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The Mystery Writers of America held its annual Edgar Awards ceremony at New York City’s Grand Hyatt Hotel April 26.  The following books were winners:

  Mo Hayder’s Gone - Best Novel – (Find in our catalog)

Summary in our catalog:  “Investigating a serial carjacker whose actual targets are young children in back seats, Jack Caffery teams up once again with police diver Sergeant Flea Marley, whose life is endangered by a discovery in an abandoned, half-submerged tunnel.”

  Lori Roy’s Bent Road  –  Best First Novel – (Find in our catalog)

Summary:  “”A remarkably assured debut novel. Rich and evocative, Lori Roy’s voice is a welcome addition to American fiction.” -Dennis Lehane For twenty years, Celia Scott has watched her husband, Arthur, hide from the secrets surrounding his sister Eve’s death. As a young man, Arthur fled his small Kansas hometown, moved to Detroit, married Celia, and never looked back. But when the 1967 riots frighten him even more than his past, he convinces Celia to pack up their family and return to the road he grew up on, Bent Road, and that same small town where Eve mysteriously died. While Arthur and their oldest daughter slip easily into rural life, Celia and the two younger children struggle to fit in. Daniel, the only son, is counting on Kansas to make a man of him since Detroit damn sure didn’t. Eve-ee, the youngest and small for her age, hopes that in Kansas she will finally grow. Celia grapples with loneliness and the brutality of life and death on a farm. And then a local girl disappears, catapulting the family headlong into a dead man’s curve… On Bent Road, a battered red truck cruises ominously along the prairie; a lonely little girl dresses in her dead aunt’s clothes; a boy hefts his father’s rifle in search of a target; a mother realizes she no longer knows how to protect her children. It is a place where people learn: Sometimes killing is the kindest way.”


Inspirational Fiction – Christy’s Picks

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The theme this month is unusual families past and present.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy the 2 I picked.  One is from the Love Inspired collection and the other is regular inspirational fiction.

  Leigh Bale’s Forest Ranger’s Husband (Find in our catalog) brings to life the day to day routines of the wild land firefighters.  These are the women and men who put their lives on the line to keep our forests safe and the surrounding area protected from those unexpected wild fires, while also dealing with the wild fires of emotions and uncertainties in their personal lives.

What would you do when someone you had loved had walked away and is now back in your life?  This is the dilemma Forest Ranger Andie Foster faces when her estranged husband Matt Cutter takes a job as Fire Control Officer in her forest.  None of her friends and co-workers knows she is married, they believe she is a single mom.

It has been more than 5 years since Matt walked out on Andie before she could tell him she was pregnant with their child.  Understandably Andie is afraid.  Afraid of her own emotions where Matt is concerned, but more so about what his return will do to Davie, who knows his father is alive but not who he is.  Can Matt work thru the wildfires of his insecurities and lapse of faith to regain what he loved most?  Can he let go and let God heal and give Andie and Davie and himself a second chance to become a family?

  Sarai: a Novel by Jill Eileen Smith (Find in our catalog) presents the day to day worries, stress, jealousy and unknowns in the lives of Abram and Sarai, who is his half-sister and also his wife, as they struggle to maintain a marriage and follow the direction of God for and in their lives.

Choices always bring consequences of some sort whether immediately or at a later time.  Promises made before their marriage – he to never take another wife and she to give him a son and heir – seemed so easy at the time.

During the years of their marriage Sarai’s faith, love and patience is tested.  First God asks them to move to a different land where Sarai’s beauty causes potential problems with the king.

Add to all of this the increasing frustration and taunts of not being able to bear a child.  In desperation Sarai does something that is allowable in their culture but is not what God has promised for them: Sarai encourages Abram to have a child with Hagar, her maid servant.  Not waiting on God to provide Abram an heir will have far reaching consequences - more then they or Hagar can see.

Jill Eileen Smith gives us a wonderful story that fleshes out the behind the scenes drama of the day to day emotions of faith, love, trust and jealousy as Abram and Sarai take the journey without and with God’s help to become the Abraham and Sarah they are meant to be.

Posted by Christy

Finalists announced for first Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction—co-sponsored by Booklist/RUSA

Friday, May 18th, 2012

This news release came in e-mail today, Thursday, May 16:  “This is the first time the ALA has offered single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction. The awards are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and are co-sponsored by Booklist and RUSA.”

“The winning fiction title and nonfiction title will be announced at a special event at ALA Annual Conference on Sunday, June 24, in Anaheim, CA.  The authors of the two winning titles will each receive a $5,000 cash prize, while the four remaining finalists will each receive $1,500.”

Here are the 2012 finalists:

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction:

The Forgotten Waltz, by Anne Enright

Lost Memory of Skin, by Russell Banks

Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction:

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, by James Gleick

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by Manning Marable 

Get information on the finalists, the selection committee, and the awards themselves.


Orion Book Award

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

  Author and biologist Carl Safina’s The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World won the Orion Book Award,  which is given, “In recognition of the book’s success in addressing the human relationship with the natural world in a fresh, thought-provoking, and engaging manner.”

(Find this book in our catalog)

Summary in our catalog:  “An exhilarating journey of natural renewal through a year with MacArthur fellow Carl Safina Beginning in his kayak in his home waters of eastern Long Island, Carl Safina’s The View from Lazy Point takes us through the four seasons to the four points of the compass, from the high Arctic south to Antarctica, across the warm belly of the tropics from the Caribbean to the west Pacific, then home again. We meet Eskimos whose way of life is melting away, explore a secret global seed vault hidden above the Arctic Circle, investigate dilemmas facing foraging bears and breeding penguins, and sail to formerly devastated reefs that are resurrecting as fish graze the corals algae-free. “Each time science tightens a coil in the slack of our understanding,” Safina writes, “it elaborates its fundamental discovery: connection.” He shows how problems of the environment drive very real matters of human justice, well-being, and our prospects for peace. In Safina’s hands, nature’s continuous renewal points toward our future. His lively stories grant new insights into how our world is changing, and what our response ought to be.”


Christian Book of the Year

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

  The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association chose Billy Graham’s Nearing Home (Find in our catalog) as its Christian Book of the Year.

Summary in our catalog:  “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. -Acts 20:24 (ESV) Growing old has been the greatest surprise of my life,” says Billy Graham, known by many as God’s Ambassador. “I would have never guessed what God had in store for me, and I know that as I am nearing home, He will not forsake me the last mile of the way.” In Nearing Home this man of faith-now in his nineties-explores the challenges of aging while gleaning foundational truths from Scripture. Billy Graham invites us to journey with him as he considers the golden years while anticipating the hope of being reunited with his wife, Ruth, in his heavenly home that eclipses this world. “When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural, but growing old with grace is a choice,” says the author. “Growing older with grace is possible for all who will set their hearts and minds on the Giver of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Join Billy Graham as he shares the challenges of fading strength but still standing strong in his commitment to finishing life well. “Explore with me not only the realities of life as we grow older but also the hope and fulfillment and even joy that can be ours once we learn to look at these years from God’s point of view and discover His strength to sustain us every day.” -BILLY GRAHAM


Perla by Carolina De Robertis

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Perla Correa grows up in a household of secrets. Her father is a naval officer who, she begins to suspect, may have been a part of The Process, a time in the history of Argentina when tens of thousands of Argentine citizens were “disappeared” by the ruling military dictatorship.  A strange man appears at her door one night, dripping wet and naked. As he begins to reveal his experiences to her,  Perla finds the strength to confront her fears & discover the truth. This novel sheds light on the plight of those Argentineans who were killed & also the babies who were abducted & secretly given up for adoption. There are parts of it that make for very uncomfortable reading, yet ultimately it is about the strength of love and family. De Robertis has written a beautiful & thought provoking novel that is based on an actual period in history that should not be forgotten.

(Find this book in our catalog)

Visit De Robertis’s website for information about the author & her writing.

Posted by Julia


Chautauqua Prize

Monday, May 14th, 2012

  The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak (Find in our catalog) has won the first Chautauqua Prize, which “celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts.”  Sponsored by the Chautauqua Institution, the prize includes $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a one-week summer residency for the author at Chautauqua, in Chautauqua, N.Y.

Summary of the book in our catalog: “A 2011 National Book Award Finalist in Fiction, The Sojourn is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a family tragedy and returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When World War One comes, Jozef joins his adopted brother as a sharpshooter in the Kaiser’s army, surviving a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy. A stirring tale of brotherhood, coming-of-age, and survival, that was inspired by the author’s own family history, this novel evokes a time when Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians, and Germans fought on the same side while divided by language, ethnicity, and social class in the most brutal war to date. It is also a poignant tale of fathers and sons, addressing the great immigration to America and the desire to live the American dream amidst the unfolding tragedy in Europe. The Sojourn is Andrew Krivak ‘s first novel. Krivak is also the author of A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life , a memoir about his eight years in the Jesuit Order, and editor of The Letters of William Carlos Williams to Edgar Irving Williams, 1902-1912 . The grandson of Slovak immigrants, he grew up in Pennsylvania, has lived in London, and now lives with his wife and three children in Massachusetts where he teaches in the Honors Program at Boston College.”